Tri-Circle-D

TWO Sneak Peeks at Pandora The World of Avatar

114 posts in this topic

I claim PBR!

Pandora Bragging Rights.

The TCD gang hit up a Castmember preview of Animal Kingdom's brand new land yesterday, May 3rd, 2017.

We received these tickets through the efforts of TCD Twin #2:

05%2003%2017%20009_zpsyy7tz3hf.jpg

05%2003%2017%20010_zpsdgdshf4t.jpg

As you can see, our designated time slot was 6 pm- 8 pm.

The plan was to meet up at Nomad Lounge at 5 pm, have a drink or two, then mosey in to the preview.

But, Twin #1 received some intel from a CM friend earlier in the day letting her know that they were having severe technical difficulties with the new Flight of Passage ride, and that capacity was severely reduced.  For today, they were handling that by passing out paper FP's to the preview guests as they arrived for their time-slots.  There were not enough for everyone, and when they were gone, they were gone.

So, instead of that drink, we decided that we needed to line-up at 5.

We arrived around then, and headed to the check-in area, which is along the path leading into the new land.

Guess who was guarding the line?

Lou!

I saw him before he saw me.

I told the girls: "watch this," and I walked past the Lou and the other guards without showing my ticket.

They didn't know what to think.

Then I said hello to Lou.

It was good to see Lou.  He is doing well.  He confirmed what we had heard about the paper FP's. so we lined up.

One good thing was they started to let us in early- the line started to move around 5:30, and we moved on to the bridge leading into Pandora.

Here are some of the new light fixtures:

05%2003%2017%20011_zpsseoxmatl.jpg

And a very themed wall on the bridge:

05%2003%2017%20012_zpsxlhnccez.jpg

We scored our FP's for what we thought was a good time slot:

05%2003%2017%20013_zpszvhvki3k.jpg

With those FP's we were able to make a plan.  We assumed that we would be let in at 6.  We would head straight to the boat ride, get that done, and then head to Flights of Passage.  It was a solid plan.

They had paper maps for us:

05%2003%2017%20014_zpsk6lbsamn.jpg

Looking back on the bridge:

05%2003%2017%20015_zpscuc4db0x.jpg

Another look at the themed wall:

05%2003%2017%20016_zpspx0gde47.jpg

This is the small group of folks that were ahead of us- those black walls are the actual entrance to the land.  That big fake plant you see behind the walls is some kind of important landmark/photo op.  I don't have any more information on it, as we charged past it on our way to the boat ride:

05%2003%2017%20017_zps1qwdxdoz.jpg

This area is apparently called the Valley of Mo'ara, which is a place on Pandora.  The actual story isn't entirely clear to me, and there isn't much signage around explaining exactly where we were, or how we got here:

05%2003%2017%20021_zpsj1zuvogk.jpg

To everyone's surprise, they didn't hold us until 6.  They let us in at 5:27 pm.  Sweet!  Here we go:

05%2003%2017%20024_zpsrayauj0j.jpg

Everywhere you can see in this new land is themed and decorated.  The landscaping is lush and beautiful, and has alien doodads added everywhere:

05%2003%2017%20026_zps2mitjh6e.jpg

There is no mention of Disney or Mickey Mouse anywhere in this new land- we are on the property of Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), so their name and logo is on the trash cans:

05%2003%2017%20027_zps0ih2uha9.jpg

More scenery- it was all very beautiful and impressive:

05%2003%2017%20028_zpsuesnaclg.jpg

The big deal in this new land are the floating mountains.  I've watched them put them up for the last few years, and it was hard for us to believe that we were now finally seeing them from the viewpoint of this new land:

05%2003%2017%20030_zps0k4agvnn.jpg

A little later in the evening, Twin #1's CM friend met up with us and told us some interesting tidbits about the new land.  One thing she told us is that this restroom building is the only structure in this whole area which is a remnant of Camp Mickey Minnie:

05%2003%2017%20032_zpsbpbnrnnr.jpg

This Face Painting Station/Merchandise stand is along the main path to the attractions.  I guess they are planning on face painting being a big thing here:

