Over the weekend, Disney invited some bloggers (myself included) to visit Animal Kingdom to check out the newest addition to their park, Pandora – The World of Avatar. Added bonus: It also happened to be on my birthday! And yes, I totally rocked the birthday button.
“WOW.” Literally that’s all I (and my fellow bloggers) could say. As soon as you enter Pandora, you’re completely immersed in the plant life, color, and water for as long as you can see, whichever way you look. When you walk in, you’re walking on a platform raised a little higher so you really get quite the view! For a second there, I forgot I was at Disney!
Let’s get to the good stuff. Because the rides are really what people want to know about, right? There are two rides in Pandora, one that’s mellow and perfect for those who typically aren’t into rides, and the second is for the adventurers.
The first ride, Na’vi River Journey, is super mellow and a ride for the typical non-riders. In this ride, you sit in a boat and make your way through the luminescent river while you listen to Na’vi music. To be honest, I think it’s the perfect solution for some relaxation in the park and an opportunity to escape the Florida heat for a few minutes!
The second ride is for the adventure-lovers! Avatar Flight of Passage lets you experience a Na’vi right of passage – flying a banshee! This is a 3D motion simulator ride and is absolutely AMAZING. I did have a FastPass for the ride, but would say it’s 100% worth the wait if you’re debating hopping on the long line. There isn’t really another ride I can compare it to because it’s SO different from anything Disney (or Universal) has done, but I would say it’s closest to Soarin (with the caveat that you’re in your own little pod for your seat – it’s kind of like sitting on a bike).
The technology is emoji-heart-eye worthy too! Not only is there a gasp moment when it comes to the “matching” process of finding your avatar (because obviously it wouldn’t be safe for humans to ride banshees – ha!), but also when it comes to the ride itself. You really feel like you’re actually in the world of Avatar, when it comes to sight, smell, and touch!
There are two main places for food and drink in Pandora.
For quick service, you can stop at Pongu Pongu for some specialty drinks or snacks. I tried the famous Night Blossom (which features boba!) and it was pretty tasty! You couldn’t walk 5 steps without finding someone else indulging in one either. Fortunately, the line was short early in the day but by lunchtime, it was pretty crazy!
If you’re looking for a little more substance, you can pop into the Satu’li Canteen, a cafeteria-style eatery filled with lots of great eats! Most of the meals on the (adult) menu were bowl-based, meaning you pick a bowl base (rice, potatoes, salad), a meat, and dressing. I ended up going with chicken, rice, and an herb sauce on the side (check it out in the bottom right), and it was delicious!
Overall Thoughts on Pandora – The World of Avatar
To sum it up quickly? Pretty freaking awesome. With all of the color and uniqueness of Pandora, I can definitely see why they chose Animal Kingdom as the home for this new “land.” It’s a perfect fit! And we had an absolute blast exploring.
Admittedly, Animal Kingdom hasn’t gotten much love from me in recent years, and this was my first visit since deciding to purchase an annual pass last year. But after my visit this weekend and spending time in Pandora – The World of Avatar, that’s definitely going to change!
What do you think about Pandora? Have you had a chance to visit yet?