Daisy’s Best Week Ever, May 25, 2017: Steam Trains, Pandora, and Magic Kingdom

Best Week Ever at Pandora and Magic Kingdom

Hello, friends! I have another amazing week to share with you, but first a confession. These things didn’t all happen in the space of one week. They were so cool I couldn’t not include them here. So let’s start with a view of the Magic Kingdom and what it looks like at 7:00am where we were taking the Magic Behind the Steam Trains tour! We easily found the rest of our tour group since there were so few people at the gates. We lined up and waited to get started at 7:30am.

Right at 7:30am our tour guide came out to the gates to meet us and get us setup with headsets. This is a tour we’ve talked about for a long time, but we had always put it off. I think that’s because, if I’m honest, I really wasn’t excited to learn about the trains. I will say I totally changed my mind by the end of the tour.

One huge highlight is getting in to photograph a completely empty Main Street. With early breakfast reservations I’ve always been able to get shots without it crowded, but this was completely empty! It was also neat to hear the announcements to cast warning them that guests would be entering the park. In my opinion, this alone was worth the cost of admission. (I’ll have to do it again when they finish painting.)

The first half of the train tour consists of a ride backstage to the round house. Along the way our tour guide told us so many stories about the trains and locations around the park. I’m sure the guide makes or breaks the experience here. Ours was fantastic! Once back at the round house everyone gets a chance to step inside and see what the engineer and conductor sees.

This is also the time that you can get very close to the train, even walk right up and touch it! They encouraged us to take as many photos as we’d like and take our time checking it out.

After a quick ride back into the Magic Kingdom we said goodbye to the train and were offered one last close up view. A break and bottled water later we continued on with our guide through the park learning about Walt and his history with trains, eventually ending back up in the train station.

Our tour ended in the train station with a long speech on Walt and his history with trains and the station. I might have had to switch into my sunglasses because the content was so touching. Of course, like all great Disney tours we got a souvenir pin at the end and then were released to enjoy the Magic Kingdom. I would take this tour again in a heartbeat and I really recommend to anyone that has considered this one!

We also had a chance to enjoy the fireworks dessert party at the Magic Kingdom. It’s been a couple of weeks because we used this as our way to say goodbye to Wishes, but I understand the experience isn’t changing so I wanted to include it. I don’t know why I haven’t done this before! It was so worth the costs to skip the crowds. The one thing I wish is that I would have brought some crackers. The desserts were all a bit much for me, but they put cheese out I would have enjoyed a little cheese plate. Overall, highly recommended for the view and easy crowds! Pictured below are the chocolates they gave us to take home at the end.

Okay, I know everyone is sick of Pandora. I have to throw in a few of my photos, but I promise I won’t dwell on it too much. First thought, it’s so pretty! I couldn’t believe how lush and beautiful the entire area is. I wasn’t a fan of Avatar going into the parks. I’m not sure I am now, but I’m in love with the look and feel of this land!

The second thing that hit me is how grand it all feels. It really feels like you’ve left Animal Kingdom and gone somewhere completely new. On top of that it’s all big! You can see a tiny person in the distance of this photo for perspective. I can’t remember the last time Walt Disney World got something so immersive.

While I was excited to get into this section of the park early at all, I’m really excited to see it at night. I can’t imagine how much different these plants will look glowing in the darkness.

So one last look outside while I give you my take on the Flight of the Banshee. It really is completely unique and it didn’t bother myself or my husband. That says a lot since I normally can’t ride roller coasters and he can’t ride simulators. It seems like they’ve found a perfect balance to avoid nausea, at least for my household. The ride was pretty amazing, but I don’t think I’d wait more than 30 minutes to ride it again. We also had some large people in our party and everyone was able to fit in the seats. It seems like mostly very tall people or those with large calves may have trouble.

The Na’vi River Journey is what I enjoyed the most. The ride is short but lovely. Of course, I’m not a thrill ride person so your mileage my vary. Not pictured is the meal we enjoyed at Satu’li Canteen, which was really impressive. Overall, while I still don’t “get” Avatar being in a Disney theme park I’m pleased with the results. I can see spending lots of time exploring this new land.

Which leads us to, a sunny morning spent in the Magic Kingdom last weekend. I had to include some photos that are just a few days old, right? Or it wouldn’t be Best Week Ever! 😉 We decided to hang out in the gardens while we waited for the park to open. I really like the opening show at the castle. It makes the crowds flow so much better!

Everyone else in the park ran for Peter Pan when the rope dropped, but I decided to sneak over to an empty It’s A Small World. I love getting there early to the rides that nobody prioritizes. When else can you get a boat all to yourself?

I couldn’t get over how bright and pretty it was this past weekend! It was supposed to rain, so I almost didn’t set my alarm. I’m so glad I did. It just goes to show that you should never believe the weatherman in Florida!

If you can believe it, Be Our Guest Restaurant still packs in the crowds at all times of day and night. The line seems to stretch all the way across the bridge every time I pass by. I’ve never been too impressed with the food, but the atmosphere is can’t miss. I’d suggest booking a reservation for before the park opens to avoid this wait, though.

Over in Tomorrowland I was struck by these cool trees. It looked like maybe they had just been trimmed? It really felt like for just this moment I was walking into the future!

No trip to Tomorrowland is complete without a spin around the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. On a day with such pillowy clouds, every photo was perfection. Below was my favorite one to share with you. We certainly have some beautiful days! 🙂

Did you know that on slow days you can stay on the Peoplemover and ride again without exiting? Just ask the attendant before you exit your ride vehicle. This is the view looking across Tomorrowland that you can only see if you stay on the ride more than once.

One last magical view for you below, a bunch of balloons on Main Street as we strolled out of the park. It’s gotten very warm but it’s worth it to visit when the parks are this pretty!

