Animal Kingdom’s largest addition will officially open to parkgoers on May 27th. Created in collaboration between Disney’s Imagineers and James Cameron’s Light Storm Entertainment, guests are invited into an authentic experience into the world of Pandora, based on Cameron’s successful film, after the conflict between humans and the Na’vi natives has ended. Once you cross over the Discovery River, you’ll become immersed into a whole new world, filled with floating mountains and bioluminscent forests. This new land continues the tradition of the “value of nature, transformation through adventure, and a personal call to action” that Animal Kingdom is based upon. The enchanting forest is inhabited by plants that illuminate in response to animals in the environment. You’ll be able to sense the presence of large creatures moving along the outskirts of the camp and smaller ones moving around in front of you, even if you can’t see them. Keep your map handy though, a new land can be tricky to navigate!
The exciting new land features two brand new rides, Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey. Flight of Passage takes guests on a wild ride on the back of a winged mountain banshee as it flies above the Pandora landscape. The expedition is perfect for riders seeking adventure and even features a face-to-face encounter with the land’s feared predator, the Great Leonopteryx. The Na’vi River Journey is a family friendly attraction that takes guests on an eight-seat boat ride down a sacred river into the mystical rainforest. During the journey riders can spot alluring creatures and glowing plants on their way to a musical ceremony led by a Na’vi Shaman of Songs. Both of these attractions qualify as Tier 1 rides for Fastpasses, so you’ll only be able to reserve a time for one prior to entry.
Food & Drinks
The attention to creative detail that creates the immersive world of Pandora is applied to the land’s dining experience as well. The Satu’li Canteen serves meals inspired by Pandora’s plentiful yield of fresh vegetables, robust proteins and wholesome grains. The innovative fast-casual restaurant allows guests to mobile order their meals on the My Disney Experience app if they don’t prefer to wait in line to order. Food can be ordered and paid for on the smartphone app, and users will simply press the “I’m Here” button when they’re ready to pick up their meals. Disney Dining Plans are accepted at Satu’li Canteen as well. The menu features customizable bowls with a variety of base ingredients, proteins, and toppings to choose from as well as steamed pods filled with cheeseburger or vegetable curry. There is also a children’s menu with simpler choices like grilled chicken and hot dogs. Guests over 21 can indulge in several specialty cocktails like Dreamwalker Sangria and Banshee Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. There are two specially brewed beers available as well; Hawkes Grog Ale, which is a fruity wheat beer with apricot and peach, and Mo’ara High Country Ale, a malt amber ale with herbal spice hops and infusions of caramel, toffee and nuts. In addition to standard non-alcoholic soda and juice options, the Canteen sells the Pandoran Sunrise, a mix of tropical juices and melon Powerade.
The Pongu Pongu drink kiosk will also feature signature beverages like the Mo’ara Frozen Margarita, the strawberry and blood orange cocktail spiked with Sauza commemorativo anejo tequila, and the non-alcoholic Night Blossom limeade flavored with apple, pears, and topped with passion fruit boba. Guests can purchase the Hawkes and Mo’ara ales here as well.
Visitors looking for the ultimate Avatar experience can purchase a Na’vi translator from Windtraders, Pandora’s nature-inspired shop. The translator teaches the correct pronunciation of the Na’vi words that are the most essential while traveling to a foreign place. The wearable device comes with 15 translation cards, with a total of 90 cards to collect. Guests can also adopt their very own pet banshee from The Rookery at Windtraders. With the help of an Alpha Centauri Expeditions Naturalist, you can choose from ten different styles of tiny Pandora creatures.
Connect To Protect
Taking the interactivity to the next level, Disney has added another layer to Pandora’s overall immersive experience with the “Connect to Protect” mobile adventure, available via the My Disney Experience app. The app experience works as both a virtual guide through the Mo’ara Valley and a series of “conservation missions” led by Pandora ecological specialist Fitsimi Buckley. Fitsimi, or “Fits”, highlights Pandora’s flora and fauna, challenges users to various tasks, and offers insights about conservation that are applicable to life outside of Pandora. Once all the assignments are complete, guests unlock a $10 donation to the Disney Conservation Fund, used to protect or restore the habitat of a threatened species. Guests can choose the animals they’d like the fund to support from a list of ten threatened species.
The park’s hours will be extended from May 27 to July 4, opening at 8 a.m. and closing at 11 p.m. Twice a week, resort guests can take advatange of extra magic hours in the mornings by entering the park 7 a.m. Evening magic hours will allow resort guests to continue exploring Pandora until 1 a.m. While the rest of Animal Kingdom’s attractions will still close at 11 p.m., a select few will remain open for along with Pandora, including: Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl, TriceraTop Spin, and Fossil Fun Games. There will also be additional showings of Tree of Life Awakenings, Rivers of Light, and discovery Island Carnivale.