Pandora – The World of Avatar
On May 27th, Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s latest expansion opened to the public. Pandora – The World of Avatar is a new “land” that will transport Guests to the magical world of Pandora, which was first introduced in James Cameron’s 2009 Science Fiction Fantasy Adventure film Avatar. The film brought moviegoers to the world of Pandora, a visually stunning and lush moon in the Alpha Centauri Star System. Only Disney would be ambitious enough to bring the verdant world of Pandora to life.
The land itself is a sight to behold. Guests walk under floating mountains, experience cascading waterfalls and are surrounded by incredible plant life, both real and rendered. Many Guests are curious to learn what experiences await them beyond the amazing landscape of the land. Today we will take a spoiler-free look at some of the new attractions and experiences to help you plan your day in the world of Pandora.
Avatar Flight of Passage
This is the first of two key attractions in the land. Avatar Flight of Passage is a thrill ride that takes Guests on an adventure flying over Pandora’s breathtaking landscape on the back of a Banshee, a giant winged creature featured in the Avatar movie. FastPass+ is available for this attraction, but if you are a fan of the movie you may want to experience the full Standby Line at least once. The queue is designed to hold up to a four-hour wait, and Disney Imagineers made the queue line quite entertaining. Guests find themselves winding through rock formations and waterfalls leading to cave systems. Eventually the queue works its way into Resource Development Administration (RDA) facilities, which fans of the movie will be familiar with, culminating with an RDA lab with some amazing special effects.
After a short preshow that sets up the story and gives some instructions, Guests receive their 3-D glasses and move on to the ride vehicles. The ride is a motion-based 3-D experience that focuses on speed and immersion into the world of Pandora. It is important to note that the ride vehicle is reminiscent of a scooter. Guests will have to straddle the vehicle and be comfortable in a hunched over position, as the restraints close up around the legs and lower back. The ride vehicle cannot support all body types, but Disney is currently working on adjustments for the future. Like all thrill rides, there are some other boarding requirements of which to be aware. Riders must be at least 44 inches (112 cm) tall, and should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by the attraction. Expectant mothers are advised not to ride. If you meet the requirements and are looking for a thrilling experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this attraction truly makes you feel like you are flying through the amazing world created in Avatar.
Na’vi River Journey
This is the second of the key attractions Guests will find in Pandora. Na’vi River Journey is a slow-moving indoor boat ride featuring exotic plants and amazing animals found in the world of Pandora. The attraction invokes not only the incredible visual effects and landscapes that you would expect from a Disney attraction but also uses music as a key part of the experience. Guests of all ages will enjoy this boat ride through the rainforest of Pandora. There are no boarding requirements for the ride, so this is a great option for Guests travelling with small children. FastPass+ is also available for this attraction if you are looking to save some time.
The Satu’li Canteen is a quick service restaurant that gives Guests the experience of dining in a former Resource Development Administration Mess Hall. The menu focuses on cuisine that feels like it could truly have come from the world of Pandora. The entrees are served in bowls consisting of vegetable slaw accompanied by chicken, fish or beef. There is definitely an emphasis on healthy choices, but Guests who want to indulge a little more on their vacation can order a unique dessert. Options include a piece of chocolate cake with a crunchy cookie layer and banana cream frosting, as well as a unique-looking Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse with Passion Fruit Curd. Alcohol is also served at the Canteen. Guests will find a wide selection of Pandora-themed beers and lagers along with Chardonnay and Sangria. Ultimately, Satu’li Canteen is a great way to continue your immersion in the world of Pandora at meal time.
Windraders is the Pandora-themed merchandise location found within the land. Windraders is housed in a transformed Resource Development Administration structure and is themed throughout in true Disney fashion. Here you can find Avatar merchandise, like Alpha Centauri Expeditions apparel, science and educational kits, and games, as well as your typical Disney Parks merchandise, like Magic Bands, Pins and Plush.
Colors of Mo’ara
Colors of Mo’ara is the second merchandise location in the land. In addition to a smaller but similar selection of the merchandise found at Windtraders, Guests can enjoy a unique face-painting experience, available exclusively at this location.
Aside from the major attractions listed above, the immersive qualities of the Pandora experience cannot be overstated. When you are exploring the land, everywhere you look the environment is painstakingly detailed and maintained. The marriage of real plant life intertwined with the artificial stylized fauna from the Avatar movie provides a unique contrast that will stop you in your tracks as you navigate between the major attractions. The collaboration between director James Cameron and the Disney Imagineers has created a land full of beauty and wonder. Whether you are a huge fan of the Avatar franchise or have never seen the movie, you will find a lot to enjoy here. Pandora – The Word of Avatar is the perfect addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and will be a vacation highlight for Guests of all ages.