05%2003%2017%20034_zpswjtb6lzj.jpg

A couple of shots of the floating mountains as we continued our walk to the river ride entrance:

05%2003%2017%20035_zpsgoxpvbce.jpg

05%2003%2017%20036_zps6g4exauc.jpg

The river ride queue is very themed:

05%2003%2017%20039_zpsamgsnv1b.jpg

05%2003%2017%20040_zpsrnqvqqcr.jpg

We zipped right through the queue and onto the ride. We saw a big switchback area in the queue which tells us that they anticipate some long waits for this ride.  Fortunately, it was a walk on for us.

I put my camera away for the ride.  There are already hundreds of photos and videos of the ride floating around the internet, including some posted by Disney.

I will share that we all loved the ride.

I have read criticisms that it is short and boring.  I don't think those criticisms are fair. This is supposed to be a calm, peaceful, beautiful ride through a jungle on another planet.  It is not a thrill ride, and they didn't try to force some fake story into the attraction.  It's just a ride on a boat where you get to see beautiful scenery, hear interesting sounds, and even smell some scents.  In my opinion, they did a great job.

Since we were let in early, we had some extra time before our FP return time. Which was awesome.

The plan now was to go and find the bar and have a drink since we missed out on our pregame at the Nomad Lounge.

Twin #2 knew where the bar was, because she had already been in that area of Pandora twice for CM-only food previews.

Sorry, but here's another floating mountain shot:

05%2003%2017%20041_zpsnbkxblgg.jpg

And here's some rocks.  Nobody makes fake rocks better than Disney:

05%2003%2017%20042_zpsn5jpbv93.jpg

05%2003%2017%20044_zpsprcvvlfy.jpg

They say that this place is going to be awesome at night.  I want to come back and see what it all looks like when these lights are in use:

05%2003%2017%20045_zpsftvujnsi.jpg

There are all kinds of pathways leading through the land.  And there is something to see along all of them:

05%2003%2017%20046_zpsaya0d1kl.jpg

There are little nooks and crannies in the rocks.  Hey, is that a Na'vi?:

05%2003%2017%20047_zps5kzmcwhw.jpg

Looking up:

05%2003%2017%20048_zpsx6tte3eo.jpg

05%2003%2017%20051_zps6nv6zvbu.jpg

More path scenery:

05%2003%2017%20052_zpskci2gxf7.jpg

05%2003%2017%20054_zpsicesu8do.jpg

There is a lot of water in this new land. I think all of the waterfalls are cascading in to a river that winds under and along the paths, so there are bridges sprinkled around, and lots of areas with multiple levels:

05%2003%2017%20056_zpsnwbz1dpn.jpg

More waterfalls:

05%2003%2017%20058_zpsl636rjz4.jpg

05%2003%2017%20057_zpsuffrjcjr.jpg

More fake rocks:

05%2003%2017%20059_zpslwd3yeks.jpg

Finally, the bar:

05%2003%2017%20061_zpspxar6mzx.jpg

This is a good place to stop, as I have a bunch of photos of the theming around the bar, and then have a long-ish story to share about our visit to Flights of Passage.

TCD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting words, pictures will be seen tonight. :angry:

We go on the 18th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Travisma said:

Interesting words, pictures will be seen tonight. :angry:

We go on the 18th.

If it makes you feel better I'm at home and can't see half of his pictures!!

TcD what was the boat size like? Could you see other boats while you were on it? Bumping into each other like Small world does?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

can't wait to see the rest.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks interesting. Animal Kingdom is my favorite park and I was worried that the Pandora area wouldn't work there. I'm not a fan of the movie. Does the land seem to go with the rest of the park? I've always loved the theming at AK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of the things we are looking forward to seeing when we take or trip next February.  It really does seem like it is made for seeing after dark which is where a lot of the cool looking scenes take place in the movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey where's your blue lipstick??

 

i still don't care about the movie but this looks awesome. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to more.

