Walt Disney World’s Pandora, the World of Avatar, at Animal Kingdom, is by far one of the best-themed spaces we’ve seen. We love that you don’t need to know the Avatar movie to appreciate this natural environment. And that it really does have a feeling all its own. As Animal Kingdom’s newest land and home to the BEST ride at Walt Disney World, we’re here to share everything you need to know about Pandora World of Avatar.
Pandora World of Avatar Animal Kingdom
Ok. We get it if you haven’t seen Avatar. We actually didn’t even watch the film until after we got home from Animal Kingdom. And frankly, you probably don’t have to watch it at all, if it doesn’t strike your fancy. It’s true that Disney does have like 4 more new Avatar films lined up before 2027, but we probably won’t be standing in any lines to see them. It’s not that we don’t love James Cameron alongside the rest of the planet, but really, you just have to be in the right mood. What we loved about Pandora is that it’s a completely different world than our own, on a moon 4.4 light-years away, and this new land actually feels like it.
How big is Pandora World of Avatar?
Stretching across 12 acres, much of Pandora at Animal Kingdom is taken over by greenery and trails. And of course, there are ample spaces used for rides, restaurants, trails, and more. Covered in bioluminescent spaces, Pandora has winding pathways on multiple levels, to help disperse crowds. But, it also has small pathways that allow you to take in the spaces. A pathway over the bridge, curved pathways to see special plants, and the drum circle and more cover the grounds beneath the Floating Mountains of Pandora.
Where is Pandora in Walt Disney World?
First things first. Pandora World of Avatar is in Animal Kingdom. To get to Pandora in Animal Kingdom, you walk through the Oasis, towards the Tree of Life on Discovery Island. Once there, take the path to your left. You will see a walkway to the left, just before you get to Pizzafari. That is the path to Pandora World of Avatar. As you’re walking down this path you will see Tiffins and Nomad Lounge to the right.
Pandora is small. If you feel like you haven’t seen everything, honestly, you probably have. The area takes just a couple of hours to explore, though your ride wait times will extend that if you’re counting queue times.
What’s in Pandora Animal Kingdom?
The charm of Pandora is all about the natural environment, the food, perfectly themed, the nighttime experience, and the rides. The Walt Disney World Imagineers absolutely outdid themselves with this land. Here’s a quick and dirty checklist of what your day in the Pandora World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom includes. We’ll get into all of these things in this post.
- Valley of Moara: sights and sounds of the natural world with bioluminescence for the evening ours
- The Drum Circle: This drum space is part of an interactive experience and a show that happens throughout the day where you learn the way the Na’vi people connect with their planet. Lots of deep sounds, chants, and rhythm are part of this experience.
- The Na’vi River Journey: This Pandora boat ride usually has low waits and offers a cool respite from the hot Florida sun.
- Flight of Passage. This Pandora ride in Animal Kingdom usually sees a very long wait, as 120 minutes is a regular wait time.
- Pongu Pongu Lounge: This little quick-serve counter has Pongu Lumpia and Night Blossoms.
- Satu’li Canteen: By far one of the best restaurants in Animal Kingdom, you can grab lunch and dinner here.
Pandora World of Avatar Atmosphere
The Pandora World of Avatar Valley of Mo’ara
This place is sooooo Relaxing!!! Ok, Ok. we’ll admit we were there during a Passholder Preview so we weren’t battling crowds, but even up against crowds, you should still notice the peacefulness. In fact, you almost want to be a little quieter when you enter Pandora. The sounds of waterfalls run in the background, the sun peeks through the floating mountains, the plants are lush and colorful, and there are plenty of places to lounge. There’s a moss wall with a bench, a large outdoor eating area at Satuli Canteen, rocks to sit on near the waterfalls, and tree-lined paths that offer shade. And it truly does feel like a completely different world.
Pandora World of Avatar Rides
Pandora in Animal Kingdom has two rides a boat ride and a simulated ride. Even now, 5 years after opening, these rides are still very popular.
The Na’vi River Journey is the Pandora boat ride that brings you through an underground calming cave-like experience on the boat. Na’vi River Journey is very beautiful, slow-moving, and relaxing, but it’s only about 5 minutes long. In general, we don’t wait for more than 45 minutes for this ride. It’s usually lower times in the mornings and evenings. So if you time it right, you should be able to grab a better wait time for Na’vi River Journey.
Flight of Passage is the other ride in Pandora. And highly sought after! This simulated ride takes on you a journey on the “back of banshee”. It’s truly one of the most amazing ride experiences. As a result, Flight of Passage regularly sees 2 hour wait times. The wait queue for Flight of Passage is amazing, however, so if it’s a hot day and you have time feel free to wait in line! You can snag a Lightning Lane Pass for Flight of Passage if you access the My Disney Experience App early enough to book one! Lightning Lane Passes open up at 7 am, and many are “sold out” by noon.
