Top Ten Tips for Doing Disneyland Alone for the Solo Traveler
Traveling alone is not unusual or that uncommon. So it makes sense that many folks look to the Happiest Place on Earth for their solo travel destination. With that thought in mind, here are our top ten tips for doing Disneyland alone!
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1. Download the Disney Mobile App
I always stress to would-be visitors how important it is to preplan a Disney trip. With a myriad of attractions, shows, character encounters, and street entertainment, an itinerary can help you maneuver throughout the Resort with ease.
The Disney Mobile App is the next best thing. Everything you need to navigate through a day at Disneyland Resort is at your fingertips. Check attraction wait times, find the nearest ATM, or even order food from your favorite eatery all at the touch of a button.
I would certainly recommend downloading the app prior to arrival so you're familiar with the system and what it all entails.
2. Interact with Cast Members
Cast members are the backbone to any Disney theme park. They are present to assist you whether you need directions, have a question about a show/attraction/event, or even where to find the most delectable Disney dessert (S'more at Smokejumpers Grill– just saying).
Spend some extra time conversing with a cast member. You'll make their day just as magical.
- Pin trade with a cast member
- Ask for a celebratory button
- Take a photo with a cast member
- Try to stump a cast member with Disney or Disneyland Resort trivia
3. Eating for One
When doing Disneyland alone, the Resort is your personal buffet. No sharing with friends or family and even more so, you get to choose the menu.
So going alone means you can bypass on the kid-friendly fare such as cheese pizzas and hot dogs, and go directly for the French Market Restaurant's jambalaya complete with a frosty mint julep.
Plus, eating for one is a lot more affordable so you can justify big splurges such as the Blue Bayou or Carthay Circle.
4. Utilize FastPass
Doing Disneyland alone theoretically means more accessibility to attractions. Sometimes however, you may get derailed though due to high attendance, maintenance on an attraction, or a Resort special event. FastPass is the perfect solution to cut short those attraction queues. This system virtually holds your place in line. Just locate the FastPass kiosk at participating attractions, scan your ticket, and you receive a return time.
Once you return during the allotted time, you're directed to a shortened queue bypassing the stand-by line. Download your Disney Mobile App to find which attractions in both parks offer the FastPass option.
Note: Disney California Adventure Park's Radiator Springs Racers, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! are the first two attractions to run out of FastPass tickets.
5. Find Single Rider Lines
Another shortcut to attraction queues is through the single rider lines. This is perfect when doing Disneyland alone because…well, you're alone. Several attractions in both Parks offer this advantage which cuts your wait time immensely.
DISNEYLAND PARK SINGLE RIDER LINES
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Splash Mountain
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Space Mountain
DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PARK SINGLE RIDER LINES
- Goofy's Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Radiator Springs Racers
6. Experience Live Entertainment
When guests visit Disneyland Resort, most seek the big entertainment shows including fireworks, parades, and stage shows. But, everywhere throughout the Resort, entertainers are singing, dancing, and drawing in guests with their enthusiastic show-stoppers.
While doing Disneyland alone, explore a few of the ongoing acts at Disneyland Resort- all which are worth viewing.
DISNEYLAND PARK ENTERTAINMENT
- Hook and Ladder Company (Main Street, USA firehouse band)
- Dapper Dans (found on Main Street, USA)
- Refreshment Corner Pianist (also on Main Street, USA)
- Bootstrappers (Pirate band in New Orleans Square)
DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PARK ENTERTAINMENT
- Five and Dime (on Buena Vista Street)
- Red Car Trolley News Boys (on Buena Vista Street)
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!
7. Interact with Characters
Along with the live entertainment, meeting a favorite character is a magical moment while doing Disney alone. It's fun to try to locate rare characters who may be out on rotation. Even if you don't catch a glimpse of Princess Tiana or Edna Mode, you'll feel like a kid again asking Goofy to sign your autograph book. Character meet-n-greet times are listed on the daily guide or again, the Disneyland Mobile App.
