If you are heading over to Animal Kingdom for the first time since Pandora-The World of Avatar opened last year, then you are in for a treat. Let me start by saying I am not a fan of the movie Avatar. (Please don’t hate me if you loved it.) That said, I can’t wait to go on our next expedition to the glowing planet. As always, Disney’s Imagineers outdid themselves, and the land is absolutely stunning at night. I’ve put together seven tips to help you make the most of your time in Pandora!
1. Go at Night!
If you’re heading to Pandora-World of Avatar for the first time, DO NOT make your initial visit during the day. If possible, head over there at night when the entire planet is aglow in bioluminescence. We first visited Pandora in the late morning last August. Upon seeing the land during the day, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Well, this is neat. Don’t get what all of the fuss is about.” Don’t get me wrong, like everything Disney does the land is impressive day or night, but you don’t really get the full experience until after sunset. If you want your first impression of the land to be “WOW!” then visiting Pandora after nightfall is worth the wait.
2. Get Your FastPass+ ASAP
The line for Flights of Passage can extend onto the bridge leading to Africa on the busiest days. Don’t waste precious park time waiting in line in the misery of the Florida sun. If you are a resort guest, you can book your FastPass+ 60 days out. The FastPasses for this ride go quickly, so reserve them as soon as possible. Along with Seven Dwarves Mine Train, I recommend making Flights of Passage a FastPass+ priority. If not, you’ll want to head over to Flights of Passage at rope drop to avoid waiting 3 or more hours in line.
What time should you reserve your FastPasses? When it comes to Flights of Passage you’ll have to take what you can get. I know most people would suggest an afternoon time slot when the crowd levels are higher, but like Frozen Ever After a few years ago, this ride is currently the hot ticket. Count yourself lucky if you get to ride it once during your stay!
3. Don’t Wait in Line for the Na’vi River Journey
The ride is so short that it is not worth waiting the 2+ hours for. As we exited the ride, my husband and I looked at each other with confusion and asked, “That was it?!” There is one amazing Na’vi animatronic at the end, but overall this ride is missing that Disney magic that you have come to expect from everything in the parks: a fantastic story that momentarily transports you to a more magical place.
That said, my five-year-old son loved it and I have booked FastPasses for it on our upcoming trip. While some younger children may be frightened by the dark atmosphere (see video), my son loved the glowing flora and fauna.
4. Want a Banshee? Start filling up that Mickey Savings Jar!
If you let your kids venture into Windtraders, they are going to make a bee-line for The Rookery where the banshees are awaiting adoption. Be warned, adopting a banshee is not cheap! Lil’ Man paid around $65 dollars for his banshee, Antenna, back in August 2017. That doesn’t include any of the available accessories. Lil’ Man saved up his allowance and birthday money from grandparents in order to have the funds to bring this guy home.
I should mention that I have already had to perform emergency surgery on Antenna. Not long after we arrived home, my son managed to amputate one of Antenna’s antenna (the irony).
5. Get Your Camera Out!
I take the majority of our Disney vacation photos in Animal Kingdom. While you won’t spot a majestic giraffe in Pandora, you will want to get some shots of the amazing landscape.
Note: To properly capture the beauty of Pandora at night, you need a tripod to compensate for your camera’s slow shutter speed. Most likely, you aren’t lugging one of these around the parks, or you don’t have one small enough to meet Disney’s restrictions. (Tripods and monopods must fit in your backpack to be permitted into the parks.) I tried to be creative and rest my camera on my son’s stroller and other objects, but most of my photos still came out with a slight blur. The images below are the handful that came out okay.
6. Take Advantage of PhotoPass Spots
Want a picture with a banshee flying overhead? Be sure to ask the PhotoPass cast member for available Magic Shots in Pandora. I forgot to ask last time and we missed out. You can see the Magic Shots here.
Note: Members of the Military can get their 2018 Memory Maker for $98 (normally $169) through December 19, 2018.
7. Dine at Satu’li Canteen
I can’t speak from personal experience regarding the food at Satu’li Canteen. I wanted to dine there during our expedition to the planet last August, but my husband and son insisted on heading over to World Showcase for dinner. I’ve read nothing but positive reviews reviews regarding this quick service restaurant, and I am determined to try it on our upcoming visit. If you are looking for healthier than average quick service fare then I think you will enjoy Satu’li Canteen with offerings like sustainable fish and fresh vegetables. There is even a Chili-Spiced Crispy Fried Tofu Bowl for vegetarians. You’ll find the current menu and prices here.
You are going to have a magical experience on your expedition to Pandora! Hopefully these tips will help you maximize your time on the planet. Have you already returned from your expedition? Comment below and share your thoughts with others. Thanks for stopping by!
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