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Going Solo to Disneyworld?
Old 02-11-2014, 07:31 AM   #1
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Going Solo to Disneyworld?

I was interested in the other thread about extensive planning for Disneyworld, but wanted to start another thread because my situation is different. Any advice is most welcome.

I'll be in Orlando in a couple weeks for a conference. The conference hotel is a Disney hotel, although I'll be staying at the Best Western Buena Vista. I built in two extra days of vacation time after the conference ends. My original thought was to just relax around the pool for two days, enjoying much needed warmth and sunshine. However, now I'm thinking I should spring for a day in a Disney theme park. I've never been to Disneyland or Disneyworld so don't know whether this is a good idea or not. The ticket price of just around $100. is catching this frugalista up. Here are my questions.

1. Everyone seems to say to buy tickets earlier online. But I assume you can buy tickets at the gate, right? Are they more expensive? If I do go I'd rather wing it and make the decision based on weather, how I feel, etc.

2. Although I'd like to say I'm a kid at heart, the truth is I'm not if one is talking about having to hug Mickeymouse or go on rides. If one doesn't go on rides or like costumed teenagers, what else is there to do in a theme park? I do like to just walk around and people watch. I do like animals, so I wonder whether to opt for animal kingdom rather than magic kingdom (may have names wrong here). I also like educational things, so perhaps Epcot is appropriate, although it appears to get mixed reviews on line.

3. I need to be frugal with food. I'm picturing the theme parks as one big state fair (?) with vendor booths. Is this correct? If not, are there grocery stores in the area where I can buy stuff for my hotel room to make sandwiches, etc? The room appears to come with fridge, microwave, etc.

4. The hotel is very close to Downtown Disney. Not sure what that is, but perhaps it will satisfy my need to explore versus a theme park?

So I guess the question is, should I pay $100. to walk around in a theme parK if I don't plan on rides or eating expensive meals or have kids? Will I feel odd alone and wish myself back at the hotel pool basking in the sun?

Again, any advice is welcome!
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:07 AM   #2
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Can't you find some discount codes on the Internet? If you have never been, the theme parks are interesting if you go at an uncrowded time. I would opt for Disney World first, then Epcot, The MGM. I used to go to Gartner's Expo in the winter and they would take over one of the theme parks for an evening. I eventually saw all of them that way. That was a great way to visit but you need an employer footing the Expo bill.
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Going Solo to Disneyworld?
Old 02-11-2014, 09:14 AM   #3
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Going Solo to Disneyworld?

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Originally Posted by Marita40 View Post
I was interested in the other thread about extensive planning for Disneyworld, but wanted to start another thread because my situation is different. Any advice is most welcome.

I'll be in Orlando in a couple weeks for a conference. The conference hotel is a Disney hotel, although I'll be staying at the Best Western Buena Vista. I built in two extra days of vacation time after the conference ends. My original thought was to just relax around the pool for two days, enjoying much needed warmth and sunshine. However, now I'm thinking I should spring for a day in a Disney theme park. I've never been to Disneyland or Disneyworld so don't know whether this is a good idea or not. The ticket price of just around $100. is catching this frugalista up. Here are my questions.

1. Everyone seems to say to buy tickets earlier online. But I assume you can buy tickets at the gate, right? Are they more expensive? If I do go I'd rather wing it and make the decision based on weather, how I feel, etc.

2. Although I'd like to say I'm a kid at heart, the truth is I'm not if one is talking about having to hug Mickeymouse or go on rides. If one doesn't go on rides or like costumed teenagers, what else is there to do in a theme park? I do like to just walk around and people watch. I do like animals, so I wonder whether to opt for animal kingdom rather than magic kingdom (may have names wrong here). I also like educational things, so perhaps Epcot is appropriate, although it appears to get mixed reviews on line.

3. I need to be frugal with food. I'm picturing the theme parks as one big state fair (?) with vendor booths. Is this correct? If not, are there grocery stores in the area where I can buy stuff for my hotel room to make sandwiches, etc? The room appears to come with fridge, microwave, etc.

4. The hotel is very close to Downtown Disney. Not sure what that is, but perhaps it will satisfy my need to explore versus a theme park?

So I guess the question is, should I pay $100. to walk around in a theme parK if I don't plan on rides or eating expensive meals or have kids? Will I feel odd alone and wish myself back at the hotel pool basking in the sun?

Again, any advice is welcome!

I would think buying a ticket before going would be easier because of the crowds, but I could be wrong since I had my ticket beforehand. However, if you don't know what park you're going to it might be better for you to wait.

Downtown Disney is free..no admission. I visited on my last day. It's mostly retail (Disney stuff) and restaurants and supposedly a good night life for young people. Glad I left it for the last day.

