The Avatar is a movie that debuted in 2009, written, produced, and directed by James Cameron. When interviewed he said that the whole concept of the movies came to him in a “fever dream”.
Now more than 20 years later, a second movie dropped reawakening the whole series! Fans can’t get enough of the planet Pandora. Fortunately for you, Walt Disney World has a whole land devoted to the Avatar movies loaded with easter eggs and actual props that would make any Avatar fan geek out!
What is Avatar?
The original Avatar movie introduced us to the planet Pandora which is inhabited by a large blue semi-humanistic species known as the Na’vi. In order for the scientists to interact with the Na’vi, they had to “look” like them. The scientists create “avatars” of themselves to look like the Na’vi. They build a trust in each other until a war breaks out over Pandora’s resources.
That’s all we’re giving you! No spoilers!
How Many Avatar Movies Are There?
Currently, there are two movies available. The first is Avatar and it was released in 2009. The second movie is called Avatar: The Way of Water, and was released in 2022.
Break out the popcorn, Avatar fans because there are 3 more movies in the contract! The next movie is expected to release in 2024, then the following movies are expected in 2026 and 2028. At least we don’t have to wait 10 years between each time!
What Order Should You Watch the Avatar Movies?
The proper order to watch the Avatar series is Avatar followed by Avatar: The Way of Water.
You can watch BOTH movies right now on Disney+!
Is Avatar Ok For Kids to Watch?
Every family is different and follows their own set of rules. We consulted with www.CommonSenseMedia.com to get their take on both Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water for their opinions.
www.CommonSenseMedia.com is a fantastic go-to site for parents to read about the appropriateness of movies, television shows, and other forms of entertainment. They discuss language, nudity, and similar questionable material and gauge the true appropriate age. We really like how they incorporate the reviews of both the parents and kids as a factor.
Common Sense Media says 13+
Avatar rated well for Positive Role Models and Diverse Representations, and didn’t have a bad score on Positive Messages, but parents should take note on the scores for the Sex, Nudity, Drugs, and Alcohol categories.
You can read their full breakdown here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/avatar
Avatar: The Way of Water
Common Sense Media says 13+
The sequel to the original Avatar received stellar scores on Positive Messages, Positive Role Models, and had no drug or alcohol-related scenes to score on. This movie even received Common Sense Media’s Teen Common Sense Selection badge, meaning that it is a good movie to show to teens.
See the full breakdown on Avatar: The Way of Water here.
Avatar in Disney World
So, you’re super pumped about the new Avatar movie and now you’re heading to Disney World – It’s time to go hang out with the Na’vi yourself! Walt Disney World has a full immersive land devoted to the Avatar movies!
Disney’s Pandora is loaded with details, sights, sounds, smells, and adventure! Plus, there are actual props and details from the movies sprinkled around for you to find…
FUN FACT: You can see the actual Avatar head prop used in the original Avatar film for Sigourney Weaver’s character inside of the Pandora gift shop, Wind Traders!
Where is Pandora in Disney World?
The land of Pandora is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom where Camp Minnie-Mickey used to be. It is the land to the left of Animal Kingdom’s entrance.
Pandora opened in 2017 as a response to the competition from Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While the Avatar series may not have the cult following of Harry Potter, the Imagineers really outdid themselves by creating a land loved by people who had never even seen the film.
What Rides are in Pandora in Disney World?
Pandora features 2 rides that are must-dos for any fan of the Avatar films.
Avatar Flight of Passage
The first and most popular ride not only in Pandora, but also all of Animal Kingdom is Avatar Flight of Passage. This ride has a 44” height requirement and is a 3D simulator style attraction.
On this ride, you meet with the scientists and create your very own avatar and are about to embark on a journey to bond with your Banshee, a flying beast that you are to be connected with.
Avatar Flight of Passage is one of THE BEST rides in Walt Disney World, and any fan of Avatar needs to run, skip, jump, walk, and crawl to get to it!
Wait Times & Individual Lightning Lane
With popularity comes higher than typical wait times. The best way to beat the line for Avatar Flight of Passage is to either Rope Drop it or purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for it through Genie+.
Rope Drop is a term used in Disney lingo to mean that you show up to the park before it officially opens. You can walk through the turnstiles about 30 minutes before the park opens and wait at the lands where a Cast Member is holding a little rope that they will “drop” right as the park officially opens.
Remember, this is Disney World, the most magical place on earth, not Target on black friday where TVs are on sale!