 

So glad you got to see Lou.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Travisma said:

Interesting words, pictures will be seen tonight. :angry:

We go on the 18th.

We get to go back a week from Saturday for our passholder preview.  I hope some of the issues we encountered  (which I will be getting to) are resolved by then.

20 hours ago, CCIntrigue...aka Gwen said:

Now I need to Google the ride photos!

There are photos and videos all over the internet from the usual bloggers.  There will be no secrets by the time official opening day arrives.

20 hours ago, Beckers said:

If it makes you feel better I'm at home and can't see half of his pictures!!

TcD what was the boat size like? Could you see other boats while you were on it? Bumping into each other like Small world does?

The boat size was bigger than I expected.  Only two rows- but probably as wide as a Frozen Ever After boat. Theoretically, four to a row, but they did not pack us in.  They let us ride two to a row, which was really nice.

Sadly, even though it wasn't busy, the boats did back up at the exit.  I think we had a wheelchair guest up ahead, and they had to let her unload.  I hope there's a better way to do that, or else it's always going to back up.

19 hours ago, Memphis said:

can't wait to see the rest.    

I'm working on it.

19 hours ago, campingdawgs said:

This looks interesting. Animal Kingdom is my favorite park and I was worried that the Pandora area wouldn't work there. I'm not a fan of the movie. Does the land seem to go with the rest of the park? I've always loved the theming at AK.

I was concerned about this too, but the theming dovetails perfectly into AK. The whole area has a very natural vibe to it, and the details are amazing.  It seems more African than it does foreign planet.

19 hours ago, keith_h said:

This is one of the things we are looking forward to seeing when we take or trip next February.  It really does seem like it is made for seeing after dark which is where a lot of the cool looking scenes take place in the movie.

It works during the day, and I think you're right about it being better after dark.

19 hours ago, Beckers said:

Hey where's your blue lipstick??

 

i still don't care about the movie but this looks awesome. 

I passed on the blue lipstick and ears.

Don't worry about the movie- it's barely relevant to what they're doing here.

19 hours ago, alexwyattmommy said:

Looking forward to more.

So glad you got to see Lou.

More is on the way.

I was glad to see Lou too, I had just seen him in March when we were in AK for the taping of The View. 

TCD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have more photos!

We left off at the bar.  Actually, it's not a bar- just a walkup window where you can get a drink. I think they need to work on that.  A bar here would be good.

This big knife is hanging above the window when you order. I remember that from the movie.  The bad guy had it when he put on his big robot suit:

05%2003%2017%20063_zpsfqmuwrs3.jpg

See how there's wire wrapped around it?  I guess the story is that this was found by whoever built this bar and used as a decoration?

The signs for ordering and pick-up are painted over other signs left behind by the bad guys- I think you can see that in these photos:

05%2003%2017%20064_zpstghzzsee.jpg

05%2003%2017%20065_zpsl8fbjkgj.jpg

Do you see that the second sign I posted a photo of above is painted over a sign that originally said "Ampsuit Control?"

Apparently, that big robot suit is called an Ampsuit, and there is one parked out in front of the bar:

05%2003%2017%20066_zpsmlhdamns.jpg

It is beat up and weathered.  Maybe this is the Ampsuit that the bad guy who died at the end of the movie was wearing?  By the way, I guess that guy really didn't die, because he supposedly will be in the next movie.

That building over there is the quick serve restaurant- we finished our visit with a meal there, and I'll have some photos of that later:

05%2003%2017%20067_zpsj6ixna0d.jpg

I'm guessing that building was built by the blue people after the bad humans left?

Speaking of bad humans, there are all kinds of artifacts around the bar to remind us of them.  These look like dog tags of the bad humans the blue people taught a well deserved lesson:

05%2003%2017%20068_zpst6yg2ty1.jpg

Another look at the quick serve joint- they have a lot of outdoor seating.  And a lot indoors too:

05%2003%2017%20069_zpsiivn35oi.jpg

Here's the front of the Ampsuit:

05%2003%2017%20070_zpsucspaowj.jpg

The company run by the bad humans was called the RDA, and they left their manholes behind:

05%2003%2017%20071_zpsmghuwtl8.jpg

We each got a frozen strawberry margarita, but they called them some fancy space name.

