The All-New Pandora The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

A new world of interplanetary adventure travel has opened and you have the opportunity to explore a fictitious foreign moon planet called Pandora. Pandora The World of Avatar is inspired from the 2008 movie Avatar, which is the highest grossing film of all time and created from the mind of director, James Cameron. If you haven’t seen the movie Avatar, (or perhaps you have once upon a time but forgotten the details), the basic premise of the movie centers around Pandora, an alien moon planet rich in natural resources that humans were trying to extract for their own use, while threatening the existence of the indigenous Na’vi people of Pandora.

 

Floating Mountains in the Valley of Mo’ara, Pandora

 

Pandora, The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park takes place a century after the movie, where humans are able to visit Pandora though Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), a tourism expedition company created to promote Pandora as a destination for ecotourism and scientific research. Humans can learn about Na’vi culture, traditions, and the natural habitat of the land through the Pandora Conservation Initiative. Within Pandora, everything is maintained to the natural theming of the land, which focuses on education, conservation and respect for the land, making it a perfect fit within the natural theme of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. The sights and the sounds of the area take you into the heart of Pandora so be prepared to be amazed beyond wonder.

Suspend belief and transport yourself into the land of Pandora, The World of Avatar, a place that exists many light years beyond space. As you enter the Valley of Mo’ara, the adventure is real and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The Hallelujah floating mountains are the centrepiece of the whole land. The attention to detail and technology employed within the land combined real life Earth species with fictional Pandora flora, and bioluminescent illumination of the plants at night. Pandora during the day is one experience, the bioluminescent experience at night is a completely different world.

 

The two signature attractions of Pandora are the Na’vi River Journey and the Avatar Flight of Passage.

The Na’vi River Journey is a slow moving boat ride where you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the bioluminescent rainforest as you float down a Pandoran river. The scenery of the glowing plants and exotic wildlife are brought to life as you float down the river into the heart of the forest. The soothing music of the Na’vi creates a peaceful and serene journey culminating with the Shaman of Songs (the most advanced Animatronic figure Disney has created to date), whose powerful music forms a unique understanding of the deeply personal bond between music and the land.

 

Entering the bioluminescent forest in the Na’vi River Journey

The Avatar Flight of Passage recreates the exclusive cultural rite of passage in Na’vi culture – bonding with a banshee, the highly respected winged predator and riding on its back for the adventure of a lifetime. Through Alpha Centauri Expeditions and unique technology, humans can now connect to an avatar already in flight to experience the important rite of passage, and fully experience Pandora in all its glory. Soar above and under the floating mountains, through the lush landscape of the forest and experience the thrill of the ride. The Avatar Flight of Passage is a ride unlikely anything else and is an attraction unique to Pandora, and one that is worth the wait for the experience.

The two signature attractions are available to pre-book on Disney’s Fast Pass+ system, however, they are tiered so you cannot book both attractions on the same day. If you have to choose one, definitely Fast Pass the Avatar Flight of Passage if you can, and choose to wait in line for the Na’vi River Journey. The River Journey is a constantly loading boat ride so the line moves fairly quickly whereas the Flight of Passage attraction line moves slower and because of the popularity of the ride, the wait times will likely be hours for many months to come. Guests staying at an onsite resort can reserve Fast Passes 60 days in advance of their arrival date and can reserve Fast Passes for the duration of their trip. Guests who are staying offsite and have pre-purchased their admission tickets in advance can reserve Fast Passes 30 days in advance, one park day at a time.

Of course, there are unique dining options available only on another planet! The Night Blossom drink is a favourite among Pandorans with bubbles that pop in your mouth and can glow in the dark and the pineapple lumpia, a pineapple cream cheese spring roll. Available only at Pongo Pongu, a snack and beverage stand run by an expat human who fell in love with Pandora and didn’t want to leave. The Satu’li Canteen is a quick service restaurant providing mobile ordering options through the app to avoid the lines. You can build-your-own protein bowls, Pandora-style, or order steamed pods, Pandora-style burgers.

Satu’li Canteen

Night Blossom drink and Pineapple Lumpia, signature treats from Pongu Pongu

 

Windtrader’s Shop is the only place to buy your Pandora merchandise and souvenirs. Visit the Rookery to “connect” with your very own interactive banshee and find one that becomes yours for life. In this interactive experience, a Naturalist from Alpha Centauri Expeditions will assist you with connecting with one of 10 different breeds of banshees. They will explain all the differences between the breeds and help you in “adopting” your banshee once you have made “the link”. The interactive banshees have a complete range of motion in the mouth, head and wings, and can also make sounds. The other unique experience within Windtraders is to create your own avatar action figure, from your own likeness. Through the experience at Avatar Flight of Passage, guests are connected to an avatar already in flight. With the technology of genetically scanning your likeness to match an avatar similar to your genetic material, the information can also be used to create your very own personalised and customised, Na’vi/Human hybrid avatar action figure.

Windtraders Shop

Create your own custom personalised avatar figurine

Pandora, The World of Avatar is a completely immersive theme park experience so realistic that once you enter Pandora, you truly feel like you are transported to a new land. The gorgeous scenery and attention to detail is unparalleled, with the sights and sounds distinctive to Pandora. There are no outward signs of “Disney” or Disney-branded merchandise anywhere in Pandora. Cast members within Pandora are known as ACE field experts and can even speak the Na’vi language. Not sure how to speak Na’vi? Pick up a Na’vi translator and learn several common Na’vi phrases and test it out on the ACE field experts. Background music is from the musical score of the movie, with original music created by the composers from the movie bridging the movie to the immersive experience. There is a guide to the flora and fauna of the Valley of Mo’ara, where you can explore the mix of plans from Earth and Pandora coexisting in harmony.

Pandora is a place exuding peace and tranquillity and is the opposite of the busy, frenetic energy that is commonplace from many parts of Disney World. Take the time to soak in all the details and take in the vibe. It’s one of those places that you have to just “feel” with all your senses. Listen to the native sounds, and absorb the visual serenity of a place exuding peace and respect for natural beauty. Walking throughout the land, there are opportunities to reach out and touch the flora to feel the spirit of the land. The breathtaking beauty, the attention to detail and the out of this world experience make Pandora a must visit on your next trip to Disney World, and elevating Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park to a full day experience, if not multiple visits, to fully allow you the maximum experience that Pandora can offer.
It is not necessary to watch the movie Avatar before visiting Pandora as there is no tie-in to the movie, however, we did watch the movie before our visit to familiarise ourselves with the backstory the Na’vi culture, traditions and beliefs. We could not get enough of Pandora through our short visit, including both a day and night experience and cannot wait until our next visit to enjoy Pandora again.

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