Posts Tagged ‘pandora’

Walt Disney World Vlog: Pandora – The World of Avatar and Flight of Passage

by on December 5, 2017

I finally had the opportunity to experience Pandora – The World of Avatar! In today’s video, I take you on a tour of this area, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

Enjoy!

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We LOVE Pandora – The World of Avatar

by on May 27, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We LOVE Pandora: The World of Avatar!  It seemed like just yesterday that Disney announced it was going to make a land based around James Cameron’s Avatar (it was actually 2,078 days ago, but who’s counting.) The new area would be replacing Camp Minnie-Mickey, a cute stop during a day at Animal Kingdom, but certainly not a land anyone is going to chain themselves to in protest of its leaving. Now, on the day of it’s official grand opening,  we ask, was it worth the wait? In a word: YES.

A look into Pandora: The World of Avatar. (photo by Michael Carelli)

For many Animal Kingdom fans, talk of the unbuilt Beastly Kingdom brings the same gritted teeth reactions that you’ll see when someone brings up the broken Yeti. However, with Pandora – The World of Avatar, we have our Beastly Kingdom.  Today we’re going to take a look at some of the greatest parts of this new land, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Connect With a Banshee

Before the details of Pandora were released many people – including Your Humble Author  – wondered what the area would do in terms of merchandise. While the film it is based on is the biggest grossing movie in the history of cinema, ancillary sales were almost non-existent. There were plenty of Avatar t-shirts, books, and even a full action figure line to buy, but most went unsold. Would Disney, quite possibly the worldwide leader in merchandise sales, be able to develop Avatar-related items that would get guests to open up their wallet like Universal did with Harry Potter?

Time will tell on the bigger picture, but one thing we already know for sure is that Disney created a huge hit with the Connect With a Banshee toy available in Pandora’s only gift shop, Windtraders. Sharing many similarities with the Wizarding World’s the wand chooses you gimmick, the cute Banshee toys are scoring high with both kids and adults. Guests can make their Banshee move their mouth, head, and wings, not to mention roar, while perched on their shoulder. It is a great souvenir that ties into the film, delivers a personal experience, and even allows “the opportunity” to buy a stand for your Banshee to sit on when not on your shoulder. In the marketing world we call that a home run.

A Banshee at The Rookery. (photo by Michael Carelli) – If you get a Banshee, be sure to follow @DisneyBanshees on Twitter and post pictures of your own Banshee.

Banshees await to bond with their human at The Rookery. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Disney references in James Cameron’s AVATAR you might have missed

by on April 1, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at 6 Disney references in James Cameron’s AVATAR! Longtime readers of the SATURDAY SIX know we are pretty much obsessed when it comes to Hollywood movies or TV shows having references to our beloved theme parks. We’ve done articles on shows such as Roseanne and Boy Meets World going to Walt Disney World. We looked at movies such as Sharknado 3 and Ace Ventura Pet Dectective Jr. (yes, it actually exists) that were filmed at the Universal Orlando Resort. Remember when The Simpsons made all those jokes about theme parks over the years? We do. Let’s be honest, which blog series in the entire internet is brave enough to watch the ENTIRETY of Hulk Hogan’s Thunder in Paradise series just to find out which scenes were shot at WDW? Only us.

What many humans would have logically concluded as a monumental waste of time was instead training for our greatest achievement, discovering all the Disney references in James Cameron’s Avatar.

Avatar was a worldwide phenomenon making over $2.7 BILLION at the box office. To put that number in perspective, Star Wars: The Force Awakens barely crossed the $2 Billion mark and we all remember what a hit that was. However, when Disney announced it was building an entire land around the film Avatar, many people thought they were crazy. The movie just didn’t have the memorable characters that franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter, or the animated Pixar film Cars. Turns out Disney was crazy… like a fox! While all of us were marveling over the gorgeous 3D landscape of Pandora on the big screen Disney had tossed in a whole bunch of Easter Eggs into Avatar that have gone undiscovered until now. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the Disney references, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Lapu Lapu

For those that remember (ah, who are we kidding?), after the wheelchair bound Jake is transferred into his N’avi “Avatar,” he immediately begins to run and test out his new body. Jake ran into the Avatar for the character played by Sigourney Weaver, and she threw him a piece of fruit that was indigenous to Pandora’s eco system. Turns out, that wasn’t just a normal fruit, that was actually the pineapple based Lapu Lapu from Disney’s Tambu Lounge! Like Jake, we the audience were so blow away by the new world we had entered that we didn’t see this small – but important – detail.

