Evenings at Pandora; The World of Avatar

Evenings at Pandora; The World of Avatar
In May of 2017 the new attraction Pandora finally opened in the Animal Kingdom. And it is everything Disney promised. We first visited it during the day and enjoyed walking off of earth and into an alien looking world. The mountains float in the sky, plants look like those from out-of-this-world. The background noise of animals and insects is a makes it a little bit eerie.
Although it was exciting and entertaining, it was nothing compared to the thrill of going back after dark. Pandora really comes to life when the sun goes down. All the flora and fauna illuminate in brilliant colors. The forest is alive with sounds from alien creatures.
We were able to score a fast pass for the Na’vi River Journey. It is not a thrill ride, and in fact is somewhat reminiscent of “It’s a Small World” at the Magic Kingdom. You ride a small boat slowly through a dark environment, but that is where the similarities stop. The scenery is full of exotic alien plants and animals. You even get to see a female Navi Shaman performing some type of ritual. The Shaman is billed as the most advanced animatronic character that Disney has produced.
Sadly, we have not been able to get a fast pass for the “Avatar, Flight of Passage” yet, but hope to soon. The reviews for this ride have been excellent!
Pandora, The World of Avatar is a great addition to The Animal Kingdom. Everyone should take the time to stroll through it and immerse themselves in the feel of an alien world. If you can, after dark is the absolute best time to visit.

Pandora: The World of Avatar

Pandora: World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida is about to open an all new world in the Animal Kingdom park; Pandora: The World of Avatar.

In fact, it is the largest ever expansion at the Animal Kingdom. Disney has invested a half billion dollars in this 12-acre project. The expansion also includes two new rides: “Avatar Flight of Passage” and “Na’vi River Journey”.

Pandora: The World of Avatar is based on the movie, Avatar, which had spectacular special effects. Pandora: The World of Avatar at the Animal Kingdom promises the same.

Pandora: The World of Avatar

Journey to the world that celebrates the magnificent power of nature. In Pandora: The World of Avatar, you will get to see what the Na’vi (blue-skinned, golden-eyed slender 12-foot giants) home of Pandora looks like.  Learn about their peaceful culture that lives in harmony with nature.

Wander through the Valley of Mo’ara. Walk amid glowing fauna & flora.  You will also see a native drum circle and other Na’vi cultural items as well as other wonders of Pandora.

The landscaping is a blend of Earth plant species and sculpted Pandora flora set amongst waterfalls and ponds. By the way, it should be an incredible sight after dark when the bioluminescence of the plants will provide for spectacular viewing.

Oh, and don’t forget the floating mountains; yes mountains floating in the sky!

The Rides

Avatar Flight of Passage” is where you get to fly on the back of a mountain banshee, reminiscent of a flying dragon while enjoying a 3D view of the moon’s incredible landscape.

Na’vi River Journey” you take a more leisurely excursion in a reed raft down a mysterious river while searching for the Na’vi Shaman of Songs.  It is a journey through caves and deep into a bioluminescent rainforest. Along the way, you will get to see some of the unusual and bizarre creatures of the rain forest.

Of course, there will also be Pandora themed shops and food available in the new exhibit. One has to believe that the magical imagination of the Disney folks should provide for some interesting items!

As the Na’vis say “Sivako” – rise to the challenge!

Take a look at what to expect from our friends at Inside The Magic.
“Avatar Flight of Passage”  Flight of Passage Ride Queue

“Na’vi River Journey” Highlights of the Queue and Ride


Interactive Special Missions

Through the My Disney Experience app, you will be able complete special missions to help contribute to the Disney Conservation Fund.

Mobile Order

Satu’li Canteen has the option to pre-order your food through the My Disney Experience app. Just place your order and pre-pay and then let them know when you have arrived at the restaurant by tapping the “I’m Here” button. The kitchen will prepare your meal.  This not available for the dining plans and if you have special dietary needs you will need to order in person.



Insanely good entertainment at five family-friendly restaurants in Walt Disney World.

Insanely good entertainment at five family-friendly restaurants in Walt Disney World.
Sixty percent of the travelers to the Orlando area come to visit the Disney Parks and many hope to have a special meal to commemorate their visit.
Did you know that if you ate at a different restaurant, in the Orlando area, for all of your meals every day, it would take you more than five years to eat at every restaurant?
There are so many choices to write about it was a hard decision to narrow it down. I finally decided on Disney dining with entertainment. Sixty percent of the travelers to the Orlando area come to visit the Disney parks and many hope to have a special meal to commemorate their visit. Here are our top five choices.

 California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Hotel

My favorite is the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The entertainment is the incredible views and the Fireworks Spectacular Show at Magic Kingdom park. I have visited this restaurant a couple of times and have loved the experience. They are very friendly and helpful providing me alternatives for my food allergies.

This restaurant which is located on the 15th floor of the hotel , has beautiful views right from your table and two observation decks to walk along. See the serene Seven Seas Lagoon, as well as lots of Orlando’s famous icons such as the Orlando Eye, EPCOT Spaceship Earth, Hollywood Studio’s Tower of Terror and Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life.

No worries if you dine before the fireworks. All you have to do is return and show your receipt from that date and they will escort you up to the observation deck.


