What must it be like to travel to Walt Disney World alone? The initial thought filled me with excitement. I imagined doing all of the things that I want to do, when I wanted and answering to no one.
Occasionally thoughts of doubt would creep in as I considered it. (Ok let me be honest. I booked the tickets first, then considered my doubts later.) What if I’m lonely? I am going without my partner or my friends. What if my imagination created a facade that would come crumbling down once I got there? What if I get stares for being alone? What if?
Surprisingly, these thoughts never took away from my excitement.
When the morning finally came, I woke up after sleeping about 4 hours and got on the earliest plane to Orlando. I did not sleep on the plane.
I arrived at the MCO airport and walked as quickly as I wanted to the tram to get to the hub. The freedom of walking at my own pace!
Once outside of the airport, I got into a cab. Here is where I was reminded of the downside of traveling alone. It sucks to pay for transportation to and from airports alone! It averaged about $65 every cab ride whether in Orlando or New York. I figured, hey, I want to get where I want to be as quickly and easily as I could manage so that justified the price for me. The cab driver gave me his card and offered me a discount if I used his service when I was to leave. As a side note, the driver made very friendly conversation. After revealing that I was going to the parks and that I was not here on business, we talked about Disney; tourism, hotel rates and other things relating to travel in Orlando. I started to feel comfortable about my decision to travel alone. The first person I made conversation with since landing was interesting, friendly and didn’t judge me.
My resort of choice is the Dolphin Resort. You can read more about my general experience with the Dolphin here.
I had stayed at the Dolphin twice previously.When I got to the front desk, I was met with an employee who had assisted me the first time I stayed here. Let’s just say I much preferred the person who assisted me on my second trip. (I was upgraded to a room with a balcony and a view of Tower of Terror from my bed, at no extra charge).
I decided to stick with my strategy. I explained to the girl that this was my first time here on vacation alone and perhaps she could give me a room that SHE really likes to help “celebrate” this occasion. (Disneyphiles will note the extra meaning of the word celebrate.)
I was not suprised from the overall demeanor of this person that I would not be “celebrating” the way I did last time. I did not receive a complimentary upgrade to a room with a balcony. She did, however, give me a room that “does not face the parking lot”. Ok. And it “does have a queen size bed”. Ok. And it “has a view but it’s partially obstructed”. Ok. It was room 11-111. That number sounds good. I’ll take it! I’m here alone, I’m number one, 11111!
I got up to my room. I let myself fall back into the big comfy bed. I rested as long as I could before getting up, excited. I am in Disney World, let’s go! (Yes my inner thoughts were in the form of a dialogue at times. I’m alone, cut me a break!)
I decided that from this point on, I will develop a ritual. It will become tradition.
My ritual will be to always to go to the Magic Kingdom first. Then to my favorite attraction, The Haunted Mansion.
I headed out to get the bus. No sooner had I stepped out, when a bus was heading toward the stop. Across the front of the bus were the streaming words “Magic Kingdom”. A very auspicious start! Service could not be better timed.
Exhausted but excited I headed to Magic Kingdom.
End of part 1.