Back in early June, Rachel and I made our way down to Orlando to visit Disney World and hit up the new Pandora – The World of Avatar, which opened in late May at the Animal Kingdom.
We started our journey by leaving mid-afternoon on Thursday and made the 7-hour trek down to Orlando. Fortunately, our friends Ciara and Nick, who live in Orlando, let us crash with them for the first night so we didn’t have to pay for a hotel. They have just recently moved into a new place and it’s awesome!
On Friday morning, we headed over to Coronado Springs Resort, where we stayed during the rest of our trip. Luckily, they already had a room available, so we were able to drop our stuff in the room and grab the Disney bus to the Animal Kingdom.
We were both quite excited to see the new themed land of Pandora. And friends…it did not disappoint. It was simply fantastic. The details and theming rival just about anything I’ve ever seen Disney do. Honestly, Cars Land at California Adventure is about the only other Disney-themed land (that we’ve seen) that compares.
After stopping for several pictures, we made our way over to Pongu Pongu to enjoy a few Pandoran beverages. We both enjoyed the drinks. I, particularly, loved the one I got (Night Blossom). I actually ended up getting another Night Blossom later in the evening.
Then we walked over to the Windtraders store to look around at all of the different merchandise for sale. Once we had walked around for a while, we grabbed some lunch and got in line for the first of the 2 rides Pandora has to offer. We actually had a FastPass for one of the rides, but it wasn’t till mid-afternoon. So we waited in line for the first ride (Na’Vi River Journey), since we had time before our FastPass.
After a good 90-minute wait, we got on the Na’Vi River Journey ride. It was absolutely beautiful. The ride takes you through the rainforest of Pandora and is all lit up with amazing colors and theming. The only downside is that the ride is quite short. I probably wouldn’t wait nearly as long again, but since it was the main reason we were down at Disney, we figured it was worth it.
Once we got off the ride, we were able to walk over to our FastPass (Flight of Passage), which had a significantly longer wait time. We had heard great things about this ride, so we were both excited to finally experience it.
Without giving too much away, I will say, Flight of Passage might be the best ride I’ve ever done at Disney. It was, in a word, breathtaking! I can’t recommend it enough! Honestly, if the line wasn’t so crazy long, we would have gone back to ride it several more times. It was definitely worth it.
After that, we headed out of Pandora to walk around the rest of the Animal Kingdom. It had been quite a while since we had been in this particular park, so it was nice to see it all again.
Around late afternoon, we decided we wanted to hit up our favorite pizza place (Via Napoli) in the Italy section of Epcot. And about the time we decided to head over to Epcot, the bottom opened up and absolutely poured down rain on us. To say we were soaked would be underselling it a little bit. But…we are both troupers and pushed through and made it to Epcot and Via Napoli for a wonderful dinner!
Once we had finished dinner, we knew we needed to go back to our room and change out of our damp clothes. Fortunately, the rain had basically stopped by this point, so we were able to get back to our resort and clean up.
To close our day, we went back over to the Animal Kingdom and Pandora so we could be there as the sun set and experience it at night. This proved to be 100% the best decision as Pandora at night is magical!
Pandora lights up like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We both were just so impressed with the atmosphere and theming. We got quite a few pictures to say the least.
After a while, we made our way back over to the resort and called it a night. It had been a long, but wonderful day at Disney!
Stay tuned for the second half of our June Disney trip recap coming soon.