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Disney Resort Solo Weekend Getaway Was Magical, Says Mom of 2 Teens

by Staff
  • I’m a mom of two teenagers, and I often visit Disney theme parks alone to recharge.
  • These trips give me a break from my daily responsibilities and some much-needed alone time.
  • On a recent solo trip to a Disney resort, I met characters, had a massage, and watched fireworks.

I’m a 42-year-old mother of two, and one of my favorite places to go when I need some time alone is Walt Disney World Resort. I visit the park regularly with my husband and teenagers, but there’s something special to me about strolling through EPCOT’s World Showcase alone or renting a pool cabana at a Disney hotel and spending the day reading. Even if I’m not inside a Disney theme park, it brings me joy to know I’m hanging out on Mickey’s turf.

Moms are no strangers to the idea that self-care is important, but sometimes we question how far we’re allowed to go with it. A face mask seems fine, for example, but judgment starts to creep in when we consider taking a couple of hours — or days — to ourselves to lounge by a pool. Barbara Greenberg, a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in families and adolescents, says this shouldn’t be the case for a few reasons.

Greenberg, who’s been seeing kids and teenagers for over 30 years, says that when mothers don’t take time for themselves, their children take note. “One thing that comes up with the children of exhausted and depressed mothers is that the idea of becoming an adult is very scary to them because it looks bad,” she said. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking time for yourself to recharge and have fun shows your kids that adulthood isn’t all work and no play.

“You’re one of your child’s most important role models,” she said. “You’ve got to model that life is worth living. Disney — or any other activity, like going somewhere with friends — shows that all throughout life you can maintain a playful and joyous spirit.”

If you’re wondering what a mom at Disney should do all on her own, here’s what I did during a recent two-night stay at the Four Seasons Resort on Disney World property.

I enjoyed a night in a giant bed that suited my preferences

A hotel bed with four pillows and a brown leather headboard. On either side are wood panels with thin cylindrical lights. On the left side is a framed photo of a feather and a gray loveseat with green-and-gray-striped pillows next to a glass side table and a glass door to a balcony, with long panel curtains in front. The carpet under the bed has a wavy brown abstract design.

The writer’s bed at the Four Seasons.

Courtesy of the writer

When I checked in online before my visit, the Four Seasons allowed me to choose the type of bedding I preferred.

Since it was only me, I didn’t have to think about anyone else’s preferences. I chose a pillow mattress topper and microfiber pillows, and I slept like a baby — right in the center of the bed, surrounded by pillows — for two nights.

I took time to enjoy art and an audiobook

Three pieces of Disney art held up by gold frames on metal stands. The photo on the right shows Mickey with glasses sitting with his hands clasped around his knees against a yellow background. The painting in the middle is of Daisy Duck wearing a pink bow and a pink dress, taking a photo of a gloved hand holding a melting ice cream with a pink bow on top. The background is blue, fading to pink horizontally. The painting on the left, which rests on a pile of books on top of a round marble table, shows Donald Duck laughing while holding a glass of lemonade with ice. His eyes are closed, and he wears a light green suit and hat. He's surrounded by branches of a lemon tree against a yellow background.

Disney art by Dom Corona.

Courtesy of the writer

My hotel featured several works from the Disney fine artist Dom Corona, so I spent time walking through it and seeing his art.

Normally, my kids would’ve found this boring, but because I was alone, I had time to take in the colorful paintings and play with an Instagram filter that brought the characters to life.

One of my top ways to distract myself from the crowds and heat of Disney World is to listen to an audiobook through my AirPods as I walk around. When you travel with a group, zoning out isn’t possible, so I took full advantage of this on my solo trip.

I waited in line to meet my favorite Disney character

Terri Peters posing with someone dressed in a Donald Duck costume featuring a brightly colored striped poncho and a sombrero with orange, red, yellow, and green piping. Terri, who has blond hair, poses with her left hand on her hip and the other on the mascot's back. She has pink painted fingernails and wears a sleeveless navy-blue top that's cropped slightly at her waist, gray athletic shorts, and sunglasses on her head. They're in front of a brick wall with geometric designs.