Individual Lightning Lanes
Individual Lightning Lanes are available for the most popular attraction in Walt Disney World so guests can pay to skip the line. This is NOT the same as the regular Genie+ service. ILLs purchases are for one attraction only.
Prices are based on the demand for the day, but Avatar Flight of Passage averages around $11 per person.
That might seem a lot since it is per person, but consider how much you paid for your ticket into Disney World and consider if you spent up to 2 hours waiting in line. If Avatar Flight of Passage is on your must-do list (and it should be), purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane would totally be worth it.
The second ride in Pandora is a family friendly boat ride with the same ride system as “it’s a small world”. Don’t worry, there is no song or creepy unblinking dolls to haunt your dreams.
Just the opposite, actually.
Na’vi River Journey takes you on a boat ride through Pandora at night where you can see all of the beauty of the bioluminescence, and hear the sounds of nature on their planet.
This is a very serene attraction with no height requirement, and at the end there is what is said to be Disney’s best animatronic ever. At the end of the ride you will float past a Na’vi Shaman that you won’t believe is not an actual person.
The motions are fluid and natural. And unlike the dolls from “it’s a small world”, the shaman animatronic blinks.
Wait Times & Lightning Lanes
Despite being less popular than the star attraction Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey can have wait times that are just as long, if not longer! This is because the ride cannot turn over rider capacity at a speed to keep up with the crowds.
Guests have to enter and exit boats, and that takes up a great deal of time. Plus, each boat has the capacity of 20 people and there are only so many boats.
The best way to beat the wait times for Na’vi River Journey are Rope Drop and Lightning Lanes with Genie+.
Just like Avatar Flight of Passage, you can choose to Rope Drop Na’vi River Journey to beat the crowds. HOWEVER, as much as we enjoy this relaxing boat ride, we don’t recommend “wasting” your Rope Drop time on it.
If you purchased Genie+, good news! Na’vi River Journey is included in the list of attractions that offer Lightning Lanes to skip the lines!
All guests can make their first Lightning Lane selection at 7:00 AM EST, and we highly suggest that you select Na’vi River Journey during this time. This attraction often runs out of Lightning Lanes throughout the day.
Food in Pandora in Disney World
When Disney does immersion, they go all the way and even include food into the story! The land of Pandora offers 2 quick service locations to try the food of the Na’vi!
Pongu Pongu is a walk up drink and snack stand that was started by an American expat that fell in love with Pandora and just couldn’t leave.
Keep an keen eye, there are details and pieces from the movie all over this small, unassuming drink stand! More on those details later…
Pongu Pongu means “Party Party” is Navi, so get the party started with some unique cocktails. Cocktails include the Rum Blossom, which is a layered fruity slushie with a rum floater and boba balls, (which can also be served non-alcoholic), and the Hawkes’ Grog Ale, which is a notorious green beer exclusive to Pongu Pongu!
Pongu Pongu is known for 2 very iconic snacks. First, is the absolutely ginormous Na’vi Pretzel served with beer cheese. This large carbholoic’s dream is firmer than your standard Mickey pretzel and is served warm. The Na’vi pretzel is easily shared with 3-4 people.
The second snack claims the title of being the most devising snack in all of Walt Disney World history. It is none other than the Pongu Lumpia.
Read more: about how divisive the Pongu Lumpia is here.
Pongu Lumpia is warm cream cheese mixed with pineapple, wrapped in a lumpia and served with cinnamon and sugar on top. Our team is divided, to say the least.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? PONGU LUMPIA #YUM OR #YUCK?
LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!
The scientists who stayed behind in Pandora took the mess hall from the Resources Development Administration (RDA), AKA the bad guys, who created a wonderful human / Na’vi mash up for guests to enjoy!
Satu’li Canteen features unique food and desserts, but don’t let that worry you because it is easily one of the top quick-service restaurants on Disney property. We recommend that you use the Mobile Order feature on your My Disney Experience app to place your order so you can avoid the lines.
The main cuisine here is a build-your-own bowls with some Asian flair. First, you choose your base from rice, noodles, or lettuce. Next you choose your protein from beef, chicken, shrimp, and tofu. Last, you choose your sauce to be drizzled on top. Each bowl is then finished with a slaw and boba pearls. Apparently, the Na’vi really love boba.