Four drinks set me back $39 and change.

Drinks are expensive in space.

We found a seating area in the outdoor area in front of the quick serve.  We were next to this giant stroller parking area.  This might be the only photo any of us will ever see of it empty:

05%2003%2017%20072_zpsytytvjbn.jpg

I loved just looking around:

05%2003%2017%20073_zpsxnevetzj.jpg

05%2003%2017%20074_zpshqyiiccu.jpg

I don't think this guy was in the right costume for this area:

05%2003%2017%20075_zpsbofdemxb.jpg

Nobody visited the restaurant yet- there was plenty of seating out here:

05%2003%2017%20076_zps7ftpud57.jpg

Some landscaping around the seating area:

05%2003%2017%20077_zps8z3qxkzr.jpg

So far, we were playing with house money with regard to our time management.  Since we got in about a half an hour early that boat ride and these drinks were getting done outside of our official two-hour window, which would begin at 6 pm. We were all feeling pretty good about this. The plan now was to enjoy the drinks, and then head over to cash in our Flight of Passage FP's at 6:15.

Twin #1's CM friend finished her shift at 6, and came and found us at the bar.  She wanted to ride Flight of Passage with us, and hang out with the twins for a couple of hours.  They all did their Disneyland College Programs together, and she was a Jungle Cruise Skipper with Twin #1.  She was a great source of information about the land, and pointed out some cool details to us.

As we sat there finishing our drinks, the Twin #1's CM friend was pointing out big shot Imagineers who were walking by unnoticed.  This guy there on the left apparently some kind of big deal in the World of Pandora:

05%2003%2017%20079_zpsgryu73ho.jpg

There are some VIP's there in the group on the right, too.

Let's take a closer look at them:

ak%20vips_zps4uc3kvdz.png

That tall African American guy is Mark Daniel- he is the host of all the live streams that the Disney Parks Blog does.  The fellow in the suit coat is one of the Disney Ambassadors.  The girl in the BB8 dress is just a confused groupie.

Right at 6:15, we headed over to Flight of Passage.  We breathed a collective sigh of relief when we were let into the queue. The ride was operating!  Twin #1's friend confirmed that they were having a lot of problems with it all day, and a lot of CM's there for the previews did not get to ride.

The queue was long and winding, and we were obviously walking up a ramp to enter the ride building, the whole time we walked we had a view of the floating mountains:

05%2003%2017%20080_zpsgpx9oitl.jpg

05%2003%2017%20082_zpsinnsmfpu.jpg

More of the outside part of the queue:

05%2003%2017%20083_zps6mvbq6f5.jpg

There are waterfalls all over the place:

05%2003%2017%20084_zpsqvbqck2g.jpg

05%2003%2017%20085_zpsu8zcuta9.jpg

Because we were in the FP queue, we didn't get to go through the very detailed laboratory part of the queue.  Reports are that this is very cool. They were letting guests in to that just to walk through. That was as a consolation to those who wouldn't get to ride the ride.  We thought we'd have time to do that after we rode, but, as you are about to find out, that didn't happen.

As we walked through the queue, Twin #1's CM friend pointed some thins out to us.  The queue is kind of cave-like initially, and she pointed out some cool things in the cave drawings that were on the walls. I asked her if she had found and Hidden Mickeys, and she said that they had been specifically told that per Joe Rohde's orders, there are no Hidden Mickeys in Pandora.  As she put it- "Mickey does not exist on Pandora."  Interesting.  I am not sure whether or not I believe her.

