Disney Trip Recap: Mickey Mouse and Pandora!

by Carrie McLaren with 3 comments

As Walt Disney World annual passholders, some would say that we visit the parks too much, but for my family — there’s no such thing as ‘too much’. Everyone has their ‘happy place’ and this just happens to be ours. Okay, especially mine.

With a free weekend upon us, we hit the road for our happy place this past weekend for time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (Purposely avoiding the weekend madness of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and the crowds at Magic Kingdom.)

Disney Trip Recap - Sorcerer Mickey

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and even a bit chilly! With a good FastPass+ plan of attack, we managed to dodge crowds and experience a lot of fun too — including finally seeing Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Our first stop though – Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At nine years old, Maggie is slowly becoming a Star Wars fan and Dad couldn’t be more excited. We watched the Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away stage show and she was excited to ride Star Tours for the first time.

Meanwhile, Molly and I made our way over to see Olaf. With a posted fifteen minute wait time, it ended up being more about five minutes. And bonus – Molly let me join her for the picture too.

From there, we had a quick picnic lunch (Pro Tip: Bring your own drinks and snacks — great money saver.) and then it was on to Toy Story Mania and Star Wars Launch Bay. And, f course, we had to stop so Molly could visit Jake, Sofia and Pluto outside of the Disney Junior Live show.

Day two took us to Disney’s Animal Kingdom – safaris, The Festival of the Lion King and my favorite – The Finding Nemo live show. Truly a Broadway-style show in a great retelling of the movie. And a huge bonus during the summer months — it is 30 minutes of air conditioning.

And here’s my Animal Kingdom confession…. I’ve never seen the Avatar movie and I don’t know anything about Pandora. Nothing. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to go on the new Flight of Passage ride.

I snagged FastPasses for myself and my husband a few weeks ago and stalked the My Disney Experience app yesterday in the park to modify our riding time. It worked — we both were able to ride and it was an incredible experience.  (Pro Tip: Grab a FastPass+ and then constantly refresh/hit the modify button to find the time you need/want.)

The ride was intense, incredibly lifelike and fantastic. And that’s coming from someone that’s never seen the movie. The technology and storyline were so real that it made me cry when the ride was over — it was just that incredible.

Meanwhile, as husband and I took turns hanging out with the girls while the other was on the ride, the girls loved exploring the world of Pandora. The interactive drums were a huge hit (pun intended).

I’m glad we were able to explore this new land — not sure we’ll return unless we do the rides, but again, that’s speaking from someone that doesn’t know the story.

The weekend was filled with fun and a few ‘firsts’ for our family. Memories and plenty of laughs too. And to me, that’s what’s visiting Walt Disney World is all about. I’m already looking to our next visit to see Magic Kingdom Park decorated for Christmas!


Have You Visited Pandora Yet? What Did You Think?


** No part of our trip was sponsored or hosted by Walt Disney World. We paid for every penny of it. Thoughts and opinions here are my own. **

filed under Featured, Theme Parks


  • Leah | Five for the Road

    You are lucky to be an annual pass holder. Disney is my happy place too!! We have yet to see Pandora but are hoping to make a trip in 2018. I haven’t seen the movie yet either but all I hear are great things about how immersive the “land” is. Sounds like you had a great weekend!

    • Carrie McLaren

      Thanks for reading, Leah! It was a fun getaway this weekend. I hope you all are able to make a trip back in 2018 to see it, definitely an immersive land.

  • Tyler@TheTravelingToddler.com

    We just went in October of 2017. Pandora was an incredible experience, especially at night. I just wish there were more things for a toddler to do there.

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