Jake holding a Lapu Lapu, which an indigenous drink to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. (photo by Matt Cleary)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Things We Can’t Wait To See in 2017

by on December 31, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Things We Can’t Wait To See In 2017! 2016 was another unbelievable year in the theme park world, containing a wide mix of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. 2017 is already shaping up to be even more amazing. We have a new immersive land that promises to eclipse what Disneyland has done with Cars Land and Universal with Diagon Alley, a new President being added to the Hall of Presidents, and the first of its kind “water theme park.” If that doesn’t get your blood pumping about the next 12 months you may actually be a Host from Westworld, but for the rest of you, here’s some of the things we can’t wait to see, starting with…

 

# 6 – Pandora: The World of Avatar (Animal Kingdom)

Our long national nightmare is almost over. First announced on September 20, 2011, Pandora: The World of Avatar is nearing completion. Disney is saying “Summer 2017” for this new land, and is going on record saying it is the most immersive area in any theme park. Just from what we can see from what rises over the construction walls and the Blogger-In-The-Sky helicopter camera shots, the land does look STUNNING. The info we’ve been given on the bioluminescent plants in the area along with the experience in the Na’vi River Journey make both seem like “wow” moments. Last year, this fine blog did question what Pandora will be doing in the areas of food and merchandise, two extremely important factors a theme park land needs to deliver on to satisfy its Return On Investment (ROI). These are also two areas that Disney has not released much info on for Pandora. We all know that Avatar the movie – by far and away the most financially successful film in the history of cinema – never really figured out a way to get its fans to buy merchandise the way that Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, and even Star Trek have.

The Flying Mountains of Pandora. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Na’vi River Journey. (photo courtesy of Disney Parks and Resorts)

One of the most exciting things about Pandora is that it appears the land will be using projection mapping on its incredible rock work. This is something that has never been mentioned by Disney over the course of the Pandora project, but Johnny-on-the-spot bloggers have seen this technology being tested. Your Humble Author thinks projection mapping is one of the areas that Disney is heads and tails above anyone else in the industry right now. Whether on the castle in the Magic Kingdom, the Great Movie Ride facade in DHS, or the jaw dropping Tree of Life Awakens shows at Animal Kingdom, Disney’s use of projection mapping in the parks is amazing.

What looks to be testing for projecting mapping on the rock work in Pandora. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

# 5 – Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon (Universal Studios Florida)

Last year Universal fans lost Twister…Ride It Out! along with its Bill Paxton performance that was so mailed in he should have put a stamp on it. In Twister’s place will be the upcoming Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. One of the most underrated aspects of this change, is that the attraction takes place in the New York area of Universal Studios Florida, so it is a perfect fit. There are many who do not like Fallon’s broad sense of humor, but his Late Night TV dominance shows there is most likely a much larger group of people who love what he brings to the table (Your Humble Author included). While there have been some debates on how the “flying theater” ride mechanics will actually work, one thing we do know is that Universal is trying something truly different with how people experience the attraction’s queue.

Much like how Dumbo at the Magic Kingdom allows kids to play in a themed area until it is time to ride, Race Through New York looks to have things for adults to do while waiting. There will be a woman’s quartet singing songs, a chance to check out classic bits from from Fallon’s Tonight Show run (including Lip Sync Battle), write your own “Thank You Notes” at an interactive desk, and even get a meet and greet with the Tonight Show’s mascot, Hashtag the Panda.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is designed to get guests to laugh, and comedy is one thing Universal is very good at delivering on. From the criminally underrated Horror Make-Up Show to the non-stop gags in Springfield USA, be prepared to bring your smile when stepping into Universal Studios Florida.

Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon concept art.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon in Universal Studios Florida. (photo by @bioreconstruct).

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Pandora – The World of Avatar to Open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Summer 2017

by on November 19, 2016

Who is ready to travel to Pandora? it was announced today that the lush world from the movie Avatar will open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Summer of 2017.

Guests will enter Pandora through a bridge found near the new table service restaurant, Tiffins. According to the backstory of the land, “the bridge was built during a time when a destructive company called the RDA came to Pandora. Now that they’re long gone, nature is breaking down evidence of their presence.”

Guests will enter Pandora into the Alpha Centauri Expeditions base camp. Alpha Centauri Expeditions, for those who don’t know, is the eco-tour group that is preparing Pandora for further exploration.

Pandora will feature two attractions. One is a boat ride that will take Guests into a visually stunning world where they will travel into a bioluminescent rainforest through a sacred river. The journey will end with an encounter with a Na’vi Shaman. The family friendly attraction will be called Na’vi River Journey.

