So, I've made it to Disney World on my own, managed the drive, the arrival, the check-in, and finding my room...now it's time to head to the parks!
But here is where I get stuck again...busses. While Disney transport is my friend, it's passengers are my greatest enemy! There is no person on earth more rude than a Disney guest. Throughout the years my super-sonic hearing has picked up thousands comments to the tune of "I paid a fortune to be here, I deserve to be first on the bus, served in a restaurant without a reservation, get things handed to me for free, get the sole attention of every single cast member around me, and nobody else but me and my family matter, etc". They push and shove, run over you with their strollers, bump in front of you in line, leave their food remnants all over the only empty table so you have to clean it off to be able to sit down, not flush the toilets, push in front of you at purchase checkout because they "just have two items" and you have dozens, their kids are gods compared to you, the mere mortal, etc.
Sorry, off soapbox now. When the busses get filled, there comes a point when I invariably have to stand up for an old lady (although the perfectly healthy male jerk sitting across from me doesn't seem to notice there is a 90 year old woman standing directly in front of him). This is another one of my greatest Disney fears. I have absolutely no sense of balance and I'm a pooh-sized girl. Standing up on a moving bus is incredibly hard for me. I swing, I sway, I fall forward, I fall backward...you get the point. When my sister is there, at least I have someone to crash into that won't care or bite my head off, because, believe you me, I will crash at some point. I am terrified I will make a fool out of myself and/or offend someone else. I'm gripping the bar I'm standing next to so hard I start to get cramps, which means I have to let go, which invariably leads to my downfall because the bus driver decides to hit the breaks right at that moment. I am usually quite nauseous from the stress once we get to the park and it takes me a while to get over it.
Park arrival means interactions galore. You have to have your bag checked through security, go through the turnstiles with your ticket, meet the greeters, dodge the other guests, all before you see your first park icon! This process is constantly changing, especially ticketing, so familiarity doesn't offer any comfort here. I also have to renew my annual pass this time (do I use my old one and then go to the main guest services or do I brave the ticket window outside the main turnstiles with all the other guests complaining that the day price for one park is $100? All issues I'm fighting with now), so yet another abnormal social interaction will need to be dealt with. By the time December rolls around and the Magic Bands become standard...will I have to go through it all again? Ugh.
Finally, once the initial stress is over, I've made it in the parks! I don't plan every single minute of the day, but I know pretty much when I enter a park where I'm heading (more so when I'm alone because I don't have to worry about what someone else might want to do). Magic Kingdom means Haunted Mansion, then Pirates; Epcot means Soarin then Mission Space; Studios means Tower Of Terror; and Animal Kingdom means Expedition Everest.
I have had issues in the past with standing in line. I've just learned throughout the years that if I start to feel the panic level rising, just step out of line and go do something else. Nine times out of ten, I just find a bench and call my sister to gloat that I'm at Disney World and she's not! She grounds me back down, makes me laugh a lot, and I'm able to resume normal broadcasting.
I also don't usually use fast passes when I'm solo. My logic is a bit backwards as to why not, as it would be much easier to use fast passes and avoid the lines (and bored guests with their kicking kids). Anyone who has used fast passes, socially inept or not, can't help but feel the stares and stink-eyes of the guests in the stand-by line watching you walk past them. Admit it, even though you utilized the fast pass system and they didn't, you can't help but feel even a tiny smigin of guilt of walking past people who have been standing in line for an hour or more. Now, magnify that by a million, and you have my problems. I'd rather just stand in line. I don't give stink-eye to the fast-passer's, I'm too busy trying to control myself from picking up the kid in line behind me kicking my shins and bending him over my knee!
