Everything You Need to Know About Pandora Animal Kingdom – Pandora – The World of AVATAR, including Pandora Disney World attractions, Pandora merchandise, Pandora food, and more.
Disclosure: I had the opportunity to attend the Disney Pandora – The World of AVATAR press event at no cost. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are included – we may make a small commission when you purchase through our link at no additional cost to you.
Visiting Disney Pandora – The World of AVATAR including the MUST SEE Pandora Disney World attraction Flight of Passage
There’s a new “world” taking over Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, and I had the opportunity to check it out last week, as part of a media preview. Disney’s Pandora – The World of AVATAR, opened officially on Saturday, and guests are already lining up for hours to enjoy this beautiful new land. Planning a trip to Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Here’s everything you need to know about Disney Pandora – The World of AVATAR. Looking to shop Pandora merchandise before your trip? Here’s a link to everything available at shop Disney.
Pandora – The World of AVATAR features one new quick-service restaurant, two fabulous new attractions, a gift shop offering exclusive merchandise, and a drink/snack stand. Pandora is located in the old Camp Minnie-Mickey area at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and is a short walk from the park front entrance. The whole area is completely themed for Pandora – it’s the most immersive experience that I’ve witnessed at a theme park. Animal Kingdom, which really used to be considered more of a half-day park, is now definitely more of a full day park.
Even just walking through Pandora is an experience. As you enter the Valley of Mo’ara, you’ll see so much of the plant life and culture of Pandora, including a Na’vi drum circle that guests can play, a plaska reclinata that sprays water when you touch it, waterfalls, plants, and the famous floating mountains of Pandora. It looks completely different at night, so you’ll probably want to visit Pandora twice – during the day and after dark.
The Attractions of Disney Pandora – The World of AVATAR
When you hear about Pandora – The World of AVATAR, you are likely to hear about Avatar Flight of Passage, which is definitely the highlight of the land. The .3 mile queue is an experience in itself – filled with beautiful plants, and a realistic looking lab where you’ll see a life-sized avatar.
Avatar – Flight of Passage
With Avatar Flight of Passage, you have the opportunity to experience a Na’vi right of passage – flying a banshee. After going through the queue, you’ll walk into a room where you’ll be scanned for your perfect avatar. There are a few different versions of this pre-show – I went through it a few times and saw a slightly different show each time. After you are matched with an avatar, you’ll go through another room where you’ll learn about the ride.
If you have a FastPass for the ride, you’ll pass through the queue, but will be able to see the preshow to get scanned for your avatar. While the ride queue is really well done, you’ll probably want to try for a FastPass to avoid waiting in line for too long.
I’ve already heard a lot of chatter about the Avatar Flight of Passage ride vehicle, so I’ll address what I experienced. The ride vehicle is similar to a motorcycle, and after you are seated, you’ll be “sealed” in. That involves something that holds in your back, as well as your legs. I definitely don’t like enclosed spaces, but didn’t have an issue at all – I just felt secure. The ride vehicle does have a size constraint, but there is a sample outside the ride that you can try before going through the queue. There are eight of the vehicles in each room, and sixteen people go through the pre-show at a time (two rooms of eight are connected).
This is a motion simulator ride, so you’ll be handed 3D glasses before you go into the ride. I do get motion sickness, especially on Star Tours, so I was concerned. Avatar Flight of Passage is a cross between Soarin’ and Star Tours, but even more immersive. I did feel the motion and started to get a little motion sick. But I found that closing my eyes, just for a second, helped.
Honestly, the ride is so breathtaking and fantastic that you really won’t want to miss anything. It’s amazing – you’ll really find yourself ducking, bobbing, and weaving as you go through the ride. The smells, sensations (water actually lightly sprays at you at just the right moments) and sights are spectacular. So, if you do need to close your eyes, try to only do it for a second.
Wondering if it’s worth the wait? In my opinion, it is – but I’d definitely recommend going early in the day for the shortest lines.
Na’vi River Journey
The Na’vi River Journey is definitely the most calm of the two new attractions. Similar to Pirates of the Caribbean or it’s a small world, you’ll board a boat that takes you on a beautiful journey through the bioluminescent rainforest. During your boat ride, you’ll search for the Shaman of Songs. It’s a dark ride, but not scary, so it’s definitely great for families. Everything is absolutely beautiful – my photo above really doesn’t do it justice because it’s so hard to photograph in the dark while riding a moving vehicle.
When choosing your Disney FastPasses for Animal Kingdom attractions, you’ll have to choose either the Na’vi River Journey or Flight of Passage. I’d definitely recommend Flight of Passage out of those two.
The Food at Disney Pandora – The World of AVATAR
Satu’li Canteen at Pandora
I’ve always loved the food at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but the Satu’li Canteen at Pandora takes things to the next level. Officially the original “mess hall” at the RDA (Resources Development Administration), Satu’li Canteen offers some fabulous, unique food options.
Pictured above is the Cheeseburger Pod. Each bite tastes just like a deconstructed cheeseburger, but even more tasty. The restaurant also offers built-your-own Satu’li bowls – my favorite protein was definitely the delicious chopped wood-grilled chicken.
This has become one of the most popular quick service locations at Walt Disney World, so arrive early or late to make sure you can get a seat. You can also order food online through the My Disney Experience app to save time in line.
Right across from the Satu’li Canteen is Pongu Pongu, a stand that offers two frozen drink options (one alcoholic, one non-alcoholic) as well as two draft beer options. They also offer a yummy dessert/snack – Pongu Lumpia – a pineapple cream cheese spring roll. I had the Mo’ara Margarita (flavored with strawberry and blood orange with boba balls) and it was absolutely delicious and refreshing.
The Merchandise at Disney Pandora – The World of AVATAR
Outside of Avatar Flight of Passage is Tradewinds – the gift shop at Pandora offering a number of exclusive new merchandise. Guests can adopt a banshee that can sit on your shoulder and is controlled by an attached remote. You can also make your own Na’vi necklace and purchase your very own avatar. Tradewinds also offers glow merchandise, Na’vi headpieces and tails, and much more. I couldn’t leave without purchasing this wallet/iPhone case, which glows when your phone rings or when it’s opened. Some, but not all, of the Pandora merchandise is available online at the Disney Store (including the wallet/iPhone case).
At the entrance of Pandora is the Colors of Mo’ara where you can have your face painted in Na’vi-inspired designs.
Extra Magic Hours and FastPass+ for Pandora – The World of AVATAR
Of course, this highly-anticipated new land is very popular, so you’ll want to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours and FastPass+ if at all possible.
Both Pandora – The World of AVATAR attractions offer FastPass+. Guests will need to book in advance, following the standard FastPass+ process. However, you need to choose between these two attractions because you can only book one due to the popularity.
To learn more about Pandora – The World of AVATAR, visit their website. Check out this video below for more photos/video of our experience.
If you are looking for a hotel for your Walt Disney World vacation, I recommend the following hotels. Note that I have stayed in some of these resorts as part of press trips, but all opinions are my own.