On our recent visit to Disney World, I took along my newly acquired Panono 360° ball camera. Heading into the trip, I was excited to try it out to see how well it would perform. I’ll write up a personal review on that later, but for now, let’s step through Pandora.
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The World of Avatar land in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great place to get started on 360° pictures at Walt Disney World. The land is beautiful with large plants and other scenery along the ground plus the floating mountains overhead means there’s a lot to capture in a single 360° image.
This first scene is near the entrance to the Navi River Ride. A short dark ride through several scenes from the original Avatar movie with the climax being a large singing and dancing Na’vi Shaman animatronic. They also use a lot of bioluminescent lighting, which makes the land appear to glow around you as you travel down the river.
We were able to grab a Lightning Lane pass (part of Disney’s new Genie+ system that has replaced FastPass+) at 7am for a 1pm return time. Upon arrival to use our pass, we used our magicband to scan in, then walked along the pathway, basically all the way to the ride loading area. We had less than a 5 minute wait.
The ride itself is a gentle water ride that lasts just a few minutes in an indoor show building. It’s a great ride to sit back and relax, if you’re not waiting an hour or more in the standby line.
The below view is near the entrance to the ride Flight of Passage. I had not experienced this ride before our trip and I was hesitant due to motion sickness that I experience on some rides. My wife had rode it on our last trip and was insisting I had to try it out. She wasn’t going to ride this time due to a recent neck injury making it difficult to ride some rides.
Flight of Passage is one of the rides listed as an Individual Lightning Lane attraction, meaning it’s a separate cost from the main Genie+ service. As an offsite guest, I had to wait for park opening to buy the Individual Lightning Lane pass, so as the time ticked down to 8am, the official park opening time of Animal Kingdom, the last pass was sold and I wasn’t able to buy one.
That is, until a few minutes after 9am, I refreshed the tip board page in the Genie portion of the My Disney Experience app and to my surprise, several time slots were available. I could select 10, 11 or 12, then a specific start time within that time frame. I ended up selecting 11am before realizing, hey, choose a time closer to the Navi ride time. Damage done, once you buy an Individual Lightning Lane pass, you can’t cancel and back out, so I was stuck with 11.
As I mentioned earlier, my wife was having neck pain so she found a chiropractor to go to before our trek to the park. By the time we got in the park, it was near time to use our Lightning Lane pass for the Festival of the Lion King show, so decided on skipping the paid ride to watch the show with the family. After riding the Navi River Ride, I decided to talk to a cast member regarding the situation. He asked if I had extenuating circumstances preventing me from getting there on time and I let him know about the chiro appointment running longer than we expected. He fortunately let me on. They’re under no obligation to let anyone on after they miss their time, so be kind and gentle with your interaction. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey.
I am so glad he let me on. This ride was awesome! It’s a 3D immersion into the Banshee flight scene from the movie. There’s a couple preshow videos to get you ready for flight, then you step into a room with several ride vehicles that essentially look sort of like a motorcycle, without the wheels. You get situated on the device and there’s a back bar that holds you in place. When the simulator is ready, everyone in the room begins a banshee flight with a guide banshee leading the way. You fly through several scenes, seeing so much of the Pandora land. The ride was several minutes long and well worth the cost of the Lightning Lane pass.
This final picture is on the far end of the land near the exit for the Flight of Passage ride and shows the Amplified Mobility Platform (AMP) suit as well as the gift shop area.
Overall, I love going to this land. Its unique landscape and beautiful gardens are a great place to sit and relax for a bit while the rides taking you through the movie scenes are outstanding. I definitely recommend either rope dropping if you stay onsite or grabbing Lightning Lane passes if staying offsite to avoid the long lines. Please leave a comment and let me know if you enjoy these 360° pictures of Pandora – The World of Avatar,
If you’re ready to start exploring a Walt Disney World or Disneyland family vacation, I recommend checking out Undercover Tourist for your ticket options. I’ve already used them twice, once at Disneyland and once at Disney World and will plan to continue comparing their prices with other sites, however I usually come back to UT because they have the best deals and their instructions make it easy to add your tickets to the Disney apps.