Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom officially opens this weekend, but I recently got a sneak peek of the 12-acre mystical world before it officially opens to the public on May 27. Pandora – The World of Avatar is something not to be missed, so if you are planning your next family vacation and can get down to Disney World you absolutely have to experience this. Call me jaded, but I’m not easily impressed these days. But we’re talking massive floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests, AMAZING rides, and a one-of-a-kind dining experiences. Yes, I am VERY impressed with Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Step Inside Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom
Pandora – The World of Avatar is the largest addition in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and carries on the park’s tradition of celebrating the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action. The new land welcomes guests to the lush world of Pandora long after the human conflict with the Na’vi has ended. If you’ve seen AVATAR the movie, you’ll get this.
The dramatic daytime beauty of the land transforms to glow by night when bioluminescent flora and intricate nighttime experiences add a dreamlike quality to Pandora. I was told by Disney cast members that night is when Pandora really comes to life. I cannot wait to go back and experience it after dark.
Fun and adventure await in this entirely new land found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. Explore an awesome alien landscape, encounter a larger-than-life Na’vi shaman and soar over Pandora on the back of a fearsome mountain banshee. It is pure MAGIC!
The realistic and immersive experience is A LOT to take in. The word “WOW” must have escaped my lips a hundred times as I walked through The World of Avatar. I sounded like a broken record, but when you are awe struck as I was a three-letter word is the best you can do.
The massive floating rocks are probably the first thing you’ll notice in Pandora – The World of Avatar. They cannot be missed, and you can see them from far outside the park. They are breathtaking and my pictures do not do them justice. In fact, please forgive all of my pictures. I left my DSLR sitting on the kitchen table, so all of these were taken with my phone. You’ll also enjoy the beautiful waterfalls cascading down the sides of mountains and all of the interesting and lush landscape of Pandora.
The Rides Inside Pandora – The World of Avatar
On the family-friendly Na’vi River Journey, guests travel down a sacred river deep into a bioluminescent rainforest. Aboard reed boats, they float past exotic glowing plants and Pandoran creatures into the midst of a musical Na’vi ceremony. The mystical journey culminates in an encounter with the breathtakingly realistic Na’vi Shaman of Songs who is deeply connected with Pandora’s life force and sends positive energy into the forest through her music.
This ride blows It’s a Small World out of the water. There I said it. As much as I have always loved It’s a Small World in the Magic Kingdom park, Na’vi River Journey is so much better in my humble opinion. I could float down that river 100 times and never get tired of it, and I love that it is ride the whole family can enjoy together, toddlers and grandparents alike.
Avatar Flight of Passage launches each guest on an exhilarating, wind-in-your-face experience on a winged mountain banshee over the awe-inspiring world of Pandora. Guests will actually feel the banshee breathe beneath them as they soar through the forest and past floating mountains. What was a rite of passage for Na’vi in Cameron’s film becomes a multisensory experience for guests seeking the ultimate adventure – an encounter with the most feared predator of Pandora, the Great Leonopteryx.
Okay, so it is no secret that my favorite Disney Parks ride is, rather, was was Soarin’ at Epcot. This is hands down the best ride I have ever been on. My cheeks hurt when I got off of this ride, from grinning and laughing so much. I wish I could begin every single day taking my banshee out for a stroll. Think of Avatar Flight of Passage as Soarin’ on MEGA steroids. I got to ride this twice the day I was there and the second time was even better than the first. You seriously feel like you are riding on this banshee of yours.
The entire ride is an experience, even the time you spend waiting in line. There are some very cool things to discover as you make your way through the line.
Food and Drink Inside Pandora – World of Avatar
Plan to dine Na’vi-style at Satu’li Canteen (pronounced “Sa-too-lee”) when you visit Pandora – The World of Avatar. Satu’li Canteen combines creativity and approachable flavors in a menu inspired by the healthful bounty on Pandora, with wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and hearty proteins. Satu’li Canteen is a fast-casual restaurant offering bowls that allow diners to customize their meal. It is the first Disney restaurant to offer Mobile Order, a new convenient option to order and pay for meals on-the-go using the My Disney Experience app. The service also enables guests to bypass the queue to order when they arrive at the restaurant.
During my visit to Satu’li Canteen we got to try a variety of foods buffet style. Everything I ate was incredibly delicious, and I like that there is something that everyone in the family will enjoy.
You can also grab a drink at nearby Pongu Pongu offering walk-up service. I tried the signature drink called Frozen Nectar which is a colorful frozen limeade drink with layered flavors of Granny Smith Apple and Desert Pear topped with bursting mango boba balls that glows with bioluminescent colors reminiscent of Pandora’s flora. It was delicious!
Merchandise Inside Pandora – World of Avatar
Windtraders is a shopper’s delight where guests can choose from Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more. Be sure to check out the banshee rookery where you can get up close and personal with your own banshee. I picked up a few things for my little girl to where when we return to Pandora – The World of Avatar together. They have some really cute stuff for kids. She has traded in her Minnie Mouse ears for some Na’vi ears and even wore her Na’vi attire out to dinner last weekend.
A Couple of Other Things to Look For
Look for the moss wall while you are there. It is a very popular photo spot and sadly I didn’t get a picture there. I’ll be sure to take one the next time I visit. Also, look for the very unique drumming area pictured below. The drums and symbols are different from anything you have ever seen and the kids will have a lot of fun playing in this area.
My family has Disney annual passes so we are sure to be spending A LOT of time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer. I cannot wait to bring my 8-year old. She has obsessed with the movie AVATAR and the Na’vi people. If your kids haven’t seen the Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s record-breaking box-office hit movie AVATAR yet or it’s been a while since you have, I highly recommend picking up the AVATAR Blu-ray Extended Collector’s Edition. My little one has easily watched this movie a couple dozen times since I picked it up, after hearing about the new attraction coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
I am so glad I got to share this insiders look at Pandora – The World of Avatar with you. Do you have any plans to visit?
Pandora – The World of Avatar is a creative collaboration of Walt Disney Imagineering, Cameron and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment. Many thanks to Disney for inviting me to attend a press preview of Pandora – The World of Avatar. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.