Menu type: Fresh, seasonal Californian
Kids Menu: ages 9 and under
price range $$$
dress code: yes
reservations: required
Dining plans: Dining, Deluxe, Premium, Platinum

Magic Kingdom from California grill



Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs and Animal Kingdom

Located in two great locations this restaurant is a great place for kids. Dine in the midst of the Amazon Jungle with large brightly colored fish, noisy gorillas, elephants and birds, and a roaring, passing thunderstorm every few minutes. We have dined a few times at both locations. Our favorite is the Disney Springs location but it is also the busier of the two locations.

Menu type: American Tropical including salads, pastas, burgers, seafood, chicken and steaks
Kids Menu: ages 10 and under
price range: $$
dress code: no
reservations: highly recommended for dinner, walk up time can be as long as 2 hours.
Dining plans: Dining, Deluxe, Premium, Platinum

Rainforest cafe

T-Rex at Disney Springs

I have never dined at this restaurant but I can tell by walking by it is a very lively and popular restaurant. Families with younger children are drawn here.
Guests will step back in time to the Jurassic Period in this themed restaurant with giant wooly mammoths, an animated giant octopus, and a roaring 15 foot T-Rex dinosaur. After dinner be sure to wander the restaurant to each room to see the diverse landscapes from ice caverns to forests with giant wasps all under the occasional meteor shower. Located at Disney Springs.

Menu type: American
Kids Menu:
price range $$
dress code no
reservations: recommended
Dining plans: Dining, Deluxe, Premium, Platinum

San Angel Inn Restaurante in EPCOT

This restaurant is a must for my son, now 22 years old. Since he was little he has had an interest in acient history, including the Mayans. When we dine here, is is at lunchtime because it is easier to get a reservation and the menu is more affordable. His favorite dish is the Red Snapper.
Guests will dine in twilight at the base of a Mayan temple and watch for the hidden mickey in the spewing volcano in the distance. Wave to the passing passengers from the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros ride. After dinner stop over and take the ride yourself.

Menu type: Mexican
Kids Menu: ages 9 and under
price range: $$
dress code: no
reservations: recommended, not necessary for lunch
Dining plans: Dining, Deluxe, Premium, Platinum

Mexican Pavillion at EPCOT

The BOATHOUSE at Disney Springs

One of the newest restaurants at Disney Springs is the BOATHOUSE.  Food and atmosphere here are great.  Choose between sitting inside or outside.

Guests will spend the evening dining on the waterfront with live music and spend some time viewing the fleet of rare boats from around the world. For an additional fee, you can take guided tours on the water in the Amphicar.

Menu type: American Gourmet
Kids Menu: yes, no ages given on website
price range: $$$-$$$$
dress code no
reservations: highly recommended
Dining plans: Dining, Deluxe, Premium, Platinum

The Rain Survival Guide; 5 Ways To Enjoy The Rain In Orlando

oh boy its raining
Oh no! You’ve arrived in Sunny Florida to find out there is a rainy day in the forecast.   Although the Florida sun does shine an average of 300 days per year,  there are also many rainy days.  During the summer months,  from June to September, the heat can spawn daily afternoon showers.  These showers are usually short and intermittent. Here are several ideas to help you enjoy the rain.
raining poncho

Be Adventurous and Go To the Parks Anyway

Break out that rain poncho you brought with you  (What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You; 12 Must Haves For The Parks) and enjoy the smaller crowds in the parks.  Most queues are covered and there are plenty of indoor attractions:  It’s Tough To Be A Bug! at Animal Kingdom, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom, Muppet Vision 3-D show at Hollywood Studios are all indoor attractions to enjoy during the heavier rains.  If you are playing the Phineas & Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure at EPCOT game, head for the Mexican Pavilion and play entirely indoors.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mcchots/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Photo Credit: mcchots   Creative Commons License

Go To I-360 Drive

There are numerous places to visit in this area for indoor activities. Madame Tussauds, Skeletons: Animals Unveiled, WonderWorks Orlando, iFly Orlando and the SeaLife Aquarium are all indoor activities in the I-360 drive area. There are plenty of entertainment and learning venues to be found.  See our Insider’s Guide: I-360 Drive for more details.


Shop Until You Drop

Orlando is known for its theme parks but it  also known has great shopping centers and malls that cater to all preferences and budgets. In addition, Highway 192 is lined with numerous gift shops to bring back that special Florida souvenir.  See our Insider’s guide: Shopping page for information about several of the area malls.
day trip

Take a Day Trip 

Check the weather radar often because the rain can be local to certain areas.  Just an hour drive may bring you back to the Florida sun that you are seeking. If you travel west, explore the gulf coast beaches.  Our favorite is watching the pelicans dive into the water on Anna Maria Island’s Holmes Beach.  Traveling east will take you to Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach or Daytona Beach.  The Kennedy Space Center is located on Cape Canaveral. If you drive north to Ocala, you can see some of the finest horse farms in the country.  The nationally renowned horseman, Pat Parelli, has a ranch in the Ocala area that we visit when we are up there.
reading wine

Plan for Some Down Time

A trip to Orlando and its theme parks can often times leave you feeling like you haven’t had time to rest and relax. Instead of rushing off to do more, enjoy a day at your vacation rental home. You will be glad you didn’t rent a cramped hotel room.  Let the kids play in the home’s game room, curl up with your favorite book and a cup of tea or rent a Disney movie that features your favorite attraction from the parks; our favorite is Monsters Inc.  Making a special family meal together in the fully-equipped kitchen is a great way to connect and make memories.

No matter what your family decides to do on a rainy day in Orlando, you are sure to find something for everyone. Have fun playing in the rain!

Contact us for vacation rental homes in the Disney area at https://vacationorlando.rentals