Here's a sign that was posted in the hallway.  So far, we were zipping along nicely, and we were all very excited:

05%2003%2017%20089_zpsmspxjtpp.jpg

One thing that I had already seen reported is that the FP scanners don't have Mickey heads on them.  They don't:

05%2003%2017%20091_zpseelz1hmy.jpg

After the scanners, we were no longer in a cave, but in what looked like an old industrial building:

05%2003%2017%20092_zpsnnwsyecm.jpg

We were directed down a hallway which was kind of like the long hallways in Soarin':

05%2003%2017%20094_zpsfmnzebez.jpg

After we were let in, we noticed that no one else was let in the line behind us.  The guests who were just walking through the regular queue were allowed to look down the hallway at us:

05%2003%2017%20095_zpsazcyspeq.jpg

Fun fact- the guy looking down at his camera in the last photo is Josh from EasyWDW.  Whoever invited him to come didn't have any inside scoop, and they arrived too late to get FP's.  So he didn't get to ride a banshee.

After all of that excitement.  We stood there as our progress ground to a painful halt.  Up ahead, they were only  letting small groups of guests in at intervals of about 5 minutes. Twin #1's friend explained that we were on level one of one of the three levels in this theater.  There are four theaters in the building. Each row in each theater holds 16 guests.  So, they normally could take 192 guests every 5 minutes or so, for around 2000 guests per hour.  But they weren't doing that for us.

Unfortunately for us, they were only operating one row in one theater. Which meant 16 guests were let in to ride at a time, and then 5 minutes later another group of 16 was let in.  Time passed slowly, as we slowly inched forward.  To make matters worse, the AC apparently had been shut down, and it was hot, humid and stuffy in that hallway.

It was 7:02 pm when we were finally admitted to the pre-show room. A long hot wait of a bit over 45 minutes. And our preview ended at 8!  But, we were going to ride a banshee.  And most of the other guests here tonight were not.

This preshow room was kind of weird, and I questioned why it was even necessary:

05%2003%2017%20097_zpsm2b6xdnw.jpg

05%2003%2017%20098_zpskwtmxkf1.jpg

05%2003%2017%20101_zpshskicpum.jpg

As Twin #1 explained it, the purpose of it was to just to get guests organized an ready to ride. The video explained why the ride exists, and what was about to happen.  And there was a lot of mumbo jumbo about us being scanned and matched with avatars.

After that, we stopped for a second video in another room- this one was to give us a safety briefing and more avatar mumbo jumbo:

05%2003%2017%20106_zpsrktsj3jx.jpg

Right after that, we were let into the room where we first laid eyes on our ride vehicles.  As we entered, the CM who led us in told us no photography or videoing was allowed in this room.  That must be new, because there are photos of the ride vehicles floating around.

Here's my description of the ride- each rider has an individual ride vehicle to straddle.  It's kind of like those motorcycle or jet ski video games you see in arcades.  Others have compared them to the Tron Light Cycles they have in Shanghai Disneyland.  It wasn't what I was expecting.

Anyway, you sit on the seat and are told to lean forward.  Restraints then come from behind against your calves and the small of your back.  You are told to put on your 3D goggles, and to look at the screen on the handlebars in front of you.  There's some more avatar mumbo jumbo shown there, and then a bunch of bright lights flash, and your vehicle starts to move around.  Somewhere in here, the wall in front of us raised, and we are now looking a huge screen in front of us. Huge.  Bigger than Soarn' huge.

The vehicles we are sitting on never leave the spot where they're bolted to the floor, but it sure feels like they do.  The flying sensation works. The visuals work. The fake smells work. The whole thing works.

They knocked this one out of the park.

We were all speechless afterward.

The whole experience took us over an hour.

But we weren't mad.

From here, we will visit the gift shop- including a look at what Disney is hoping will be their answer to all the magic wands Universal is selling down the street.

And we will eat some Na'vi food.

TCD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So excited for this new stuff.....and dang it is good to be TCD 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing. 

I really need to watch the movie. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That sounds really cool. Do the vehicles sway or anything? Or is all the movement felt from watching the screen?

I guess I have to watch this movie before we go in December.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In your opinion is the seating difficult? Did you happen to notice any alternative accessible seating?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, ImDownWithDisney said:

So excited for this new stuff.....and dang it is good to be TCD 

The excitement is justified.  It's been a long time since WDW has opened attractions on the level of these.

