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 movies to appreciate this natural environment. And that it really does have a feeling all it’s 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.
Pandora The World of Avatar
Ok. We get if you haven’t seen Pandora. 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.
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 Pandora 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 is 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 very long wait, as in 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 the best restaurants in Animal Kingdom, you can grab lunch and dinner here.
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 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.
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 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. Fastpasses are extremely difficult to get for this ride in Pandora, Animal Kingdom. So we always recommend a rope drop strategy. As in get to the gate early, wait with everyone else and then walk very fast to the ride queue. On our last trip we were at the gate at opening, and wait was still about 45 minutes, behind all the other guests who were also rope dropping.
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.
The Pandora World of Avatar Drum Circle
While you can go beat on the drums hidden in the rock formations of the Drum Circle, its easier to enjoy when the drums actually ” turn on” . We sort of accidentally discovered this while tacking 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 bio luminescent 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! Even the stroller parking has some nice backdrops.
Moss Wall: You’ll find this one because even the Photo Guy knows its 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.
Food at Pandora World of Avatar
Satu’li Canteen offers out of this world food. A TIP: We liked the Chocolate cake better. We also asked them to hold the boba balls on some of the offerings, mainly because we can only take so much tapioca. But go to town if you love them! They are on everything. What we loved most about this food is it’s “bowl” food. So a nice combo of greens and cabbage and just freshness all around. We got the chimmichuri 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. And there are vegetarian and gluten free options here too. Check out the full menu for Satu’li Canteen.
Pongu Pongu: Night Blossom Drinks and Pongu Lumpia all around.
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.
That said, if 3 hour wait times for Flight of Passage aren’t your idea of the best time, wait it out a little. Crowds will die down as Disney figures out how to handle the masses. Whatever happens we can’t recommend this place enough. Do whatever you gotta do to get there. Get your fast passes and hop on a plane. Let us know what you love!
And check out our Pandora World of Avatar Collection before you go!