The Land Exit Survey is back and today we’re moving over to Walt Disney World to talk about one of the resort’s most recent expansions. Theme parks are made up of sub-sections, generally called lands which is what Pandora – World of Avatar is. Since you’re reading a theme parks blog then I’m guessing you probably know that. Many of these lands are spectacular, some are far from it. In this series, we cover individual lands one post at a time and answer some questions about them.
While we won’t be diving incredibly deep into these lands, we’ll provide the basic information about the area and we’ll add in some of our opinions. We’ll also use these posts to talk about theme both throughout the land and within the park. All of the posts will use the same questions. Let us know in the comments if there are questions that we should add!
So far in this series we’ve covered:
- Disney California Adventure: Grizzly Peak and Buena Vista Street
- Disneyland: Mickey’s Toontown, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country
- Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland
- Epcot: Future World West
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sunset Boulevard and Toy Story Land
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Asia
- Tokyo DisneySea: Mysterious Island and Mediterranean Harbor
- Tokyo Disneyland: World Bazaar
As we move onto Pandora, which opened in 2017, we welcome back Michaela to the answers because two opinions are better than one! Let’s get to it!
What is your short(ish) review of Pandora – World of Avatar?
Andrew: Pandora lived up to the hype and then some. Similar to Cars Land, I don’t care much about the source material but the beauty, detail and marquee attraction will stand on their own.
Michaela: Pandora is all lush scenery with one incredible ride. Surpasses expectations when it comes to being amazed; it doesn’t matter if you care about the source material or not.
What’s in the land?
With a somewhat condensed footprint, there aren’t as many things on this list as some other lands:
- Avatar Flight of Passage – The land’s flagship attraction takes guests on the back of a Banshee. It’s a similar ride technology as Soarin’, but improved upon.
- Na’vi River Journey – A slow boat ride through the rainforest like setting of Pandora.
- Swotu Wayä Na’vi Drum Ceremony – This is a drumming show that takes place in the Valley of Mo’ara.
- Pandora Utility Suit – A streetmosphere entertainment option, with someone walking around in a giant AMP mech suit from the movie.
- Satu’li Canteen – The land’s counter-service option serves bowls with different bases, proteins and sauces.
- Pongu Pongu – A drink stand sitting right next to the counter-service restaurant.
- Windtraders – The gift shop includes land specific merchandise and sits at the exit of Flight of Passage.
What is Pandora’s backstory and theme?
It probably goes without saying that the story behind Pandora comes from the movie Avatar. The floating mountains and other locations are used inside of the land as well as the Na’vi, who inhabit Pandora. The backstory of how guests arrive on Pandora is through the tour company ACE (Alpha Centauri Expeditions). ACE provides the lodging, food and infrastructure that allows humans to travel to Pandora and through the valley of Mo’ara, where this land is specifically set.
As for the time period, the land is set 100 years after the events of the first film. I won’t say that I’m some Avatar expert who really loves the movie, I don’t, but I think that puts the land at a place where humans can peacefully enjoy Pandora. There are remnants of the war that broke out in the first film throughout the land but what really makes Pandora stand out is the overall beauty and color it showcases.
What is your favorite part of the land? What’s the most memorable aspect of it?
Andrew: It’s hard to choose just one thing… I think my favorite part of the land is just walking around there in the morning before it gets too hot. The colors really pop and the waterfalls off of the mountains are majestic. Most of the people there in the morning are in line for Flight of Passage so the paths are mostly clear to walk around. If that wasn’t my choice then I’d pick the most memorable aspect of the land – Flight of Passage. They knocked it out of the park with that attraction and it remains one of the best rides in WDW.
Michaela: It’s hard not to choose Flight of Passage, it is one of the best rides Disney has ever created. When I think about Pandora though, I always envision the last scene of the Na’vi River Journey. Here the technological marvels of Disney Imagineering is paired with an swelling song to create a climactic moment to an otherwise dull ride. I’ll wait in a decently long line as long as I get to see that animatronic.
Are there parts of Pandora you don’t like?
Andrew: I wouldn’t say I dislike anything but I do find Na’vi River Journey perplexing. It’s pleasant to look at but I don’t love the choice to not put a plot into the ride. The attraction ends up giving off a feeling of “Is this it?” even though it is beautiful.
Michaela: Pandora is the newest of the lands in the America Disney parks that doesn’t have a lot of movement within the land itself. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has shows and characters, as does Avengers Campus. I would like to see that same movement and life come into Pandora.
How does the land coincide and transition with the rest of the park? Does Pandora make the park better or worse?
Andrew: Going between this and other Animal Kingdom lands is an interesting transition but is carefully handled. With most of Animal Kingdom having a lived in quality, Pandora certainly feels more whimsical although they do try to make it feel somewhat lived in with war remnants. Where it coincides really well is the emphasis on plant life and ecology, while putting guests as the first person character in the stories.
The physical transitions have quite a bit of space to work and there isn’t anything brash done. In fact, the walk from Africa to Pandora is absolutely beautiful! This land absolutely makes Animal Kingdom better.
Michaela: I think Pandora fits in quite well. You go from a gigantic animal sculpture tree to floating rocks. It’s basically seamless. Pandora does focus on natural (albeit unnatural) beauty as well as the creatures that inhabit that universe, which helps it coincide with the rest of the park. With one amazing attraction and one decent one, it definitely is a boon to Animal Kingdom.
Where would you rank the land in relation to the others in the park?
Andrew: This is a tough one. I like Animal Kingdom more than any other Disney World park and it has a chorus of strong lands. I’m going to put Pandora third behind Africa and Asia but well ahead of any other land. It’s not far behind the top two and may end up surpassing them over time.
Michaela: I would put this land at number two, with Asia beating it out because of the Imagineering masterpiece that is Expedition Everest. While I love the beauty of the park, I mainly go for the rides and Everest is my top pick.
What do you think of Animal Kingdom’s Pandora? Do you like our Land Exit Surveys? Would you add anything? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Interested in a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our Planning Guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Land Exit Survey
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