A little known fact that I don’t mention a lot on this blog is that I’m an avid Disney-goer. Living in Central Florida, Disney is basically in my backyard…well, it’s less than an hour away, but still! I’ve been a Passholder on and off for several years. I’m always excited when there’s something new going on in the parks. To be honest, though, when I first heard about Pandora coming to Animal Kingdom, I was like, “Why?” I’ve never seen Avatar all the way through, but the parts that I did see were super boring. And I thought it was odd that a non-Disney movie was being included in the park. 🤔 But hey, it meant new rides and new food, so whatever. And my sister managed to snag entries for us and my cousin into a Pandora sneak preview!
Although I wasn’t super excited, I figured that this was the best way to see it, since new attractions always draw massive crowds. 🙄 Plus, it opens to the public on Memorial Day weekend, so I knew it would be crowds on top of crowds! 😱
Our time slot was 3 – 5 PM, so we got there around 2:30 or so (after a strange and confusing adventure in the parking lot…but that’s a story for another day!🙊) Once the time we got inside the park, we made our way to Pandora.
The theming is absolutely gorgeous!😍
And those floating mountains are quite a sight. I was excited to finally see them in person, instead of just seeing them from the parking lot.
We ate lunch at the Satu’li Canteen. There are several delicious-looking options on the menu, but I decided to get one of the bowls that I had read so much about.
The options include a protein, a base, and a sauce. I chose the sustainable fish (I don’t remember what it was that day), the rice mixed with grains, and the creamy herb dressing.
It also came with a slaw and boba balls on top. And those boba were surprisingly yummy! The fish tasted a little fishy 🐟 but it wasn’t too noticeable when combined with all the other flavors.
There are two new rides in Pandora, but neither of them had any signage. I think it’s supposed to be a secret until it officially opens. I won’t spill the beans here, although other sites have name-dropped quite a bit.😅
This was very confusing when we were searching for the ride that we’d received a fast pass for. We didn’t wander around for too long, since there were only two options to choose from.
I didn’t get many pictures of our first ride. I just couldn’t get over how empty the queue was! That’s why I love going to the park during the week, and to an area that’s not open yet.😬
This particular ride is a motion simulator. Each rider sits on their own motorcycle-esque vehicle and wears a pair of 3D glasses. I have to warn anyone who’s planning to go on this ride, it’s very restrictive. There’s a back restraint and leg restraints! 😵 It’s uncomfortable at first, but once the ride begins, it’s barely noticeable.
The other ride is a relaxing and beautiful boat ride. It was very peaceful until we reached the Shaman of Songs. I did NOT like the Shaman of Songs.
Terrifying 😨 but I have to admit that the animatronic is absolutely flawless.
The Rest Of The Day
We could only spend two hours in Pandora before we had to come back to earth. 🙁 That wasn’t a problem for us, though. We had fastpasses (that we didn’t really need because the wait times were never more than 20 minutes) for Dinosaur, Everest, and the Kilimanjaro Safari. We didn’t make it to the safari because we were a bit occupied with getting coffee, figuring out what we wanted for dinner, and taking pictures with this delightful bike!
*Fun fact* I don’t really know how to ride a bike. 😅 I’m so glad it was chained to the wall, otherwise I would have fallen on my face.
Then we closed the night with a delicious meal at Sanaa.
If you ever find yourself at Sanaa (one of the best restaurants on Disney property), I recommend the butter chicken. Whatever other side you choose, get the butter chicken.
Also, and quite possibly even more important than the butter chicken, get the bread service. Request all of the varieties of naan and all of the sauces. (And if you mix the brown one with the green chimichurri, you will be pleasantly surprised 😉 )
Are you going to visit Pandora? Or did you go to the preview?🦋