Welcome back Rebecca Farrell (@RMZFarrell) for more Disney fun!
Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to attend a conference held at the Yacht & Beach Club Convention Center at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. As part of my company’s continuing education program, I got to learn from some of the brightest minds in my industry about the intersection of social media and public relations. Fascinating stuff.
In addition to some amazing learning and networking experiences, I also had a chance to spend time in the parks SOLO – for the first time ever. Here’s how my days went with one caveat – as a frequent Disney traveler, I have a few friends in the area, so I was never 100 percent by myself – but about 75% of my trip was on my own.
Arrival day – Wednesday
Flight landed around 10:30am and I was at my resort (Boardwalk) by 12pm. After picking up my room key (I did online check in and my room was ready!), I headed for the bus stop to hit Downtown Disney to do some souvenir shopping. After waiting about 15 minutes, some other impatient people and I shared a cab (total cost for 4 people with tip - $12) and I spent a few hours wandering the shops, picking up items for friends, family and co-workers who had made special requests. And of course I took advantage of Disney’s package shipment service back to my home resort.
Food concerns: Nobody wants to be that lame-o eating all alone, right? Pshaw! Shrug it off! I knew that they served the full menu at the bar of Rainforest Café, so I bellied up there and had some lunch. The service was just as friendly and attentive as if I had been at a table with others. The food was terrible, but it served a purpose.
After a little while longer at DTD (let’s face it, I can only shop for so long!), I decided to take the bus over to the Polynesian where I had a dining reservation for dinner and planned to watch the 8pm Wishes fireworks from the beach. Granted, it was only about 3pm at this point and I had several hours to “kill”, but sitting poolside IN FEBRUARY was fantastic. When I tired of that, I sat in the lobby, all the while reading a book on my Kindle app for iPhone. Lucky me, I happened to be in the lobby when they did the daily torch lighting ceremony – which I’d never had a chance to experience before. Very cool stuff!
I had dinner at Kona Café that night, and it was delightful. The server took very good care of me and I honestly didn’t care that I was on my own. I read my book, people-watched, and truly enjoyed my food.
After dinner, I went down to Captain Cooks, the Poly’s quick service location, and grabbed a Dole Whip before going out to the beach, pulling up a lounge chair, and waiting for the fireworks. I will say that it was cool on the beach, and I was glad that I had my fleece and a pool towel to keep me warm. Afterwards, I rinsed my feet in the pool – which was SO warm I didn’t want to leave – and headed inside to meet a Cast Member friend (someone I have known since grad school) for a quick hello.
Conference Day 1 – Thursday
Since I was actually at Disney to LEARN, my second day was spent in presentations and educational sessions. We did have a wonderful lunch outside on the boardwalk as well as a fantastic private event at Hollywood Studios in the evening (check my Facebook page for more details!). I got to see Fantasmic, a show I’ve only gone to once before in my 9 trips to the parks, and have dinner at the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular after the park had closed.
Conference Day 2 – Friday
The conference was scheduled for only a half day on Friday, which freed me up to hit Magic Kingdom for a few hours. As a conference attendee, I was entitled to purchase an “after 2pm” ticket – which is exactly what it sounds like. I was admitted into MK at EXACTLY 2pm and sped towards Be Our Guest for lunch. I only waited in line for about 20 minutes, but it was not a positive experience. The food was pretty lousy…I’d be willing to give the location another shot, but my expectations were NOT met. The theme of the whole castle is amazing, but they should pay more attention to the food.
Also, the park was PACKED with teenaged cheerleaders in town for the National Cheerleading Championships. As a former cheerleader myself, I certainly won’t begrudge these young girls a good time, but I’m in my late 30s now and they pretty much annoyed the beans out of me.
Being alone did free me up to do the things my husband is rarely game to do, including meeting Princess Tiana, Princess Merida, riding Jungle Cruise and finishing all of the jokes, and meeting up with a former co-worker for dinner. I had a very forgettable meal at Cosmic Rays and then rode the PeopleMover during Wishes before grabbing a Dole Whip and heading to Big Thunder for one last ride. On my way out of the park, I swung by to meet Tinkerbell and then went to the bus stop. I spent about seven and a half hours in the park, which was scheduled to close at 10pm.
Full on Fun Day – Saturday