Pandora the World of Avatar: Family Guide and Tips

Breeze Leonard Avatar
The floating mountain soars over Pandora.
The floating mountain soars over Pandora- The World of Avatar. Photo credit: Cindy Richards

In 2017 Disney added a new 12 acre land to Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Pandora- The World of Avatar was inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar which premiered in December of 2009. This immersive area features two rides, great food, fan favorite Avatar Flight of Passage, two new Wilderness Explorer stops and a completely different experience at night. Here are our favorite things to do in Pandora at Animal Kingdom.

Are you excited about visiting Pandora the World of Avatar at Walt Disney World? Read all about what you can expect on your first visit there.
Impressive floating mountains dot the landscape at Pandora World of Avatar ! Photo Credit: Breeze Leonard

What to Expect When Visiting Pandora at Animal Kingdom

I remember when I first learned that Disney was creating this new area in Animal Kingdom. I have to be honest, I was skeptical. You see, I am a big fan of the movie Avatar. The idea of trying to recreate it seemed challenging to say the least. On my first visit to Pandora at Animal Kingdom, I went in with an open mind. I was excited and curious to see how Walt Disney World brought Pandora the World of Avatar to life. I was pleasantly surprised and now have a new favorite ride at Disney World!

See Pandora come to life when visiting Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
Seeing Pandora come to life in Pandora- The World of Avatar was epic. It’s a great addition to the Animal Kingdom park. Photo Credit: Breeze Leonard

Pandora the World of Avatar: Incredible Sights, Sounds, and Smells

On your first visit, you will want to walk around and take in the scenery. There is so much to see! I looked like a kid in a candy shop, with wide open eyes, as I looked up at the floating mountains and bioluminescent forest. So much attention was given to the transition from the rest of Animal Kingdom into Pandora the World of Avatar. As you cross the bridge near Tiffin’s you’ll see the scenery change drastically. Disney wanted us to feel like we had stepped into a whole new world and they did just that! As if the sights weren’t enough to engage my senses, the sounds and smells kept me looking in every direction to find the source.

I’m a fan of the movie so I could appreciate the details from the film. But it did make me wonder what others might think who had never seen the movie before.  I then overheard people who had not seen the movie talk about the ‘wow-factor’ that Pandora has to offer. You should also stay until after dark for a whole new experience!

Pandora Avatar tip - Use this poster to teach your kids about how poor environmental management leads to extinction.
This exhibit explains to visitors waiting for a turn on the Flight of Passage ride how poor environmental management leads to extinction. Photo credit: Cindy Richards

Pandora – The World of Avatar: Rides

There are two rides in the Disney’s Pandora at Animal Kingdom. Thrill seekers will love Avatar Flight of Passage. Na’vi River Journey on the other hand is a relaxing ride that everyone can take part in.

Avatar Flight of Passage

I now have a new favorite ride at Walt Disney World. Avatar Flight of Passage was by far the most exciting non-roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on! The storyline and intro to the ride are fun and engaging. I rode it four times and fell in love with it a little more each time. It was a treat to ride on it with others who were experiencing it for the first time. One father riding with daughters described it as “Soarin’ on steroids,” which is the perfect way to explain it!  Riding a banshee through Pandora, feeling it breathe under my legs, smelling the moss as we flew by, was the highlight of my visit. Disney’s integration of scent on rides is at another level with Flight of Passage.

Things to keep in mind when planning for Avatar Flight of Passage. Under Disney’s new Genie+ system it is considered an a la carte ride. This means it requires an Individual Lightening Lane purchase to skip the line. The cost can vary based on day and time but it is usually around $14. The standby line averages over an hour at most times. The good news? There is a lot to look at while you’re waiting. The queue has a lot of neat details to the point that you’ll notice more and more things each time you go through. There is a height requirement of 44″ to ride.

Avatar Flight of Passage is included as a Disney early entry ride. Be aware that the line gets long fast first thing in the morning. It’s very popular to rush straight for this attraction as soon as guests are able to enter the park. Cast members will be in Pandora- The World of Avatar directing guests to the end of the line. Even rope dropping with a friend and hustling we waited for more almost an hour to ride.

Pandora Avatar tip - don't miss the bioluminescence on the Na'Vi shaman at the end of the Na'Vi River Journey ride.
The bioluminescence on the Na’vi shaman at the end of the Na’vi River Journey ride. Photo credit: Cindy Richards

Na’vi River Journey

I also enjoyed the Na’vi River Journey ride. The music was beautiful and the colors were impressive however, once was enough for me. I’d much rather spend my time on Flight of Passage. There are no height restrictions making it a great ride for babies and toddlers who will love the colors and sounds.

