1. Get a Fastpass, or get there early.
Pandora opened to hours-long waits for its two rides, plus waits even to get into the land. But if you have a Fastpass+ ride reservation time, using Disney's website or smartphone app, you can bypass the line to get into the land and head straight for the Fastpass+ entrance at the ride you've reserved. That could cut your wait time from hours to minutes.
If you can't snag a Fastpass+ reservation (and here's more about Disney's Fastpass system, if it is new to you), then it's best to rely on the time-honored advice of arriving at the park before it opens so that you can be in position to get to the land before the crowd fills it. For Pandora, that means arriving at Disney's Animal Kingdom at least 90 minutes before its schedule opening time. And don't bother with the park on a day when it has "Extra Magic Hours" scheduled for Disney resort guests... unless you are staying at a Disney resort. Resort guests looking to take advantage of their extended hours in the park will just make it even more crowded.
2. Come back at night, too. (But don't skip the day.)
With its bioluminescent forest, Pandora take on a different feel at night, creating a unique experience.
That said, visiting at night isn't a better experience than seeing Pandora in sunlight. It's just different. The glowing plants don't illuminate the land so much that you can see all the detail you can during the day, so you miss something if you visit only after sundown. But I think you miss something if you see it only during the day, too.
3. Flight of Passage isn't for everyone.
Pandora's top attraction is Flight of Passage, a flying theater experience that simulates being linked to an avatar in order to ride on the back of a Mountain Banshee through the moon's Valley of Mo'ara. The ride provides the most enjoyable simulation of acrobatic flight that I've ever experienced in a theme park, even better than Bolliger & Mabillard's flying coasters.
But like a roller coaster, it's not for everyone. You will ride on individual seats that look a bit like motorcycles, where you must straddle a seat and lean forward, with restraints holding your legs and back in place, but not your shoulders or head. The seat's not on a track like a coaster, but it will roll and pitch to simulate flight.
Wheelchair users must transfer and be able to straddle the seat, sitting upright without support. And larger riders might not be able to fit into the seats. A test seat is provided at the attraction entrance so that you can see for yourself if it is accessible and comfortable before getting into the line.
The land's other ride, the Na'vi River Journey, also is not wheelchair accessible, as it requires transferring from your chair into a boat.
4. Pandora's the place for eating veggies.
The land's restaurant is the quick-service, Satu'li Canteen. This is Disney World's first restaurant to offer mobile ordering, so use the official My Disney Experience app to navigate to the Satu'li Canteen page and place your order before arriving at the restaurant, to save you some time in line.
At the media preview for the land, Disney set up a buffet so invited reporters could sample everything on the menu:
For me, the clear choices for flavor were the vegetarian options: the Chili-Spiced Crispy Fried Tofu ($11.49) and Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods ($10.99). It's just bowls and Bao (steamed buns) on the menu, so if you're looking for more traditional burgers, chicken strips, and such, you're better served elsewhere. But if you've been craving some flavorful vegetable-based meals on your Disney vacation, visiting the Satu'li Canteen should become a priority.
And the blueberry dessert's a winner, too, with its complementary passion fruit and raspberry flavors.
5. Get a guide
Disney's Imagineers have filled Pandora with details that will be lost on the vast majority of guests. So if you want the inside scoop on the land, find a guide. Disney is offering a virtual assistant to guide you through Pandora, via the My Disney Experience app, or you can ask ACE [Alpha Centauri Expedition] employees in the land (i.e. Disney cast members) to point out their favorite details. And take the time to read everything in the queue for Flight of Passage, especially in the lab section of the queue. (You will miss the lab if you have a Fastpass+, however.)
6. If you can wait to visit, go ahead.
While Pandora's a wonderful addition to the attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort — whether you remember James Cameron's 2009 hit Avatar or not — it's going to be here for a long time. If you don't need to be able to say that you were among the first to visit it, aiming for a trip later this summer or beyond likely will get you much shorter waits to visit the land and its attractions. Initial crowds will dissipate and Disney will get better at running Flight of Passage at its full capacity, allowing the ride to handle more visitors with less wait. We've seen the same thing happen with other wildly popular new attractions, including Universal's Harry Potter lands. Pandora should be no exception.
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