Tips for Pandora The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom!

Posted in Disney World
on June 21, 2017

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scenery in Pandora

I visited Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom in Disney World a few weeks after it opened and I have lots of tips to share with you today!

I kept hearing good things about “Avatar land” so I booked a last-minute trip to spend a few days checking it out. I was so glad I went because Pandora really lived up to the hype!

Tip #1: Use FastPass for Nav’i River Journey but NOT Flight of Passage!

pandora avatar land directional sign

Here are the two rides in Pandora:

  • Nav’i River Journey is a slow-moving, family-friendly boat ride.
  • Flight of Passage is the “fly on the back of a banshee” thrill ride.

I thought Nav’i River Journey was beautiful and very relaxing. I would suggest using a FastPass for this attraction since the queue is nothing special. I rode it with a 20-minute wait, even though the posted wait time was 35 minutes.

pandora Navi artwork

This artwork marks the entrance to the Nav’i River Journey attraction

I personally wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes for this attraction. It was pretty and had an amazing audio-animatronic Nav’i, but I think you can still have an excellent experience of Pandora and miss this ride.

I did see someone transfer from a wheelchair and successfully get into the boat, which some folks have been concerned about. I also saw several babies on the ride, so it really can be enjoyed by the whole family!

pandora waterfall

One of the amazing views from the Flight of Passage queue

Flight of Passage is drawing 3+ hour waits most days, but I strongly suggest NOT using FastPass for this attraction. I know – this is probably not what you were expecting to hear!

The reason I suggest not using a FastPass is that the standby queue (or regular line in which you wait) is just as amazing as the attraction itself and should not be missed!

The queue first winds up a “mountain” through some gorgeous landscapes and offers amazing photo opportunities. The queue then snakes inside the mountain, through a cave with Navi artifacts and some bioluminescent plants growing on the side of the mountain.

Then you will walk through the labs of the scientists working on the Avatar program. The attention to detail in here is ridiculously cool (so cool I forgot to take pictures). This stuff is why I love Disney and keep coming back.

You’ll also get to walk past “Hank in the Tank”, the term used by cast members to describe the full-size Avatar floating around in a tank in the lab!

If you use a FastPass for this attraction, you will miss all of these elements in the queue and will join the line at this point. You will still get to experience the two pre-shows during which the backstory of the attraction is explained. But I think the whole ride experience includes the queue and it shouldn’t be missed!

The ride itself is really fun and pretty intense. It definitely produces the “how in the world did they DO that?” response that Imagineers aim for!

flight of passage ride vehicle

The Flight of Passage ride vehicle outside the attraction

If you are worried about being able to fit on the unusual motorcycle-style ride vehicle, try out the sample seat in front of the attraction.

I also suggest scooting ALL the way forward in the seat when you are on the ride so the backrest is more comfortable. I was never uncomfortable at any point during the ride.

Tip #2: The Pandora Environment is the Main Attraction

plants and waterfall in Pandora

For me, the experience of walking around and exploring the intricate world that the Imagineers have created was the best part of my visit to Pandora.

The rides are great, but they don’t top just wandering around and taking in the floating mountains, waterfalls, and plant life for me. Videos and pictures DO NOT do this place justice, it really has to be seen to be believed!

strange plants in pandora

I suggest planning to spend at LEAST one hour just hanging out in Pandora, aside from eating and riding the attractions. You will need all of that time to wander around, take pictures, play the drums, and explore.

banshee flying overhead in pandora

If you have Memory Maker (or are an Annual Passholder, like me), be sure to get your picture with the PhotoPass person in front of the floating mountains. They will do a magic shot with a flying banshee and ours turned out so cool!

If your kiddos are collecting Wilderness Explorers badges, be sure to visit the stations in Pandora.

Explore Pandora on app

Also, if you open the My Disney Experiences app while inside Pandora, you will be asked if you’d like to participate in “Connect to Protect” in the Facebook Messenger app.