This is a great and transformational addition to the park.

You are right- it is good to be TCD. 

12 hours ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

Thanks for sharing. 

I really need to watch the movie. 

Here's the thing- you DO NOT need to watch the movie to enjoy this new land.

It seems like they've gone to great lengths to distance themselves from the movie. We are supposedly visiting this planet years after the events of the movie happened, and we are seeing the environment come back after the ecological disasters caused by the events in the movie.

10 hours ago, dvccamper said:

That sounds really cool. Do the vehicles sway or anything? Or is all the movement felt from watching the screen?

I guess I have to watch this movie before we go in December.

Even though the vehicles are bolted in place, they move a lot.  Up and down, back and forth, side to side, front to back. Like a slow mechanical bull. The degree of movement is greater than on Star Tours.  With the huge screen, 3D goggles, and other effects, it creates the sensation of movement more so than any other simulation ride I've been on.

As I said above, you do not need to see the movie to enjoy the land. All you need to know is that you are visiting another planet on an Eco-Tour.  Man has been here before and done some bad things, but that is in the past.  That's all you need to know.

7 hours ago, mouseketab.....Carol said:

In your opinion is the seating difficult? Did you happen to notice any alternative accessible seating?

The seating is less difficult than what I was expecting.  The video that Beckers posted shows the safety briefing and instructions on how to get on the vehicle.  In the animation, the man makes a very exaggerated motion like he was throwing his leg up and over a high bike seat.  It is not like that at all.  These things sit pretty low to the ground.  I was able to walk right up to it, with a leg on either side of the seat, and slide right on to the seat.  No leg throwing required at all. 

We were on the bottom level, and two groups with wheelchairs came in while we waited.  They had them in a separate line, and even though they came in after us, they loaded them way before us.  Both groups.  Which I don't think was right, but that's what they did.  They announced to these folks that the guests in wheelchairs would have to transfer.  So they rode the regular vehicles.  I don't know if there are alternative ride vehicles.  I heard there weren't, but I'd be surprised if there aren't. I think there are a lot of folks who need wheelchairs who would have a hard time sitting on these ride vehicles, as there is no back, and it feels like you could fall of sideways.

1 hour ago, Beckers said:

This show the seats

 

Thanks for posting that.  This shows the safety video and guests arriving into the room where the ride vehicles are. We were clearly told no photos or videos in that ride room, but I see these guests all had their phones/cameras in their hands.   This was the initial group of bloggers that had previews over the weekend. I'll bet all those ding dongs with cameras slowed down the loading process so they now are banning photography in that room.

TCD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great stuff!! So cool that you were able to do this.  I'm really excited to see this in person, especially at night.

The banshee ride sounds awesome but I may need to skip it.  VR rides in general make me super motion sick. I rode Star Tours once (ugh) and that was pretty much it for me. I've pulled off doing the Harry Potter rides a few times, but it's been tough and I think it helps that those rides actually move on a track and aren't 100% VR.  I'll be keeping tabs on what people think once this is open to the public.  Maybe I'll have to take some dramamine and at least try it once.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool! I got to tour it last week when I was in Orlando, but we were not able to ride the rides (or take photos, parts were quite obviously still under construction).

The scenery is beautiful and they really did a nice job of balancing the themeing of the park for those who are Avatar fans and those (like me) that have never seen the movie. I can't wait to see it at night, with all the luminescent paint and glowing plants.

Fun fact: the imprints in the sidewalks, with the exception of the footprints, were made with organic materials - plants, various types of cereals and chow mein noodles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

Great stuff!! So cool that you were able to do this.  I'm really excited to see this in person, especially at night.

The banshee ride sounds awesome but I may need to skip it.  VR rides in general make me super motion sick. I rode Star Tours once (ugh) and that was pretty much it for me. I've pulled off doing the Harry Potter rides a few times, but it's been tough and I think it helps that those rides actually move on a track and aren't 100% VR.  I'll be keeping tabs on what people think once this is open to the public.  Maybe I'll have to take some dramamine and at least try it once.  :)

Good point about motion sickness.