That’s it for this time. Thanks for joining me for a week of tours and touring! Please let me know if you have requests next time around. Until then – I hope you’re having the best week ever. 

Daisy Lauren

I'm just about the biggest Touring Plans fan ever and still pinching myself that they let me be part of the team! I love sharing all things Disney with you and always appreciate your ideas and feedback at: daisylauren@touringplans.com or @dizdaisylauren on twitter Above everything else THANK YOU for reading and commenting!

18 thoughts on “Daisy’s Best Week Ever, May 25, 2017: Steam Trains, Pandora, and Magic Kingdom

  • May 25, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Back in the good old days of paper FastPasses my husband had the job of getting Soarin’ FPs while I took the kids to visit Figment. The cast members were always very confused by us. But it sure did feel special being the only people in there! Last summer my husband and two of the kids went right to Space Mountain at rope drop and my non roller coaster riding kid and I went to Buzz. A cast member told us not to waste our park opening there! We rode Buzz 3x while they rode Space 1x!

    • May 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Hi Lisa! I love that I’m not the only one that goes the opposite way of the crowds. 🙂 I’d totally take Buzz 3x over Space x1!! Thanks for the fun comment.

      • May 27, 2017 at 11:24 am

        We often have done Buzz first thing. On our last trip we did it 6 times in a row and a ride on Space Mountain in the first hour after the park opened. It felt even better later when the line for Buzz was over 30 minutes. We also got a few 999,999 on Buzz and stopped by for our special button at the photo counter on the way out. Even some CMs at MK had to ask us what those butttons were for.

  • May 25, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Hellooooo Daisy!!! 🙂 Thank you for the fantastic blog post, I will make a point to look into “Magic Behind the Steam Trains Tour”. I’m an early riser, even on vacation, so this looks like a great way to experience the Magic Kingdom in a new way. Plus I’m a sucker for a good Disney tour! Thank you again for your great post – you’re my favourite (said in a whisper).

    • May 25, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Belinda!! How are you, my friend? I think you’d love the Steam Train tour. I really didn’t think I would, but I was so into it. I’d go again in a heartbeat. But much like you I’m always “in” for a Disney tour. (*Whispers* you’re my favorite too) 😀

      • May 25, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        😀 😀 <3

  • May 25, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Sounds as if the time spent at the roundhouse is actually pretty brief. Care to expand on that a bit? (But if there are any surprises there, not asking for spoilers!)

    • May 25, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      Hi Nicholas! You know, it was closer to an hour we were back there. But it went by very fast. There were some neat things back there.. but they are spoilers. I thought about adding photos but didn’t want to give it away. There are some fun only “outside the park” things you get to see with the train operations. (They would have been neat even if it wasn’t a Disney tour). I hope that helps. 🙂

  • May 25, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    What a wonderful post! I sure do like the sunshine you bring to your writing. The tour sounds great and definitely something worth looking into. I too love how civilized park opening is with Main Street being open, my husband remarked on how enjoyable it was drinking a Starbucks in the outdoor seating near Casey’s Corner while my daughter and I explored. It was the favourite part of his trip! LOL.

    • May 25, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks, Dawn! I’m so glad I can bring a little joy. 🙂 I just love sharing it all. I was so wrong about the opening show changing. I was really disappointed, but they didn’t have enough room at the train station anymore. I agree, I’ll take Starbucks any day! Thank you for your nice comment!

  • May 25, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Love your story… how big is big on the new Pandora ride….

    • May 25, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Hi Cheryl! Okay.. this is going to sounds terrible but I think most people that are physically active enough to hike alllll the way back to the ride could fit on it. The ride vehicle isn’t like those on Forbidden Journey where anyone with a larger waist can’t fit. I can tell you we had a 44″ waist in my group and they fit without any trouble. I think long legs and large calves will be what prevents someone from riding. I really hope that helps. I wouldn’t be nervous. 🙂

      • May 26, 2017 at 8:52 am

        Can you just explain why big calves are an issue? What happens that causes the problem? I really want to try this attraction but I am scared I am going to feel claustrophobic if I am going to be really strapped in so that I can’t physically move. I don’t like the Stitch attraction because you are fastened in so tightly you can’t move!

        • May 26, 2017 at 9:30 am

          Hi Ruth- I get what you’re saying. I was a little concerned too. It’s such a weird way to get strapped into a seat. There is a space that your legs are supposed to fit into and pads that press against the back of your calves. They have to push in so far to close the restraints. Before the ride started I felt very contorted, but I forgot all that once the ride started. It really is worth it. 🙂 Let me know if you try on your next trip?

  • May 25, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Pandora looks amazing. I am very excited about this as I found the movie to be an absolute masterpiece of digital effects and computer animation. They made it look so real and amazing. Like you, I can’t wait to see it at night. We are going in September and I just wish they stayed open a little late so we could experience it more at night. We are doing Rivers of Light and that is clear on the other side of the park so we will only have an hour tops to explore Pandora at night. This was a great post as always, thank you 🙂

    • May 26, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Tomorrow!! I get to see it at night tomorrow, Steve! 😀 I’m totally dying today. I can let you know if I think it’s worth skipping ROL after I’ve been, if you’d like? But, my opinion is skewed because I don’t really like ROL. September is such a great time to visit. Well played! 😉

  • May 26, 2017 at 3:24 am

    The ‘Magic Behind the Steam Trains’ tour is very high on my Disney bucket list, and will be a must-do the next time I make it over to Florida. So glad to get a glimpse of what it was like- thanks Daisy!

    • May 26, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Hi Amanda! Happy to share. 🙂 I was a great tour! I’m glad you’ll get to try it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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