As the open date for the long-anticipated Pandora (Avatar Land) at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Animal Kingdom nears (May 27, 2017), here is a rundown of everything you need to know.
The new park area, officially titled “Pandora – The World of Avatar” has been under construction for quite some time now. Visitors to the park can see the massive construction site as they enter the parking lot of Animal Kingdom.
The new land will be themed to reflect environment created in the hit 2009 movie that was written and directed by James Cameron. When entering the area, visitors will be immersed in the sites and sounds of Pandora and it’s native Na’vi people.
The new area will be accessed by crossing an entry bridge which has a story of its own. Here is a quick synopsis of the bridge’s storyline according to the Disney release:
According to the storyline developed by Walt Disney Imagineering and Lightstorm Entertainment, this bridge was built during a time when a destructive company called the RDA – Resources Development Administration came to Pandora. Now that they are long gone, nature is breaking down evidence of their presence. This bridge will soon serve as an entry into the base camp of Alpha Centauri Expeditions, the eco-tour group that will host explorers on their Pandora adventure.
Once inside, the area will feature what is being described as an “awe-inspiring land of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and soaring Banshees will give guests a transformational experience they will never forget.”
We know now that Avatar land will include a restaurant named Satu’li Canteen (pictured above), where the Disney Dining Plan will be accepted. Of course, Disney World is all about story-telling, so there is a back story to Satu’il Canteen:
The Satu’li Canteen was once the main mess hall of the Resources Development Administration (RDA) base located in the Valley of Mo’ara. Now the canteen is owned and operated by Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) tour company and has been redesigned into a beautiful museum-like dining room. (source)
An interesting feature of Satu’li Canteen is that it will be the first Disney World restaurant to offer Mobile Order, which allows you to order and pay for your meal in the My Disney Experience app and then tap an “I’m Here” button when you arrive to notify the kitchen to start cooking. This creative addition should move things along quicker and give you more valuable time exploring the park.
Pandora will also contain a gift shop titled Windtraders and a drink area called Pongu Pongu.
There will be a couple of new rides in the new park area as well: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey.
Rumors of new animatronics being included in Avatar land were confirmed recently when imagineers released this video featuring the Shaman and Songs which will be featured in the Na’vi River Journey.
As if the sights weren’t enough Avatar authenticity. Our friends over at WDW News Today report that part of the casting call for Avatar land cast members is a requirement to learn a new language- Na’vi. Interesting.
We also know that the new land will have bio-luminescent flora which will actually make the ground below you glow. Something tells me this new area will be a must-see nighttime attraction at Walt Disney World.
Here are a few more exciting videos of Avatar Land as opening day gets closer:
To celebrate the new land, Disney has even created a new website dedicated to it: visitpandora.com.
Here is a longer preview video for Pandora that Disney created for Good Morning America recently. This place really looks amazing!
Fastpass+reservations are now open for Pandora – The World of Avatar and can be selected on your My Disney Experience app or online here. Here are the ground rules for Pandora Fastpass+:
Guests at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels can reserve FastPass+ selections for the two attractions up to 60 days prior to check in, beginning today. For all other guests who have pre-purchased valid park admission, reservations will be available starting 30 days prior to their visit, beginning May 27, 2017. You may select one of these two attractions in your first set of Disney FastPass+ selections, depending on availability. (source)
Disney has also announced that they will be keeping Disney’s Animal Kingdom open later for visitors looking to enjoy Pandora. Here are the details:
Beginning May 27 (through July 4), guests staying in select Walt Disney World Resort hotels will have the opportunity to experience Pandora — The World of Avatar with special nighttime Extra Magic Hours. Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels with a valid theme park admission can fly on the back of a banshee, navigate a mystical river and walk under floating mountains beyond regular park hours – from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. This benefit is in addition to the Extra Magic Hours already available to you at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (source)
I will be adding to this post if/when more info becomes available leading up to the grand opening in May. Stay tuned and be sure to check back here!