Animal Kingdom

Julia’s Best Week Ever, April 27, 2017: Happy B-Earth Day

by on April 27, 2017

As some people know, I’m quite the introvert. So getting notice in the mail that I had been selected for jury duty was more than a little stressful. To unwind, we decided to take a trip to Animal Kingdom. Because it was Earth Day weekend, we knew the crowds would be fairly high in the day, so we opted for an evening stroll. It was just the relaxation that we all needed.

It never fails that when people arrive at Animal Kingdom, they rush through the first area you come to, the Oasis, but that is one of our favorite places to spend time. There’s a handful of exhibits with some fairly quiet and shy animals, but especially in the afternoons they come out. One who isn’t shy was this duck who was just plain sassy.

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Preview of Beverages for Pandora – The World of Avatar

by on April 19, 2017

We already know about some of the unique food offerings Guests will be able to enjoy when they enter Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Today, we have a first look at some of the beverages that Guests will be able to purchase.

First, Guests who visit Pongu Pongu will be able to enjoy the Night Blossom. This frozen non-alcoholic drink is a mixture of limeade, apple, and desert pear that is topped with passion fruit boba balls. (This drink can be served in a souvenir mug and can become “bioluminecent” courtesy of a purchased glow cube.) There’s also the Mo’ara Frozen Margarita. This one is made with Sauza Conmemorativo Añejo Tequila with strawberry and blood orange flavor topped with strawberry boba balls.

Pandora - The World of Avatar Beverages

©Disney

 

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Rivers of Light Now Being Shown Nightly

by on April 9, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

As a reminder, beginning tonight and throughout the spring and summer seasons, the new nighttime spectacular for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Rivers of Light, will now be shown on a nightly basis.

The show, which takes place on the Discovery River, will be performed twice nightly during this busy spring break/Easter season, from April 9 until April 22. Then, beginning April 23 and running through September 4, the show is currently scheduled to be performed once each evening.

The show begins with an awakening of fireflies that lead to a procession across the water. From there, clusters of lanterns appear as one of four beautiful animal spirit forms—the Tiger, Turtle, Elephant and Owl. Rivers of Light features song, light, color water, shaman storytellers, and more. I found the show to be beautiful. Rivers of Light lasts approximately 15 minutes.

For those looking to guarantee that they get to see the show, FastPass+ reservations are available to be made. In addition, Rivers of Light dining packages are also available at either Tiffins or at Tusker House.

For more helpful information, make sure to read up on our tips.

Updated FastPass+ Listing for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on March 24, 2017

FastPass+ information for Disney's Animal Kingdom

©Disney

Well, we all had a feeling the tiering system was coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and turns out, it was. With the roll out of FastPass+ for the attractions that will be found in Pandora – The World of Avatar, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will officially become a park that offers the tiered FastPass+ system.

Here are the FastPass+ options that you have to choose from going forward:

Tier 1 (Choose 1):

  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Avatar Flight of Passage

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Annual Passholders Can Sign Up to Get Preview of Pandora – The World of Avatar

by on March 24, 2017

 

Pandora - The World of Avatar

©Disney

Annual Passholders can now made reservations to get an early peek of Pandora – The World of Avatar! This preview opportunity is only available for a limited time beginning May 13.

AP Holders will be able to ride both the attractions, Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. They will also be able to purchase cuisine from Satu’li Canteen and make purchases at Windtraders. Do keep in mind that because this is a preview, some areas may not be open to Guests and attractions may go down at any time.

Guests will only have a two hour window with which to preview this new land.

Here is what you need to know about registering for this event:

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Pandora – The World of Avatar to Offer Nightly Extra Magic Hours (Plus FastPass+ News!)

by on March 23, 2017

Pandora - The World of Avatar

©Disney

Well, there’s one more reason to stay at an on-site Walt Disney World hotel this summer. You see, for a limited time, only May 27 through July 4, Guests who are staying staying at one of the Walt Disney World hotels can explore Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom beyond regular Park hours, courtesy of nightly Extra Magic Hours.

These Evening Extra Magic Hours will certainly be right for the night owls, as they will take place from 11:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. Only Pandora – The World of Avatar will be open;  no other attractions in the park will be open to Guests. Do keep in mind that in order to visit during these extra hours, valid theme park admission and a Resort ID will be required. During this extra time in the park, Resort Guests will be able to experience both the Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage attractions.

