Introvert or extrovert (and I am obnoxiously the latter), everyone knows that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth — when you share it with friends.
But what if your friends are all busy — or uninterested in spending the time or money — and you're desperate to see that glorious castle?
You suck it up and go alone.
When I first visited LA in March, I kept telling myself that it might be more fun if none of my working adult friends were up to accompanying my ~funemployed~ ass to see Mickey. No one wanting to skip It's a Small World (it's a beautiful tribute to global friendship, okay?); no "I don't like roller coasters" people holding me back from Space Mountain; no awkwardness over who sits where on which ride.
But when it came down to it, I was nervous. Are people going to think I'm a sad, Disney-crazed loner? I wondered. Am I going to get bored when I have no one to talk to? Shamefully but most importantly, who's going to take a picture of me in front of the castle?!
Well, I'm here to tell you that solo Disneyland was one of the best days of my life.
Walter Elias Disney's magical universe has never disappointed me before, and it still delivered when I flew solo.
Yes, I was a Disney-crazed loner, but I was the opposite of sad. Yes, I was without a friend to talk to — or to hurry me along when I stared in awe at the Elsa and Anna performers or when I stopped to take pictures of every single thing. And yes, I lacked a begrudging photographer to document me in front of every little Mickey monument. But dare I say it, it didn't matter.
As I meandered around the park, absorbing every cotton-candy detail, I felt no rush to beat the crowds or to ignore the hourly performances clearly aimed at kiddos a bit younger than me. I had lovely conversations with the people who served me at Gibson Girl ice cream and with fellow Star Wars fanatics waiting in line for Hyperspace Mountain. Speaking of Hyperspace, I felt no judgment at my uncontainable excitement as we rode up that first tunnel of the ride, the Star Wars theme music blaring, my eyes dewy.
I utilized every single-rider line and strategically maxed out my Fast Pass potential. And when I got paired with a nice high school couple on the Ferris wheel, they were amused at my terror when our little car swung back and forth violently. "At least if I die here, I won't die alone," I thought. I also befriended a lovely cast member after she asked if I wanted a picture by the Ferris wheel I had just barely survived.
I cried a lot of happy tears. On and off, from the moment I walked in till I ended the night at the California Adventure lights show.
Solo Disneyland cured my fear of a solo theme park experience. It cured my fear of trying any solo experience for that matter.
Most importantly, it solidified something I already knew: Anyone who believes in the fanciful, magical world of Disney is family.
It's so cheesy that I almost hate myself for saying it, but no one who steps foot in the wonderful world of Disney is alone. True magic is in the human connection we all feel. The circle of life, if you will. It's always there; Disney just does a great job of reminding us of it.
The Disney values – big dreams can be achieved through hard work; friends and family are the best things life can offer; and good always triumphs over evil – these exemplify the goodness of our shared humanity.