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I traveled to Orlando for the second time this year and I had the opportunity to visit Disney World on both trips. I’m trying to make up for lost time since I hadn’t visited Mickey since my last Disney vacation 20 years ago! (I know. It’s shocking). When I received the invitation from Disney to come explore Pandora located within the Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, ripples of ecstatic anticipation coursed through my body. You see, I love the Avatar movie. Did you know it first premiered December of 2009? Who doesn’t love the idea of exploring an alien world paired with an impossible love story? I know I do!
When I sat down to write this article I was tempted to give only one reason why you should visit Pandora–because it’s AWESOME. Instead, I’ll share 3 reasons why you must visit Pandora the World of Avatar.
1. The Wow Factor
When I first heard about the construction of Pandora, I’ll be honest I was skeptical. Could anyone capture the creative and intricate world that was portrayed in the movie, put it in Florida, USA, and make the reality so convincing that I’d become a believer? Well, Disney, you showed me! I was completely taken back by the awe-inspiring floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest, and winged mountain banshees. It’s not just the scenery that takes you to a whole other world, the sounds also captivate you as you stroll through Pandora. You won’t have to be a fan of the movie (even though I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be) to appreciate seeing this area of the park! Bring your imagination, camera, and come experience the wow factor!
2. Unique Cuisine
Most good memories for me are somehow linked with food. I remember Mexico for the ceviche, Maine for the ice cream, and now Pandora for the incredibly unique dishes that can be found at the Satu’li Canteen. I had heard that some people complained about the food selection. I’m shocked! I have tried many of the fast-service dining options within the Disney World parks and this is my new favorite!
Disney is all about making the stories come alive. The Satu’li Canteen is an RDA mess hall that has been turned into a dining facility that reflects the Na’vi culture perfectly. Ordering from the menu was an adventure of its own! I created my own Satu’li bowl complete with a protein of choice, mixed whole grain & rice base, and a charred onion chimichurri sauce (that was out of this world good). The DreamWalker Sangria was bright blue and so refreshing. I have heard that the Hawkes’ Grog Ale (green beer) is fun and delicious, I’ll be trying that on my next visit!
In my opinion, this is one of the better fast service food options throughout any of the parks. Healthy, delicious, and it keeps you fully immersed into the World of Avatar!
3. Flight Of Passage
I saved the best for last! I will start off by saying that you will want to ride the Na’vi River Journey ride because it’s a great way to relive the story of Avatar. Again, you will be captivated by the attention to detail that surrounds you as you float down the Na’vi River. However, my new favorite ride at Walt Disney World is Flight of Passage, yes I said it, my FAVORITE ride. The first time I rode it, I was on the ride with a father and his two daughters. When the ride ended he said “that was like SOARIN on steroids”, I couldn’t have explained it better!
An Experience You Won’t Forget
Of course, in true Disney style, you begin the ride with a fun, interactive story that prepares you for the journey ahead. You, my friend, will be paired with your very own banshee and will soon take off on your first flight. Do you remember as a kid actually believing that you were a princess or a superhero? This ride takes you back to being a kid. I really felt like I was flying through Pandora on a banshee. Every one of my senses was fully engaged. I felt the banshee breathe under my legs, I smelled the moss hanging from the trees, I felt water splash against my skin as we glided above the waves. You must try it out for yourself. I rode it four times and the thrill of this ride never wore off.
It wasn’t just me that enjoyed it, people of all ages were giddy and thoroughly entertained by this amazing ride! Kids were begging to get back in line to ride it again. My stomach hurt from laughing at the shrills of everyone as they enjoyed the ride for the first time. This is the best reason to visit Pandora World of Avatar.
What You Need To Know:
- If you use the My Disney Experience app you can order and pay for your food at the Satu’li Canteen ahead of time. This is a great way to avoid standing in line.
- Please note that the Flight of Passage ride has this advisory: “The seating and restraints of this attraction may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from riding.”
- Nightly, from now until August 19th, 2017, you can enjoy “Extra” Extra Magic hours. This is available ONLY for Pandora the World of Avatar. Guests who are staying at select Walt Disney World Resorts can take advantage of this perk. The “Extra” Extra hours are from 10:00 pm to midnight.
- You can make your FastPass+ selections up to 30 days (60 days if you are staying on-site) before your visit. This will help you avoid the long lines.
- Don’t forget to read my 8 Things To Know Before Your First Trip To Disney World post.