@mousematt is a middle aged solo male traveller, so may be able to share his experiences. He has done character meals.
I’m pretty much always a solo traveler so I’ll try and give you my 2 cents. I enjoy the flexibility in planning, just wander around and do whatever i want without worrying about what others want to do. I go on the tours and group events like wild Africa trek a lot. Character meals tend to be a bot loud and crowded for me but i enjoyed garden grill in the land. There are a few times i might feel slightly out of place being a single older male but i generally have found it to be just me.
Just enjoy yourself!
Well, I guess he is. But, you know, rude.
Anyhoo, solo travelling at WDW is the only way to do it. It is the best thing ever. Other people distract you from the immersion in the place. And they’re annoying with all their whiny “I’m hungry / want to go to the bathroom / don’t want to do this ride / do want to do that ride” nonsense. Ugh. They’re the worst.
One of the things I love about WDW is that I feel safe and comfortable. I’ve done many character meals alone and have never felt conspicuously odd for doing it. In December I was at Crystal Palace, but not really in a character mood — so Piglet sat down at my table with me and started “eating” the salt and pepper and sugar packets and so on. It melted even my cynical heart.
As has been mentioned, I haven’t worried about theft at buffets. I always take my phone with me, but I leave my other stuff at the table.
Horror story: I was at UOR in December and suddenly realised I didn’t have my phone. I went into full crisis mode and racked my brain thinking where it would be. I figured it was in the men’s room I’d visited recently so I sprinted — no, I really did — back to it. And there was my phone, exactly where I left it. I’d put it on top of the porcelain.
On almost all rides, single riders get the whole row or vehicle to themselves, so no awkwardness. You share in 7DMT (not always), RNR, SDD, EE. You don’t share in BTMRR, BLYSRS, TSM and, well, lots of others. The sharing experience varies from a polite nod and smile, to a short friendly chat. It’s fine.
Basically solo trips are awesome.
Paging @Randall1028 to the thread.
The other thing I’m anticipating, which solo travel will nicely allow, is beering my way around the World Showcase. I work at a nanobrewery and have gotten a pretty good beer palate. Definitely gonna earmark a couple afternoons to hit all the countries (and try to remain functional enough to ride a monorail home)
I solo to WDW fairly often – the rides never bother me. Basically rides that have separate seats next to each other will seat you with others – and those rides often have single rider lines so they are set up for filling the seats – and those with bench seats will seat you alone sometimes but not always so be prepared on rides like PoC and Navi River to share a bench seat.
I don’t do character meals solo because for me its a thing to do with my DD and the characters themselves are not the thing. I might do Artists Point on an upcoming trip, though, I haven’t decided at this point (I have an ADR). I am thinking I could enjoy the meal and watching the characters with other guests and just let my server know I don’t need to be visited at my table, I believe you can opt for that.
I could write a novel on this but I’ll keep it extremely short: I, too, shared the exact same concerns you express before traveling solo. Almost EVERYONE I know puts Disney down, short of those with small children, so finding support or even someone to go with was impossible. So much so that I put off going for YEARS. But I finally went and it turned out all of my fears were unfounded. Doing Disney Solo, even as a guy, is down right amazing. For all the reasons mentioned so far and more.
When it comes to character meets, I’m also like you: “ehhhhh.” I’ve explained why before so here’s the recap: We both know you’re not real and since we can’t share in on the secret and can’t further the “show” for someone, it feels pointless and can be a bit awkward… But even then, it’s actually not too bad. I won’t say it was my favorite thing, but it definitely wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I’ve only done 1 character meal alone (Chef Mickey’s) and it was mostly reacting to their actions. Since they don’t speak, you don’t have to really worry about holding conversations like you would with face-characters (Princesses, Princes, etc…). I would, however, recommend having a “task” for them to do when you meet them. Sign something, taking a photo, etc… Keeps things moving and less “now what?” moments.
Actually that’s been pretty rare in my experience. I usually get a row all to myself.
Absolutely! Being able to do enjoy the food/drink/whatever at YOUR pace and no one else’s is remarkably freeing. You wanna woof down that PPO breakfast in 8 minutes? Do it. Wanna take 1.5 hours instead, Do it. You have no one to answer to but yourself. That said, there is one thing that is probably the biggest awkwardness I feel at WDW (even way more than the character meals): Shoveling food into my face at a standing table, and it’s just me there, especially when the tables are scarce like during Food & Wine festival. But I know this is definitely just a personal thing and seriously doubt anyone actually cares.
And that’s the great thing about WDW, everyone is so wrapped up in their own vacation experience, you go unnoticed 99.9% of the time.
