Avatar is a movie that has touched my soul. There are people that love Star Wars, Marvel, Star Trek & more. Myself, I am more of an Avatar gal. I love animals, nature & the message of this movie. Pandora in Animal Kingdom really brought all of this to life for me and I may have or may not have squeaked a tear when I rode the Flight of Passage attraction; there is no proof. Disney has done a phenomenal job of bringing this movie off of the screen & into reality. It feels like standing on another planet; the design is flawless, the sounds of the indigenous species surround you and some of the plants are interactive. If you are an Avatar fan like I am, you must not miss this new land in Animal Kingdom!
Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this article for a video of my Pandoran preview experience.
One of the first things that we came to as we entered Pandora was a giant plant that smoked & made sounds when you touched it. Right next to the plant was one of two brand new Wilderness Explorer stations located in Pandora.
For those of you that are not familiar with this program, you can pick up your Wilderness Explorer guide at various locations around the park and work through the (now 32) learning experiences throughout Animal Kingdom and earn badges (stickers) for each experience and a completion sticker at the end.
Wondering through the Valley of Mo’ara was visually stunning. Floating mountains, bright plants from another world, waterfalls and sounds of the Pandoran primates from all directions immersed me in this distant world.
We stopped for a few pictures before heading off to use our fastpass on the Flight of Passage attraction. On the way we encountered an Amplified Mobility Platform, which is the huge motorized suit that the soldiers drove on Pandora.
The elaborate queue design for the Flight of Passage attraction is entertaining in itself. The science lab in the queue was not operational during our visit & I look forward to seeing the Na’vi, growing in the fluid filled tube, on my next visit in a few weeks when the park opens to the public. As we passed through the queue, we were given numbers & separated into different chambers to be ‘debugged’ for our link with our avatar. Jackie Ogden appeared onscreen and took scans of our bodies and brain waves. We proceeded from one room to the next where we were instructed by Sigourney Weaver on what to do for our experience with the Banshee flight.
The height restriction for Flight of Passage is a minimum of 44″
Once you are prepared and handed your flight glasses, you enter the room where you will link with your Avatar which is already seated on a Banshee high in the mountains. You straddle the seats’ bike style’ and the back of the seat comes up behind you to hold you in. Get ready for an amazing flight!!! You can feel the Banshee move & breath as you ride. (I’m not tearing up writing about this truly unique, amazing experience! really… I’m not)
During your unbelievable flight through the stunning landscape of Pandora, every one of your senses is engaged. The visually stunning landscapes rush past as you smell, feel and hear each and every minute of your flight.
Once your flight is over you exit into Windtraders gift shop where you will find numerous unique souvenirs. My kids could not resist adopting their own banshee from the Rookery while we were there.
Spending time in Windtraders is an experience in itself. Parents be cautioned, the Banshee Rookery will draw you in & you may just leave with a new member of the family for the bargain price of $49 + tax
I almost expect Disney to eventually release a new version of the Banshee that is interactive with the Pandora park surroundings.
Next Stop… the Na’Vi River Journey. This peaceful boat ride takes you on a journey down the sacred river where you encounter bioluminescent plans, spinning orange disks, moving silhouettes of lizards and more. Perhaps the star of this attraction is the anamatronic Na’vi Shaman singing toward the end of your journey. This is the most advanced anamoatronic I have seen so far in a theme park; the Na’vi is so real & life like that you have to wonder if it is not a person in costume.
Scroll to the bottom on the article for a full ride through video of this attraction in my Pandora video on YouTube
By the time we were done with the River Journey, our time in Pandora was almost over. We wanted to be sure & stop for a few Photopass pictures to remember the night.
near the entrance / exit of the park is a musical set of trees with drums embedded in the tree stumps. Drumbeats will respond to you when you interact with these trees.
Although the restaurants were closing for the night, we took a few minutes to wander through them and look at the menus. The food is unique and something that you will not find anywhere else. You can pre-order your meal through the Disney Parks app & pick it up once you arrive to avoid the wait at the order counter. (another first in Disney tech) I guarantee I will be eating a few meals there when the park has officially opened.
As the sun set for the day, the pathways lit up with bioluminescent plant life. They were still working on the details and not all of the affects were available. Another reason for me to return in the near future.
If you would like to follow me through some of my Pandoran preview, feel free to watch the YouTube video below:
Thank you to all of my fans for reading and following as I share my adventures with you!
I am a HUGE Disney fanatic and I’m also a Travel Agent. I charge NO additional fees to help you plan your next vacation, it costs exactly the same to book through me or directly through Disney. Why not take advantage of a little free planning assistance?
My name is Melissa and you will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney parks with my family. We never run out of things to do, taste, try, experience & explore. I look forward to helping you plan your own adventure to Pandora!
Melissa, Travel Designer & Destination Specialist