The only constant thing is change. This tried and true phrase holds up everywhere, even at Walt Disney World. But don’t fret! In fact, some changes can leave things even better than they were before. (Such was the case for the New Fantasyland expansion in the Magic Kingdom and the complete overhaul of Disney’s California Adventure Park.) Today, we’re going to talk about major current and upcoming additions to the Orlando Disney Parks. Heed our tips and get excited to experience these lands that will immerse you in uncharted worlds!
1. Pandora: World of Avatar
James Cameron’s masterpiece, Avatar, enchanted audiences with its visuals and timeless message of respecting Mother Nature. Regarding the cinematography, many viewers who saw this 3D film felt like they could walk into the land or touch the mystical creatures. Well, WDW Imagineers brought this fantasy to life in May 2017. The newest addition to the Animal Kingdom, Pandora: World of Avatar, gave guests the opportunity to visit this mysterious planet. This land is complete with exotic plant life, bioluminescence at nightfall, and literal floating mountains. Here are just a few things to keep in mind when visiting.
Attractions – Pandora showcases two brand-new attractions. For calmer riders, The Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride through a bioluminescent forest. Otherworldly creatures visit you along the way and an animatronic Shaman chants a haunting melody during the finale. Visually stunning, The Na’vi River Journey is a must-do ride. However, it’s worth noting that this line moves slower than other attractions and the queue design is underwhelming during long waits. The other attraction is the crown jewel of the land – Flight of Passage. During this simulation ride, guests are matched up with their own avatar and get to ride on a banshee through the forests, caves, and skies of Pandora! Referred to by some as a next-generation version of Soarin, the effects are unbelievably lifelike and bode well for future Disney attractions. (And if you couldn’t book a coveted FastPass+, even the queue is entertaining!) Basically, whether you have to arrive at rope drop or jump in line before the park closes, riding Flight of Passage is worth the effort.
Shopping/Dining – As far as other entertainment goes, Pandora is rich in experience. For example, if you’re looking for an affordable, tasty dinner, the Satu’li Canteen is a great option. Don’t let the mess hall décor fool you. The menu offers a variety of high-quality chicken, beef, and vegetable rice bowls. And you can order artisanal desserts that would rival any Signature Dining sweet. The most popular sweet of all resides at the Pongu Pongu Lounge. Here, guests can order the frozen Night Blossom drink that consists of fruity lime-aid and glow-in-the-dark fruit boba balls. (We recommend you order this magical drink at night!) Regarding non-edible purchases, the Windtraders gift shop is full of unique Avatar-related merchandise. The most popular item being the interactive banshee toys that move, speak, and perch on your shoulder. Once you’re paired up with the right banshee, it may be difficult to walk away from the store empty-handed.
Ambiance – Praised for the famous floating mountains and breathtaking scenery, Pandora: World of Avatar truly feels like a different universe. Topped with tribal music, screeches from unknown animals, and bioluminescent plant life – it’s easy to lose your bearings. And speaking of the bioluminescent atmosphere, Pandora doesn’t start to glow until after nightfall, so taking an evening stroll is an absolute must. You’re welcome.