On May 27th, Walt Disney World opened its newest, and highly anticipated, land in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Pandora – The World of Avatar is an immersive land, located beyond Tiffin’s and the Nomad Lounge and is based on James Cameron’s Avatar movie series. Walking into Pandora is truly like being transported to that other planet.
First, I’ll talk about the ins and outs of Pandora with tips and tricks on how to experience the best the land has to offer with the shortest wait times.
Inside Pandora, you will find 2 new attractions, Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, in addition to Wind Traders and Colors of Mo’ara, souvenir shops, Pongu Pongu, a kiosk for unique drinks and snacks, and Sati’li Canteen, a quick service restaurant.
Flight of Passage is a screen-based attraction similar to Soarin’ in Epcot. Though I often describe it as Soarin’ x 10. For this attraction, you mount a Banshee and are connected to an Avatar to experience flight as a Na’vi would on Pandora. You’ll experience thrilling drops and turns, while feeling the Banshee “breathe” under your legs.
The queue for Flight of Passage is nothing short of amazing. In the outside queue, you get a unique view and perspective of the Floating Mountains. Inside, you transition from ancient Na’vi cave paintings to industrialized and scientific research experiments.
The real centerpiece of this queue is the avatar animatronic. Watching the avatar float with real, lifelike movements is breathtaking and nearly worth the price of admission itself.
The height requirement for this attraction is 44″. It is also easily the cornerstone of the land itself, so you can expect long lines. Fastpass+ highly recommended.
Na’vi River Journey is a dark, boat ride attraction suitable for all ages. While not as exciting as Flight of Passage, it is enjoyable for the whole family.
It is also beautiful! The bioluminescence is on full display. The Shaman of Songs ends your journey, and is the most impressive animatronic I have ever seen. The movements are so fluid and lifelike, it may cause you to take a second (or third, or fourth) look. Be warned, her song is an ear worm, and will be stuck in your head for days!
Onto the food!
I really enjoy this restaurant. I’ve eaten as much off of the menu as I could and there really has not been an item that I didn’t enjoy. My only complaint would be the veggie chips. They’ve been inconsistent during the times we’ve eaten here, sometimes crispy and fresh, and other times a little limp and soggy.
However, there are so many other reasons to give this restaurant a try. The theming is, of course, ridiculously good. It has plenty of indoor and covered outdoor seating. Satu’li Canteen is also the founding restaurant for mobile ordering, which is more convenient than I could ever say. For a family with small children, being able to order from your seat, having one member of your party collect the food while the other stays with the kids is a lifesaver.
Pongu Pongu offers quick drinks and snacks. The Night Blossom is the non-alcoholic offering here, and we were not impressed. Overly sweet, the large straw (necessary for the Passion Fruit boba balls) was awkward, and overall it was just not our favorite thing. This is located right outside the Satu’li Canteen and has access to the large, covered seating.
So if you’ve made it this far, you know it’s time for some strategy. Crowds in Pandora have not trended toward the ebb and flow of other areas in the Disney World parks, as it is still fairly new it is quite busy from park open to park close. My suggested plan is this: You are only allowed to Fastpass+ one Pandora attraction, and the clear winner for this is Flight of Passage. However, this can be very difficult to obtain, even bright and early at the 60 day mark. As you are planning your trip itinerary, I suggest putting your Animal Kingdom day toward the end of your trip to better your chances of getting that Fastpass. If you are able to get that Fastpass, and are lucky enough to have times to choose from, I would further suggest making your fastpass+ reservation for after dark. This guarantees you entrance into Pandora if it hits capacity, and entrance into Flight of Passage without 3+ hour waits. Late in the evening, I found that Flight of Passage was closed to all guests excluding Fastpass, and stand by only open to resort guests utilizing extra magic hours.
If Na’vi River Journey is the only Fastpass+ you can get, go ahead and get it (for the evening hours so you don’t miss out on all the beautiful bioluminescence) and arrive at Animal Kingdom as early as you can stand to hit Flight of Passage first thing in the morning. You aren’t guaranteed a “no-wait” experience with this strategy, but our experience was around 45 minutes.