We recently paid a visit to Pandora, The World of Avatar at Disney‘s Animal Kingdom during Annual Passholder previews. Pandora, opening May 27, 2017 is Animal Kingdom’s newest land and with four Avatar sequels in the works, it’s sure to be a popular destination in the park.
The World of Avatar is inspired by the 2009 James Cameron film, and if you’re like me and need a refresher course, the storyline goes like this: human conflict with the Na’vi (those are the blue humanoid looking creatures) has ended and you’re welcomed to Pandora as a guest of ACE (Alpha Centauri Expeditions).
The journey starts in the Valley of Mo’ara. It’s lush and immersive, with real and manufactured plant life dotting a landscape that features the floating mountains seen in the movie. We’re told that at night, the landscape of Pandora comes alive with glowing colors as the bioluminescent plants take on an otherworldly glow.
The next stop on your journey is the Kaspavan River via the Na’vi River Journey. The family-friendly dark ride takes you into the rainforest of the Valley of Mo’ara and the Na’vi Shaman of Songs serenades you with native music as your traditional style boat moves through the exotic plant life. It’s your basic “Small World” style boat ride with Avatar theming, so unless you’re a super fan of the movie, it’s skippable if the line is long.
For the more adventurous, Avatar Flight of Passage, a 3D simulator ride, starts with your DNA being matched with an avatar before you take to the air on the back of the mountain banshee. Banshees are winged predators and it’s a rite of passage for Na’vi to fly on a banshee. The mossy forest smells and ocean spray that hits your face as you swoop through the valley and among the floating mountains will have you wanting to paint your face blue and claim yourself a Na’vi. Long lines are predicted, so definitely fast pass this one as it’s not to be missed. Unfortunately, the motorbike style ride vehicles aren’t for everyone as people of certain body types are reporting being unable to ride the attraction, so buyer beware.
Flying banshees is thirsty work, so stop by Pongu Pongu refreshment stand for an exclusive Night Blossom Cocktail and some Pongu Lumpia to snack on. Skip the spendy souvenir cup and enjoy the non-alcoholic mix of limeade, apple and desert pear flavors, topped with passion fruit “seeds” (boba balls). Pongu Pongu means “party party” so specialty beers and alcoholic beverages are also available at The World of Avatar. Pongu Lumpia, wonton wrappers filled with pineapple and cream cheese, are a sweet twist on a typically savory Indonesia street food.
If a full meal is more your style, Satu’li Canteen is Pandora’s quick service restaurant offering healthy options like bowls and salads featuring vegetables, whole grains and proteins. If you’re looking for something a little more thematic, the cheeseburger steamed ‘pod’ is a bao stuffed with not only cheese and beef, but ketchup, mustard and pickles. And yes, it tastes exactly like what you’d expect – a McDonald’s hamburger. For ber’ri, the Na’vi word for dessert, the blueberry cream cheese mousse is as delicious as it is alien looking.