I enjoyed the Magic Kingdom and Epcot the most. I didn't like the Animal Kingdom at all. I kept getting turned around even with my nifty Disney map (GPS) on my iPhone. I would suggest you get the app if you can...very handy. I didn't have much time at Hollywood Studios but wanted to go so badly for Soarin (a ride)....oh I enjoyed that so much. I think I would have enjoyed more time at Hollywood Studio if hadn't split the day with Animal Kingdom.

Going solo has it's benefits with some ride lines. You can sometimes get thru faster. I know you said you're not interested in rides, but I think you would have fun on some of them. Check out some rides on the internet before you decide what park to visit. I went on the animal safari in Animal Kingdom and was disappointed...would have went twice on Soarin in Hollywood Studio if I had had the time.

I had the dining plan so I didn't pay much attention to prices. But, you would have no problem finding good food in any park. There is all sorts of food establishments. Little food places and huge food places. There's fast food and sit down restaurants.

I didn't have a car and I stayed at a Disney property (the Contempory, with the monorail running thru it) so I have no ideas about grocery stores. The parks are very far apart and it's all Disney property. I have no idea about anything outside the parks.

Also...Magic Kingdom and Epcot are on the monorail route...so if you have one day at one of those parks, you can ride the monorail. That was fun and a good way to people watch and rest the feet.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:19 AM   #4
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It has been 15 years since I was there, but I wouldn't feel too bad about skipping it, if I were in your shoes. The whole place is basically designed to separate you from your money as fast as possible. This aversion is doubly true when the lines are long.

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Old 02-11-2014, 09:26 AM   #5
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I live about 20 minutes from Disney World and go to one of the four parks at least once a week during the winter. I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Yes...you can purchase tickets at the gate and they currently run about $100 a day for an adult. I don't know anything about discounted tickets.

There is alot to see in all four of the parks. Magic Kingdom is targeted more toward kids IMO but is wonderful. EPCOT is more targeted toward adults with lots of interesting rides and exhibits and all the countries that having food and shopping. Hollywood (formerly MGM) is smaller and fun, but not as much to do or see. Animal Kingdom is very nice and great fun, but mostly rides like roller coasters. Although the jeep ride through the African savannah is great.

There is a large grocery store very near your hotel. An Albertson's, I think. It's in the shopping center with the Chevy's, Pizza Uno, and Friday's restaurants. Food in the parks is very good though, especially in the different countries in EPCOT, so I would try and save a little of your budget for something there. The Beer garden in Germany is not expensive and great fun. My favorite is Morocco.

Downtown Disney is also great fun but mostly shopping and restaurants. Good for wandering around for part of a day or in the evening, but parking is really tough. Free.....but limited.

If I only had two days I would buy a one day ticket and go to either EPCOT or Magic Kingdom. The second day I would go to Downtown Disney and then lay by the pool.

I hope that helps. Whatever you do have fun...and welcome to sunny Florida!
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:29 AM   #6
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You can get the Disney "feel" from Downtown Disney. Although you can save a few bucks purchasing early you will have wasted your money if you get a couple of rainy days. Food at Disney is expensive......soft drinks are expensive! But, it's a great experience, you have it for the rest of your life and if you have good weather, I'd do it.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:50 AM   #7
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.

There is a large grocery store very near your hotel. An Albertson's, I think. It's in the shopping center with the Chevy's, Pizza Uno, and Friday's restaurants. Food in the parks is very good though, especially in the different countries in EPCOT, so I would try and save a little of your budget for something there. The Beer garden in Germany is not expensive and great fun. My favorite is Morocco.
!

I ate at the Moroccan restaurant and really enjoyed it. I've read that it's a more obscure restaurant in Epcot maybe because it's tucked away from the main walkway. Very good food and of course the service was also great. The service, in my opinion was outstanding all over Disney World.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:06 AM   #8
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Something to consider is Discovery Cove, about 15 minutes away, if you're not absolutely set on Disney.

It is between $180 to $200 to get into, but it's all inclusive, food, alcohol, parking, snorkels. I haven't tried the alcohol, but the food and snacks are good. they have breakfast until 11 something then switch to a different menu for the rest of the day. We go through the main food line at least 10 times when we go!

Then you get two week unlimited admission tickets to Sea World and Aquatica for before or after your day at Discovery Cove, so you could go to those parks for free on the other extra day you have. We usually do both in one day.

You mentioned you're not too into the mascots or rides, so it just sounded like it may be another option for you. Rather than rides, it's a big, relaxing day. They only let in 1,000-ish people a day, so it's not too crowded. There's a big lazy river, snorkeling with tropical fish and stingrays and such, an aviary, marmosets, otters. There are plenty of chairs to relax, some sandy and not sandy areas. It is a really nice day out. It feels more like a resort than a theme park, but the included theme park tickets will satiate you
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:33 AM   #9
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I

So I guess the question is, should I pay $100. to walk around in a theme parK if I don't plan on rides or eating expensive meals or have kids? Will I feel odd alone and wish myself back at the hotel pool basking in the sun?

