After years in the making, Pandora at Disney World officially made its debut this summer. Imagineers spent hours upon hours honing their ideas to ensure this new land, with a location inside Animal Kingdom, would be perfect. As a result, guests are treated to an unparalleled experience that feels as if you’re walking through the world of Pandora. All the anticipation, the build up—it was worth it!
There’s so much to see and do while visiting Pandora at Disney World. With that in mind, let’s go behind-the-scenes for an insider’s look at the rides, attractions, shows, food and so much more!
This new Animal Kingdom land takes its inspiration from the hugely popular Avatar movies. Those movies are famous for not only the world they create but the adventures of the Na’Vi people. Keeping that as the focus of the attractions is key to the Avatar-inspired adventures available to guests. They include:
Avatar Flight of Passage
Imagineers knew they’d have a hard time recreating the visual aspects of Pandora; it’s a stunning landscape! As a result, Avatar Flight of Passage is a virtual reality ride that uses technology to place you in the heart of the Na’vi experience. Before you go on the ride, though, the entry provides 360-degree views of the Valley of Mo’ara’s floating mountains. Upon viewing these mountains you’ll think only one thing: “How’d they get them to float?” It’s a totally surreal surrounding!
The queue of Avatar’s Flight of Passage is highly detailed. Taking a page from the human side of the Avatar movie, it features a lab and Pandora Conservation Initiative area. All in all, it feels very industrial and even features specimens of aliens to observe. The real highlight here, though, is that it’s one of only two times you’ll see an Avatar inside the park.
Soon enough, though, it’s time to be paired with a banshee. The pairing enables humans to experience life as an Avatar, similar to Jake Scully’s experience in the movie. Once you’ve got your mate, prepare yourself for a truly euphoric adventure as you fly over the world of Pandora. It’s such a rush, and so visually immersive, you’ll want to go and again and again; there’s something new to discover every time! It’s truly one of the most impressive virtual reality experience of any theme park.
What makes the ride so intense? The movements of the simulator are very realistic. For example, you can feel the banshee breathing between your knees which enhances the experience. Plus, the 3D glasses make the VR world that much more appealing.
Na’Vi River Journey
Pandora at Disney World strives to appeal to those of all ages and activity levels. This is apparent of the Na’Vi River Journey, which is an excellent ride the whole family can enjoy together.
I recommend taking this raft ride through a bioluminescent forest before you experience Flight of Passage. Otherwise, this attraction might feel a little less impressive if only for its slower speed and calmer design. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing delight for the senses to see exotic glowing plants and rainforest creatures as you search for the “Shaman of Songs.” Once you meet this Avatar, which is the only other Avatar in the park, she demonstrates her deep connection to the life force of Pandora. In addition, she’s mesmerizing to watch; you’ll think she’s actually real!
Valley of Mo’ara
The out-of-this-world images you see of Pandora at Disney World are largely taken from the Valley of Mo’ara. This showpiece features a rich landscape with a focus on eco-tourism. Throughout, there are various vivid plants of all shapes and sizes. Color plays a key role here, with purples, pinks, and blues contrasting sharply with the green foliage. This all serves its purpose well to bring the concept of Pandora from the digital world to the real one. Not an easy task, mind you!
In addition, cast members here speak the Na’Vi language, enabling them to engage you in Pandora’s native tongue. As far as entertainment goes, there is a drum circle outside of the Flight of Passage and River Journey. Stop by and listen to the sounds of Pandora.
Flavors of Pandora
I’d be remiss if I discussed Pandora at Disney World and didn’t detail the exotic flavors and variety of food available. Imagineers made sure this layer of the park was perfection by crafting cuisine that spoke to the native elements of the Avatar-filled world.
Previously, this canteen as an RDA mess hall. It’s since been transformed into a peaceful, Na’Vi inspired café with a menu showcasing Pandora’s natural abundance. Specialty items, such as the Cheeseburger steamed pods, add a futuristic quality to the offerings. There are also international dishes with textures and colors that pair well with the Pandora-esque environment.
Be sure to stop for a drink at Pongu Pongu, too. They serve alcoholic beverages as well as popular bubble and gummy teas.
Making Memories at Pandora
Get interactive at Pandora by getting your face painted, Na’Vi-style, at Colors of Mo’ara. Likewise, you can dress up in a character costume inspired by the Avatar movie. You can also take the experience with you by purchasing souvenirs from outfitters like Windtraders. They have everything from science kits to stuffed animals.
Keep in mind Pandora at Disney Worl is a completely different experience from day to night. During the day the mountains of Mo’ara loom large while at night the entire land transforms into a bioluminescent forest. Even the cement sidewalks beneath you glow! I highly recommend experiencing both sides of Pandora to see all this amazing new land has to offer.
Making the Most of Your Time
Pandora at Disney World offers an exceptional experience. It truly is one of the most remarkable theme park expansions in recent history. That said, it’s busy. Like, really busy. So, be sure to maximize your time by following these tips:
Extended Theme Park Hours are available to Disney Resort guests now through August 19. These “extra” Extra Magic hours ensure you’ll have enough time to experience all Pandora has to offer.
Use FastPass+ for Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na’Vi River Journey. This will expedite your adventures.
Are You Ready to Visit Pandora at Disney World?
Of course, you are! Before you go, though, be sure to reserve discount Disney World tickets through Reserve Orlando. Not only can they save you money, they got tips, tricks, and insight on all things Disney World.