Animal Kingdom has begun opening the doors to Pandora-The World of Avatar for special Preview dates and times. The Annual Passholder Previews began on Saturday, May 13th, and we were lucky enough to grab the very first time slot that day from 12:00pm-2:00pm. Here is our Review of the Annual Passholder Preview for Pandora-The World of Avatar.
We have to begin by saying this is absolutely the most organized Preview/Event we have experienced at the Walt Disney World Resort. Cast Members were fantastic and they kept things moving along appropriately. We could not officially line up until 11:00am; one hour before the Magical doors to Pandora-The World of Avatar were scheduled to open for us. The atmosphere in the line, waiting for the line, was jovial with people taking Selfies, getting to know one another, and sharing the excitement for the Annual Passholder Preview. At 11:00am we moved forward from the line for the line, up to the actual line to get in. We were then given one FastPass each for Avatar Flight of Passage, with a return time. Disney was very strict on this and you could only arrive during your window to ride; not before, and certainly not after so be aware of that if you will be attending an Annual Passholder Preview in the near future. We were then told by a Cast Member that we would be admitted in about 45 minutes. Much to our surprise, 45 seconds later, the door opened and we were admitted up to the entrance point. About 5 minutes later we were admitted to Pandora-The World of Avatar.
As we entered the Valley of Mo’ara, Pandora, the only word we could utter in that first moment was, “Wow!” The greenery, the structures, the trees and the magnificent colors all blend together for a breath-taking experience. Pictures cannot do this area justice and is a must-see in person for the full effect of the area.
Pandora-The World of Avatar is not currently listed on the Animal Kingdom Park Map as they are not officially open. You will receive Preview map upon entry this amazing new land.
We headed straight for the Na’vi River Journey. The entrance has a FastPass+ entrance, as well as a Stand-by entrance. There were no FastPasses this day. The Stand-by queue is simply magnificent with greenery, waterfalls, and a covered area with lovely lighting. We were particularly fascinated with the hydration station we came across along the queue area.
The Na’vi River Journey ride is beautiful with all of the Bioluminescent features, the music, and the relaxation of this boat meandering along the Na’vi River. The Shaman of Songs is magnificent and Disney has done a fabulous job incorporating the newest technology into this audio-animatronic. The loading area, and unloading area, are side-by-side.
We rode Na’vi River Journey twice then headed over to Avatar Flight of Passage for our FastPass return time. The FastPass queue takes you around the outside of the ride. You enter a space where you receive your first briefing about the Ikran, or Banshees, with an explanation of how you will become your own Avatar prior to riding your Banshee. You then enter a concrete hallway and head up to the entry space for the ride. We entered the second phase space where an Avatar was matched to each of us. Before entering the room with the Ikrans, or Banshees, we were told there was not photography allowed at that point. We were handed a pair of clear goggles and entered the next room, where we stored our bags in compartments directly behind our Banshee, and then sat on our Banshee. The seat itself is a cross between a motorcycle seat and a snowmobile seat. A safety bar comes up behind you so that you are all the way forward against another bar that curves around the front of you. At that point, you will feel a series of vibrations as you become one with your selected Avatar. The ride experience itself is very good. It is a simulator-style ride where you are facing a large screen. The sensations are quite realistic as you feel the wind in your hair, the dips and turns you take with your Banshee, the mist in your face and of course the sound, and the feeling, of your Banshee breathing.
The Stand-by queue for Avatar Flight of Passage is interior and is, without a doubt, a must-see. While you will want to have a FastPass+ for your first ride, if possible, the Stand-by queue is definitely worth a look. You will see handprints from the Na’vi people (3 fingers with a thumb), Mountain Banshee Project signs, Ikran Skeleton Head, Egg to Lizard informational stop, and of course the amazing Avatar. We know he is an Avatar because he has four fingers and a thumb.
See our video of the Avatar located along the Avatar Flight of Passage Stand-by queue here:
See our short video of the Egg to Fan Lizard along the Avatar Flight of Passage Stand-by queue here:
We had lunch at the Satu’li Canteen and it was really good. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted there. We will be following up with a Review of this new restaurant in the next day or so. Stay tuned to the Chip and Company Facebook page for this pending Lunch Review of Satu’li Canteen.
The overall Annual Passholder Preview experience of Pandora-The World of Avatar was very good. We found it to be quite organized and we expect that Disney has a plan in place for opening weekend as well. While FastPass+ is certainly the way to go, one important note here is that the Stand-by queues are magnificent and we highly recommend experiencing these as well. We will be there that evening for extended hours and are looking forward to experienceing Pandora-The World of Avatar at night.
Do you have a scheduled Annual Passholder Preview time in the near future? Please leave your comments in the box below.
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