The Wait Queue for Flight of Passage
The wait queue for Flight of Passage is pretty cool. We were definitely those people stopping every 15 seconds to take a picture of something. As the ride is an inside ride you get a glimpse of a bioluminescent land. A walk-through of the Pandora conservation “lab” where they keep a life-size avatar. And a debriefing on how the ride will connect to your body as an Avatar is assigned to you.
Pandora World of Avatar Flight of Passage Ride
The Pandora Animal Kingdom ride that is best known is Flight of Passage. This is essentially a virtual reality ride where you sit on a stationary bike-like chair and dive into the land of Pandora on the back of a Banshee. The Flight of Passage is supposed to be a rite of passage between you and your banshee. So as you sit in the bike chair there are little pulses that come from your banshee/ avatar body. Sounds weird but so cool. And really we can’t explain how magical the whole thing feels. It’s like a very strong hug that holds you while you fly through the most amazing digital world. If you’ve been on Soarin’ you’ll know there are breezes, splashes of water, and wonderful smells. You will find those same elements on this ride as well. Ya gotta get there and try it out. It’s sooooo amazing.
How Long is the Line at Flight of Passage?
Very long. Typically between 90- 120 minutes. So we always recommend a Disney ride strategy. As in getting to the gate early, waiting with everyone else, and then walking very fast to the ride queue. On our last trip, we were at the gate at the opening, and the wait was still about 45 minutes, behind all the other guests who were also rope-dropping. Other ride strategies are to wait until 12-2 pm hours when other guests are eating lunch or park hopping to their next park. Or grabbing a Lightning Lane Pass.
The Na’vi River Journey Ride
You will have this song from the ride stuck in your head all day. At the end of this ride, you realize the music has been coming from the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. The ride itself is tranquil and calm and a perfect retreat from the hot Florida sun. The purpose of this ride, like all of Pandora, is to remind you how we are all connected to the earth. This message mirrors Walt Disney’s own strong beliefs on conservation and supports his vision for Animal Kingdom.
Pandora World of Avatar Attractions
In addition to the rides at Pandora, you can also experience the Drum Circle, Glow in the Dark spaces and photo ops.
The Pandora World of Avatar Drum Circle
While you can go beat on the drums hidden in the rock formations of the Drum Circle, it’s easier to enjoy when the drums actually ” turn on”. We sort of accidentally discovered this while taking pictures. And then watched as everyone went crazy running over to see how loud they could make the drums sound.
Pandora World of Avatar Glows in the Dark
Look Down. The concrete-covered ground is laced with glow-in-the-dark elements, apparently, these are at their strongest around midnight so be there on a day when there are Extra Magic Hours. The plants glow, the floating mountains glow. Purples, Blues, and Fluorescent lights cover everything. If you want to get a glimpse of this in the daytime there’s an area inside the Flight of Passage that is part of the bioluminescent world.
Listen. At night especially, not only are things glowing but you can hear “animals” push aside plants to get through. Apparently, the plants actually interact with the unseen wildlife.
Pandora Photo Op Locations
It did seem that Disney was aware that people now photo op everywhere! Due in large part to the Disney Walls of Instagram hype. Even the stroller parking has some nice backdrops.
Moss Wall: You’ll find this one because even the Photo Guy knows it’s a cool spot. It’s green and pink moss on a wall across from the Large robot standing outside Pongu Pongu. This has made our Disney Walls of Instagram list, and we’ll surely find a few more next time we visit.
Pandora World of Avatar Restaurants
Food in Pandora Animal Kingdom includes some of our favorites, including one of the Best quick-service restaurants in Animal Kingdom.
Satu’li Canteen offers out-of-this-world food. What we loved most about this food is its “bowl” food. So a nice combo of greens and cabbage and just freshness all around. We got the chimichurri sauce as an add-on, and it was awesome. G got the cheeseburger pods, which were interesting to say the least. Don’t be fooled; the pod is actually made up of bread dough, so it will still taste like a bun. There are vegetarian and gluten-free options here too. Check out the full menu for Satu’li Canteen.
Pongu Pongu Lounge offers up Night Blossom Drinks ( regular and alcoholic) and Pongu Lumpia, a pineapple cream cheese spring roll. Along with a couple of other specialty drinks.
The Future of Pandora
While die-hard Walt Disney World folks have said this new land won’t last, we don’t know that we can agree. There must be some momentum here fueling those new Avatar movies on the way. And the rides alone will make you want to connect with the planet more and more. The Conservation efforts here for the environment also have some strong activism behind it. So, chances are Pandora is here to stay. Whatever happens, we can’t recommend this place enough. Do whatever you gotta do to get there.
And check out our Pandora World of Avatar Collection before you go!
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.