You’ll unlock a $5 contribution to the Disney Conservation Fund by talking to Fits, or $10 by completing a mission in the app. I love this interactive element that has real-world results! You can find more details over at the Disney Parks Blog. 

Glowing plants in Pandora

So basically be sure to allow plenty of time to soak up the environment in Pandora.

If you are able to return at night, you will be treated to bioluminescent plants, live performances in the drum circle, and glowing sidewalks. If you can only visit once I suggest going during the day, but if you have time return at night for a totally different experience!

Lots of folks have asked me about Flight of Passage, the headliner attraction, so I’ll go there next!

Tip #3: Arrive VERY Early or Visit in the Afternoon

Crowd of people at Animal Kingdom

The 7 am crowd waiting to get into Pandora

Knowing that lines get really long Flight of Passage, how can you experience it without a FastPass with the minimal wait?

The only morning I had to visit happened to have morning Extra Magic Hours and the park opened at 7 am for Disney resort guests. Normally the park has been opening at 8 am.

I arrived at the park at 6:40 am (ouch, I know) and was able to ride with hardly any wait. We were let into the park at 6:45 and were held at the entrance to Pandora until 7 am. I was off Flight of Passage at 7:45 and in total waited about 15 minutes.

Entrance to Flight of Passage with an 85-minute wait at 8 pm

Entrance to Flight of Passage with an 85-minute wait at 8 pm

I would not suggest visiting on a day with morning Extra Magic Hours unless you are able to get there very early! Flight of Passage had a 1.5-hour wait time at 7:45 am and there was a 2.5-hour wait by 8:45!

If the park opens at 8 am, I would suggest arriving around 7 am if you want to ride without much wait. I read over at EasyWDW that guests are being let into the park as early as 7:30 am.

If you just can’t do mornings, I suggest visiting in mid-afternoon to early evening when lines have been the shortest (60 to 90 minutes). Most folks think they need to ride it in the morning so there are often shorter waits in the afternoon when people are doing other things at Animal Kingdom.

Tip #4: Eat at Satu’li Canteen and Drink at Pongu Pongu (Not Vice Versa)

Inside of Satu'li Canteen in Pandora

Inside Satu’li Canteen, the quick service dining in Pandora

The main dining location in Pandora is counter-service Satu’li Canteen. It has great theming (as the former RDA mess hall) and I had only heard good things about the food.

The lunch and dinner menu features customizable bowls. The food seems to fit perfectly in the setting.


I had this incredible Veggie Bowl that might be the best vegetarian entree I’ve ever had at Disney World. 


The Blueberry Mousse dessert was not only very Instagrammable but totally delicious as well. 

Get my in-depth review of Satu’li Canteen on my Disney-only site, The Budget Mouse. Note – breakfast service is now only available here during peak season such as Spring Break and the week after Christmas).

Pongu Pongu at Avatar land

Pongu Pongu (“party party” in the Nav’i language) is a drink and snack stand located outside of Satuli Canteen. You can get both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks here, as well as a snack called “Pongu Lumpia”.

Pongu Lumpia (pineapple cream cheese spring rolls)

Pongu Lumpia (pineapple cream cheese spring rolls)

I had heard good things about the Pongu Lumpia, which are billed as pineapple cream cheese spring rolls. I personally thought they were disgusting and couldn’t even finish them! I was expecting a cream cheese filling but got more of a runny, super-sugary icing loaded with pineapples instead.

I saw lots of folks enjoying brightly colored drinks, so I’d suggest sticking with the beverages at Pongu Pongu and the food at Satuli Canteen.

If you want my picks for the best Animal Kingdom quick service dining, check out this post!

I hope these tips help you get the most from your visit to Pandora: World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I think Disney hit it out of the park with this land, and it has me even more excited for Star Wars land which is coming to Hollywood Studios in 2019.

Want help planning your trip? I suggest getting a free quote from the expert Disney agents at Destinations in Florida who can help with all of the details of the trip at no extra cost to you!

Any questions about visiting Avatar Disney World? Please leave a comment below or send me a message on The Frugal South’s Facebook page!

