I participated in the Lion King and Born in China In-Home Walt Disney World Press Event.
Thanks to Disney for hosting us. Our opinions are our own.
A huge thank you to Disney for giving me a sneak peek of its newest attraction, Pandora – The World of Avatar. The new 12-acre area can be found within Disney’s Animal Kingdom and features two rides, retail space and restaurants.
Visiting Pandora is like being transported to another time and place, unlike any I’ve ever experienced. Every element of the visit was given such attention to detail! The landscape is stunning, and the smells are invigorating. A green scent – almost like veggies.
I highly recommend visiting at night for an entirely different experience as the sounds of Pandora surround you, and the iridescent lights come alive in the darkness.
What exactly is Pandora? I can’t say it much better than the creators, so I’ll quote them. Pandora, The World of Avatar, says in their promotions that visitors “journey to an all-new, awe-inspiring land that celebrates the magnificent power of nature. within the valley of Mo’ara are drum circles, lush flora and fauna.” The creators strive to give 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.
Rather than focus on the mission which is hard to put into proper words because you just have to experience it for yourself, I can describe the rides!
There is the Avatar Flight of Passage ride. My review is brief – thrilling! I’m not a huge fan of simulators, but this is one of the best rides I’ve ever been on. It’s a 4D experience with scents, water – and probably one of the closest experiences to flying! If you suffer from motion-sickness, I would stay away, or consider taking Dramamine. The ride is worth it. I screamed during the dips, and am in awe of the beauty that zoomed in front of me. The leg grips slightly squeeze your calves to give you the feeling that you are riding on a banshee!! I recommend Disney’s Fast Pass for this, as the lines are super long. But do keep in mind that there is some cool stuff displayed in the Standby line area that begins to put you in the mood for your journey to Pandora.
The other ride is called the Na’vi River Journey. This is a slower, gentler trip into the mysterious world of Pandora. You and your fellow riders glide down a gentle river in a boat to catch the sights. My favorite part was the animatronic Shaman at the end of your journey. I do wish there were a few dips in this one because it is extremely mellow, but beautiful!
I can’t imagine going on a trip without a break for some food, and Pandora does not disappoint. While there, be sure to try Satu’li Canteen. It’s a unique, fast-casual menu that’s been crafted from Pandora’s natural abundance. Here you will find international-inspired cuisine, vegetarian options and specialty libations, it’s the perfect place to refuel as you venture through the Valley of Mo’ara. I had the Sustainable Fish Bowl. It was very healthy and light. Panko-breaded sustainable fish topped with crunchy vegetable Slaw, and Boba Balls served with your choice of sauce. My friend tried the Cheeseburger Steamed Pods – Bao Buns which confused my mind. I feel the two don’t go well together, but it was actually fun! For dessert, I ordered the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse it was really sweet for my savory palate, but pretty.
Another food choice I can recommend is the Pongu Pongu kiosk (adjacent to the restaurant.) I tasted the Pongu Lumpia, a pineapple cream cheese spring roll. A yummy piece of heaven I won’t soon forget. Give it a try, if you dare.
Before leaving Pandora, consider stopping at the The Rookery inside Windtraders, to take home your own Banshee. Banshees are the winged-bird like creatures that popped out of the vast imaginations of Disney’s creatives to help visitors understand the stories of Pandora. The 4D ride gives you the opportunity to experience riding on a Banshee’s back for the time of your life. At The Rookery, visitors get to work with a Banshee guide to select and purchase their very own puppet-like creature to take home. The guide is needed to help you pick out which color and personality of these fictional creatures from the Avatar movie is best suited to head home with you, and your family.
I definitely recommend visiting Pandora, you are transported to a new world.
Disney’s The Lion King on Digital Aug. 15 and on Blu-ray Aug. 29
DisneyNature’s Born in China On Digital & Blu-ray 8/29