After years of dreaming about it, I’m finally doing it: I’ve booked my first solo trip to Walt Disney World.
I love my family and our crazy busy Disney vacations, but this one I’m doing just for me. No FastPasses, no hectic dining schedule, no racing through the parks at breakneck speed not really seeing it all or taking it all in… This trip will all be about enjoying the gluten-free side of Disney parks and resorts, taking time to enjoy all the sites and sounds, and of course running.
Planning a Disney vacation at this point is fairly straight-forward for us. We know which resort we want, we always get the deluxe dining plan, everyone has their favourite must-do rides and restaurants…no questions. But this time it took a lot of extra thought on my part. I’ve never been able to book whatever I want when it comes to resorts, dining, parks, or plans. Sure I’ve gone off on my own for a few hours at a stretch, but never have I had DAYS to myself. And yes, I’ve been able to select a couple must-do items that I’ve wanted for most of our trips, but again, not anything and everything for full DAYS at a time. This time, planning each detail seemed a little daunting. There were so many questions.
When to Travel?
Star Wars Half Marathon – Dark Side 5K, April 2018
The first question I faced was when to go. That was fairly easy. I knew I wanted to go with the idea of celebrating my 50th birthday (in August), and I want to participate in what will be my second runDisney event. I’m also Canadian and I wouldn’t want to book a trip through the worst of the winter months and risk travel issues or cancellations due to weather, so I chose the spring and the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. The registration for this event opens in August (Happy Birthday to me) and I completed the Star Wars Dark Side 5K run last year. As a Star Wars fan, I would love to do it again..but bigger (longer?). So I’m training with April in mind and will keep my fingers crossed I get into the run of my choice.
Where to Stay?
Question number two. I’m happy to say, our family has been to Walt Disney World a number of times and we’ve always stayed on property, so I’m pretty familiar with most of the resorts. My biggest issues here were whether or not to stay on the monorail line, and of course, my budget.
First, I thought of all of our past trips, and the one memory that stood out the most in my mind was our stay at Disney’s Beach Club Resort and walking along the boardwalk into Epcot early one morning for a pastry in France before the park was open to everyone. It was so quiet and peaceful and the chance to take World Showcase photos without anyone else in them was priceless.
Secondly, I considered all the things I want to do while I’m there. I’m a huge Star Wars fan and want to do all things Star Wars, so being in the Boardwalk area and close to Hollywood Studios seemed the right choice. Not to mention, the runDisney event I want will likely start at Epcot (it has in the past), so staying closer to the park might mean a few extra winks the night before the run. Very important when you consider the races start at 5:30 am.
Problem solved: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.
Disney Dining Plan or No Dining Plan?
I’m a chef and my kids are a couple of foodies, so we always get a dining plan (usually deluxe) and enjoy some of Disney’s finest dining options when we go on vacation. But I’m likely going during Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival (the exact dates have not yet been announced), and this time I want to try all the gluten-free food options I can at the outdoor kitchens around World Showcase. In light of this, I don’t think I’ll be sitting down to eat enough to make the deluxe plan worth it for just myself, so while I’ll still take a dining plan option, I’m going a little more basic for this trip: 2 snack options, 1 quick-service, and 1 table-service each day.
The Disney Countdown is On
Magic Kingdom, September 2017
That’s the plan so far. My flight is booked and paid for, my resort reservation made, and I’ve already linked my registration and customized my MagicBand in my My Disney Experience account.
Next hurdle: the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Weekend registration date, August 28th, and successfully registering for the run of my choice (10K, half, both?).
Trip countdown: just 258 days to go!