Pandora Boat Ride

©Disney

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Of Our Emotions Coming Out Of the D23 Expo

by on August 22, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six of Our Emotions Coming Out Of the D23 Expo. Last week we gave our D23 Expo Preview and can proudly announce that we were the only blog on the entire planet to call Disney involving Stan Lee in their Parks and Resorts presentation. While some would call us The Nostradamus of Theme Parks, we’d like to remind you that we are just your humble servants striving to provide the best possible article in the history of mankind. 

With that out of the way, what a D23 Expo it was! Hopefully you caught some of the excellent   D23 coverage by TouringPlan’s own Guy Selga (who has lovingly been referred to as a poor man’s Tom Bricker, or a rich man’s Tim Grassey). There were so many things to come out of of the Expo, but we’re going to take a page from this summer’s blockbuster hit Tomorrowland Inside Out and express our emotions via the very characters in the film! So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – JOY: Star Wars Land is finally announced!

Our long national nightmare is over. STAR WARS LAND IS COMING! From the day Star Tours opened in the 1980s we’ve all wanted more Star Wars in the theme parks and now we’re actually getting it. The man in charge, WDI’s Scott Trowbridge, is also the very same man behind one of the all time greatest rides in theme park history, Universal’s Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. While details were scarce, what we do know is a jaw dropper. The land will be spread out over 14 acres, have an attraction that sees guests piloting the Millennium Falcon, and cast members will stay completely in character, similar to the witches and wizards inside Diagon Alley.

STARWARSLAND_Joy

Do you believe in miracles?! (photo by Andrew Marchese)

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13 New Retail and Dining Establishments Announced for Disney Springs

by on May 15, 2015

Disney Springs

©Disney

Today some exciting new tenants were announced for Disney Springs, as the transformation from Downtown Disney continues. 13 new shops, 8 of which are retail-based will be coming to the area. It is an eclectic bunch of establishments, for sure.

These new shops are set to open in both The Landing and the Town Square sections of the shopping and dining district.

The new shops are:

Zara: Zara is known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, and how it expertly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, delivering original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 19, 2015

by on February 19, 2015

201Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re enjoying meals not just at Kona Cafe, but also Finnegan’s Bar & Grill over at Universal. Of course, we’re also visiting the Universal Orlando Parks, Downtown Disney, and stopping by the Magic Kingdom too. I don’t know how I’m going to fit it all into just one blog! Let’s figure it out together. 🙂

For Valentine’s Day lunch we couldn’t think of a better place than Kona Cafe. The food is wonderful and the setting is comfy and casual. Traffic was worse than we’d anticipated so we made it to the podium exactly on time for our 12:30pm reservation. Of course, that meant we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. They seemed quite short staffed with several empty tables despite gobs of people waiting outside. It was nice to have the tables next to us open, though. Our appetizer of potstickers ($8.49) were super yummy and came out so quickly they beat our drinks!

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Want to see what we ordered? Be sure to click to read more!

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 5, 2015

by on February 5, 2015

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Epcot to test FastPass+, stopping by Downtown Disney for some delicious dining, and finishing up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I can’t believe I fit so much fun into one weekend! You know I do it all for you, so let’s get moving! 🙂

We arrived at Epcot in time for rope drop, which we’re doing less and less now that FastPass+ is working so well. Since we were really just there to test the system and shop, we didn’t run to Test Track or Soarin’. Instead we sauntered up to Spaceship Earth and confidently scanned our MagicBands… and were turned away! For the first time since using the system I was told my FastPass+ wasn’t there and I needed to stop by a kiosk or join the standby line. Up to this point we’ve always been allowed into the FastPass+ line on the honor system. Since it was so early we were able to ride with a walk on wait, but want to hear about how our trip to the FastPass+ kiosk went? Be sure to click to read more!

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 22, 2015

by on January 22, 2015

IMG_2409Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios for all the latest updates, stopping by Downtown Disney for a little food truck action, and finishing up at Magic Kingdom. Ready for some beautiful, blue Florida skies? Let’s get moving! 🙂

Early Saturday morning we set out for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I knew with the holiday weekend and awesome weather that we’d be facing a crowd. You can see from the photo that it wasn’t too crowded when we arrived, but that changed fast. Speaking of fast, check out the progress removing the hat! I can’t believe how fast it’s coming down. In the bottom right hand side of the photo you can see the actual top of the hat behind the construction wall. It’s so much bigger than it looks! Want to see what other fun stuff we found this weekend? Be sure to click to read more!

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