Pandora: World of Avatar Impressions

Pandora: World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens on May 27th, 2017. Below are my initial impressions of the new land during one of the preview days, not twelve.

Pandora consists of two new rides built from the ground up (not an overlay like Frozen Ever After, Nemo & Friends SeaRider, or Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!) and one new quick service restaurant. It replaced Camp Minnie-Mickey and has been in the works for six years. It’s been a long time coming but once you visit it will be well worth the wait.

Once you cross the bridge to Pandora: World of Avatar you’ll be greeted by a whole new world of alien plant life, sounds, and views. Walk a bit further for grand and miraculous view of the Valley of Mo’ara. You’ll get a similar impression as the first time you walked into Cars Land with the grand reveal, but more so. It’s extremely stunning to see how vast the land is as well as the floating mountains, complete with their own waterfalls. By now you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of work and detail as you’re just walking around, and moss walls everywhere!

Na’vi River Journey is the new boat ride attraction in Pandora. Here you’ll take a dark ride in a beautiful bioluminescent rainforest. Everything is visually stunning with a lot natural sights and sounds of Pandora all around you. The boat ride is extremely detailed making use of a lot of projection technology and featuring an extremely impressive AA of the Shaman of Songs.

While the ride is visually stunning I felt that it could have been even better with more AAs in the ride. Also there seemed to be a lack of any story. If there was one I couldn’t find it while going through the line or in the ride itself. The best I can think of is since you’re tourists in Pandora you’re getting a tour (Pandora Safaris? Where’s Little Red?) of the land in the bioluminescent rainforest and a chance to finally see some Na’vi! In their natural habitat which is amazing in itself.

Next up is Flight of Passage. There is a reason the line for this ride is so extensive and detailed. It’s something you will not want to miss. And you won’t because you’ll be in line for hours unless you are able to score a Fastpass for this awesome ride. Don’t worry though because if you’re in the line for four hours there will be a lot to see. I just wonder if there’s a bathroom in the line somewhere?

On Flight of Passage you’ll be linked to an Avatar so that you’ll be able to ride on the back of a banshee. Well, not really a banshee, but a link chair that looks like a bike and you’ll be linked to ride on a banshee! The ride is similar to Soarin’ (also, it’s in 3D) where there’s an extremely impressive crystal clear screen that’s HUGE. The ride vehicle moves up and down and tilts to the left and right, you can even feel the banshee breathing. It’s a truly immersive feeling of flying on the back of banshee thru Pandora. The ride isn’t like anything before it and it’s not to be missed.

Now on to the food at Satu’li Canteen. The food looks pretty alien but is mostly Asian inspired. I was able to try the Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods — Bao Buns, Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl (grains and rice and chimchurri sauce), Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse with Passion Fruit Curd, and to drink the Pandorian Sunrise. All of the items tried were delicious. The chicken and vegetables are grilled on site behind glass where you can see the food being prepared. The chicken in the chicken bowl tasted better than most full service restaurants. The Curry Pods was flavorful and fresh. The cheesecake (blueberry cream mousse) was sweet and decadent. The Pandorian Sunrise tasted like Powerade with a pineapple in it, which it is. Overall this is the best quick service restaurant I’ve had at Disney park. With the exception being Hungry Bear Restaurant at Tokyo Disneyland (and maybe a few other TDR spots). Can’t recommend it enough. Let’s just hope the quality stays at this level.

Pandora: World of Avatar is a hit and well worth the wait. You could spend hours in the land just exploring many of the details and taking in the breathtaking views of the floating mountains. It will be interesting to see how it handles crowds because starting May 27th I can see it extremely hard to even get in to Pandora at Animal Kingdom due to popularity, it’s that good.

Showcases of Wishes is a Reporter/Columnist for the Boardwalk Times.