In the end: Go, have a blast, roll with everything, and not have a care. Cause it’s gonna be great.
I concur with the others above. My solo trip was amazing. I’m not very shy, in general, but I am rather introverted. So I was unsure how some of it would go. But there were very few moments I felt lonely or awkward being by myself. Doing a live trip report helped I think. The ability to follow my touring plan (or deviate if I wanted) was so immensely satisfying. You will not regret going solo. I did the Garden Grill breakfast, and I basically got a quick photo with each of the characters, and they moved on. I highly recommend this meal because its great food, great environment, and you can be the first to ride Soarin’ afterwards.
I will echo @Randall1028’s closing comments:
My only exception has been TSMM and Buzz. Of course, I am a coaster freak. My MM photos are all of me and my new best friends (that I never see again).
I too travel solo quite often. Not too much to add to what has already been said, other than there is no reason to feel awkward. When solo I engage much more often with people. I have met some great people and had very interesting conversations. I have even eaten breakfast and gone on attractions with people I have just met. Of course I would not by any means characterize myself as shy. Most times I love meeting new people other times I just keep to myself and enjoy where I am. You are going to love it
As a former “friend” to a couple characters, and a 45 year old guy, let me assure you it’s fine. If you wanna hug Mickey or Pooh it’s a delight for the performer to make you happy.
The only place you need to be “careful” is with the Princesses. Please be extra polite and don’t try to touch them. If they offer to take your arm - great! If not, don’t press it. My favorite solo “Princess Pose” is to do back to back.
Ha! Yeah, fully costumed characters is one thing. I have no intention of being creepy
I didn’t think so, but you’d be surprised at the number of guys who don’t understand you shouldn’t try to hug Snow White like you would Minnie Mouse.
Having done Artist Point with Snow white dining I definitely think it’s something you could enjoy alone. It was a big highlight of our past trip. But you might want to go up and get your pic made with the Evil Queen. That is a photo op where you walk up to her and she had a backdrop etc. She spent a lot of time with each party.
If you read through some trip reports here you’ll see a lot of solo ones and they’re some of the best to read b/c they have awesome pictures—b/c the people had the time to get the great pics. That is something I envy b/c I’ve only ever been to Disney with my kids. Most of these trip reports will have the word “solo” in the title so you can easily identify them. I think a solo trip to WDW would be fantastic and it’s on my wish list for someday.
I love solo travel (both in and out of Disney). It is so much easier only managing your own bathroom/snack/shopping breaks. I only do character meals when I’m traveling with others…but that’s just because I don’t want to take up my precious ride time…I think they would be just as fun!
I can’t imagine using both shooters…it takes so much focus just to use one!!
Even in the regular line I often found that I’d move up quite a bit in the line just because they needed one person to fill out the ride vehicle (RotR and MFSR…I rode MFSR during EMH and the Single Rider line wasn’t open)
Drinking around the world sounds fun (I’ve done it before) and a leisurely way to take in world showcase! I also recommend hopping over to Trader Sam’s one night. It is a fun atmosphere and easy to talk to strangers or just watch all the fun unfold depending on your mood.
The only thing that I can of that you can not do solo is the Chef’s Table at Victoria and Albert’s. Not that there’s massive availability…but it does require two people…I’ve checked.
This is one of my favorite shots from my solo trip. Not only because it’s fun, but the spirit of it encapsulates what it’s like to WDW solo. My husband would not have had the patience for me to take this photo over and over again. It took about ten minutes, and thanks to a lovely CM who stepped in on her own to assist.
I agree with this! One of my favorite parts about solo trips is that I can take longer to take really great shots. My family can roll their eyes sometimes when I dart off to capture some detail or cool angle. When alone I am able to really absorb the whole atmosphere more.
Plus, significantly less bathroom and shopping stops.
I go to character meals and have a blast as a single. Hoop Dee Doo was fun and I could sing along without annoying table mates. I have never been uncomfortable on any ride. Take advantage of single rider lines. Expedition Everest has one and I never do a fastpass for it. I go single rider. Disney as a single is freedom, have fun!
Check out the new Riviera character breakfast. It’s a more sophisticated adult atmosphere, with a fabulous view. I’m doing this solo before my Epcot day (it’ll be fun to take the skyride from there too)
I just returned from some solo time at Disney. It was so less stressful than traveling with others. It was also really easy to pick up additional fast passes for just one person. I did rides, shows, met characters and dined alone and none of it felt awkward. Despite having traveled to Disney a lot, I had never noticed how many solo travelers are there until I was solo myself. @Randall1028 is correct–most people won’t notice since they are involved in their own vacation.