Visit Pandora: Passholder Preview at Animal Kingdom
We were so impressed with the new world of Pandora inspired by Avatar at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. With the opportunity from Disney to take advantage of our annual passholder preview time slot last week, we had the chance to Visit Pandora before the grand opening May 27th.
We had Pandora practically to ourselves during our preview timeslot. We were extremely pleased that both rides had little to no wait time and there was plenty of elbow room to really take in all the little details of this breathtaking new land.
A Whole New World
Disney’s team of imagineers put so much thought and detail into this park, from the floating mountains to the mixture of real and artificial landscaping. Everything seemed to be of another world. We received a map and field guide upon entry, and there are even two Wilderness Explorer stations to learn about the Na’Vi environment. Cast members speak in the native language, greeting you with hello and see you later in Na’Vi.
Na’Vi River Journey Ride
There are two new rides in Pandora. The first is the Na’Vi River Journey. This is a slow moving ride through the nighttime forests of Pandora. My (almost) 2 year old loved this ride. We rode it 5 times with no wait time and found new details to ooh and ahh over with each ride.
Flight of the Banshee Ride
The other ride is the Flight of the Banshee where you ride your own Banshee through the mountains of Pandora. There is a height requirement and a restriction for anyone who is pregnant. While I couldn’t ride it myself, my brother and friend rode it multiple times and gave me a full synopsis. The walk to the ride is rather long. They walked for at least 10 minutes and had to travel up several flights of stairs. The ride itself is rather constricting in how the restraints fit, securing your back and legs in an unusual way. The ride has the feel of Epcot’s Soarin with a Pandora twist.
Food of Pandora
While there is only one restaurant, the food and selection was great! My friend had a rice bowl and I tried the cheeseburger pod. It tasted more like a taco than a cheeseburger but was still very good. They also have self serve fountain drinks so free refills 😉 Strollers are not permitted inside, by the way. We also tried the signature drink, the Night Blossom. It was similar to a Violet Lemonade slushie with a lime center and peachy flavored bubbles (similar to bubble tea). It was a unique flavor experience and a fun new treat to try!
There are TONS of great photo spots in Pandora. With several mossy walls, the gorgeous cascading floating mountains and so many bright and vibrant plants everywhere it’s definitely picture perfect.
The merchandise for sale was also pretty impressive! They had tons of Avatar themed souvenirs including a glow in the dark section, tails, head dresses, plush animals, jewelry, live plants and more.
Overall, our Visit Pandora experience lived up to expectations! While we weren’t able to see any of the nighttime effects, there was glowing powder spread all over the ground and black lights lining the pathway. I can only imagine how beautiful Pandora will look at night. There was also a drum area that looked like a potential place for live entertainment in the future. The only thing I wish Disney would have included in their world of Avatar was some sort of play area or activit designed for younger children. As there is only one ride for young kids, and parents will surely want to ride the Flight of the Banshee using Child Swap, it gets a little boring just waiting around with a toddler. Still a fabulous new attraction worth seeing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Can’t wait to Visit Pandora again in a few weeks and see it aglow at night.