Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park has always had an image issue. People think of it as a half-day park or an overpriced zoo but Disney has been working to change this perception. They added a nighttime safari. They are working on a nighttime show and most importantly they are adding a new land, Pandora: the World of Avatar.
But change has been slow in the coming. Disney announced Pandora in 2011. Construction did not begin until 2014. Guests were left to wonder if and when Pandora would ever open. In late 2016 Disney finally gave a hint at an opening date. They told us it would be summer 2017 but we may have a more specific time frame now.
A clue to when Pandora opens?
The Florida Resident Discover Disney ticket recently returned. This year it is cheaper and has fewer restrictions on when you can use it. But there is one restriction that has some people scratching their head. It is not valid at the Animal Kingdom from the end of May through the first few weeks of June. You can use it at any other park but not the Animal Kingdom?
Those who follow Disney know that the Animal Kingdom is not the most popular park so why is a black-out date necessary? Whenever something big is added to any park people flood in to see it. Is Disney trying to control the crowd for the opening of Pandora by blocking those dates for this deeply discounted ticket? It seems likely but only time will tell.
So what do we know about Pandora so far?
Pandora: The World of Avatar is based on the movie Avatar the James Cameron’s blockbuster from 2009. The film takes place on a planet called Pandora.
The new land replaces Camp Minnie Mickey. Most serious Disney people will know that Camp Minnie Mickey was not part of the original design for the Animal Kingdom. Camp Minnie Mickey was a cheap replacement for the Beastly Kingdom.
Disney cancelled the Beastly Kingdom after construction costs on the rest of the Animal Kingdom went over-budget. The Camp was definitely in need of an upgrade if not a complete replacement. Enter Pandora: The World of Avatar.
The new land features two attractions. The first is Avatar: Flight of Passage. Avatar Fight of Passage is an E-ticket simulator. Guests will learn to fly a mountain Banshee as seen in the movie. The second attraction is Na’vi River Journey. This boat ride features small drops and animatronic figures.
Of course no Disney expansion is complete without opportunities to spend some money. Pandora will feature a new restaurant called Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu for those wanting a drink.
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