Pandora, World of Avatar Preview

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.

156-foot-tall “floating mountains” are the centerpiece of the Valley of Mo’ara
Pandora Preview Map
Pandora preview Map inside

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″

One of the preparation rooms for the Flight of Passage.  You are asked to move around & as they scan you on the screen.

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



Pandora Dinner Event in Walt Disney World

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
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Explore Pandora – The World of Avatar with Nightly Extra Magic Hours

For a limited time, May 27-July 4, 2017, Guests staying at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels can explore Pandora – The World of Avatar beyond regular Park hours.

Nightly Extra Magic Hours will take place from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. only in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. This offering will provide Guests with an additional opportunity to enjoy everything Pandora – The World of Avatar has to offer – including navigating a mystical river, flying on a back of a banshee and walking under floating mountains. Please note valid Theme Park admission and a Resort ID are required.


In addition, Guests staying at select Walt Disney Resort hotels can reserve Disney FastPass+ selections for attractions, including those in Pandora – The World of Avatar, up to 60 days prior to check-in beginning March 24, 2017. Disney FastPass+ service will be available at the two attractions within Pandora – The World of Avatar during regular Theme Park hours. Guests may select only one of these two attractions in their first set of Disney FastPass+ selections, subject to availability.

There’s so much excitement surrounding the debut of this world beyond belief, guests should take advantage of Nightly Extra Magic Hours to visit Pandora – The World of Avatar. Then, they can reserve Disney FastPass+ experiences to enjoy the rest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park during regular hours.

*Valid Theme Park admission required. FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences, the number of selections you can make and available arrival windows are limited. Certain features and benefits require online registration. 

Thank you for reading.  My name is Melissa & am I am Disney addict; I am also a travel agent.  You will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney parks with my family exploring the newest attractions.  If you would like to plan a journey to Pandora, I can assist you & no additional cost.  That’s right, I don’t charge any fees to book & plan your Disney vacation.  It all starts with a free quote.
Melissa Mathies – Pixie Dust Adventures
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Details Released for Pandora

You can now plan your adventure to visit Pandora: the World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.  The opening date is officially set for May 27th, 2017 and there will be some special preview dates Beginning May 13th.  I will personally be previewing Pandora the night of May 15th and will be writing a full review.
Disney has released specifics about some of the attractions in Pandora.
Below is what has been released on their websites so far…

Pandora – The World of Avatar

Journey to an all-new, awe-inspiring land that celebrates the magnificent power of nature.
Located within Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, Pandora – The World of Avatar provides eco-tourists the opportunity to join Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) for the transformational experience of a lifetime—filled with unforgettable expeditions, floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest, winged mountain banshees and more.
In partnership with ACE, visitors of every age will have the chance to explore the values and culture of this exotic place, and celebrate the striking beauty and overwhelming power of the natural world.
Welcome to Pandora—a world similar to Earth… but distinctly unique in so many ways!

Avatar – Flight of Passage

Otherworldly Aerial Adventures Await
Soar on the back of a mountain banshee during a thrilling ride above this vast moon
Height Requirement: 44 inches
Fastpass+ attraction
Get a banshee’s-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of Pandora on a rite of passage you won’t soon forget!
Deep in the heart of the Valley of Mo’ara, discover Avatar Flight of Passage—an all-new expedition that lets interstellar explorers like you climb atop a mountain banshee for a breathtaking, first-person flight over the moon’s incredible landscape.
Bonding with a mountain banshee is a crucial step in the life of a Na’vi hunter—and flying on the back of one of these powerful winged creatures represents an important rite of passage.
Now, as a visitor to Pandora, you’ll finally have the chance to test yourself in a similar way!


Na’vi River Journey

A Family-Friendly Adventure
No height requirement
Fastpass+ attraction
Glide down a gentle, mysterious river and feel a sense of wonder as the full beauty of Pandora reveals itself. Located within the Valley of Mo’ara, Na’vi River Journey offers explorers an experience that has to be seen—and heard—to be believed!
As your expedition begins, climb aboard a reed boat and drift downstream. After coasting through a series of caves, and passing by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures of the rainforest, you’ll soon find yourself face-to-face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs.
The adventure comes to a conclusion as the Shaman demonstrates her deep connection to the life force of Pandora—and sends positive energy out into the forest through the power of her music!


Valley of Mo’ara

Hike amid floating mountains, glowing fauna and flora, a native drum circle and many other wonders at Pandora
Behold A Land That’s Beyond Belief
No height requirement, family friendly, walk through the land
No Fastpass+
Walk about through the Valley of Mo’ara and get ready to discover a world like no other!
There’s more to Pandora than expeditions like Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey… much more! All around its enormous floating mountains, you’ll quickly uncover the valley’s one-of-a-kind dining and shopping experiences—along with sights, sounds and experiences that include:

  • Exotic plants that come to life with beautiful bioluminescence each night
  • A Na’vi-built drum circle, containing instruments playable by all
  • Na’vi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land
  • Brand-new Wilderness Explorers challenges and badges to collect

You may even come across tour guides from Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI), or even an eclectic expat or two!


