The World of Pandora - Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Standby Queue for Flight of Passage
Walt Disney's original intention of his Disney parks and rides was to be 'just like you stepped into a movie'. Pandora-The World of Avatar (inside Walt Disney Worlds Animal Kingdom park) certainly achieves this feat. Opening in May 2017 to huge fanfare, the land is based on the movie Avatar (2009) which was set on the planet ‘Pandora’. 

I was not a huge fan of the movie, but really enjoyed the World of Avatar.  It is incredibly detailed – you do actually feel like you have stepped into another world.

Inside Pandora, there are enormous ‘floating mountains’ to view, lush exotic flora paths to explore and a Na'vi drum circle for the kids at heart to play on and more.




This plant sprays water mist which is great in the Florida heat








There are two rides in Pandora – ‘Avatar Flight of Passage’ (FOP) and the Na’vi River journey (NRJ). You are allowed 3 FastPasses (FP) for each Disney Park initially per day which allow you express entry into three lines with a wait time of 20 minutes or less usually. However, the rides at Animal Kingdom are tiered and you cannot choose both Avatar rides! You can only choose one Avatar ride.

Both Avatar rides have long waits if you do not have a FP.  The standby wait for FOP easily got to about 180 minutes and NRJ got to about 90 minutes during peak times during the day. 

If you stay at a hotel on site at Walt Disney World (WDW) like we did, you can book your FP 60 days before you go (another benefit of staying onsite at WDW). It was quite easy to get the FOP FP (and we also got all the Disney rides from all the parks we wanted FP for at the 60 day mark). 

We were left with not having a FP for Na’vi River journey though. Our strategy was to get to the park as early as possible. At about 9:30am the line was about 45 minutes, and steadily increased at 10am to 60 minutes. Yes, we waited 60 minutes for this ride.

Na’vi River Journey
The River journey had a very scenic queue with lots of trees and greenery to be seen. About half way in the queue you are under cover from then on so its a lot better in dealing with the heat and humidity. There are no bathrooms nearby at all once you enter the ride and everyone from your party must enter the queue together (there are signs for this). Drinks and drinking fountains can be found inside the ‘undercover queue area’.


The Queue for Na'vi River voyage
The ride is a simple river ‘dark’ ride in a reed boat, with lots of effects including bioluminescent flora. The ride also includes audio animatronics including the indigenous population of the Na’vi, animals such as the direhorse and viperwolf, and the Na’vi Shaman of Songs (a highlight). 

The Shaman on the Na'vi River Journey

This ride cops a lot of criticism that it is tame and its not worth waiting more than an hour for. I think the ride is quite good, it is extremely visual and probably requires more than one ride to absorb everything properly. I was left with a feeling of ‘wonder’ and that it was quite spiritual with the Shaman of Songs. My 10 year old daughter A.J loved it. My Dear Husband (D.H) disliked it and didn’t think it was worth the wait. If you are travelling with young families though – I think it should not be missed.

Avatar Flight of Passage
We had a FP for this ride, so we missed the long queue in the standby line. In the standby queue however there is a jungle trek with views over Pandora, caves and a few rooms of ‘props’ all to keep people amused for a potentially long (3 hours) wait.  As we had a FP, we unfortunately missed that part. The total wait time with the FP was 20 minutes.

On this ride you get to fly on a mountain banshee as part of a 3D ride. You hop on to vehicles akin to motorbikes and put on some 3D glasses. There are some bright lights through the glasses and then bang- you are flying on a Banshee in the land of Pandora. The Banshee you are riding on moves beneath you. Your entire vision was flying down mountains, valleys, dense forests and more. One word: Breathtaking. There is wind and mist on this ride. My hair had all frizzed up in the end and was wind blown ha ha. 

My husband D.H said it was also ‘breathtaking’. My daughter A.J said it was great, but scary at first until you adjust to the fact your flying on a Banshee.



 

One Cast member we spoke to said he had been on the ride 61 times!! This is the most amazing ride I have ever been on ever. It certainly feels 100% like you are flying all over the planet – missing waves, down steep mountain terrain etc.

I do find after experiencing this ride, that all other Disney and Universal rides now are unfairly compared, it is such a ‘step up’ with technology (it is that good). Some people have waited 3 hours in a standby queue for this – they would not be disappointed!

It will be interesting to see what the new Star Wars Land rides will be like considering the level of immersion in this ride and the advanced technology used.

Until next week,
KJ

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Comments

cathclt said…
It looks so magical there! My niece and sister were able to go to Disneyland last April.. Thanks for sharing!
KJ said…
Thanks very much cathclt for your comments. It was magical there!

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