There are countless reasons singles give for not choosing to visit Walt Disney World® (WDW). To begin with, many have the misconception that the entire place was designed exclusively with families in mind. Consequently, they believe that there will not be enough entertainment there for single adults. Still others say that they do not want to experience such a family-oriented place alone. Aside from those concerns, they may simply prefer a vacation that enables them to peacefully relax, rejuvenate and/or be pampered, which are desires they seriously doubt an amusement park laden resort can satisfy. Sadly, the few aforementioned reasons along with countless unstated ones frequently result in singles opting not to consider WDW as a possible vacation destination. Unfortunately, they are often unaware of some WDW benefits that are especially advantageous to a single person. The goal of this post is to provide traveling singles with great insights and reasons as to why “flying solo” at WDW can be exhilarating, entertaining, and emancipating. The common theme when it comes to traveling single is that it can and should be “all about you”. Well, WDW makes “all about you” easy, inviting, and exciting. Believe it! Walt Disney World® is a great place to be footloose and fancy free in more ways than one.
Included with Admission
What could be better than having over 200 unique rides, shows, interactive play areas, exhibits, galleries, demonstrations, performers and Character Meet & Greets all included with admission? Answer: Being the person with all the power to decide when and how often to visit or not visit each one. As a solo traveler, the World is at your fingertips. There will be no disappointed children if a ride on Dumbo the Flying Elephant® is bypassed; no one will be impatiently hovering as extra time is spent in the American Heritage Gallery; and no protests will be heard as Soarin’ is boarded for the twelfth time in a single trip. Singles are free to idly pass the time people watching on Main Street, USA; spending an afternoon searching for the hidden secrets left by Imagineers; or enjoying a margarita and Illuminations: Reflections of Earth with a group of people who moments earlier were complete strangers.
As a party of one, these guests are afforded the opportunity to take advantage of a Single Rider Line on several attractions. These shorter lines are for guests that are willing to fill-in an empty seat in a larger party’s attraction vehicle. This option is also available on several E-ticket attractions and shortens the wait time considerably. Even if an attraction does not offer the Single Rider Line option, visitors often hear Cast Members—in the loading area—call out “party of one”, which means that a solo rider has the opportunity to skip to the front of the line immediately.
Being a Single Rider brings along another perk; it better facilitates the opportunity to meet people. On attractions like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™, Kali River Rapids and many others, guests have a group experience that often leads to memories being made with complete strangers. At WDW, it almost seems like there is no such thing as a stranger. Guests from across the country and all around the world travel to WDW for hosts of reasons; among them is their desire to enjoy a fun, mutually welcoming and safe environment. It is that open, friendly atmosphere that often leads to unexpected conversations between strangers waiting in line, sitting at a restaurant, perusing merchandise locations or just walking in the parks and resorts. There is a common spirit of excitement that seems to naturally lead to camaraderie among strangers. It is as if everyone realizes that they have a shared purpose, to have a great time in a spectacular place that is also a safe.
There are not many places in the world where total strangers are as friendly with one another as they are at WDW? Perhaps one reason for that comes from the pervasive sense of safety and security they feel while on the Walt Disney World® Resort property. At WDW, the welfare of every guest is taken seriously and is a chief priority. Knowing that to be true is a definite plus for the personal welfare conscious single. For a solo traveler, concerns about security may be a deterrent to visiting some locations around the world. It need not be one at WDW. While it is impossible to 100% guarantee anyone’s safety or security, WDW guests can confidently move about the entire Resort property secure in the knowledge that significant efforts have been and are being made to protect them twenty-four hours a day throughout their stay.
Knowing that WDW is purposeful in its efforts to provide guests with a safe and secure environment and experience at all times is especially nice for singles hoping to enjoy a little nightlife while on vacation. There are several night clubs and lounges around WDW property that are not included with admission, they are free - no cover charge! Rix Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is open 6:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. daily and features a live DJ for the dance floor most Thursdays-Saturdays. The Scat Cat Club at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, open daily from 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., is a tribute to all things Jazz and is currently featuring live piano music and vocals from Jazz artist Tom Casey on select nights. The Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, may have a 1930s and 40s Art Deco style, but the dance floor is filled with music from the 80s to now. Open from 9:00 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., the Atlantic Dance Hall features a large dance floor as well as multiple display screens and exterior balconies. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, guests can make DJ requests, and on Thursdays and Fridays, the Dance Hall features dueling DJs. Over at Downtown Disney®(DTD), Gloria Estefan’s Bongos Cuban Café features dancing and music on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. This is only a small selection of the lounges, clubs and bars on WDW property, for information on others, see the “Where to Eat” section.
Where to Stay
“Where to Stay” as a single is dependent upon why the vacation is being taken: to get away from life and relax or to enjoy being single with lots of other singles.
For the former, there is no better place than Disney’s Polynesian Resort. The relaxed atmosphere of this resort has guests believing they have not only left Florida, they have left the continent and landed on a tiny island in the South Seas. Singles looking to enjoy some alone time will enjoy the hammocks on the beach, quiet pool, and walking/jogging trails that wind throughout the lush atmosphere. For an in-depth look at the Polynesian see the previous post “More to the World for Anyone Needing an Island Getaway”.
