Pandora – The World of Avatar officially opened to the public on May 27th but we had the opportunity to visit a day before and what an experience it was.
From the moment you cross the bridge from Animal Kingdom and enter the 12 acre world of Pandora it really does feel you are walking on another planet 4.4 million lights years away.
Inspired by the hit movie Avatar, Disney have really created a masterpiece here at Animal Kingdom. In Pandora the home of the Na’vi people you truly feel completely immersed in this magical new world complete with sounds of Pandoran wildlife, gigantic floating mountains, lush waterfalls, bioluminescent rainforests and captivating alien-like vegetation. It’s worth a trip to Walt Disney World Resort just to see this new area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The floating mountains in particular are so spectacular that pictures and video really do not do it justice, you really have to visit to experience this new world. From certain angles it really does look as if these huge mountains are actually floating! How Disney managed to create this amazed us all.
As we explored the mystical Valley of Mo’ara of Pandora we noticed that there were no signs, this is because Disney wants you to explore this magnificent alien world. Around each corner we turned we found something new to look at or interact with, it is so engaging. Even the Disney cast members play their part as they greet you with Na’vi words and explain some of the stunning alien plant life and sounds you can hear.
Na’vi River Journey
The first attraction we found was the Na’vi River Journey which was a truly wonderful ride perfect for all of the family. The girls we so excited to ride the Na’vi River Journey after watching the Disney Parks promo videos on Youtube before Pandora opened.
If your children like the Pirates of the Caribbean, Small World or Frozen boat rides at Disney then the Na’vi River Journey will really amaze you. As your boat sets sail deep into the beautiful bioluminescent forest you come across creatures crawling on the canopies above and Pandoran animals running through the rainforest.
It was so atmospheric and the visuals and sound on this ride really did wow us – we didn’t know where to look to take it all in. The ride reaches its pinnacle when we met the Shaman of Songs. The animatronics on the Shaman of Songs was so realistic that my youngest daughter asked was it a real alien.
The look on the girls faces as they watched the Shaman sing and move was so memorable it what makes a holiday to Disney so special. There was so much to take in on this immersive ride made it believable and captivating not only for the children but for us adults too.
We would have loved to have been able to run around to the start and ride all over again but this is a very popular ride with wait times exceeding 70 minutes so I would strongly recommend booking a Fastpass+ if possible.
Flight of Passage
Next up was Flight of Passage – where you ride on the back of a banshee which is a dragon-like creature on Pandora. Our six year old decided to give this a miss and excitedly went to explore the Windtraders shop with her grandparents to look for a Na’vi toy, leaving my husband, daughter and I to make the climb up the Hallelujah mountains to the start of the ride.
As you walk through a series of caves you will see the intricate and authentic looking cave drawings and belongings from the native Na’vi people until you reach the abandoned RDA facility ( a company from the Avatar movie).
The attention to detail once more is breathtaking with the old building starting to be reclaimed by the bioluminescent plant life of Pandora and you even see a real avatar floating in the tank in the laboratory
Finally you arrive at the facility where you are matched to your unique Avatar which was really interactive and fun before you place on your special glasses and climb aboard your own banshee.
Once you sit on the ride and you see the scale of the attraction, it is so captivating and immersive it really does transport you into the alien world of Pandora from the Avatar movie. It really is unlike any other ride you would have ever been on.
This multisensory experience allows you to feel the breeze on your face as you soar, spiral and speed through bioluminescent caves, smelling the earth of the rainforest floor, past floating mountains and encountering predators on the world of Pandora.
As you reach the ocean you can actually feel the ocean mist on your face it’s so realistic – you can even feel the breath of your banshee below you. When the journey finished the look on our faces just summed up just how good this ride was.
Whilst it has similarities to the Soarin ride at Epcot, Flight of Passage really does take your experience to another level. If you can manage to reserve a Fastpass+ this is highly recommended as the length of the lines that Disney has catered for could mean wait times exceeding 3+ hours in the standby line.
You exit through the ride at Windtraders the Pandora inspired store where we met our 6 year old who had already chosen her Na’vi soft toy. There was so much Pandoran inspired merchandise to buy, and what caught the girl’s eye in particular was when they had a demonstration of a baby banshee at the Rookery.
Food and Drink
Food and Drink has a distinctly Pandoran theme here , expect to find delicious Na’vi inspired drinks, meals and snacks – our favourite was the eye catching bioluminescent frozen drinks.
At night the world of Pandora transforms into a beautiful glowing natural bioluminescence, from the floor you are walking on to high up on the floating mountains. When you visit at night you have a totally different experience – it’s like visiting two different worlds it’s that good.
Pandora: The World of Avatar really lived up to all of our expectations and more from the official Disney Parks Youtube promo videos that we watched before our holiday. From the start of our visit to Pandora until the end it really did feel we had visited another planet it was that good.
Even if you are not an Avatar fan you will be hard pressed not to be impressed by this new world that Disney has created. As we crossed the bridge to leave Pandora the girls were beautifully singing the same song that they heard from the Shaman of Songs on the Na’vi River Journey.
Video Tour of Pandora