Exploring Disney World’s Newest Attraction: Pandora – World of Avatar
We all know the common refrains as some variation on “Kids these days are spending way too much time on their devices” or “social media is tearing us further apart, not bringing us closer together!”
Regardless of who can truly bring us the answer to these 140-character debates, The Walt Disney Group and Orlando’s Disney World are making quite a large bet — $500 million, to be exact — that kids and adults alike are still willing to look up from their devices to see something magical: Disney’s latest attraction, “Pandora — The World of Avatar,” opening in late May 2017.
Pandora — The World of Avatar
Opening as a 12-acre attraction within Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Pandora — The World of Avatar is a testament to Disney World’s ability to constantly adapt the American amusement park, an uber-traditional concept, to the modern world.
First, Pandora is evidence that Disney is willing to shake up the way it uses its numerous platforms to introduce franchises to its fans.
Typically, franchise concepts are introduced as rides at a Disney park with those that are especially successful converted into blockbuster hits on the silver screen (see “Pirates of the Caribbean”).
With Pandora, Disney wisely allowed our blue Na’vi friends to endear themselves to millions worldwide before launching plans to incorporate the concept within the parks.
Where Pandora really begins to show its technological prowess, however, is in the marquee rides of World of Avatar, which feature everything from virtual reality to nighttime entertainment.
Flight of Passage
Flight of Passage might seem at first like an unlikely candidate for the World of Avatar’s marquee ride. The ride is indoors with none of the 100-foot drops or plunges into water that have made some of Disney’s other prime rides world famous.
However, once the rider secures his or her 3-D glasses and straps into the stationary motorcycle that anchors the ride, what follows is a virtual reality tour de force that seems nothing short of incredible.
Once the ride begins, the once-black screen is filled with images of Na’vi people, swooping ocean waves, colorful rainforests, and more. The ride will test all your senses, too, as splashes, gusts, and aromas mark the five-minute journey through Avatar.
Na’vi River Journey
World of Avatar’s other main ride offers a calmer journey through the land of the Na’vi in the form of a river cruise. The twist? This ride only takes place at night, providing a modern look at the Disney World classic ride medium.
It also gives you the time to spend the daylight hours checking out the sunlight-only attractions of Animal Kingdom.
Where to Stay in Orlando
Now that the easy part — what to do in Orlando — has been taken care of, here comes the hard part: where to stay.
Orlando is a very spread-out city with the airport and Disney being some distance from each other, so a well-located hotel is key!
Some hotel options include Holiday Inn Express & Suites Nearest Universal Orlando and Comfort Suites Universal Orlando if you want to stay near Disney, and Grand Bohemian Hotel if you need to be in downtown Orlando and choose to travel to the theme park.
Immerse yourself in Pandora — The World of Avatar for exhilarating activities, spectacular beauty and color, and celebration of nature.
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