Disney’s Pandora – first look from a passholder preview


If you like dessert first, scroll to the bottom for a short video…

One of the best things about being a Disney annual passholder are the unexpected surprises. Besides all of the stated benefits (like free parking and discounts on; merchandise, dining, accommodations and more) a few times each year we get an invitation to a ‘passholder only’ event. There are movie previews, early admissions, seasonal gatherings and more. The most recent “pass holder premium” event was a sneak peek of Pandora – the world of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. That invitation came in the form of an email, as it always does, and “Mrs J” made sure we signed up as quickly as we heard about it. These offers are always limited and a lot of us watch for them. Pass holders who responded in time were able to sign up for a scheduled preview, much the same way as we sign up for fast passes. If I remember correctly, this one filled up within hours of receiving the email.

Pandora officially opens to the public on Saturday, May 27.  

On Sunday June 7th, press, Disney “Brass” and cast members working on the Pandora project were invited to debut the land. MaryBeth was there last Thursday May 11th on a school field trip with our son and found that cast members chosen randomly by lottery were next to see Pandora throughout that week. A good friend of mine, Redden, went that first Sunday with his brothers who are imagineers at Disney.

My friend told me about his day, showed me a few pictures and described some of the engineering behind it all. It did sound very cool. But it was in his final opinion of “Flight of Passage” that I really got excited…

Redden told me about how you get on the ride and what you see on it. He told me about the immersiveness of it with sights, sounds, smells and more. But at the end of his story about the ride he declared that it “ranks right up there” with some of the best rides he’s been on in his life. High praise indeed, but it is Disney’s latest and great ride (and it did take some five years to get it right) so most would expect nothing less. My friend Redden however was not talking about amusement park rides. You see, Redden is a retired truck driver and motorcycle enthusiast. He clarified for me that he meant rides on a motorcycle!

So here’s a guy who has literally driven millions of miles of canyons, coast lines, mountains and deserts and in his opinion “Flight of Passage” rivaled some of the best rides he’s ever had in his life!

We got to experience Pandora ourselves on Mother’s Day. FamilyMom signed us up several weeks ago for the first available day (not even realizing it was Mother’s Day) and our time was 3-5pm Sunday May 14. We arrived a little early around 2ish and breezed into the park with a separate passholder bag check,

pass holder bag check

and separate passholder entrance…

passholder entrance


We followed the crowd in towards Discovery Island (home to Tree of Life) and took our first left after Island Merchantile (gift shop). We headed towards Tiffins/Nomad Lounge and saw the floating mountains just beyond the bridge to Pandora.

The day that we went was by ‘invitation only’ so there were lines and checkpoints that won’t be there when Pandora officially opens…

There will also be a pathway open from Africa that comes out around the Festival of the Lion King.

If you haven’t seen the day one video yet, here it is… enjoy

Check back tomorrow for…

Complete field guide to Pandora – The World of Avatar

  • The Pandora experience
  • Maps
  • Photo gallery
  • Food & drinks
  • Ride: Na’vi river
  • Ride: Flight of Passage


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