A secret place for a different character interaction is on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure Park. If you wait just long enough, you may meet the unofficial mayor of Buena Vista Street, Donna Lynn De Larria and her lovely dog, Lady. Sisters Molly and Millie run Buena Vista Street Messenger Service. Don't be surprised if one of the sisters finds you to deliver a special telegram. Officers Blue work the Street beat and have been known to give out citations. You've been warned.
Bring a camera (or phone camera) along to capture all the fun.
8. Pace Yourself
If you look beyond the thrill attractions and character encounters, you'll find another aspect to Disneyland Resort, a side where you can stroll and savor less-rushed experiences. Spend some extra time in each park to discover some of these special interactions . Below are just a few found in each park. You may discover your own.
Disneyland Park Slow Pace Experiences
- The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
- This is a two-fold highlight- a presentation on the history of Disneyland Park hosted by Donald Duck and Steve Martin. (Mr. Martin was a cast member in the magic shop as a young man). Afterwards, follow into the theater for a showcase from our 16th president.
- Disney Legends Window Tour
- Several windows display names of movers and shakers of the Disney world. As a tribute to their contributions, Disney has traditionally honored them with a window. Stop at Main Street USA's 20th Century Music Company to find the Sherman Brothers homage, or explore Frontierland for Fess Parker's namesake.
- Main Street Cinema
- Here you'll find some of Mickey Mouse's first cartoons. Grab some popcorn and enjoy a few of the black and white animated shorts that made Mickey a star.
Disney California Adventure Park: Slow Pace Experiences
- Disney Animation Building
- Located in Hollywood Land, spend a few hours discovering Turtle Talk with Crush, or finding your inner artist at Animation Academy.
- Boudin Bakery Tour
- This quick stop is a walk-in at the Pacific Wharf where you'll read about the history of sourdough bread. You'll even get a yummy sample.
- Redwood Creek Challenge
- Not just for kids! Grab a map and explore the grounds to find animal tracks, a giant redwood tree, and exhibits from the National Park Service.
9. Take a Tour
There are several behind-the-scene tours offered for guests. Contact guest services at 714-781-8687 to make reservations ASAP as they fill up quickly. There is an additional cost but if you're an annual passport holder, you'll receive a slight discount. You can check out our ultimate guide to Disneyland tours here.
- “Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps” Guided Tour- Follow along Walt's journey as you venture throughout Disneyland and it's history. Includes a lunch or dinner concluding your tour.
- The Grand Circle Tour– If you're a train aficionado, this tour is for you. Learn about Walt's love of trains and how he incorporated this love into his creations. Includes a ride on the infamous Lilly Belle parlor car.
- Disney's Happiest Haunts Tour– Only offered during Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort. Go behind-the-scenes to learn the spooky details of many of Disneyland Resort's developments including the Haunted Mansion. Includes a ghoulish treat.
- “Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort” Guided Tour– Only available during Holidays at the Disneyland Resort. Experience the festivities of the holidays at Disneyland Resort including a front row seat for A Christmas Fantasy Parade.
10. People Watch
Finally, one of my personal past times while doing Disneyland alone is just to spend a few moments to people watch. Take a rest on one of the many benches spotted on Main Street USA or scattered around Disney California Adventure Park and just watch.
You'll see large groups with matching t-shirts, or even catch a glimpse of a child spying Sleeping Beauty's Castle for the first time.
Try to spot Disney Bounding guests too. (Disney Bounding is dressing with inspiration from a certain character or attraction but not in costume). This trend has grown quickly and immensely over the past few years. Maybe you'll see some inspiration for your next Disney trip.
Doing Disneyland Alone? Start Planning Now!
Enjoy your solo trip to Disneyland Resort! Try one, two, or all suggestions for doing Disneyland alone, or find your own adventure out there! for more great Disney travel tips, register to receive our newsletter.
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