If that sounds way out of your comfort zone, you should try their Cheeseburger Pods. These bao bun style pods are filled with ground beef, onion, pickles, cheese, ketchup, and mustard to be the perfect little Na’vi cheeseburger. It tastes a lot like a kid’s meal cheeseburger from Mcdonald’s.
Disney World loves making mousse-style desserts and using all kinds of molds, and here is the perfect opportunity. Desserts on the Satu’li Canteen menu change every so often, but they are always some form of mousse cake with interesting shapes and colors.
Go for it! Try something new!
Can You Dress up in Pandora in Disney World?
The land of Pandora, just like the rest of Walt Disney World, has restrictions on costumes. Children ages 12 and under may dress up as any character they please as long as there are no masks or capes. (Channel your inner Edna Mode as you read that.)
Adults are not able to wear costumes, HOWEVER, you can absolutely Disney Bound Avatar characters and wear pieces from the movies!
Disney Bounding is where you wear an outfit inspired by a character or movie. Color schemes are a real big help here. Pinterest can be your best friend when trying to create any character Disney Bound!
The Pandora gift shop Wind Traders has some great accessories for the Avatar fan in your life! Trade in those Minnie Ears for some Na’vi ears. While you’re at it, go ahead and buy the tail, too!
Wind Traders also sells robotic Banshee shoulder pets which are super realistic.
Of course, like all gift shops, there are all types of Avatar-themed clothing. You can get hats, shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, socks, and you can get them in all different colors. They even have a collection that glows under blacklight!
Secrets of Pandora in Disney
- Pandora at Night
Seeing Pandora at night is an absolute must! The whole land comes alive with a magical bioluminescent glow. Don’t worry, this Pandora doesn’t have creatures that will wake in the night to eat you.
- Noisy Plants
The plants may not try to eat you like the films, but they are noisy! Some plants are interactive to make more sounds!
- James Cameron and Joe Rohde Easter Eggs
The director James Cameron worked alongside Animal Kingdom Imagineer, Joe Rohde to create the land of Pandora. They were so proud of it that they put themselves in it… In Satu’li Canteen you will see 3 red hand prints. One is Na’vi, one is J.C. (James Cameron), and the other is J.R. (Joe Rohde).
- More Joe Rohde
While you’re hanging around Pongu Pongu, take a look at the dog tags hanging. Joe Rohde is on one of those tags!
- Even More Joe Rohde!
Joe Rohde says that the Cheeseburger Pods on the menu at Satu’li Canteen are actually based on one of his family camping recipes. They needed a picky eater option that was different, but simple, and could be made in mass quantities. Is there anything this man can’t do?
- Size Matters
You can compare your human foot size to that of a Na’vi by stepping into some of the footprints in front of Na’vi River Journey.
BONUS: 5 of the Coolest Souvenirs from Pandora in Disney World!
The land of Pandora in Animal Kingdom is a part of your Disney vacation that you will remember forever! Celebrate your great time with some really cool and unique souvenirs like these from Wind Traders:
Creepy Plants from Pandora… Or Are They?
Check out these plants from Pandora! When you look closely you will see that they are actually 2 succulents grown together with one facing down. The effect makes the plant look almost jellyfish-like!
These plants are definitely the most unique souvenir in all of Walt Disney World. Talk about a conversation piece!
The scientists had to go around Pandora to collect local plant life for research, but now that the research mission is over they need to sell off their specimens! Included in the selection are unique plants like the Venus Fly Trap, and all are actually in the scientist’s beakers and flasks!
Packaged candy is not a unique souvenir in Disney World unless you’re in Pandora. The candy sold at wind traders is exclusive to Pandora and made to look like Na’vi candy.
They have a Vein Pod (crisped rice cereal treat), Dried Helicoradian (sour gummy candy), Pandorian Rock Candy, Expedition Trail Mix, and blue candy popcorn!
Banshee Stuffed Plushies
The Banshees are sacred creatures to the Na’vi. Once bonded with one, they will be your one forever. Now everyone can enjoy a banshee that snuggles!
These plushies are a part of the baby Disney stuffy series that takes our favorite characters like Pluto, Pegasus, Mickey, and more in their super cute baby form and bundled all up snuggly soft.
Glow in the Dark Clothes!
You haven’t seen Pandora until you see it at night time when it is all aglow with the blacklight bioluminescence. You can be part of the magic with the blacklight collection at Wind Traders! They have shirts for the whole family, drawstring backpacks, jackets, and more!
Tell us your favorite Avatar movie!
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.
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