The writer meeting her favorite Disney character.

Courtesy of the writer

Call me strange, but I love meeting Disney characters at the resort when I’m alone. My kids never want to stand in frequently long lines for these experiences, so I took a moment to pose for a photo with my favorite Disney character, Donald Duck.

I enjoyed a book with a cocktail and had a luxurious dinner

Terri holds a Kindle reader. To the left is a martini glass with two green olives on a toothpick skewer.

The writer enjoying a cocktail while reading.

Courtesy of the writer

Traveling alone provides lots of time to read, so I packed my Kindle for my trip.

On a rainy afternoon, I holed up at the pool bar with a good book and an even better dirty martini. Later that evening, at Capa, the Michelin-rated rooftop steakhouse at the Four Seasons, I treated myself to a quiet and delicious dinner.

Before I became a parent, the idea of dining alone in public weirded me out, but now sitting alone and sipping wine while eating a delicious meal feels like the ultimate luxury.

I watched fireworks in my pajamas

Fireworks in the distance are bright red and gold. In the foreground, the Disney theme park is lit up at night, surrounded by palm trees.

The EPCOT and Magic Kingdom fireworks.

Courtesy of the writer

After dinner, I returned to my room in time to watch the EPCOT and Magic Kingdom fireworks displays from my balcony.

My kids have never been big on sticking around in the Disney parks for evening fireworks, so it was wonderful to watch both shows in my pajamas and away from crowds.

I experienced a day of relaxation

A selfie of Terri Peters in a white robe at a spa. Her blond hair is pulled back. She has a nose stud in her left nostril, and she smiles slightly. Behind her is red tiled wall, a floor-to-ceiling glass window, and a lounge chair with a white towel on top.

The author at the spa.

Courtesy of the writer

On the second day, I didn’t visit a Disney theme park until nighttime, when the weather was cooler. During the day, I booked a massage at the hotel and treated myself to a peaceful morning at the spa. I hung out in the steam room, sipped orange-infused water, and left feeling tension-free.

The Four Seasons has a pool reserved for guests who are 21 or older, so I spent several hours in a cabana, reading and sipping a bloody mary. I even ordered lunch poolside, content to lounge in my chair throughout the afternoon.

My hotel room had an inviting oversized bathtub, so I spent some time soaking in a bubble bath with a glass of wine. Since no one else was around to control the remote, I could watch a movie I’d been wanting to see for a long time.

I drank a margarita in Mexico

Terri Peters holding a margarita in a glass with a straw. She wears a pair of brown fuzzy ears and a white sleeveless top. Her earrings are shaped like bears. She has shoulder-length blond hair and pink nails. She's posing in front of a yellow wall. Behind her to her right are blue-yellow-and-white tiles.

The author drinking a margarita at EPCOT.

Courtesy of the writer

A visit to EPCOT isn’t complete without a Disney margarita, so I made a trip over to the theme park that night to have dinner and drinks with friends.

Of all the Disney World parks, EPCOT is my favorite — heading there twice in one visit, without having to go to other places my family might have preferred, was a special treat.

I had breakfast with Goofy

Terri posing with a Goofy mascot. She has blond hair and dark eyes and smiles widely. She wears a black sleeveless top and shorts with a blue, green, orange, and yellow patchwork print. Her left hand is around Goofy, who wears an orange Hawaiian shirt with yellow leaves on top of a yellow shirt, and green pants. His white-gloved hands are held out. Behind them is a booth at a restaurant.

The author posing with Goofy.

Courtesy of the writer

At Ravello, another restaurant in the Four Seasons, there’s a Goofy character breakfast. I love breakfast food and Disney characters, so getting lots of hugs from and photos with Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie during a delicious breakfast was a perfect end to the trip.

Greenberg said that when it comes to a successful solo weekend away, I nailed it. “You do not have to become extremely serious when you become an adult,” she said. “The whole self-care thing — everybody knows that’s important, but these kinds of trips are also about modeling that adulthood can be fun.

“Also, it’s not bad for your kids to have a break from you, too. They may enjoy it as well.”

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