I sometimes feel a bit queasy after Star Tours.  And definitely feel it after Mission Space.  Some of the Universal rides get me a bit- like Spiderman and Transformers.  I've never had an issue with Soarin'.  I think it's because all of the images are in synch with the motion of the ride vehicle.  I think that's the same thing that is happening with FOP.

Of course, I so far have only ridden Flight of Passage once, but I felt zero queasiness.  None at all.  Nobody in our group felt it, and for what it's worth, Twin #1's friend said there haven't been many motion sickness complaints at all.

13 minutes ago, shoreline99 said:

Cool! I got to tour it last week when I was in Orlando, but we were not able to ride the rides (or take photos, parts were quite obviously still under construction).

The scenery is beautiful and they really did a nice job of balancing the themeing of the park for those who are Avatar fans and those (like me) that have never seen the movie. I can't wait to see it at night, with all the luminescent paint and glowing plants.

Fun fact: the imprints in the sidewalks, with the exception of the footprints, were made with organic materials - plants, various types of cereals and chow mein noodles.

That is a fun fact. I have some pavement photos coming up. I did not notice the noodle imprints, but I will definitely be looking for them next time. LOL.

TCD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. I thought I would be finished with my photos with this post, but it looks like it's going to take two more posts to finish this little report.

We left off with us exiting Flights of Passage. It was 7:22 pm when we finally were back outside.  We had spent over one hour of our two hour sneak peek in that ride building.  But it was totally worth it, and we were still going to be OK with time.

The next item on our agenda was the gift shop. Everything in there is specific for Pandora. Which is very unique- none of the generic Disney stuff that you see in every other gift shop on property.

It was what photographers call Golden Hour:

05%2003%2017%20107_zpsujyfvmdx.jpg

05%2003%2017%20108_zpskqa0dwui.jpg

05%2003%2017%20109_zpsembwlazs.jpg

This was another exit hallway that we walked past on our way out of the ride- the exit pathway was as long as the entry:

05%2003%2017%20110_zpsh5dopfqq.jpg

These lights are interesting- here they clearly have the ACE logo, whereas the ones out in the landscaped areas look like they were crafted by the Na'vi:

05%2003%2017%20111_zpsxhxhsctt.jpg

More spectacular rock work:

05%2003%2017%20112_zpsgt3lns6r.jpg

05%2003%2017%20113_zpscmfptcf7.jpg

05%2003%2017%20114_zpsjj5cxq9i.jpg

05%2003%2017%20115_zpslqv0hano.jpg

It's funny how many people were walking around staring up.  It might be a problem when this land is packed full of real park guests with their giant strollers and ECV's and coolers on wheels.

We stopped for some photos. Here's the TCD group for today. My oldest daughter couldn't make it, so the Twins' good friend the future Imagineer joined us:

group%20pandora_zpslc7241dc.jpg

All of the photos so far in this update were taken in the exit queue from FOP. It's long.

We finally got to a ramp that was going to get us back to ground level:

05%2003%2017%20116_zpstbvftma1.jpg

Note how this is all built to look like a crumbling wall, complete with rusty pieces of rebar sticking out:

05%2003%2017%20117_zps6xddscf0.jpg

Here are more human looking lights and wires:

05%2003%2017%20118_zpsmv0haeku.jpg

05%2003%2017%20119_zpsxettkmio.jpg

The ramp looks very industrial, but weathered, as if it has been here a long time- complete with moss and lichens on the crumbling walls:

05%2003%2017%20120_zpsrnjzhhho.jpg

You can see the floating mountains from over here- I guess they are visible from wherever you are in this new land:

05%2003%2017%20121_zpso67x9mob.jpg

A closer look at the bent rebar:

05%2003%2017%20122_zpsvqttzxem.jpg

The folks from ACE took a page from the Disney playbook, and we found that the FOP exit dumps into a gift shop.  The only way we knew that this was the gift shop was by looking in the door- it had no signage. Supposedly, Joe Rohde's desire was that there would be no signs in Pandora.  Guests are supposed to discover and figure out things on their own.  That's a nice idea, but it's not very practical, and I suspect that no sign thing will be changed once actual dumb park guests start to visit:

