Pandora: World of Avatar

It’s finally here! After what feels like decades, Pandora: World of Avatar has finally been opened to the public! The new land based off of the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar had high expectations and in my opinion, far exceeded them.

To take it all in was exciting. It was like stepping into the movie. Details upon details made the experience borderline overwhelming. I loved every bit of it. I loved how the imagineers were able to make it seem like you were walking through an almost foggy, dense, overgrown area without feeling trapped. 

The area is pretty crowded right now given the anticipation and excitement over the expansion so be prepared to wait in longer lines for the two rides featured in Pandora. The two rides are Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage. Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride through the land of Pandora. I have not been on this ride yet so I don’t have many details. I have been on Avatar Flight of Passage. The ride was very built up as a “Soarin x10” type of experience so I went in there with high expectations. 

They matched my expectations plus some. It is a ride similar to Soarin but takes it beyond with the feeling that you are alone riding this banshee through Pandora. If you don’t look around while riding you will completely forget that you are sharing this ride with 48 people(I think). I would consider this ride a ‘must fastpass’ type of ride. The wait has been starting at around 3 hours but if this is the type of ride you really enjoy I don’t believe you would be upset or underwhelmed if you waited in line. 

I found this entire experience to be very immersive and captures everything that made the movie the hit that it is. I have already spent 2 full days in a row in Animal Kingdom since the expansion opened which is something I can honestly say I have never done. This was exactly was Animal Kingdom needed to bring it from the “half-day maybe” park to the “first stop or more” destination it is now.  




The Tree of Life – Animal Kingdom

treeoflife1 treeoflife2

The Tree of Life, the iconic symbol of Disney’s Animal Kingdom rises 14 stories into the sky to loom over the entire park. Over 103,000 artificial leaves are on the tree. The majestic carvings are truly awe inspiring. There are more than 325 carved animals set into the tree to give it the full 3D effect. The recent remodel seems to have made everything crisper and cleaner.

The walking trails leading up to and around the tree make for perfect picture opportunities. There really isn’t a bad view. Remember you can always ask any Cast Member to take a picture of you with your own camera/cell phone.

The tree of life has a show in it’s root system called It’s Tough To Be a Bug. It’s based on the movie Bugs Life and is a 4D fun for all ages show. I will warn you that some people find it scary due to the bee sting/bug movement simulations. Little ones can always sit on a lap to avoid that. The theater is dark.



Killimanjaro Safaris – Animal Kingdom – Photos by Amanda Gill


The Killimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom is a must see! I highly suggest getting a fast pass as this is a very popular attraction. Have your cameras (cell phones) ready to go as the animals are unpredictable. There is no age or size limit for this ride but it can be a little jarring at times. This ride last about 20 minutes and is narrated by your driver. Look above for the handy list of animals that you could be encountering. safari3

There is an authentic feel to this safari as you view animals in their natural habitats. If they live together in Africa then they will live together here at Animal Kingdom. The giraffes are so desensitized to the trucks that they will often walk right in front of them with no worries. The lions are usually a crowd favorite but don’t worry they have a moat around them and won’t be snacking on your family members. The elephants move surprisingly graceful given their size.


The grounds are just so well done, of course. The trees and anthills feel like they’ve been there forever. It’s funny to think that Animal Kingdom is the newest of the parks.

While in Africa check out the Harambe Market!