Recently my family and I registered for Disney's Annual Passholder preview of the new Pandora – The Land of Avatar section of Disney's Animal Kingdom. All information in this blog post is based on our visit. As with any newly opened attraction, aspects of the attractions and new area may change during its test run phase. We will update this blog if anything changes or new information becomes available.
Pandora currently has two attractions, two food and beverage locations, and two locations to purchase merchandise. The restrooms in this part of Animal Kingdom do offer companion restrooms. Pandora is a beautifully themed section of Animal Kingdom with both real and imagineered plants and flowers artfully placed throughout. The plants glow at night along with portions of the walking paths.
Na'vi River Journey
The first attraction in Pandora is the Na'vi River Journey. Guests can "journey deep into a bioluminescent rainforest in search of the Na'vi Shaman of Songs." This is a family friendly boat ride that does not have a height requirement. The queue to this attraction is primarily outdoors in a covered switchback setup that would be loud on busy days. The attraction has a Fastpass+ option and will accept the DAS. You cannot have a FP+ for both the Na'vi River Journey and the Avatar Flight of Passage attraction. You must choose between the two.
The Na’vi River Journey does not offer a wheelchair accessible boat so all guests who use wheelchairs or ECV's must transfer to the boat in order to ride. The boats require a big step into and out of them.
The ride itself is calm and takes place inside. The lighting is dim and the sounds (primarily jungle-like creature sounds) are not loud. However, as your boat reaches the Shaman (an amazing animatronic and the highlight of the entire ride), the singing and music becomes louder. The bioluminescent plants are intriguing in their uniqueness and colors. We enjoyed this ride and the main weakness (other than not being wheelchair accessible) is that the ride seemed too short.
Avatar Flight of Passage
The second and headliner attraction in Pandora is Avatar Flight of Passage 3-D ride. "Fly on the back of a mountain banshee during an exhilarating 3-D ride above this vast moon." This attraction has a height requirement of 44". Flight of Passage has a Fastpass+ option and will accept the DAS. It also offers a single rider option. You cannot have a FP+ for both the Na'vi River Journey and the Avatar Flight of Passage attraction. You must choose between the two.
Flight of Passage Queue:
The first section of the queue for this attraction follows a long, steep incline for a significant portion of the queue. The queue wanders through a variety of well themed areas including caves, dark conservation section, laboratory with an astonishing animatronic and finally the loading zone. Our understanding is the standby queue is long enough for at least a 4 hour wait. Guests utilizing the single rider or Fastpass+ queue for this attraction will encounter a much reduced queue length along with missing a significant portion of the best features of the Flight of Passage queue. Guests may remain in their ECVs throughout the queue until the seating assignment section. At this point ECV users must transfer to a wheelchair (or if possible, walk) for the remainder of the queue.
Flight of Passage Boarding and Ride Vehicle:
Once guests reach the seating assignment area, there is a series of two holding rooms that they must proceed through. There are videos in the holding rooms that instruct guests how to link to their Avatar in order to ride the Banshee. Guests are also instructed where to place carry-on items and the safety restraints and are given their 3D glasses.
The vehicle seat looks like a small motorcycle seat with handlebars. Guests must be able to straddle the seat. The restraints come up from behind the guest and press against their lower to mid back and both calves. Guests with certain body types may have trouble fitting properly. When we visited, there was no test seat in front of the attraction. CMs have indicated that a test seat will be outside the ride once Pandora opens to the public on May 27, 2017.
Flight of Passage Ride:
The ride itself is reminiscent of Soarin’. The ride vehicle 'breathes', adding to the feeling you are on a Banshee flying through Pandora with its vivid and breathtaking scenery shown on a multi-story 3D screen. The attraction also enhances the rider’s experience by including wind effects, smells and some spraying water. If you are a fan of Soarin', you'll probably love Flight of Passage. There are no loud sounds nor overpowering senses but guests who have extreme fears of heights or experience motion sickness from simulator rides may not enjoy this attraction.
Once the ride ends, guests walk to the exit. Guest may encounter stairs at this point and if they are difficult to maneuver, please see a CM for assistance. After exiting the building, guests proceed down several ramps and exit through the ride's gift shop, Windtraders.
Merchandise and Food
A large variety of themed merchandise can be purchased at Windtraders. Many unique items including Na'vi costume pieces, adoptable Banshee shoulder puppets, glow in the dark items, and customizable Na'vi action figures can be purchased along with Pandora branded clothing and plush toys.
The Colors of Mo'ara kiosk offers face painting and other merchandise.
Pongu Pongu is a food and beverage stand that currently offers Pandora related drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), beer and a pineapple lumpia snack.
Satu'li Canteen is a cafe that has ample seating both inside and covered outdoor seating. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner foods, themed uniquely for this section of the park. Guests who are picky eaters may not find items to their liking. Allergy menus are available from a Satu’li Canteen CM. We tried the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse. It was very good.
Besides the new attractions and unique food choices, the Avatar – Land of Pandora scenery is spectacular. The amazing floating mountains and many other scenes provide excellent photographic opportunities and enable guests to feel immersed in a different world. Although we have only visited Pandora during daylight, we are looking forward to visiting at night to see the glowing luminescent plants, flowers and pathways throughout Pandora. You don’t have to be a fan of the Avatar movie in order to appreciate the uniqueness and striking appearance of the landscape and all the other aspects of this new section of Animal Kingdom.
Maureen is married and has a son with autism. She and her family visit an Orlando Theme Park nearly every weekend. Maureen created AutismAtTheParks to help vacationers who have a family member with a developmental disability to better navigate and enjoy the theme parks. She is also a contributor to the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Periscope.
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