Universal Studios Orlando is not the only theme park in town with a new attraction opening this Memorial Day Weekend. Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom Park will open the gates to Pandora—World of Avatar on May 27. Yup, eight years after the movie "Avatar" hit the big screens, the theme park is ready to take off. (Go ahead and download/rent/stream the movie again. We too are a little hazy on the details beyond Sam Worthington's hotness.)
The VisitPandora.com website gives the fictional backstory of the world of Pandora, home to the Na'vi people, and which is facilitated by the Alpha Centauri Expeditions company (also fake) while the Disney site has all the practical information you might need on the 12-acre fantasy land, such as which rides are Fast Pass eligible, how tall you need to be to ride the rides, and what to gawk at while roaming through.
In the interest of saving you some time on your research, here are some highlights, followed by some sneak peeks we gathered from various social media.
1. VALLEY OF MO'ARA: This valley is full of "enormous floating mountains" which you can "hike" while ogling exotic plants that brighten at night, thanks to the magic of biolumiescence. There's also a Na'vi-built drum circle which anyone can join and other Na'vi cultural items. The valley also has brand-new Wilderness Explorers challenges and badges to collect, along with several dining and shopping outlets.
Family tip: Basically anyone of any age is good to hike through here. But be prepared to spend money. Fortunately, you can drink tequila. See below.
2. AVATAR FLIGHT OF PASSAGE: Here's the main ride of Pandora where guests will "hop" on the back of a mountain banshee and soar through a 3D landscape of a Pandora moon.
Family tip: Riders must be 44-inches or taller. Fast Pass is offered.
3. NA'VI RIVER JOURNEY: Jump on a reed river boat and sail downstream in a Na'vi rainforest, passing through caves, admiring glowing pants and eyeing interesting creatures before meeting up with the Na'vi Shaman of Songs.
Family tip: Anyone can ride this slow-moving ride. Fast Pass is offered.
Tickets for Disney's Animal Kingdom Park start at $99 for a single-day admission. Also to celebrate the opening of Pandora, from May 27-July 4 the park will have extended hours from 8am to 11pm.
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