I’m a tad bit late posting this, forgive me! A few weeks ago I was able to visit Animal Kingdom and explore the NEW Pandora – The World of Avatar on opening weekend. This is a new section of the Animal Kingdom Park. It is themed to the movie Avatar. Remember it? It came out in 2009, it won 3 oscars, it was essentially the story of Pocahontas but in space? Oh ok, now you remember. My brother who is a genius movie critic called it, “The best most forgettable movie!”.
I was shocked that Disney had partnered with James Cameron (writer & director). Of all the movies, this was the one they chose? But then my brother informed that there are 3 sequels in the making. Now it all makes sense. Personally, I would have thought an Ice Age/Frozen Tundra World would have been neat. With polar bears, penguins, wolves, seals, puffins, ice sculptures, a South Pole photo op, and a below freezing room you could walk through (like they used to have free the coke exhibit in EPCOT). But ok sure, Pandora. Lets go with that!
Wow, was I humbled when I first saw this place. My attitude was completely different when I left. You first walk down a long walkway to get to Pandora, the Na’vi’s (blue people) homeland. You can only see the the impressive floating mountains from the outside. As you enter this 12 acre new addition you quickly feel transported. You left Animal Kingdom and Mickey Mouse behind. It is a park on its own. The details are what makes the place incredible. There is not one inch of this place that wasn’t meticulously thought out and decorated. I was impressed by the utter beauty and effort made by the imagineers Joe Rohde (the head Imagineer at Walt Disney World) is a creative force and I hope he never retires.
I almost don’t want to post pictures of Pandora because I don’t want to ruin it for you. You need to see this world for yourself. It’s one of the most beautiful man made places I’ve ever seen.
The Na’vi River Journey is a calming boat ride that takes you on a journey through the bioluminescence of Pandora at night. It is serene and visually engaging.
Flight of Passage is the second ride inside Pandora. It is a motion simulated thrilling ride that you experience in 3D. Put on your 3D googles and hop on a banshee! You will smell the dirt, feel the breath, get misted by the ocean. It’s an all encompassing ride that is hard to explain until you ride it for yourself. It has the majesty of Soarin’ with the thrill of Everest. But if you are prone to motion sickness – sit this one out or proceed with caution.
Satu’li Canteen is a tribal theme but somehow military mess hall comes to mind as well. It’s an odd combo that works really well for this place. There is no greasy remade box lunches here! This Canteen has a “build your own bowl” menu with 48 different combinations. You chose a protein (slow-roasted sliced grilled beef, chopped wood-grilled chicken, sustainable fish fillet, or chili-spiced crispy fried tofu), pick a base (quinoa & vegetable salad, red & sweet potato hash, mixed whole grain & rice, or romaine & kale salad) and a sauce (charred onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette or creamy herb dressing.). There are also little dumpling pods you may order with a cheeseburger option or a vegetable curry filling. The whole menu is a surprisingly healthier menu compared to the majority of restaurants inside the Disney Parks. There are also a couple neat themed desserts and a kids menu. Click HERE for the full Menu. (There is also a Breakfast Menu Coming Soon!)
Pong Pongu is the local Pandora Bar. All the drinks are themed towards the movie but are the usually tiki bar drinks. There are two non alcoholic beverages served there. Click HERE for the full Menu.
Trust me, this place is not just for Avatar fans. (Although, it helps to have seen the movie. I saw the movie the week before I went.) If you come to Animal Kingdom, it would be a shame if you missed Pandora. Come and explore even if you don’t eat and ride.
Oh, I almost forgot. You gotta see this place AT NIGHT….
ok, that’s it, no more spoilers.
See ya there!