After six years of developing and building, the public was finally allowed into Pandora, the Avatar-themed addition to Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. The opening weekend included lines as long as four hours for one new attraction in particular—a 3-D flight simulator called Avatar Flight of Passage.
A week later, we took a visit to Pandora. While the first week’s hourlong lines just to get into the park had thinned, Pandora was unsurprisingly filled with people excited to see the new venture between Disney’s Imagineering and James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.
Our day in Pandora started at the Satu’li Canteen for a light lunch of organic and environmentally friendly food. Following lunch, we waited about 90 minutes for the Na’vi River Journey, a boat ride through the Kasvapan River of Pandora. A ride meant for families and children who can’t enjoy the more exciting Flight of Passage, it’s a beautifully made attraction that doesn’t have many “thrills” but showcases Disney’s timeless audio-animatronics and newer technology such as 3-D holograms.
Wanting to see the park at night, we came back during Animal Kingdom’s “Extra Magic Hours” and lined up immediately for the Flight of Passage to go on a flying adventure and see what it’d be like to ride a mountain Banshee. We waited about two hours for the ride, walking through one of the most well decorated queues in all of Walt Disney World, including a Na’vi cave, abandoned RDA (Resources Development Administration) facilities and an Alpha Centauri Expeditions research facility. The ride itself is probably the most interesting and fun. Without giving too much away, we can say, despite waiting two hours, once the five-minute ride was finished, we didn’t mind the wait at all
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Adam McCullough is a live music photographer based in the New York City area who travels the country capturing festivals, concerts and the road along the way.