We went to a preview of Pandora -The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park last weekend. The land officially opens to all guests on May 27th, 2017. Even though we ended up staying for about 8 hours within the land, nearly half of that was waiting out rain, and then there was a delay inside Flight of Passage due to technical difficulties. So my time walking around the land was minimal, but it allowed for enough photos and video for the first visit.
As someone who is not a fan of Avatar, I don’t personally feel a huge connection to it yet and I am not sure if that will happen. The land is very pretty and lush with waterfalls and the floating mountains. I look forward to seeing it at night, evening photos I have seen are stunning. I would ride the Na’vi River Journey again if there is a short wait, but Flight of Passage is a bigger commitment and I am not sure we will be able to get Fastpasses often (so I expect to ride that seldom, just like Frozen Ever After at Epcot). The food at the Satu’li Canteen is better than I anticipated. So before showing photos and video, those are my first thoughts in a nutshell. Jeff actually is a big fan of both Avatar and the new land.
The photos and videos are on 2 pages.
We recorded Mousesteps Weekly #227, which mostly covers Pandora: The World of Avatar and then keep reading for all the photos and more videos.
We went over the bridge next to Tiffin’s and were in the Valley of Mo’ara. The sign welcomes guests and tells them to stay on well established trails and not to run from large animals.
Here is our video walking tour of the land before heading further into the photos:
We went straight to the Na’vi River Journey, which says: “Journey down a gentle river through the bioluminescent rainforest as you search for the Na’vi ‘Shaman of Songs’. On the day we visited, there were no Fastpasses yet, and we ended up walking on the first time with no wait. There was a short wait on our second time through.
There is a Standby entrance and a Fastpass+ entrance for when the land opens on the 27th.
Here is a look entering the outside queue.
This will be full on opening day.
The Na’vi River Journey attraction takes you through a bioluminescent rainforest (you will hear the word bioluminescent likely more than you ever have in your life in regards to Pandora). Before we get to this point, we boarded what Disney calls a reed boat – the boats are small, they are supposed to fit 8 but both times we rode it was 4-6 total. I think 4 in a row would be tight except with a family having small kids.
Here is our video of the Na’vi River Journey.
The ride itself is about searching for the Shaman of Songs. The ride is a dark one, with pretty visuals.
Plants light up.
Apparently the animals are also on their way to see the Shaman of Songs.
Creatures can be seen walking around.
Here is a closer look.
Here are some photos from the boat ride of plants and animals before arriving at the Shaman of Songs. The boat ride itself is about 4 1/2 minutes long.
The Shaman of Songs audio-animatronic is nearly 10 feet tall. According to Disney, “Guests observe the shaman in the midst of a musical ceremony, playing an instrument and singing. Through her music, the shaman sends positive energy into the rainforest, telling of the sacred bond with nature that Na’vi and humans share”.
Here is a closer look at the Shaman of Songs.
Joe Rohde says about the audio-animatronic, “The shaman is even more extraordinary than we expected. Her facial expressions, little movements in the cheek, tiny movements in the eyelid – each one of these carries an emotion she is capable of conveying”.
Here is one last look at the shaman. This scene is toward the end of the ride.
We had a Fastpass+ for Flight of Passage, which is the signature attraction – of the two – in the land. So I took a quick photo and then we got in line.
The photos and video are from two walk-throughs. One was for our Fastpass, and the other was a walk through the stand-by queue. Our full Fastpass experience was upwards of an hour and a half, due to technical difficulties. One of those issues happened during the ride, about 10 seconds in the ride stopped. We waited about 10 minutes to be let out, where we eventually went through both pre-shows again. Even when everything is running smoothly, I expect long waits for the attraction. If I really wanted to ride it and couldn’t get a Fastpass – which I don’t anticipate being able to do often – I would probably head straight there at opening, or try just before park closing if the park closes late.
Avatar Flight of Passage is for guests 44 inches and taller only. This is a 3D ride, it does move – so definitely use caution if that might bother you. It says that those who have a fear of heights should not fly. I do have a fear of heights – even to the point where I don’t like using more than a stepladder for climbing – and I had no problem. Even when our ride stopped midway and I realized we were fairly high up – the “theater” has several levels, it was fine for me. It is like Soarin’ in that there are different levels. Anyone who doesn’t handle Soarin’ well as far as heights may be bothered by this, though I felt more secure in the Flight of Passage seat than Soarin’.
The outdoor queue is pretty remarkable in its design.
There are a number of bridges in Pandora, including this one.
Looking up to see waterfalls.
Disney says about the queue, “The journey begins in the queue as guests begin an uphill trek around a massive root structure, over a land bridge above waterfalls to an authentic totem garden.”
Looking back at the bridge.
Walking through the queue.
Now inside, Disney calls this a “cave-like structure where the great-winged banshees, or Ikran as the Navi’s call them, are celebrated in paintings and majestic totems.”
The queue is a long one, and will be filled with guests starting on May 27th.
There are single rider and Fastpass+ lines.
Here is our video, followed by more photos.
We won’t be going through much of the Fastpass+ queue in this article, there isn’t much to see as the standby queue (which I will start showing a few photos down).
Signage on the walls.
From Link to Flight.
This is as close to a Mickey in Pandora as you’ll probably get.
After riding once, we went through the standby queue – we couldn’t ride again by going through it, but wanted to tour it.
Artwork on the wall.
Walking past this door.
Even the water fountain is themed.
You are entering a Pandora Conservation Initiative Field Site, according to the photos below.
More bioluminescence here.
Mountain Banshee Project.
Mountain Banshee Ecosystem.
This is a laboratory.
One of the most impressive parts of the queue – if not the most impressive – is this Avatar Animatronic. It is really very well designed.
Here is a look at our video of the animatronic.
Jump to page 2 for more photos!