I recently returned from a kind of impromptu Disney trip. It was a quick weekend trip and we packed it full of Disney magic.
One of the best things about the trip: Pandora was open. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Pandora: the World of Avatar absolutely lives up to all the hype. Disney has been marketing this new attraction for months now and it is worth checking out. Even with the massive response and long wait times the newest addition to Animal Kingdom was truly the highlight of the trip.
My mom and I were staying at Kidani Village. Which was awesome, not just because it is an amazing resort but because it would be the shortest commute to Animal Kingdom. The morning of our Animal Kingdom day we got up early. The park was having extra magic hours that morning and resort guests would be able to enter at 8am. We were planning, like many other people, on opening the park and making a B-line for Pandora. We wanted to get on Flight of Passage before the line got to long. If you have read any articles about the opening week at Pandora this is the ride that had a seven hour wait the first day it opened. As much as I wanted to ride it, spending seven hours of precious park time in line was not something I was prepared to do.
Kidani Village recently started offering quick service breakfast at Sana, which was amazing for this weekend trip. The morning before my mom and I had sat down and had breakfast while we watched the various animals go about their day. It was a great way to start off a day. The morning we did Animal Kingdom we got there just after it opened, at 7am, and helped our selves to the oatmeal. It was great. They had lids for the containers and even had little containers with brown sugar and golden raisins for the oatmeal. We took our little containers of oatmeal to go and headed for the bus stop. We were lucky, and bust pulled up within minutes of us getting to the stop. We were the only ones on the bus and we headed strait for the park. I inhaled my breakfast, I wasn't sure if I would be able to bring it in to the park. But, my mom took her time.
Security had no problems with us bringing our breakfast in, which was awesome. In all of my trips to Disney this was only the second time I have been asked to show that I was staying at a resort on property in order to take advantage of the extra magic hours. It was great. I could even see that people were being turned away from the Pandora entrance because it was only open to Disney resort guests. We made our way to the end of the line for Flight of Passage. I feel that it is important to note that the extra magic hours had the park opening at 8am. We got in line at 7:45. The wait was already 90 minutes and the line was moving. They had already fired up the ride before the park was opened. My mom enjoyed her breakfast while I took pictures.
Overall the wait really wasn't that bad. We got to see all of Pandora with very few people walking around, well very few people since they were all in line with us. We talked with the people in line with us. And the different waiting rooms for the line were very well done with so much detail that it did take time to take it all in.
The ride itself was like nothing I have ever experienced before. It was intense and I really feel that it will changed the way theme park rides are designed in the future. Without giving away too much of the ride, it really does feel like you are riding on the back of a banshee. My legs needed a couple of minutes to adjust to walking when I got off the ride. It was worth the wait with out a doubt.
We decided that we had enough time to try out the other ride, Na'vi River Journey before getting lunch. While we were in line the wait time jumped from 40 minutes to 60 minutes. The que line didn't have as much to take in, so it felt like a longer wait. But, the water station halfway through the line was really nice. It held up the line a little since nearly everyone stopped to fill up their water bottles, but the wait didn't impact the time I got on the ride and I really appreciated being able to refill my water since it was so hot out. Overall, the ride was alright. Not really worth an hour wait, but I would ride it again if I didn't have to wait very long or had a fastpass.
The food was fantastic. I was very pleased to see that nearly everything on the menu was healthy. They have steamed buns with different fillings. They also had rice or salad bowls that you could top with different proteins and sauces. The flavor of the chicken and the onion aioli were just amazing. We got the children's size and it was enough to fill us up.
After lunch we explored the rest of the park. Which, was unusually empty since the vast majority of the park guests were at Pandora. We had almost no lines with anything we did. We even discovered dole whip in Africa! We were able to enjoy the park with little crowds and had a fantastic day.
Overall, the entire experience of Pandora was amazing. We weren't able to get back to the park to see it at night, but it will be a high priority on our next trip in October. I was blown away by the attention to detail Disney put in to all that is Pandora. It really looks and feels like you are there. The floating mountains are just spectacular and don't look like that are manmade structures at all. It all feels real. I look forward to what they will add to Pandora next.