Watch this video to see how Pandora will fit into the philosophy of Animal Kingdom:

No Disney experience would be complete without a taste of excitement.  Here is what Disney has released about the food locations opening in Pandora:

Pongu Pongu

Beverages from Beyond Our World
Quick Service Restaurant, no reservations required
Quench your thirst the Pandoran way at an otherworldly pit-stop offering Na’vi-inspired refreshment.
Are your expeditions at Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey leaving you parched? Hike to the corner of Windtraders where you’ll find Pongu Pongu—when you spot a friendly expat serving out-of-this-world drinks, you’ve come to the right place.
Meaning “Party Party” in the language of the Na’vi, Pongu Pongu welcomes weary travelers to try our bioluminescent frozen cocktail, indigenous beers—or even a sweet snack you won’t find elsewhere!

Satu’li Canteen

Indulge in the art and culture of the Na’vi while dining inside this former RDA mess hall
This fast-casual restaurant will be the first to offer Mobile Order, a new convenient option to order and pay for meals on-the-go within the My Disney Experience app, allowing guests to bypass the queue to order when they arrive at the restaurant. Using the app, guests can select menu items, customize their order and pre-pay for their meal. When they arrive at the restaurant they will tap an “I’m here” button in the app, which will notify the kitchen to prepare the meal. When ready, guests will be alerted through the app to pick up their meal at a designated window..

A Menu Inspired by Pandora’s Bounty
Discover healthful dishes and familiar flavors from another world—wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and hearty proteins.
Between your aerial adventures on Avatar Flight of Passage and family-friendly voyages aboard Na’vi River Journey, tuck inside the Quonset-hut structure called Satu’li Canteen—long ago an RDA mess hall, now a peaceful dining facility adorned with Na’vi art and cultural items.
Owned and operated by Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), Satu’li Canteen supplies travelers all the comforts of home—courtesy of a unique, fast-casual menu that’s been crafted from Pandora’s natural abundance.
Featuring international-inspired cuisine, vegetarian options and specialty libations, it’s the perfect place to refuel as you venture through the Valley of Mo’ara.


If you already have your adventure planned to Pandora, Fastpasses are now open 60 days in advance for Disney World Resort guests.  As an added bonus for summer 2017, there will be an extra magic hour when only resort guests are allowed into Pandora.  I have no doubt that dining reservations will be opening soon.  If you have booked a trip through me, stay tuned and I will keep you informed & updated on the new, added options.

If you are dreaming of your next trip to Pandora, take advantage of a little Free planning assistance to be sure that you are well informed before entering this fascinating new land.
Thank you for reading,
Melissa – Travel Designer & Destination Specialist

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Pandora – World of Avatar Opening Date

This highly anticipated land in Disney’s World Animal Kingdom finally has an official opening date.  Today CEO Bob Iger shared the news that Pandora – The World of Avatar will open on May 27th, 2017.


Here you will enter the stunning world of Pandora where you will be able to walk under the floating mountains and among the bioluminescent plants.

This is a current photo of what Pandora looks like from my most recent trip to Animal Kingdom in January.  You can see the Floating Mountain above the walls.

Two major attractions have been announced.  The first is the family friendly Na’vi River Journey.  The second major attraction takes guests for a ride atop a Banshee for a “jaw-dropping” experience while exploring the World of Pandora.

There will also be a dining location called the Satu’li Canteen or if guests are on the run, they can grab a drink at Pongu Pongu.  Windtraders will be the shop for everything Avatar; such as cultural items, toys science kids and more.

Is anyone else as excited as I am for this new world in Animal Kingdom?  Stay tuned, I will be visiting Animal Kingdom as the opening date gets near.  Maybe they will have a soft opening or a sneak peak that I can share with everyone.

If you’re dreaming of a trip to Pandora, contact me today for free planning assistance.  When you book though me, my planning service never comes at an additional cost to you and you will get experienced planning assistance based on the countless hours I spend in the Disney World parks almost every weekend.  Need more reasons to book?  Read through my article below my photo…
You next trip starts with a free quote.  Visit my website or email me today!
Melissa – Pixie Dust Adventures
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New Avatarland update for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney has released a new video and some artwork showing the progress that they are making on Avatarland.

From floating mountains to bioluminescent plant life that light up when you walk on them, this new land is sure to capture the imagination of every Avatar fan.

In the video above you can see director Jim Cameron, producer Jon Landau and imagineer Joe Rhode working on the project.






The World of Pandora is scheduled to open in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 2017.

Ever since I watched the movie in the theater (3 times), it has been a dream for it to come to life.  Since this is the closest I will ever get to actually setting foot on Pandora, you bet that I am going to be there.  I’m not ashamed that I am an Avatar fan.

Melissa – Pixie Dust Adventures

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