Just like in the movie, Pandora – The World of AVATAR at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is a beautiful land that celebrates the magic of nature, with 2 hugely-anticipated attractions: the incredible 3D AVATAR Flight of Passage and the indoor boat ride Na’vi River Journey.
So what is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park’s latest area like and – most importantly – do the attractions really live up to the hype??
Attraction #1: AVATAR Flight of Passage
To answer one of the most burning questions about this attraction, you don’t NEED to have seen the AVATAR movie to enjoy it. However I think it helps to have at least some knowledge of why the pairing of the Avatar and the Banshee is important, and exactly how you are ‘riding’ on a Banshee.
The Queue Experience
There are 2 separate chambers that you wait in with instructional videos that prepare you for your banshee pairing and explain a little more about the important work on Pandora. The theming is great but it will be even more immersive if you’ve seen the movie – you can actually see yourself morphing into your Avatar which is a great touch and provides lots of laughs!
Once you’re actually on the attraction – all I can say is that it’s absolutely breathtaking!
The screen can be likened to Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot, but the experience itself is like nothing I have ever done before – and I’ve been to Florida a LOT.
You board a vehicle similar to a motorcycle (be prepared, this is a very snug fit!), and the movements you feel whilst flying on your banshee is simply amazing – you can even feel it breathe.
I wanted to ride this again and again. However Tink (8) was not so keen and kept her eyes closed the entire time. This is worth bearing in mind with younger children or those who get scared easily (the height restriction is 44″/112cm).
Befriend your own Banshee at the Gift Shop!
You exit the ride through the main merchandise store, Windtraders. This beautifully-themed shop has lots of Pandora-themed items to purchase. One of its most popular items is a small banshee which can sit on your shoulder and move. So cool it even has its own roped-off area!
Attraction #2: Na’vi River Journey
Much less intense but just as spectacular! The queue experience is similar to AVATAR Flight of Passage in that you wind your way through paths which feel like you are in the movie.
The riverboat journey itself is reminiscent of “it’s a small world” (minus the dolls and stick-in-your-head song) – but with amazing bio-luminescent plants, other-worldly animatronic creatures and traditional Na’vi music leading you to the Shaman of Songs.
I enjoyed the journey, and whilst for me the repeatability factor would be middling to low, Tink loved it and would happily have done it again.
Na’vi River Journey is a perfect attraction for young families, and being indoors it’s also a great place to head if the heat is getting too much!
The Food at Pandora – The World of AVATAR
Pandora – The World of AVATAR has some of the most unusual and land-specific foods in all of Walt Disney World Resort! The quick-service open-air Satu’li Canteen serves things like slow-roasted sliced grilled beef bowl, chopped wood-grilled chicken bowl and Cheeseburger steamed pods!
Even the kids’ meals here are extremely individual, with smaller versions of the adult meals and a beef hotdog served with vegetable chips.
The venue itself is reminiscent of a mess hall which would have been used by the RDA (Resources Development Administration) in the movie. You can spot these initials on different things dotted around the land.
Major Must-Dos at Pandora – The World of AVATAR:
- Make sure you visit in the daytime AND at night. The land truly comes to life in the darkness, with all of the plants lit up with the bio-luminescent lighting… Magical!
- Get a Disney FastPass+ for at least one of the attractions, or head there as soon as the park opens! Standby lines reached up to 3 hours when it first opened and can still be well over an hour long
- Treat yourself to one of the Instagram-famous cocktails with the boba balls at Pongu Pongu (translation: Party Party!) drinks kiosk
- Attractions aside, just meandering through the land is awe-inspiring – the floating mountains alone are worth the trip.
Pandora – the World of AVATAR is a wonderful addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and with several new AVATAR films in the pipeline, there can only be more to look forward to in the future!
©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. JAMES CAMERON’S AVATAR is a trademark of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.