Solo Trip with Conference - Guidance Sought

I have a conference at the Disney Springs area Hilton Buena Vista Palace and will arrive a few days early for some solo fun at WDW. My only WDW experience was a large group trip that included Universal ~6 years ago. We stayed at POFQ. I’ve used LINES for that trip and two DL trips.

I’d be grateful for some feedback and expert insights into my draft park plan. I want to take advantage of the holiday parties and I have two full days for park fun.

Two-day Park Hoppers are so expensive, but I am begrudgingly willing to do it and Genie +/ILL to maximize my limited time. I love rides but I am also looking forward to just absorbing the atmosphere.

NOV26SUN: 1PM MCO Arrival, MK-Christmas Party (4PM-Midnight)
NOV27MON: ParkHopper - AK then HS (HS closes at 7 PM but I’ll be ready for an early night)
NOV28TUE: ParkHopper - MK then EP for dinner (MK closes early for Christmas Party)
NOV29WED: Pre-conference all day, HS-Jollywood Nights (4:30 PM-12:30 PM)

NOV30THUR - DEC2SAT: Conference Days
Potential evening activities:
Fantasia Mini Golf (with colleagues)
A couple of special meals at Disney Springs or Resorts – suggestions?

The conference ends at 2PM on Saturday and I will fly home on Sunday. I might try to spend the last evening in a park. Do afternoon entry or conference tickets exist anymore? (edited to add that I just learned the conference search trick and found one that is occurring during my dates and even my same profession :slight_smile:

Thank you for any ideas or insights you have!


Welcome to the forum! I love solo Disney…you can pivot at a moment’s notice, and no one is going to complain when you stop to eat corn dog nuggets for 30 minutes while people watching.
Unless you have MUST DO rides, I wouldn’t bother with Genie+. You’ll get to soak in the atmosphere and hopefully you can get in the VQs for the newer headliners.


Just dinners? Breakfasts or Brunches?


Thanks @StinsyLinson ! My conference days are pretty mixed so I would likely be able to do some breakfasts/brunches. I will probably do mostly quick service snacking in the parks so these DS or resort meals would be my fun ones. I might even invite my colleagues :wink: Thanks for your help!


I’m a big fan of Topolino’s (in the Riviera) for a character breakfast. I have done it solo and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Others have done dinner there (@Dreamer, I’m pretty sure) and can vouch for that meal.

I know that folks like Sanaa, Jiko, Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas) - I haven’t eaten there myself (maybe @OBNurseNH did it on a solo journey…and can vouch on its performance as a solo meal.) I’m sure they’d both be great for atmosphere with your coworkers - especially if they aren’t doing any park time during the conference.

At DS - Homecomin’ is a very popular favorite (I like to share food there, so I can try everyone’s plate), as well as Boathouse. I like The Edison and Jock Lindsey’s as fun little themed spots with good food.

I enjoyed my meal at Steakhouse 71 (The Contemporary) as a solo diner!


WAIT! You said November. So, if you want to take in some lovely holiday atmosphere, I would head to Wilderness Lodge or the Grand Floridian for dining and to check out some holiday decor.

Or, if you and your coworkers want to get really crazy - book the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review for dinner and a show!


I’ve not done Sanaa solo, but would not be opposed.
You can sit at the bar at most restaurants if being at a table alone feels odd to you.


It’s truly one of my favorite dinners at Disney. It’s rare we don’t eat there on a trip. Breakfast is awesome too. We ate there twice for breakfast and once for dinner last trip.


Jiko is also a good choice for a solo dinner. I sat at a counter by one of the brick ovens


Getting a solo trip in pre work conference is a smart move. Yay!!!

I would be reluctant to attend an event on arrival day. In your case MNSSHP. Especially in winter when flight delays are more prevalent. It’s a huge, non- refundable expense - but that’s my anxiety talking.
The party itself is definitely a must see.

I agree with @StinsyLinson - visiting the hotels to take in the Christmas decor is a good take in the moment activity. For dinner at DS, my vote is Paddlefish or Boathouse. They are great solo , or with colleagues. For some extra “adulting” - The Edison is stunning and entertaining. For your dinner at EPCOT- you will have The Festival of the Holidays booths to explore also. If you prefer sit down - La Hacienda San Angel is food + fireworks. Two birds - one stone.
What are your food preferences, btw?


Thanks to all for the great suggestions and recommendations! @TheSafetyLady I appreciate and share your concerns about the arrival day event. I’ve been thinking about that and whether there is much of a chance that same day tickets would be available. I do have a non-stop early morning flight and I think this would be covered by my Delta Amex travel insurance, but I need to double check.

Food wise - I am gluten free (real deal, dx 25 years ago - the only trend I’ve ever led :wink: ) but don’t have any specific preferences. I love to try new things! There are few must do snacks on my list (e.g. GF Churros and a cocktail at Nomad Lounge) but otherwise, I find that most great restaurants have great GF options. Based on the previous comments, I’ll for sure try for a Topolino’s reservation.


Homecomin’ is sooooo great about allergies. Like honestly, they’re wonderful (in my experience). Though I don’t know what their GF menu looks like.

I can’t remember if @StylistSarah is GF or just traveled with someone that was (I remember it in a TR) and I think @dianelynn is GF (or I’m mixing up my allergy peeps)…so maybe they have some good recs!


