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Disney’s World of Avatar

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Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is famous for its lush landscapes and plant life. That’s why Pandora: The World of Avatar, fits perfectly within the beloved theme park.

For those of you that have seen the movie Avatar, the futuristic world of Pandora is familiar. Glowing vines, floating islands, and supersized trees dominate the landscape, and the Na’vi people (think: tall and blue) rule. Disney, sadly, doesn’t have giant aliens walking around the park, but the bioluminescent plant life is there. During the day, the floating islands and strange plants look incredibly realistic, but when it gets dark, they start to glow.

In Avatar, the natives of Pandora are fighting an environmental war against humans. However, the theme park is set years after the timeframe of the film, so the Na’vi are finally able to “invite” humans onto their planet again. Evidence of the human-built structures are scattered around the park, but the foliage has “grown” to cover them up. The world is fantastical yet believable, and even the employees contribute to the illusion that you’ve been transported onto another planet.

In the Pandora land, every employee is part of the story. Some are part of a “travel agency” that “flies” humans to Pandora, and some are environmental conservation workers. Ask them questions about the plant life, the story of Avatar, and the Na’vi, and they’ll answer as if they’ve been living on the planet for their entire life.

Of course, there are rides in Pandora as well. The ride that has been hyped up the most is called Flight of Passage. The thrill ride is, according to Disney, a “first person experience,” where you’re an avatar that’s riding on the back of a flying Banshee. To experience the ride, you sit on a motorcycle-shaped vehicle and don a pair of 3-D goggles. The ride combines sound, vision, scent, and motion to create an experience similar to that of Soarin’, a Disney simulator ride in Epcot.

The second ride in the land, called Na’vi River Journey, is a soothing indoor boat ride that showcases two things: glow-in-the-dark foliage, and Disney’s most complex animatronic to date. The ride is peaceful, pretty, and a nice break from Florida’s humid weather.

Of course, touring Pandora can be tiring, so two restaurants have been built to showcase the futuristic cuisine of the Na’vi. One restaurant, named Satu’li Canteen, is a casual joint with a variety of options that differ from typical theme park food. Hungry park guests can build bowls filled with rice and meat, or they can order stranger foods, such as cheeseburger pods or blue cheesecake. The other restaurant, which is more of a weird Starbucks than anything else,  is the Pongu Pongu Bar. Here, they serve cold slushees and alien bubble  tea with tons of toppings, and neon green beer!

Some might say that the world of Avatar has no place in Animal Kingdom, but the beauty of the landscapes and environment is sure to convince them otherwise.

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For the students by the students
Disney’s World of Avatar