There are so many beautiful things to look at inside Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort. We had an AMAZING time getting an early look at this new area on May 16, 2017. The official opening day is on May 27th. Disney broke ground on this project in January 2014 (read more here about the groundbreaking ceremony), and it has been fun to watch the progress as the area has come to life. Stepping inside this new land, you truly feel immersed in your surroundings, and it does feel like you are in a totally different world!
Around every bend there is a delight for your senses – but, mostly for your sense of sight and hearing. The height of the floating mountains and the beautiful cascading waterfalls are really, really spectacular. You can get a feel for how tall these mountains are by looking at all of the little people in this photo above. Plus, you will notice, if you check out our video below, you can hear the waterfalls, creeks, bugs and animal sounds too.
There’s lots of real vegetation with some Pandoran plants too, like Puffball Trees (seen above), Grinch Trees, Flaska Reclinata and more. It is really unique! Thankfully, it wasn’t that crowded for this preview of the new area, and we were able to stop and look around at our leisure. Wonderful!
Na’vi River Journey
We were really excited to check out the two attractions in Pandora – The World of Avatar. Na’vi River Journey was the first ride that we tried. There was no wait, and we wandered through the queue really quickly. Yay!!! This attraction is a magical, easy boat ride. I definitely felt like everyone in the family would enjoy this ride. There are no hills, and it is not fast-moving or bumpy what-so-ever. It is in the dark, but not scary. You can just sit back and take a look at all of the beauty of the bioluminescent forest as you search for the Na’vi Shaman of Songs.
Avatar Flight of Passage
We received a FastPass+ for the second attraction called Avatar Flight of Passage. This is considered a motion-simulator ride. Since we had a two hour time-frame to wander around the whole area, we chose to walk through the stand-by entrance to see all of the cool features that I had been seeing on social media. As you make your way to the entrance of the ride, it is a little, gradual climb, and there are some great views of the floating mountains, waterfalls and plants. Inside, where is was nice and cool, you will find paintings on the rock walls. The queue is very long, as Disney must think there will be a lot of guests waiting for this attraction. Winding our way around, we found the life-size avatar on display, and I loved all of the details in the work station area. After that section, you are near the ride entrance. Our tour of the stand-by entrance was complete, so we left and walked through the FastPass+ line and waited our turn.
After getting to the front of the line, you are assigned a number and pointed into the direction of the first preview area for Avatar Flight of Passage. There are two little rooms that you will stand in that give you information on the ride and you have some fun too, like waving your arms around while an avatar is linked to you. This was cute, but I do have to mention that I felt a tiny bit claustrophobic during this period. Not bad, but a little. Moving past that, you are ready to board your vehicle. There are multiple ride vehicles (it reminded me of hopping on a motorcycle) that are lined up in front of a giant screen.
Once you are seated, the vehicle (your banshee) has braces that slide up behind your legs and back, that will lock you into place. It is a feeling unlike any other that I have experienced on a theme park ride before, but I was happy to find that after it touched my back, it moved off of my body a little, as to not squeeze too tightly. I don’t like that feeling of not being able to move a little bit. I have been on rides before where the restraint is so tight I couldn’t breathe well. Ugh! This was just right and didn’t give me that uncomfortable feeling. It was then time to put on the glasses that you were given and enjoy! As the experience starts, you will feel the simulated breathing of the banshee underneath you, the wind in your hair and the water sprinkles hitting your face. There are some interesting scents too. You really feel like you are flying on a banshee as you dip and dive through the awe-inspiring world of Pandora.
To recap this attraction, I would say that it is the most innovative ride that I have ever experienced at a theme park. It is a little like Soarin’ at Epcot with the feeling of a roller coaster with drops equal to or less than Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom. I wouldn’t say that everyone in your family (from the youngest to oldest) would feel comfortable riding it. You will just have to determine that for yourself. If you don’t like small spaces, this may not be for you. I totally loved the actual ride, but didn’t care for the pre-ride area. Will I go on it again…YES!!! I think I sometimes get myself a little nervous prior to riding something new when I don’t know what is to come. Now, that I have been on it, I know what to expect. I totally giggled and said “Wow!” quite a few times during the ride. I also thought that the length of the attraction was good! Not too short and not too long – just right. 🙂 This ride was simply AMAZING!
There is a wonderful counter service restaurant inside this new area called Satu’li Canteen with indoor and outdoor seating. The decor matches beautifully with the whole feel of the new area. Love it! We didn’t have a chance to try any food yet, but will let you know what we think when we do. Some of the offerings include slow-roasted sliced grilled beef, chopped wood-grilled chicken, blueberry cream cheese mousse and lots more. It all looked yummy!
Lots of great items in the new gift shop called Windtraders. Guests will have fun browsing through this store for clothing; stuffed animals liked banshee, direhorse and more; kids toys, etc.
Two locations for restrooms in Pandora – The World of Avatar. One is located near the entrance to this new land, and the other can be found by Satu’li Canteen. Nice and new and CLEAN! 🙂
We loved it!
All in all, I feel like Pandora – The World of Avatar fits in nicely with the other areas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and it offers two great attractions that are wonderful additions to the theme park. I was really in awe of its beauty and majesty. Whether you have seen the movie or not, you will enjoy it. I hope you have the opportunity to check out this new land soon!! 🙂 As always, thanks for reading and sharing my articles.
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Video of the area:
Video of the queue for Avatar Flight of Passage: