Thank you to Walt Disney World for granting me free entry into Animal Kingdom in exchange for media coverage of the world of Pandora.
The beautiful world of Pandora has been brought to life at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. As an annual passholder, we’ve been countless times (check out my old post when we went for Passholder Preview before it officially opened). If you’re planning a trip this summer, Pandora is a can’t miss attraction. I’m excited to share my secrets to exploring Pandora with you!
Rides of Pandora
Pandora offers two incredible rides, Na’vi River Journey and Flights of Passage. Na’vi River Journey is a slow moving boat ride through the beautiful forest of Pandora. Set at night time, this ride uses black lights with florenscent paint, fiber optics, animatronics and digital projections to bring the environment to life. The tribal music makes the glowing effects pulse and gets louder as you move further through the ride. This ride is family friendly and suitable for all ages. Young children and babies may sit on your lap and will enjoy taking in the many sights it has to offer.
Flights of Passage is a motion simulation ride similar to Soarin’ at Walt Disney’s Epcot. The ride requires 3D glasses so those sensitive to motion sickness should ride with caution. You sit similar to how you would ride a motorcycle with restraints coming behind your lower back and calves. The ride itself is amazing. You ride on the back of a Banshee through the world of Pandora, experiencing sights, sounds and even smells like none other. This is the (dare I even say) most incredible ride at Walt Disney World. Though small children can’t ride, it is eligible for Child Swap. If you’re planning a trip to Animal Kingdom, Flights of Passage is a MUST.
Pandora Rides with Little to No Wait
If you’re planning to visit Pandora, there’s a few ways to ride both the Na’vi River Journey and Flights of Passage for little to no wait time. Here are the secrets everyone wants to know, but not many will share.
Book a FastPass+
This may seem like a no brainer, but FastPasses for these two rides go quickly. Be sure to book well in advanced to ensure you can secure one of these coveted passes to avoid waiting in long lines. If you plan your trip and book at a Disney Resort, you will have the opportunity to book FastPasses 60 days in advanced, giving you a better chance of getting them before they’re gone.
Use Magic Hours
At least one day each week, Disney World Resort guests receive exclusive early access to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Arrive early and head straight to Pandora (to the left). During this hour you should be able to ride at least one if not both Pandora rides before the park opens to regular guests. Jump in line for Flights of Passage FIRST.
Get There Early
If you can’t grab a coveted FastPass+ and you’re also not staying on property, plan to be at the park 15-30 minutes before park open and don’t try this on a “Magic Hours” resort day. Head straight to Pandora and get in line for Flights of Passage first as that wait time will be the longest later in the day.
While this tactic won’t work for both rides, it will work for at least one. Toward the end of the evening, most guests are headed to the Rivers of Light night show on the other side of the park. Line queue times are typically left at a higher than accurate number near park close. Jump in line 5-10 minutes before the official closing time. We waited 15 minutes when the sign said 70 minutes.
Eat Like the Na’vi
It’s not a truly immersive experience without eating like the natives and Pandora is no exception. I love eating at the Satu’li Canteen when we visit Pandora. This quick service restaurant features a menu completely themed to Avatar. You won’t find any chicken fingers here. My favorite entree is the cheeseburger pods. The various ‘bowls’ are delicious and quite filling too. Don’t forgot to also grab some ber’ri (Na’vi for dessert). My favorite is the blueberry cream cheese mousse. The restaurant has plenty of seating inside and out with a nicely covered patio area with fans and heaters for climate control. There’s self serve fountain beverages too which means REFILLS. Not all Disney World restaurants offer that luxury.
Across from the Satu’li Canteen is a small drink window called Pongu Pongu that serves delicious and refreshing beverages. My favorite is the Night Blossom, an apple and pear limeade flavored slushie with flavorful pops of passion fruit Boba Balls. They have alcoholic beverage options too for guests 21 years and older.
Visit Pandora at Night
Quite possibly the most breathtaking Pandora view is the landscape after the sun goes down. The plants, trees and ground glow under the many black lights strategically placed throughout the park. Even the top of the floating mountains are aglow with beautiful blues, greens and purples.
Must Take Photo Ops
I’m a huge photo lover, so of course scoping out the best photo spots is a must. Look for PhotoPass photographers throughout the area including near the big steaming plant at the entrance and by the drum section overlooking the floating mountains. At night, PhotoPass photographers will have lights on their tripods to make them easier to spot.
Ask your photographer about Magic Shot options. We had a Banshee fly into one of our pictures! Lastly, the “Moss Wall” has become the Animal Kingdom Purple Wall equivalent. It even has its own Instagram page. The bright pops of green makes it a fun and colorful background.