A few months ago I traveled to California for a workshop. When I found out I would be LA bound the only thing that came to mind was – Disneyland! How could I possible be that close to the Magic Kingdom and not go? I was hesitant though, who goes to Disneyland alone? Isn’t that kind of weird? Or sad? Turns out, it’s neither…or maybe both?
Admittedly, I was a little scared. I have never taken a solo vacation before, especially not to a destination which is best known as a ‘family’ getaway. I love travelling and spending time alone, but I was worried I would feel lonely watching everyone around me bonding with their loved ones. This is, however, not what I saw. Well, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but that was not the prevailing scene playing out at the park each day.
I’ve been to Disneyland before, and don’t remember any of these things happening. Some of my fondest memories were made in that park. Travelling there alone though, is an entirely different experience. Because I didn’t have someone by my side to share in the excitement as darkness fell over the park and the lights on the Haunted Mansion began to shine, I was left alone to observe. I had the time and freedom to sit back and soak it all in. The good, bad, and ugly. The magic in the park seems to be easily dusted off when you’re travelling solo. I saw cast members rolling their eyes the fairy dust obviously scratching at their retinas opposed to wrapping them in a glow of overwhelming joy, cleaning crews stealthily sneaking through hidden panels to clean up the lunch a child just lost after riding space mountain (unfortunately I had the pleasure of walking through this scene before mops had a chance to do their work), and children crying, everywhere. Long weaving lineups held masses of hot sticky families, lost in their conversations and excitement while they waited for the never-ending loops of boats, trains, and caterpillars. It’s evident this scene had grown increasingly monotonous for many of the cast members.
Don’t get me wrong though, travelling to Disneyland solo definitely had its perks. I ate Dole whip for lunch, more than once. Gripping my single rider pass tight, I rode the Indian Jones ride four times in a row, every single day. I wandered in aimless loops around the park for hours at a time doing nothing more than soaking in the atmosphere. I browsed every single shop, even though most of them carry 90% of the same stock, and there wasn’t a single person moaning over my choices. I sat by myself and laughed at the electronic seagulls and went on the kiddie rides alone even though I felt everyone was staring at me. It was refreshing and somehow, liberating.
But, I think I’ve had my fill of Dole whip.