Of course I’m talking about Pandora-The World of Avatar. This week brought a lot of information on the new Animal Kingdom land, set to officially open on May 27th. Videos have been released of the land elements, attractions and food. So how does one plan to visit if we have no clue what to expect. I will take my best shot and attempt to conjure up a touring plan based on what we know. But first let’s check out the information we do have (information taken directly from the Walt Disney World Website)
*Valley of Mo’ara: All around its enormous floating mountains, you’ll quickly uncover the valley’s one-of-a-kind dining and shopping experiences—along with sights, sounds and experiences that include:
- Exotic plants that come to life with beautiful bioluminescence each night
- A Na’vi-built drum circle, containing instruments playable by all
- Na’vi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land
- Brand new Wilderness Explorer challenges and badges to collect
You may even come across tour guides from Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI), or even an eclectic expat or two!
*Avatar Flight of Passage (height requirement 44”): Get a banshee’s-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of Pandora on a rite of passage you won’t soon forget!
Deep in the heart of the Valley of Mo’ara discover Avatar Flight of Passage—an all-new expedition that lets interstellar explorers like you climb atop a mountain banshee for a breathtaking, first-person flight over the moon’s incredible landscape.
*Na’vi River Journey: Glide down a gentle, mysterious river and feel a sense of wonder as the full beauty of Pandora reveals itself. Located within the Valley of Mo’ara, Na’vi River Journey offers explorers an experience that has to be seen—and heard—to be believed!
FOOD AND BEVERAGES
Satu’li Canteen: Discover healthful dishes and familiar flavors from another world—wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and hearty proteins.
Tuck inside the Quonset-hut structure called Satu’li Canteen—long ago an RDA mess hall, now a peaceful dining facility adorned with Na’vi art and cultural items.
Owned and operated by Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), Satu’li Canteen supplies travelers all the comforts of home—courtesy of a unique, fast-casual menu that’s been crafted from Pandora’s natural abundance.
Pongu-Pongu: Quench your thirst the Pandoran way at an otherworldly pit-stop offering Na’vi-inspired refreshment.
Hike to the corner of Windtraders where you’ll find Pongu Pongu—when you spot a friendly expat serving out-of-this-world drinks, you’ve come to the right place.
Meaning “Party Party” in the language of the Na’vi, Pongu Pongu welcomes weary travelers to try our “bioluminescent” frozen cocktail, indigenous beers—or even a sweet snack you won’t find elsewhere!
Windtraders: Discover exotic merchandise and souvenirs celebrating the flora, fauna and culture of Pandora.
As you trek through the Valley of Mo’ara, make your way to Windtraders, where the walls have long since been overtaken by natural root structures—which nowadays serve as still-growing displays for a variety of mementos and take-home treasures.
From Na’vi cultural artifacts and animal toys to science kits and Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) apparel, you’ll find something exciting for every member of the family here!
With this information we can expect:
CROWDS: You can be sure that Animal Kingdom will probably be the second most visited theme park for the months following the official opening. If you are a fan of the movie or someone who never saw it, Pandora is built to attract every kind of visitor. From the casual to the die hard. I expect to see long lines of people at the tapstiles long before the park opens every morning and maybe 80% of them heading toward the Tree of Life and making a hard left and on to Pandora.
FAST PASS: Both Flight of Passage and River Journey are slated to offer fastpass, but when these will become available is anyone’s guess. I am expecting fastpass to open at the 30 day mark to give both onsite guest and offsite and Annual Passholders an even chance, of course, this is just me hoping that is the case.
TOURING PLAN: as with every Disney Park being at the entrance before park opening will be crucial, especially if you don’t have a fastpass. Without knowing the loading speeds and ride capacity for the 2 main attractions it is best to say that you should go straight for the attraction you would like to experience the most. Take advantage of the baby swap if you are doing Flight of Passage. I am expecting lines to start forming outside the entrance hours before official opening time and I am hoping they will have enough Cast Members to walk everyone safely to Pandora so it doesn’t become another running of the bulls.
The Valley of Mo’ara seems like a great place to enjoy some chill time, happy to see that the Wilderness Explorer activity will also occur in Pandora, there will be some drums for people to play with and face painting. Seems like a great way to spend the time while some adults are on Flight of Passage.
LAND CAPACITY: There are strong rumors that Pandora will have 2 entrances/exits. One through the bridge next to Tiffins (old Camp Minnie/Mickey Bridge) and the other through Africa, behind the Harambe Theater (house of Festival of the Lion King) If you are at the park at rope drop you will definitely want to take the Tiffins entrance. If this becomes anywhere near as popular as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was we might see land closure throughout the day to thin out the crowds inside the land.
FOOD AND BEVERAGES: If you’re like me I am as excited for the food as I am for the rides. And if you want to eat at Satu’li Canteen it will be best to try as early as it opens or at off times, like between 2pm and 6pm. Not a lot of information has been released about this restaurant but most people think it will be like Be Our Guest for lunch time, where you order your food at the podium and it is brought up to you. No clue if it will only be reservations but I tend to think it won’t be since the description does say “fast-casual”.
PANDORA AT NIGHT: By the videos, this will be an area of the park that people will want to come back to in the evening. Maybe even take in the River Journey attraction at night because you will see more details as your eyes are adjusted to the dark.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS AT ANIMAL KINGDOM: If you have very little interest in Pandora or just plainly want to avoid the craziness you will be in luck. I anticipate that the rest of the parks attractions and entertainment will see a decline in wait times especially in the morning and evening hours.
BOTTOM LINE: If you are planning on experiencing Pandora during the first couple of months after opening, plan your fast passes, expect large crowds throughout the day and pack your patience. I am planning to spend the entire opening day inside Pandora, going live throughout the day to bring you all the excitement that takes place during an opening of a land at Walt Disney World.