Everything You Need to Know About Disney’s Pandora World of Avatar
We all love new things. When we go somewhere, we want to check out the latest offerings and how it has changed since our last visit. I’m like that. I love seeking out differences and noting them in my journal. With that in mind, I was tickled pink about experiencing Disney’s newest area of the Animal Kingdom Park- a world beyond our comprehension, depicted in James Cameron’s Oscar-winning film – Avatar. This new world immerses guests into a community beyond earth and allows them to marvel at unfamiliar creation. This newest land my friends is Pandora the World of Avatar. An incredible adaptation, this new land was beyond anything I had ever seen at the Disney Parks. Its beauty, details, and incredible offerings make it a must-see to all Disney visitors. Here is our guide with Everything you need to know about Disney’s Pandora World of Avatar.
First, a Few Facts about the film
- This revolutionary movie won 3 Oscars
- The Na’vi language never existed before the film! Linguists were hired to create this foreign tongue.
- The movie was a 4-year endeavour from start to finish
- It remains the highest grossing movie in history
- James Cameron said that the film came to mind after seeing Disney’s Pocahontas
- Some of the actors who were considered for the lead role included Matt Damon, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Chris Pratt
Pandora World of Avatar has sparked true tourism interest. Its grand opening nearly one year ago excited visitors and increased patronage to the Animal Kingdom park significantly. An already popular park for Disney fans, the Animal Kingdom has seen its highest numbers during its 13-year legacy. And for good reason.
Disney’s Pandora World of Avatar Facts
- Loosely based on the film’s fictitious world of Pandora and is in no way affiliated with the jewellery company
- It was created in partnership with a imagineer Joe Rohde and director James Cameron
- It opened in the Summer of 2017
- It is located in the Animal Kingdom park where it fits perfectly
- The staff in the land actually learned the created language to communicate with guests keen to show off their Avatar nerdiness.
About Disney’s Pandora World of Avatar – The Attractions
The new Pandora World of Avatar certainly doesn’t fall short of attractions and activities to impress visitors. Besides two amazing and immersive rides, the land brings forward the intended atmosphere, unmatched scenery of florals and waterfalls, epic photo stops, and a shop to find some of the most interesting and unique souvenirs to remember your time.
Flight of Passage
This is the most popular and sought attraction in the entire Pandora World of Avatar and in the entire Walt Disney World Resort. With thousands heading to see this brand new interactive ride that takes you through Pandora through the Valley of Mo’ara on the back of a banshee, wait times have extended to 4-6 hours during peak season! The line-up area does have interactive areas to keep your mind occupied as you wait, but somehow standing in line for that length of time would not appeal to me. That being said, if you truly want to experience this new attraction, unless you are able to nab an elusive fast pass, the hardest to nail at this time, this is your only way to experience the ride.
Pro tip: Sometimes if you go straight to the attraction in the morning you can beat some of the crowds. As well, if you are staying on the property, take advantage of your extra magic hours. These have lower crowds and can work to your advantage for reduced line times.
So we were super lucky in nabbing a Fast Pass for this attraction. My husband really wanted to experience this ride and would have lined up accordingly, but something made me want to keep trying for that fast pass. During our trip, I had learned of a strategy that could quite possibly assist with a successful fast pass for this ride to which I shall divulge in a separate post on Fast Pass tips so stay tuned. In the interest of the Flight of Passage, even if you don’t nail a fast pass, the ride is incredible – one of the best on Disney property and will not leave you with regrets for standing in line no matter what the duration.
As the attraction is an interactive film simulation requiring glasses and sitting on a mechanical variation of the banshee (similar to a bicycle), photos of the actual ride were not possible; however, the pre-ride activities were possible to capture.
First, you are aligned with a number on the floor. Similar to the Soarin’ ride in Epcot, this simulation ride takes you deep into character and preps you with a pre-ride introduction. Remember your number as it will remain yours for the duration of the experience. You will first enter a room where you will hear the pre-boarding safety instructions and how your DNA will be paired with an Avatar. I will not spoil the ride for those of you heading to Disney to be mesmerized by this experience, but this part is really neat as you physically move around for results. You are then given your flying glasses and sent through to the mechanical banshees to straddle and prep for your ride.
I have to say that this was an incredible experience. I am grateful that I did not have to wait in line for the max times that most endured. (while we were there the time clock said 225 minute wait!) I hope when you go, that you have better luck.
