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Visit Pandora at Disney

[fa icon="calendar"] Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 10:25 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

Guests who visit Pandora will feel like the primary characters in a world of floating mountains, cascading waterfalls and a fantasy rain forest.  Disney's Pandora - The World of Avatar.  Visitors to Walt Disney World Orlando's Animal Kingdom Park can expect to be amazed and transformed.  This is the largest expansion of Disney's Animal Kingdom since the park opened in 1998.

Pandora was inspired by James Cameron's 2009 sci-fi, blockbuster movie "Avatar" (the highest grossing film of all time).  On the lush alien world of Pandora live the Na'vi, blue colored beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved. Because the planet's environment is so poisonous, human/Na'vi hybrids, called Avatars, must link to human minds to allow for free movement on Pandora. The movie culminates in a human/Na'vi romance leading to an epic battle for the survival of Pandora.

Disney's Pandora is set many years after the great conflict depicted in the movie. Guests enter the land as eco-tourists  at a time of peace witnessing how nature can heal itself and be reborn.  With the sequel movie Avatar 2 scheduled for December 2020 as well as additional movie episodes in the works, Disney imagineers will have plenty of additional story lines to build on with this park in the years ahead.

To enter into Pandora from the Animal Kingdom park, guests walk across an ancient steel bridge. The reminder here is to illustrate how humans once destroyed nature. As soon as guests enter the Alpha Centouri system and Pandora their other worldly experience begins.

Disney imagineers have had a field day in Pandora - imagine 156 foot floating mountains that guests walk beneath.  The rain forest was created with imaginary flora and fauna interspersed with real tropical plants. It's all brought to life with the attention to the tiniest details that Disney does best.  Then at night, Pandora is once again transformed into a bio luminescent wonderland. Disney also promises interactive programming here - light shows? parades? Characters?...those secrets are still under wraps. The park offers guests completely different experiences by day and by night.

Pandora will feature two attractions. Na’vi River Journey sails guests down a sacred river hidden within a bio luminescent rain forest for an encounter with the Shaman of Songs.  This is a more relaxed attraction suitable for all ages. Na'vi River Journey has no height restrictions or similar warnings. Guests must transfer from wheelchairs/EVC's to the ride vehicle.

Avatar Flight of Passage is the attraction for adrenaline junkies. A high tech joy ride where guests connect with your own avatar and fly over Pandora on the back of a mountain banshee. For Disney park fans - think of it like the next generation of "Soarin"! This attraction has a height restriction of 44in (112cm) or taller. Rider switch will be offered. It also has a single rider option.

Both attractions have shaded or indoor immersive ques so even if you do have to wait in line, it's not so bad. Yes - Fastpasses are available for Pandora and HIGHLY recommended.  Guests are allowed 1 choice of Pandora attractions so it's an either/or situation. We predict Avatar Flight of Passage will be the attraction of choice and hard to get so watch your dates carefully.  As far as your other two Fastpass picks for the rest of the Animal Kingdom park  we recommend Kilimanjaro Safaris and Rivers of Light.

Guests can experience a casual and cultural dining at Satu’li Canteen. The menu here features canteen bowls inspired by “Pandora’s natural abundance”  feature Grilled Chicken or Beef, Sustainable Fish, or Crispy-Fried Tofu, In addition, there is a full children's menu and plenty of tasty treats for desert.  There is also a side order of technology here. This is the first restaurant to use the new "mobile order" pick up feature. Guests can use their "My Disney Experience" app to order lunch here in advance.  When guests arrive at the Satul'li Canteen they simply tap "I'm here" on their app to pick up their order. Right now the app is only available for credit card orders and it is not yet compatible with Disney Dining plans.

Of course no Disney attraction would be complete without the opportunity for souvenir shopping and Windtraders does not disappoint with it's rookery!  At the Rookery, a Naturalist from Alpha Centauri Expeditions will assist a guest with identifying a favorite banshee from among 10 unique styles. Each interactive banshee includes three ranges of motion – mouth, head, and wings – that are controlled by hand. Guests will also hear them make authentic banshee sounds. Before guests depart Windtraders, Naturalists will encourage them to make a pledge to respect and protect the natural world on Pandora and back home on Earth.

The addition of Pandora is going to change the way guests visit Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom. For years this park has always been considered a 1/2 day park.  Now the difference is night and day...literally!  Daytime park experiences are going to be completely different than night time attractions and guests will want to do both.  These options will need to fit into your big picture strategy of visiting the other 3 massive Disney theme parks during your vacation - Epcot, Hollywood Studios and of course the Magic Kingdom.  To get the most fun as well as your money's worth, it's highly recommended that you work with a Travel Agent who is a Disney Specialist to help you create a daily touring itinerary.  This way you'll spend far more time enjoying your Disney experience and far less time frustrated waiting in lines.

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Topics: Disney Vacation

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Vacationkids.com Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.