Being solo in line is often a blessing and curse. Most times, they will seat you on the ride in a row by yourself. But sometimes they don't. I hate it when that happens! You can almost guarantee that if the ride line is long, you will be seated with another guest. Walk off and try again later, that's my motto! I also steer clear of rides that require interaction...Mission Space is OK but I have never or will never do the Jungle Cruise by myself. I prefer to sit back and enjoy the show, I don't want to be part of it! Interaction on ride or queue means interaction with other guests or, even worse, all eyes are suddenly on me. No thank you. Disney is big on interaction, especially in the queue area. Their thinking is to keep the guests busy and therefore not bored. My thinking is, I'm already in line for a ride because I want to ride it, I don't care if its boring as long as the kicking kid is controlled or the man (or woman or child) behind me isn't standing WAY too far up in my personal space (and that happens all the time as well-that one little step isn't gonna get them on the ride any sooner, get off my ass!). Some things I won't do even with my own family, like Monsters Inc Laugh Floor Comedy Club - once was MORE than enough and I couldn't enjoy it because I lived in fear of being picked on! We don't do Buzz Lightyear or Toy Story Mania either (nor do I do them alone).
Generally, once I'm in the parks and wandering around, the thousands of people surrounding me tend to disappear. I am in my own little zone and it's a beautiful thing! This is the payoff after so many stressors and I relish every single moment of it! I'm in Disney World and I'm happy! Yea me!
Throughout the day I may ride some things numerous times and others none, but the most important solo lesson I have learned is, no matter how tired I get or crowded the parks might be in the afternoon, NEVER go back to the room for "a couple of hours" to rest. Once I get back to the room, I don't leave it. Happens every time. I get back to the safety (and quiet) of my room and start thinking about all the stressors getting to, and being in, the parks and I can't bring myself to go through it again (at least not for the rest of the night). I've wasted so much valuable trip time that way. When I go solo, I can't afford to stay near as long as I would with my family, so every single minute is precious. Only the guilt of wasting half the previous day makes me get out of bed the next morning and going back out again, otherwise, I'd wouldn't leave for the rest of the trip!
There is one more thing I wanted to touch on in this section...leaving the parks at night. Like I said, every minute is precious, so staying as late as I can, usually till closing time, is really important. But that leads to the worst part of park touring...crowds like you've never seen all leaving the same place at the same time! Am and I call it the "mass exodus". We even filmed 45 minutes of it one night while we waited for Magic Kingdom to clear out! But you can wait all you want, think the coast is clear and you have an easy exit, only to arrive at the bus stops and sheer pandemonium (or, you can leave before everyone else, only to have them bombard the bus stop and shove their way in front of you in the line)! Guaranteed you are going to be standing on the bus ride back to the resort and packed in like sardines. And that is only after you have waited through several busses to clear out enough people to even get you up the line! If I wasn't such a big chicken, I'd just get one of the many cabs waiting close to the bus stops and have a peaceful ride back to the resort.
You finally get on a bus, the bus driver departs and then the worst possible event for someone with a brain tumor happens...the dreaded "light flashing" necklaces, bracelets, dooma-hitchies, and thing-a-ma-bobs! The lights go off and kids around the bus turn them all on, and not to be outdone by the kid sitting next to them, spin them, throw them, hit people with them, etc. Flashing lights in a completely blackened room...just friggin GREAT!! So now, not only am I trying to hold on for dear life and avoid smushing the child in front of me, but I'm having to use at least one hand to cover my eyes to keep from having seizures since just merely closing your eyes doesn't work. WHO INVENTED THESE HORRIBLE THINGS? Parents can't be so naive that they don't realize that flashing lights in the dark are dangerous, not only to others sitting around them, but to their own selves (or their kids)! Even a person with a normal brain can pop off into a seizure if the conditions are right (i.e. FLASHING LIGHTS IN THE DARK!). I've even written to Disney telling them they need to either quit selling them or ban them from busses (to no avail). In the crowded parks, you can just look away (and it's never really that dark anywhere in the parks), but on an enclosed bus? I'm a screwed pooch. When I'm with Am, we both do the "passive aggressive mumble" just loud enough for others to hear. Maybe somebody, someday will get the hint (although it hasn't happened yet). When I'm by myself, I ain't that brave!
I'm saving Part 5 for meals simply because it's just as long a topic and needs it's own forum...so until next time, TURN YOUR FLASHING NECKLACES OFF!!!