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Pandora – Everything You Need To Know

by on March 21, 2017

Pandora – Everything You Need To Know

Disney’s collaboration with James Cameron, Pandora – World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom park is the biggest expansion we’ve seen at Walt Disney World since New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. It was first announced in 2011 (yeah, it blew our minds that it’s been nearly 6 years too).

Want more Pandora, and then some? Listen to The Disney Dish Podcast with Jim Hill, produced by TouringPlans. Find episode 123 on iTunes or on all fine podcast apps.

We also recommend this video from Brian McNichols on Pandora touring strategies. It was made before we knew details about how FastPass+ will work with the new attractions, but the advice is still sound.

Check out our Pandora page for the latest news on Animal Kingdom’s newest land and attractions.

When will Pandora open?

The official opening date is May 27, 2017. However, media is invited on the 22nd, and the land should be in soft open. When an attraction is in soft open, it’s accessible to guests, but can be closed at any time for testing. This lets Disney work out the kinks of something new before its grand opening. Disney Vacation Club owners, Annual Passholders, and Cast Members can expect their own previews of Pandora, possible as early as the last week of April. We will post more information to the blog when we hear it.

What attractions does Pandora have?

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Details About Satu’li Canteen in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on March 20, 2017

©Disney

One of the most common questions that people have been asking since the announcement of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is what kind of food do the Na’vi eat? With today’s sneak peek, we have an idea of what the Satu’li Canteen in Pandora – The World of Avatar will offer.

As previously stated, the fast-casual dining experience will be offering dishes filled with wholesome grains, fresh vegetables, and hearty proteins. Dishes will be familiar flavors with unique twists. Here, Guests will be able to do a create your own bowl option that allows for maximum customization. Guests will start with a base of either quinoa and vegetable salad; mixed whole-grain rice; red-and sweet potato hash; or romaine and kale salad. They will then be able to add whichever protein option they would like – either slow-roasted beef, sustainable fish, wood-grilled chicken, or chili-spiced fried tofu. The bowl will then be topped with charred onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette, or a cream herb dressing. 

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New Details and a Recap of What to Expect When Exploring Pandora – The World of Avatar

by on March 10, 2017

Pandora - The World of Avatar

©Disney

Wow! Yesterday was a flurry of new information all about Pandora – World of Avatar courtesy of a plethora of ABC shows -“The Chew”, “Good Morning America“, “The View“, and “Nightline.”  The goal of these spots were clearly to get excitement ramped up and it most certainly worked!

So if you’re looking forward to the official opening of this new land as much as I am, here’s what you should know courtesy of recent news developments. (If you want to avoid minor spoilers about the land, stop reading now. This is your only warning!)

According to James Cameron. The story is that we are found in a generation of Pandora after all the movies when the warfare between the humans and Na’vi is over. The Na’vi have welcomed us to Pandora to help us understand nature and ourselves better. Essentially, we are welcome because we are here to learn and educate ourselves.

There are two Pandoras that Guests will get to experience. Day and night. Trust me, you will want to see this place lit up at night!

Guests walk through an opening and will be immersed in the Valley of Mo’ara. Here, Guests can walk right under the enormous floating mountains. The land is lush and is a mixture of earth plants and Pandorian foliage that all helps to gives the idea that it’s a real ecosystem. Of course, these plants will come to life with beautiful bioluminescence each night.

The Valley of Mo’ara will also include a Na’vi-built drum circle that will contain instruments that are playable by all, Na’vi totems and other cultural items found. For those who are Wilderness Explorers fans, there will be brand new challenges and badges to collect in Pandora too! Guests who visit may even come across tour guides from Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI), or even an eclectic expat or two!

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Your Top-Rated Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Restaurants

by on March 6, 2017

Best Disney Restaurants

I’m back with more results from our recent Disney World dining survey. Today we’re looking at your top-rated Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios restaurants. (Here are the best Magic Kingdom restaurants, and here are Epcot’s best restaurants.) Like those earlier posts, today’s analysis is based on more than 122,000 Disney World dining surveys we received in 2016.

The Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants

Let’s start with the park’s quick-service restaurants. As before, restaurants in green are significantly better than average, while restaurants in red are significantly worse than average:

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