For the later, singles will find plenty of places to mingle at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. While the Resort’s classic boardwalk, twinkling lights and quaint beachside venues are reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century Atlantic City, its waterfront clubs, lounges and restaurants combine to create an entertainment district that is unique and lively, especially when it comes to nightlife. The BoardWalk is home to several places to enjoy an evening: the aforementioned Atlantic Dance Hall, Jellyrolls (see additional information in Something Extra), Belle Vue Lounge, and the ESPN Club. If singles hit all of these locations and are still looking for more, the BoardWalk is located within walking distance of Il Mulino New York Trattoria Lounge, Kimonos, Lobby Lounge, Shula’s Lounge and Todd English’s Bluezoo Bar all found at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts; Ale and Compass, Crew’s Cup, and Martha’s Vineyard all found at Disney Yacht and Beach Club Resorts; and La Cava Del Telquila, Rose & Crown Pub, and Tutto Gusto found within World Showcase at Epoct®.
Where to Eat
A great place for solo travelers looking to join others for a fun evening is Raglan Road™ Irish Pub and Restaurant at Downtown Disney®. If you think your local Irish pub is authentic, Raglan Road may have it beat. The entire building was actually built in Ireland and then shipped to WDW. Every night starting at 6:00 p.m., the house band plays Irish tunes while the award winning Irish dancers perform on the 150 year old stage boards. Known for its inventive cuisine from Master Chef, Kevin Dundon, the Raglan Road menu puts a unique twist on classic pub items like lamb, shepherd’s pie, fish n’ chips and many others. Please note: Unlike a traditional pub, this restaurant is family friendly.
For a more subdued evening, solo travelers should look no further than Disney’s Contemporary Resort which is home to The Wave… of American Flavors. The Wave is a casual, modern restaurant and lounge serving American dishes with a touch of international flavor. All of the menu items are made with sustainable, locally sourced ingredients, and it is one of few restaurants in the country to feature an entirely screw-top wine list, which avoids the possibility of “cork-taint” and limits the occurrence of spoilage. The wine list includes New World wines primarily from vineyards in the southern hemisphere using sustainable methods to grow organic grapes.
As mentioned previously, there are also several lounges throughout the WDW resorts that would appeal to solo travelers looking to enjoy appetizers and drinks alone or with other singles. Notable locations include: the Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Resort home of the famous Lapu Lapu and Backscratcher; the River Roost Lounge at Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside featuring performances by improv pianist Yee-haw Bob; and Mizner’s Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa which sits next to the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra and serves an excellent selection of liquors such as port, scotch, brandy and cognac.
Jellyrolls – Ask anyone in the know where to find the best nightlife in all of WDW, and they will undoubtedly answer “Jellyrolls at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn”. This over 21, all request, sing-a-long piano bar features dueling piano players who are willing to play anything, all while throwing in a little improv comedy. There is a $12 cover charge for the club, and guests increase the chances of their request being played by throwing in a tip. Guests, who have a request, simply write it on a napkin and place it, and their tip, on the piano. There is plenty of room to dance and several tables available for anyone looking to settle in for the for the evening; however, tables do fill up fast, so arriving early is recommended. Jellyrolls is open daily from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Tours – Singles looking to have a group experience while on vacation should consider taking advantage of one or more of the tours available throughout WDW. With no schedule with which to contend, it is easy to fit in the 8-hour Backstage Magic tour of Magic Kingdom® Park (including the Utilidors), Epcot®, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. On the other hand, if singles are looking to get away from the theme park feel, they should check out the Wild Africa Trek which takes guests on an up-close encounter with the animals of the African savannah at Disney’s Animal Kingdom®, or they could don a scuba suit for the DiveQuest tour of Epcot®’s 5.7 million gallon saltwater tank (scuba certification required). These are just a few of the numerous tours available. Visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/ for a complete listing and pricing information.
Treat Yourself - As a solo traveler, the trip is all about you. There are tons of ways to splurge at WDW. Singles can enjoy being pampered at the Mandara Spa at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel or at one of the Senses Spa locations at either the Grand Floridian or the Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Solo travelers can also spend some time and or money on a shopping spree at any of 200+ merchandise locations featuring everything from artwork, to sporting goods, to high end apparel and more. Singles, who enjoy the great outdoors, can engage in activities like boating and parasailing at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre, horseback riding or fishing at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, golfing at one of four award winning PGA-level courses, surfing at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, or running in one of several runDisney marathon events.
(All images copyright Disney.)
Readers, have you ever visited WDW alone? If so, what activities did you enjoy? What were the perks of “flying solo”? If you have never gone there all on your own, what things would you choose to do if you did?
Kendall began visiting Walt Disney World in 1991 with her family and has continued to visit the resort with her husband. As a child, she and her family filled vacations with challenges such as “How many times can we ride Splash Mountain during SpectroMagic and the fireworks?” (Answer: 7) Now, after marrying a converted Disney skeptic, she and her husband enjoy challenges such as “How many hours can we eat nonstop at the Food & Wine Festival?” (Answer: 4)