As many of you know, I was thrilled to be invited to a special Pandora Dinner event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort on May 6th. This was a great opportunity to learn, in person, about the new expansion, opening in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park on May 27th.
This dinner did not include a personal visit to Pandora, but… I will be there for a preview on May 15th. Be sure you watch for my full review in the following days.
Not wanting to miss a minute of this dinner, I left my house early to avoid the heavy traffic on I-4. I was one of the first few to enter the convention center at the Contemporary Resort; the size of this area never ceases to amaze me. Disney’s event team had decorated and put out a few canvas photos of Pandora. (below)
Once the doors to the Fantasia Ballroom opened, I was not disappointed. From the iridescent purple & teal table clothes to the fancy sparking wine, that made a cloud effect when swirled, it was a flawless presentation typical of Disney. Each place setting at the table had a Pandora notepad and light up Pandora pen.
Clair Bilby welcomed us to the dinner and thanked all of us for all of our hard work. Immediately they began to bring around our tantalizing meal. For you foodies, here are the details of the dinner menu:
Appetizer: Lush baby greens salad with apple and date chutney, rainbow vegetable tendrils, cucumber, and tear drop tomatoes and topped with Riesling Vinaigrette dressing and a beautiful edible flower. Yes, I did eat the flower. It had a pleasant crunchy texture but not a lot of scent or taste.
Main Dish: Flame grilled breast of chicken with pomegranate sauce paired with hearth braised beef short rib with Demi-glace. Served with roasted sweet and red potato hash, green bean pods with olive oil and sea salt. dinner rolls & butter were also on the table.
Dessert: Na’vi Forest Blueberry Cheesecake with lemon curd.
This dessert was such an amazing mix of complementary flavors, that I ate every bite. The cheesecake will filled with just enough fresh blueberries and perfectly complimented by the lemon custard. It was topped with an edible flower and surrounded by delicious meringue kisses. The sweet, blue outer coating sparked in the light. It was almost to pretty to eat.
We were not told if these dishes would be served in Pandora when it opens. However, I do see some similar items, especially the dessert on the menu for the Satu’li Canteen. You can bet that I will be stopping in at the Satu’li Canteen the first chance I get and ordering the Blueberry Cheesecake.
Kenny Pitchett was the main presenter tonight and he began the presentation asking us not to take photos or video. Darn, I will have to wait to share more pictures with everyone when I enter Pandora on May 15th.
You can take your own journey to Pandora when you visit Walt Disney World after May 26th and Disney resort guests will get exclusive extra magic hours on select nights for a limited time this summer. During the extra magic hours, only the resort guests will be allowed into Pandora.
Pandora is thought of by Disney as its’ own world and not just another park in Animal Kingdom. Because of their similar messages and values, Animal Kingdom was the perfect place to build a bridge that will be the entry way into this new land.
When you cross the bridge to Pandora, ACE or Alpha Centeri Expeditions, will welcome you to the planet that is 4.4 light years away from Earth. While you are in the World of Avatar explore the flora and fauna in the valley of Mo’ara and learn about the purpose of each unique plant. If you’re hungry, visit the Satu’li Canteen (don’t forget to try the blueberry cheesecake); if you’re thirsty, stop in at Pongu Pongu, which means party party in Na’vi. There are 2 main attractions in Pandora. A family friendly Na’vi River Journey and Avatar – Flight of Passage, where you can view Pandora from the back of a Banshee (height requirement of 44in). Don’t forget to stay until after dark when you will be able to experience the bioluminescent plant life.
At the end of the event we were given an envelope of Pandora posters for our office walls. You can bet that I will be hanging mine soon.
If you will be visiting Pandora, you will want to be sure and take full advantage of the Fastpass system for the attractions. The best way to plan your trip, is to enlist the help of an experienced travel agent who has personally traveled to Pandora. 😉
Thank you for reading.
My name is Melissa and I am a Disney fanatic; I’m also a travel agent. You will find me almost every weekend in one of the are theme parks with my family. If you would like FREE planning assistance for your next vacation, contact me or visit my website for a no obligation quote.
Melissa Mathies, Travel Designer & Destination Specialist