Tips for visiting Pandora - The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom! What to FastPass, where to eat, how to avoid long waits, and what you can't miss at Disney World's newest land. Tips and tricks for having the BEST possible experience at Disney's Pandora - World of Avatar in Disney's Animal Kingdom! Suggestions for FastPasses, dining, and more. #disneyworld


  • Olga

    Can I do the rider switch in Pandora?

    November 16, 2018 at 5:57 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes, you can rider switch for Flight of Passage, Olga! I’m updating the post with this info.

      November 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm Reply
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  • Shelley

    I rode FoP sans a FP first thing in the morning and it was delightful. I totally agree with your advice! Good idea!

    March 11, 2018 at 9:55 am Reply
  • Char

    My husband and I have been to Disney and Animal Kingdom many times with grandchildren. Wondering if it’s worth another trip to Animal Kingdom on our own-are the new attractions worth the visit? And how would I go about getting a fast pass for the reed raft ride? Thanks so much and thank you for the great info you provided!!

    February 26, 2018 at 6:40 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Char! I personally loved Pandora and thought it was worth a visit to Animal Kingdom just to experience it. The rides are great and you can spend hours exploring the environment and eating/drinking there. Have you seen Rivers of Light yet? When I went to check out Pandora I also saw Rivers of Light for the first time and I loved it!

      To get a FastPass for Nav’i River Journey you’ll need a park ticket connected to your My Disney Experience account. If you need just a one-day ticket I suggest getting it directly from Disney since that is the cheapest. If you want a multi-day ticket, I suggest using Undercover Tourist for the best price:

      If you buy directly from Disney the ticket will already be in your account (if you buy from UCT you can easily link them). Then you can make FastPass reservation 30 days in advance if you don’t have a reservation at a Disney resort (60 days out if you do). The FastPasses go quickly so get one 30 days before if you can!

      February 27, 2018 at 6:21 am Reply
  • jessica Millsaps

    We are planning on visiting Animal Kingdom on a day where Magic Kingdom is having extra magic hours. How early would you recommend arriving at AK for Pandora without fast passes?How long do you thinkit would take to complete both of the pandora rides?

    January 2, 2018 at 5:07 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Jessica! I think it depends on what time of year you are visiting. If it is an overall low crowd level, I think you would be fine arriving at AK 30 minutes before park opening. I think you could be off both rides by an hour and a half after the park opens. If you are there during a busy time of year, arrive an hour early. You can check the overall crowd levels at the parks with this calendar:

      January 3, 2018 at 6:34 am Reply
  • Yaritza

    Thank You! For this post! We are going touse all the tips in this post! ?we are planing to go the last week of Decembeber. ?

    December 3, 2017 at 10:13 am Reply
    • Leah

      Glad the post is helpful, Yaritza! We were in Disney World on Christmas Day a few years ago and went to Animal Kingdom and it was like we had the place to ourselves! I’m not sure it will still be that way due to Pandora but it will definitely be way less crowded than MK and Epcot.

      December 3, 2017 at 3:26 pm Reply
  • catherine

    Looking to visit with my 6 year old grandson in November – trying for most of the park with minimal steps – grinn

    November 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I’d just start the day in Pandora then working your way around the park in a counter-clockwise direction. Head to Africa next, then Asia, the Dinoland/Oasis. Plan your FastPasses accordingly, such as Kilimanjaro Safari at 10:30 am, etc.

      November 7, 2017 at 6:28 am Reply
  • Kathy

    Thanks so much! We took too much time buying our tickets and have been trying to decide on fast passes to schedule. This helps a lot! AND will help convince my boyfriend to be up bright and early. ?

    October 10, 2017 at 11:32 am Reply
  • Tami Darwin

    Thank you for posting this great info! We”ll be there tomorrow!

    June 28, 2017 at 9:22 am Reply
    • Leah

      Yay! Have so much fun at Animal Kingdom tomorrow, Tami!

      June 28, 2017 at 8:30 pm Reply
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