13 Top Tips for the Ultimate Solo Trip to Disneyland
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So you love Disney but maybe none of your friends do? Or perhaps no one else can quite afford a Disneyland trip and you’ve been saving for YEARS to go to Disneyland. The thought of going to Disneyland alone can be quite daunting, after all, isn’t Disneyland made for families and groups of Disney loving friends? There is absolutely nothing wrong with braving it alone and experiencing Disneyland in a whole new way – take a look at my top tips for the solo Disney adventure of a lifetime!
Buy tickets online
If you’re planning on going during peak times (like I did, on New Year’s Eve), I would definitely recommend buying your ticket online. This means when you arrive at the gate you can walk straight into the park, no faffing around trying to buy a ticket beforehand. It also usually works out slightly cheaper to buy tickets online and using a Disneyland approved partner such as Undercover Tourist who offer discounted Disneyland Resort tickets for 2 days or more, however for one-day tickets, go directly to Disneyland!
Seems straight forward but it’s the best advice I can give! Make the most of your time at Disneyland by arriving early, especially in peak times! If you’re planning on being there on New Year’s Eve, the earlier the better! One, the park will be extremely busy so you’ll need all the time you can get, even the fast passes can run out by midday. Two, on the busiest days, such as New Year’s Eve, the parks have been known to hit capacity, even if you have pre-booked your ticket, once the park is full, it’s full and they will turn you away at the gate.
Have a plan
It doesn’t have to be detailed down to the minute but you should at least have a rough plan of how to attack Disneyland alone. Pick your favourite rides, shows and parades that you don’t want to miss and plan your day accordingly around this. Your day at Disneyland will run a lot more smoothly with a plan!
The Disneyland App is your best friend
The Disneyland App is perfect for planning your day. An interactive and location-based map with all of the most up to date queue lines, show times and opening times certainly makes the best Disneyland companion. Log into your account to access your tickets and fast passes through the app too.
Top Tip: You’ll be probably using your phone a lot while at the resort, taking photos, keeping yourself entertained in queue lines and checking the app for show times, so you may want to remember to pack a portable charger for your day at Disneyland.
Take advantage of single rider lines
Single rider lines are the best part about being at Disneyland alone! Single rider lines work to fill up spaces left on the ride by uneven parties. It’s somewhat magical to join a single rider line and walk past what looks like miles and miles (hours and hours) of queue – Radiator Spring Racers, I’m looking at you! The queue for this ride was easily around 2 hours in the normal queue, I used the single riders line and managed to get on twice in 20 minutes!
It’s worth noting though that Disneyland will close the single rider lines if the main queue gets too long. On New Years Eve it was a case of keep asking the ride staff if the single riders was open and most time their reply was ‘check back in 20 minutes’, but occasionally I got lucky and it was open, just don’t rely solely on single riders.
Listen up in queue lines
If the single rider lines are closed or if you’re queuing for a ride that doesn’t have a single rider line, when you get closer to the front of the line, keep your ears open and listen up! Occasionally, to fill spaces the ride staff will look for and call out for a party of one. This happened to me on Soarin’ Around The World and I managed to bypass probably about 15 minutes of queue time, extra time to get a churro later on! (Gingerbread are the best – Christmas limited edition)
FastPass is an excellent plan B
If it is a busy day, FastPass is the way forward at Disneyland, especially if you’re alone and the best part about it is, it’s FREE! At the entrance to the ride, check what time they’re issuing FastPass tickets for, scan your entrance ticket and bam, you’re given an hour slot to return to the ride and bypass the majority of the queue, Disneyland made easy!
Top Tip: Keep an eye on the availability of FastPasses, especially on busy days, they can run out and fill up all the time slots before midday on a peak day. Without a MaxPass (more about this later) you can pick up a FastPass every two hours, even if you haven’t used the previous FastPass yet.
I find it absolutely amazing that the Disney FastPass system works as well as it does. I come from a theme park background (Alton Towers, in case you’re wondering!) and the fast track tickets that they offer there are a paid for service, priced up to £100 for unlimited fast tracks, so Disney have definitely got something right here!
Invest in a MaxPass
This is honestly the BEST thing I ever did at Disneyland, especially on New Years Eve. Disneyland’s MaxPass is a paid for service, that is $20 per day per ticket* and it’s worth every single penny! Firstly, the MaxPass allows you to reserve FastPass tickets from your phone on the Disneyland app. This saves you from running round Disneyland alone collecting all of your FastPass tickets, you can simply reserve one from ANYWHERE in the park, or if you have a park hopper ticket, even from the other park.
Secondly, MaxPass allows you to collect a new FastPass every hour and a half, rather than every two hours. That extra half an hour might really count on a busy day when FastPass slots go quickly.
Thirdly, and my favourite thing about the MaxPass is that it includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads for the day! To say I got my $10 worth (it was cheaper in 2018) would be an understatement. Especially being at Disneyland alone, I went to every single photo spot there was, in front of the castle, in front of the Christmas tree, with a ‘Happy New Year’ sign at 2am on Main St and of course it includes all of the on ride photos too, 100% worth the extra $15 – and the photos are all hi res too!
UPDATE MAY 2021
As a result of the impact of COVID-19 on operations, FASTPASS and Disney MaxPass services are suspended for the time being and are not available for purchase or use. Source
Make the most of being at Disneyland alone
If you’re doing it solo at Disneyland, make the absolute most of it! Like with all solo travel you can do what YOU want to do! If you want to go and watch Frozen – Live at the Hyperion (highly recommend) or ride laps on the Monorail, then do it, you have no one stopping you and no one you need to compromise with. As much as I love going to Disneyland with my best friend, going it alone gave me the chance to do everything I missed out on when I was with him (like the Monorail). It’s your day, be selfish and you do you, it’ll be worth it!
Shop to your hearts content on Main St and in Downtown Disney and eat what you want, where you want. If you want to indulge yourself with churros, dole whip and burgers, go ahead, you have no one to stop you! (Which may or may not be a good thing). Shop til you drop and buy ALL the Disney merch to remember your epic solo trip to the happiest place on earth!
People watch to your hearts content
Spend time in the parks eyeing up couples matching t-shirts, spotting Disneybounder’s and scanning the crowds for unique and creative ears. Disneyland is an excellent place to do a little bit of people watching and if you’re alone at Disneyland you can take a break whenever you feel like it to browse the crowds to your hearts content because you have no one else to please but yourself!
Maybe this is more of a general money saving tip more than a solo travel tip but whatever you do, take snacks to Disneyland! There is no denying or trying to hide that fact that Disneyland is expensive, take snacks to keep you going throughout the day, to stop you from spending your life savings on a burger (maybe that’s a bit overdramatic but still!) Plus, as a solo traveller, snacks will be cheaper and take up less room for one!
Don’t feel weird about being alone
It’s impossible to feel ‘alone’ at Disneyland, after all it is one of the busiest and most popular attractions in the USA. The second you walk through the gates and begin the walk down Main St towards the castle you’ll know you’re not alone! You’ll be surrounded by people who equally share your love for Disney and it will be an incredible experience. Put on your ears and own it!
Have you been to Disneyland alone? Tell me about your experience in the comments!
*Prices correct as of May 2021.