I had intended to visit during the passholder preview, that was given before the official opening on May 27th, but I missed the email invitation (thanks to Gmails “helpful” filters) and by the time I saw it, it was much too late to get on the list. There was no way I was going anywhere near Animal Kingdom on opening day, which happened to fall over the Memorial Day weekend, so we decided to visit a few days later. It was still crazy busy but not the 4 hour plus lines of opening day. We planned to visit later in the evening and ride the attraction with the shortest wait time, which happens to consistently be the Na’vi River Journey.
Here are a few photos of the walk into Pandora, which during the day looks much like the rest of Animal Kingdom with it’s lush, tropical landscaping and sculpted concrete hardscape.
The stated wait time for the Na’vi River Journey was 105 minutes, this ended up being an excruciating 150 minutes, a reminder to not always trust the wait times… So, we grabbed a cold beverage and a “Fruits of Mo’ara” Raspberry, lime and strawberry popsicle from a cart by where the loooooong line for the ride was queued, to help cool off.
The theming in the main covered queueing area was quite nice and the occasional fans and water bottle refill station were a nice touch.
At loooooonnnnggggg last we finally made it to the ride! It was short and there really is no story line like Pirates of the Caribbean but it is very beautiful and the animatronics were absolutely lifelike.
And of course, this being Florida in the summer, when we got off of the ride it was FLOODING and STORMING! I can tell you that there are not enough covered areas in this part of the park when it rains and being shooed out of nearly any available shelter in the middle of an active thunderstorm, by park employees, made me quite angry. Anyway the rain eventually dwindled and I was able to get a few shots of Pandora at night which is just beautiful with the black lights and glowing paint.
We spent some time in the very crowded Satu’li Canteen waiting on the rain to diminish, I tried a Pandoran Sunrise while we were there which was pretty good. The food here looks great and we plan on trying it when we go back on Thursday to ride Avatar Flight of Passage so stay tuned for my next Pandora post!