You must stop by the Satu'li Canteen when you are visiting Pandora the world of Avatar.
Having lunch at the Satu’li Canteen in Pandora- The World of Avatar was an adventure. Check out the menu! Photo Credit: Breeze Leonard

Great Food Options in Pandora at Animal Kingdom

Satu’li Canteen

Satu’li Canteen was a highlight of our Pandora visit and has quickly become one of my favorite Disney restaurants. This isn’t like any other quick-service dining options within the parks. Unique options immerse you in the land. As a bonus there are some great meatless options here. I highly recommend ordering one of the bowls. You’ll be able to choose your own base and sauce to adjust it to your taste. Bases include red and sweet potato hash, noodles, rice and beans, or a salad. Sauces available are charred green onion vinaigrette, black bean vinaigrette and creamy herb sauce. Personally I love the salad base with the creamy herb sauce. Kids will love the Cheeseburger Steamed Pods- Bao Buns which are basically fancy cheeseburger Hot Pockets.

You can utilize mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app. We actually prefer ordering this way. There are a lot of choices and modifications on Satu’li menu items and it is easier understand them in the app.

Definitely don’t skip dessert. The Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse and the Chocolate Cake are both dome shaped works of art that taste as good as they look! Drink choices include non-alcoholic options like juices, sodas, and water. There are also fun alcoholic options like Hawkes’ Grog Ale (green beer) and Dreamwalker Sangria.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Pandora Pongu Pongu snack stand
Get a Night Blossom at Pongu Pongu; Photo Credit: Amanda Williams

Pongu Pongu

This snack stand doesn’t sell a ton of food. Your options in the morning are a sausage biscuit or French toast sticks. Lunch and dinner times offer a pretzel with beer cheese. Pongu lumpia (pineapple cream cheese spring roll) is served all day. The snacks are good but nothing special. The real reason to stop at Pongu Pongu is for the Night Blossom drink. This frozen non alcoholic beverage consists of layers of Apple and Desert Pear Limeade topped with Passion Fruit Boba Balls. There is also an alcoholic Rum Blossom which is the same ingredients with the addition of Bacardi Rum. They’re both amazing.

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bioluminescent walkways makes pandora at animal kingdom gorgeous at night - glowing sidewalks
Photos can’t fully capture how pretty it is to walk around Pandora The World of Avatar at night. Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

Pandora at Animal Kingdom: See it at Night

Don’t miss out on seeing Pandora the World of Avatar at night! It’s a completely unique experience. Throughout the Valley of Mo’ara landscape are bioluminescent walkways. This means that the walkways glow at night and it is breathtaking.

There are several photo opportunities around Pandora including a PhotoPass spot in front of the floating mountains.

One thing to note is that nighttime can be a little challenging with kids and people with mobility issues. They keep the lighting in this area low. I highly recommend a clip on stroller light of flashing button so that it is easier to find your stroller. Keep kids close or hold hands.

Visiting Pandora the World Of Avatar: What Other SheBuysTravel Writers Had To Say

Of course, when you are part of a group of travel-loving moms who especially love Disney, you have to get their thoughts on Pandora.

Jill Robbins shared her experience:

“I went at night – it was an adults-only group so I get what others are saying about it being tricky to navigate with kids…it was pretty dark but all the black light fluorescent light details in the plants and on the walkways were really cool. I loved getting a second look at night and was really glad we decided to go back for another look. My phone snaps don’t do the beauty of Pandora at night justice.”

Sarah Gilliland, tells us about her visit with kids:

“My kids really liked Pandora, and they’ve never seen the movie! The food at Satu’li Canteen makes it worth a visit to me. The theming and immersion were impressive, and I don’t think you need to be a fan to enjoy the area or experience. Night time was cool, but I agree that it was very dark and a little unnerving when trying to keep up with kiddos.”

Breeze Leonard is a travel enthusiast and the affiliate manager for SheBuysTravel. A marketing and advertising specialist, she is also a social media strategist and travel writer, with several years’ experience writing for digital media. A Texan born and raised, Breeze left a corporate career to fulfill her passion for seeing the world with her three little girls. Their adventures have taken them across the globe, spanning visits to favorite Caribbean isles and motoring cross-country in an RV through some of America’s most beloved national parks. She believes that no adventure is too small and that every memory made, good or bad, is part of the family’s story.
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2 responses

  1. I can’t wait to experience Disney’s Pandora- even though I wasn’t a big Avatar fan, their Imagineers are amazing and take painstaking detail into their work- so I already know it will be worth it- but will wait a while longer until the lines go down and they offer that FastPass option- it took a year for us to check out Frozen in EPCOT, but that was worth the delay too! There’s so much to do at Animal Kingdon that I wouldn’t want us spending the precious time waiting in a very long line (not when there’s Expedition Everest & those Raging Rapids to contend with 🙂 Thanks for sharing your adventure!

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