Fast Pass Tip: There are two rides in the Pandora World of Avatar. For the initial three fast passes guests receive per day, Disney has limited the ability to reserve BOTH at the same time. If you are lucky to get Flight of Passage, you will need to wait and use that one up before you can book the Na’vi River Journey.
Na’vi River Journey
This is the second ride in the park and almost as popular as Flight of Passage. Unless you nabbed a fast pass, you are guaranteed to wait at least 90 minutes to ride. This leisurely boat ride that families and expecting mothers can ride (there are a few rides that are okay for those lovely ladies) that takes you deep into the waters and immerses you into the beauty of Pandora bioluminescent rainforests. It is a slow-paced voyage that shows off imagineer-superb effects. Marvel at the vegetation, sights and sounds during your ride. I really enjoyed this ride. Not only is it a testament of the accuracy the imagineers have taken to ensure guests feel as if they are truly one with the Na’vi people, but it also shows off the best animatronics in Animal Kingdom, if not the entire Disney complex with the incredible Shaman of Songs. (I cannot believe I said that with my strong adoration for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Frozen Ever After.) Now, remember if you have luckily nabbed a Flight of Passage fast pass, you cannot have this ride secured at the same time. But, this one is slightly easier to get.
Hungry? If so, than you need to give the new restaurant in Pandora World of Avatar a go. We loved this restaurant as it offered healthier meals and unique drinks. For the lover of traditional grub, they don’t have the usual fast food options so be prepared to venture to another land if this is your preference. This place specializes in dumplings and build your own bowls of protein and vegetables
The Build-your-own bowls allowed for much variety of vegetables and superfoods as quinoa, kale, and others. As well, with your protein and base choices, you have three sauces you can pick from. We opted for the herb dressing over the other choices. We enjoyed the sweet potato hash and the quinoa options along with the signature drinks. You can get a fun souvenir cup or enjoy the drinks in a regular cup for a cheaper price.
Save room for dessert? They offer a blueberry mousse keeping in theme with the beauty of the land. I didn’t indulge, but those who did told me that it was delightful and definitely a wise dessert choice.
Valley of Mo’ara
So besides the rides and the canteen, guests need to marvel at the beautiful setting that makes it look like the land of the film. Explore the Valley of Mo’ara and take in the waterfalls, landscape, and interactive drums. Some of the best photo opportunities have the valley as a backdrop, and should you stay in the evening, the lighting is something the imagineers should seriously brag about. If you have purchased the Memory Maker (blog post on the pros of this expense coming soon!) than do seek out the photographers in the land (there are a few!) that can take epic photos for you with the Valley behind you. The ones in the evening are especially beautiful and will give you a beautiful memento of your visit.
Pandora World of Avatar Unique Souvenirs at Windtrader’s Shop
So there are the regular mementos to take home, the souvenirs that are safe like magnets and figures, and then there are unique things to remember your fun experience. I touch on the type of souvenirs to get in my guide here, and Disney’s Pandora World of Avatar deliver some utterly awesome souvenirs unlike anything else. Here are our favourites:
Create Your Own Personal Avatar
So this is the coolest thing! You get your face scanned by this machine- (don’t worry, it is safe and everyone can use it). You then come back in an hour and your Avatar will be created with all the details and specs you have provided and selected – hairstyle, eye colour, and everything else! It really is an awesome souvenir of Pandora World of Avatar. The price is $75 + tax per Avatar you create which to some may be a little hefty, but trust me – it really is worth the price!
Take Home Your Own Banshee
This is really cool as well. Choose a banshee and it is remote controlled! On your shoulder, on a ledge, or on the perch offered for an additional charge! They are realistic and the perfect gift for that Avatar fan. They are a pricey $50 + tax, but such a unique item to bring home. Kids really love them as they are remote controlled and have personality. They come in an array of different colours and faces. The line to see the various designs can be quite lengthy so prepare to line up to choose one to remember your trip.
The rest of the merchandise here would satisfy even the smallest of Avatar fans, though I in particular was disappointed in the pin selection. They weren’t attractive to me and not worth the hefty price tag of the pink colour code. I hope for pin traders that they come up with nicer designs.
About Disney’s Pandora World of Avatar – Final Words
So for someone who needed to watch the film prior to visiting (and therefore admits to being a weak fan at best) I can say that the land was impressive and the rides exceptional. Adrenaline junkies who enjoy roller coasters and those types of rides may find the Na’vi River Journey too docile an attraction, but I think it lends perfectly to the ambiance and feel of the land as a whole.
Have you been to Pandora World of Avatar? What are your thoughts?
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