This weekend we were lucky to be able to visit Pandora – The World of Avatar as part of a preview of the new land. Opening on May 27th, Pandora is the largest expansion ever at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The new land will contain two attractions, a gift shop, a walkup bar, and a fast-casual restaurant. There is one more thing that will draw guests to the park this summer, and that’s the land itself. Having watched the construction of the alien moon for years, walking through the land was everything I could have hoped for and more! I can only attempt to share a portion of the lands beauty with you via a few photos that we were able to snap in the two hours we had before our ship departed for Earth again. Click on any of the photos for a bigger view.
The first thing guests will notice, and experience, is the Baja Tickler, or Flaska reclinata as it’s known to scientists studying Pandora. The baja tickler is one of the most important plants on Pandora, but is also one of the most dangerous. It plays an important role on the moon by helping to detoxify the atmosphere. Visitors to the moon of Pandora are encouraged to touch the plant in an effort to help heal it.
Bladder polyps can be spotted throughout the entire land and serve as a way to both cleanse the land from animal waste and provide for the Na’vi as a source for food. They apparently taste like a pickle, although we didn’t try them (and suggest you don’t either).
Here is a Lionberry, in the afternoon shade, surrounded by bladder polyps. When healthy, the leaves will open up to resemble a giant sunflower. The leaves are cactus-like in texture to protect the plant against herbivores.
Once you make your way past some of the plants that line the pathways from the entrance near Tiffins, you’ll get your first glimpse of the floating mountains, or ayram alusìng. Here in the foreground we see the Grinch Tree.
An overlook provides another spectacular view of the floating mountains. We’re also treated to a view of the Spiny Whip in the middle right of the photo with pinkish-purple whips. It looks like a second Spiny Whip is in the lower right of the photo with the finger buds in a regenerating state.
Let’s take a look around the floating or “Hallelujah Mountains”.
A look at the root system that is keeping the floating mountains grounded and providing a much better view for humans exploring the land than if they were to be floating at a height seen in the “Avatar” film.
A look up at the rock work that is home to the RDA facility that houses Flight of Passage.
And a reverse look at where I took the above photo.
The waterfalls coming off of the 156-foot high mountains form a pool where a variety of flora thrive. The scale of these mountains is really something that is difficult to properly “feel” through photos, but you absolutely feel it as you walk under them.
There are also some aquatic creatures that pose a risk if you’re a small, flying creature, but pose little risk outside of maybe hitting you with a stream of water if you’re a human.
As we were leaving the land for the evening, we were lucky enough to see some of the same plants we spotted earlier, come alive as night fell.
Here are some more Grinch Trees that you can spot under the floating mountains.
More Grinch Trees and shrubs starting to light up.
A variety of plant life runs along the creek that guides you into the land.
A closing shot of the Flaska reclinata as we left the land.
We weren’t able to experience the full bioluminescence of the land during the preview, but hope to grab some photos when the land officially opens on May 27, 2017.