Yes. It was my sister! And she still says WDW is the most allergy friendly resort she’s ever been to, in the WORLD!


You’re right! I’m GF and DF. Disney is so amazing with allergies and with GF in particular. My biggest complaint is dessert, but that’s because I have 2 allergies.

@WanderingHart In park my new favorite is Tiffins. Oh my good golly was it outrageously good!

Homecoming was absolutely delicious and I will go back every time forever and ever.

Topolinos breakfast was fine for me, but nothing to write home about food wise. We’re going for dinner in a couple of weeks, I’ll leave a bookmark to remind me to circle back and let you know my thoughts.

Keep in mind that wherever you go, you are not bound by the menu. Just because they have a GF option does not mean you have to order it. They can and will make you what you want, as long as they have the ingredients. If fried foods are high on your list though, you may want to temper expectations. Even with French fries, most friers can have a cross contaminated risk. Exceptions I know about are Backlot Express at HS and the amazing Fish and Chips at Raglan Road.

There’s an IG account, @glutenfreedisneyworld that is worth checking out. They are currently posting all the food booths from the festival and putting a green check or red x next to the menu items. The Festival of the Holidays will have just started when you arrive, so I don’t know how much they’ll have posted, but it’s worth a follow anyway.


Welcome! We will be at MVMCP on Sunday 11/26 and are doing our MK day on Tuesday 11/28 as well. We did the same plan last year and had a great time with low crowds (although the weather wasn’t the greatest for the party). When you finalize your travel plans, there is a thread on La Cava for Liners visiting in November and you can add your trip to the list :blush:

Since you are doing both party events, you could save money by just doing 2x single park tickets for use at AK and EP and then using the party tickets to hit MK and HS. It all depends on how action packed you want to make your time. In that case, I would do: arrival Sun 11/26, no parks, resort tours, maybe DS, and Xmas atmosphere; Mon 11/27 AK per previous plan; Tues 11/28 EP morning, then MK on party ticket; Weds 11/29 HS party.


Thanks to everyone who took the time reply and offer guidance. My trip is finalized and I’ve purchased my tickets: 2 Park Hopper days, 2 Holiday events, and a 1PM entry on my final conference day - to see AK at night.

NOV26Sun: MK-MVMCP (4PM-Midnight)
NOV27Mon: AK then EP (EP closes at 9:30 PM)
NOV28Tues: MK then monorail to EP for Candlelight Processional/Dinner
NOV29Wed: Afternoon Fantasia Garden Mini Golf, HS-JWN (7PM-12:30 PM)
Conference Days:
NOV30Thur: Dinner at Raglan Road
DEC01Fri: Boat to Scat Cat’s for cocktails and GF Beignets (OR) Bus to GF for holiday deco, dinner at Kona

I’m gluten free so that is affecting my choice of dining. Right now, I’m only planning to try for ADRs at Skipper Canteen and the Candlelight Processional Dinner at Le Cellier Steakhouse. For this solo trip, I’ve decided I’d rather snack and walk around, or try for a seat at the bar, then spend a bunch of time dining.

It will be a little luxury to be at the parks without needing to monitor anyone else’s hunger, moods, fatigue, ride preferences, etc. :slight_smile:

@WildernessLodger - thanks for the invitation over to La Cava. I’ll share my trip plan in the Nov thread.


Since you overlap with December I can add you to the OP list in that thread too, if you want.

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Thanks - that would be great :slight_smile:

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Added! Let me know if I got anything wrong or if your plans change.

Slight change of plans - I’ve switched my first 3 nights from my conference hotel in DS to the Swan. The price was about the same and this will give me the 7AM ILL option, extended hours at Epcot on 11/27, and greatly simplified park transportation. And, maybe even the option for a midday nap on my two long park days :slight_smile:

I’ve also revised my park hopping plan a bit, resulting in some lingering questions that I’d love some expert insights into:
New Plan:
NOV26SUN: noon MCO Arrival, MVMCP
NOV27MON: ParkHop, AK - nap - EP ~5 PM, with extended hours (ADR: 6:50 Shiki-Sai)
NOV28TUE: ParkHop, MK (party day) - current plan is EP for the candlelight processional
NOV29WED: Pre-conference all day, HS-Jollywood Nights (ADR: 7:15PM Oga’s Cantina)

DEC02SAT: Last conf day ends at noon. My original plan was AK - to see it at night, but closing changed from 8PM to 7PM and I’m not sure it is worth it. I’m now considering just waiting to pick a park (or) based on some fun trip reports I’ve read here, doing a monorail-based lounge dining journey. I’d really like to try some gluten free things on the menu at Kona and Steakhouse 71. Inspired by @Flavita and @OBNurseNH - I might even view the fireworks from the sort of secret balcony at the Contemporary.

So all of this to ask:

  1. Is the Candlelight Processional worth a 2nd night in EP or would I be better off at HS, since otherwise I’ll only be there for Jollywood Nights?
  2. For Jollywood Nights, can I get to Oga’s for a 7:15PM ADR, if I can’t get into the park until 7PM?
  3. Do I add an end of trip 1/2 day park day (or) stay out of the parks on a Sat night and just enjoy the monorail resorts and restaurants?

*If you’ve been kind enough to read this far, here is some additional info - in case it is useful. I am not a big show/parade/fireworks person. I can enjoy them but would prefer to observe from the background and spend my time enjoying dark, quieter park or riding something.