Travel don'ts for the solitary urbanite
It seemed reasonable enough: I had to be in Orlando for business, I just left my job and felt like I could use a vacation, and I like Walt Disney World. Love roller coasters, love Aerosmith, hello. I still stand behind my logic leading up to this decision.
Perfect logic or not, I can’t recommend it. It’s not even like I’ve never been to places inappropriate for the Lonely Planet treatment. Paris? Just hit the Louvre, take photos from the top of the Eiffel Tower, and skip the moonlight walks along the Seine. Venice? Just glare at the guys trying to sell you roses and go to the next museum. Disneyland? I can’t really recommend it, but they get enough annual passholders that you can make a go of it solo. But Disney World may be the most inhospitable place for the single guy outside of a Lamaze class.
It’s not as if the parks failed me somehow; the place is just plain designed for families or couples on their way to being families. And the result of going solo is that you end up at the Orlando airport going through what felt like every single side effect listed in ads for Abilify.
But hey, Disney World! I’ve been at least thirty times and I still see something new each time, and this trip was no different. One of the unexpected highlights was the “Gran Fiesta Tour” in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, formerly “El Rio del Tiempo.” It’s still not an E-Ticket, but it’s got exactly the right touch and tone: still all the charm or the original ride but without feeling embarrassingly dated, and still a tourist promotion for Mexico but without feeling too dry. Plus they brought the characters back, which is something Epcot’s always needed, and they did it the cool way by using the Three Caballeros.
The Main Street Electrical Parade isn’t new, but it’s back, and it still does a great job of making me feel like a six year old again.
I finally got to play through all of the missions in the final version of the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure, and it’s pretty cool, and it seems to be pretty popular. It also gets you into parts of the pavilion you haven’t seen before. In the Japan pavilion, I found the other new-for-me thing, an exhibit called “Spirited Beasts.” It has a display devoted to different types of Obakemono (creatures of Japanese folklore) with representations from traditional art, toys and anime. And it’s the perfect kind of exhibit for Epcot: it teaches about Japanese folklore by making it relevant to the audience. I was very impressed.
Plus it was the first time I’d ever seen the hotel I stayed at, and they let you take a riverboat to Downtown Disney. And the only advantage to going alone: they’ve got single rider lines all over the place, so I got to ride Expedition Everest like five times in a row. That coaster gets better the more I ride it.
So I still recommend everybody take an extended trip to Disney World, just take a buddy. And deodorant.