Again, any advice is welcome!
You'll be basking in the sun regardless of what you choose, by the pool or standing in line.

Epcot center is a nice way to spend the day. Two other Orlando options are Universal Studios theme park and Seaworld. Any of these are fine alternatives for a conference day off and really depend on your personal preferences.

Have you checked to see if the conference can get you a discount admission? When I was gainfully employed I attended conferences in Orlando a half dozen times and always got a voucher for Seaworld.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:40 AM   #10
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We lived less than 30 miles from there for three years and visited all the various parks/attractions. Even though DW is a kid at heart (she'll never grow up), if we had one day on the area and we weren't entertaining kids, we'd spend it at Epcot hands down.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:58 AM   #11
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Definitely go and even if you do not like rides in general I bet you will enjoy some of the Disney rides. The props the rides goes through are incredibly detailed. Have fun and spend some money.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:15 AM   #12
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I would go for Epcot too from what you have described as your preferences. Do consider some of the rides too Soarin' is in Epcot not Hollywood studios unless it has moved. Unless you are acrophobic that is well worth doing ( use fastpass so minimize waiting time) I would also recommend the ride in the silver dome ( forget its name) walking around the countries is fun especially if you are a people watcher. And stay for the fireworks!
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:17 AM   #13
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If you're absolutely certain you won't like the rides, I would skip Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Those two parks are undoubtedly the biggest attractions at Disney World, but maybe they're just not for you. DW does have other theme parks, though, including two water parks. I've personally been to Typhoon Lagoon and would greatly prefer going back there than spending a day relaxing around a hotel pool. But it's really up to you. Different people are looking for different things from their vacation down time.
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Going Solo to Disneyworld?
Old 02-11-2014, 03:22 PM   #14
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Going Solo to Disneyworld?

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I would go for Epcot too from what you have described as your preferences. Do consider some of the rides too Soarin' is in Epcot not Hollywood studios unless it has moved. Unless you are acrophobic that is well worth doing ( use fastpass so minimize waiting time) I would also recommend the ride in the silver dome ( forget its name) walking around the countries is fun especially if you are a people watcher. And stay for the fireworks!

My bad...must have been something else in Hollywood Studio....but I loved Soarin. The day I was at Epcot it was raining. Didn't bother me a bit walking all over.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:33 PM   #15
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Where you are staying has regular free transportation to all the parks .It is like staying in Disney but avoiding the "Mickey Mouse " overkill .I would choose Epcot or MGM . Animal kingdom was a let down to me and The Magic Kingdom is more for kids . Downtown Disney is basically restaurants & shopping . There are lots of restaurants near where you are staying so no need to eat in Disney but lunch in Epcot is fun.The hotel will sell tickets to any of the parks .Besides rides they have different shows in the various parks which are a good chance to rest your feet.Definetely play it by ear .You may decide you need the sun more than seeing Disney or you may be intrigued .
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:24 PM   #16
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You might check out the Disney for Adults and Solos board on DISboards.com. Just remember that some of those folks eat, drink and breathe Disney. You can take food into Disneyworld, if you don't want to buy it there. Another board you might like on DISboards,com is the Budget Board. If I were going alone, I would do Epcot.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:49 PM   #17
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It has been 15 years since I was there, but I wouldn't feel too bad about skipping it, if I were in your shoes. The whole place is basically designed to separate you from your money as fast as possible. This aversion is doubly true when the lines are long.

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That's pretty much my take on it too. The last time I was there was also ~15 years ago on the weekend of a conference and despite getting in free (my nephew works there) I still b*tched about the $3.50 hamburger. Just sticker shock I guess.

He works behind the scenes and told me then that the park didn't even break even until they had separated you from $300. Each.

That said, if you're able to suspend disbelief (I find that hard to do) it can be fun. While I've been there a number of times while at the same annual conference I always left with the feeling of "Is that all there is?"

So go if you feel like it but don't feel deprived of anything significant if you decide to skip it.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:37 PM   #18
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I would go just because the alternative is to spend the rest of your life not knowing what you missed.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:12 PM   #19
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I would go just because the alternative is to spend the rest of your life not knowing what you missed.
Have to agree with this, much of your cost is already covered so you'll never get a better chance at this. It's been years since I've gone but I think EPCOT is your best bet. You won't miss much if you skip all the rides but the different countries are fun to see, as are the science exhibits, IIRC.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:48 PM   #20
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Agree Epcot or Animal Kingdom would be best for single adult. I think Epcot is first choice. Rides can be fun, and if available the single line goes faster than regular.

Since your costs are essentially covered by work travel, definitely go for the small incremental cost. You can take some food and beverages inside, just take a backpack to carry it. Have fun, wear good walking shoes.
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