05%2003%2017%20123_zps2mgeuas6.jpg

This gift shop is amazing.  It's all Pandora stuff and very unique:

05%2003%2017%20124_zpsqniuftdw.jpg

This is something I've heard about, but I'm not quite sure what it is. It's an Avatar Maker. I think it's supposed to make a blue person that looks like you. I guess that machine makes it for you.  I heard it's $80.  But I'm not sure exactly how that works:

05%2003%2017%20125_zpslplvtoqd.jpg

Some props in the gift shop from the bad RDA guys:

05%2003%2017%20126_zpspbxaezah.jpg

I thought this stuff over here lit up on its own, but the glowing comes from the black lights shining on the display.  Pretty cool looking. I suspect it will glow out in the park at dark:

05%2003%2017%20127_zpsrrsxwwvp.jpg

Aw.  Baby Na'vi's. How cute:

05%2003%2017%20128_zpsufmwfrnm.jpg

A closer look at the glowing stuff:

05%2003%2017%20129_zpsgjw6gl95.jpg

Here's some more Na'vi junk, including strap-on blue tails.  Yikes:

05%2003%2017%20130_zpsnsoxaow2.jpg

In one corner of the gift shop, we found the fabled Banshee rookery.  There has been a lot of buzz about these little banshees that somehow sit on your shoulder:

05%2003%2017%20131_zpsxbtekvo0.jpg

The Disney Parks Blog is already pimping them:

Connect With a Banshee at The Rookery inside Windtraders in Pandora – The World of Avatar

Guests visiting Pandora – The World of Avatar will fly on the back of a mountain banshee at one of its major attractions, Avatar Flight of Passage. Soaring on the back of one of these powerful winged creatures represents an important rite of passage for the Na’vi. Today, I’m thrilled to announce a new way for guests to connect with these animals at The Rookery inside Windtraders, the primary merchandise location on Pandora. Cody Hampton with Disney Parks Merchandise gave me a first look at these new interactive creatures, and explained how they continue the tradition of immersive storytelling found at Disney Parks.

Banshee’s at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

“We love bringing to life stories from our attractions through creative and innovative product designs,” explained Cody. “Banshees are an important animal on Pandora, both as an animal in the ecosystem and as a cultural symbol to the Na’vi. Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also will feature a Na’Vi River Journey ride, where guests get a chance to cruise through a Pandora jungle. They are also part of one of the signature attractions, so it felt natural to feature them as a must-have souvenir from a visit to Pandora. These banshees are fun, interactive, and continue the excitement guests will feel when experiencing [Avatar Flight of Passage].”

Banshee’s at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

At the Rookery, a Naturalist from Alpha Centauri Expeditions will assist a guest with identifying a favorite banshee from among 10 unique styles. Each interactive banshee includes three ranges of motion – mouth, head, and wings – that are controlled by hand. Guests will also hear them make authentic banshee sounds provided by Disney’s partners at Lightstorm Entertainment.

“We worked closely with [Lightstorm Entertainment] when designing the banshees,” continued Cody. “Their colors were inspired by banshees seen in the ‘Avatar’ motion picture. Their sounds make them feel as though they flew directly into Windtraders from the attraction. Guests will determine each banshee’s personality through a combination of hand movements and sounds.”

Banshee’s at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Guests can either display a banshee on their shoulder or cradle them in their arms. We will also offer a banshee perch that is sold separately.

Cody shared one final Pandora detail that ties back to the core ideas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

“The mountain banshee has come to symbolize our continued commitment to the environment,” said Cody. “Before guests depart Windtraders, Naturalists will encourage them to make a pledge to respect and protect the natural world on Pandora and back home on Earth.”

When you see other banshee keepers on Pandora, or back at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, please greet them with “Oel Ngati Kameie” (“I See You”), the traditional Na’vi phrase of greeting and respect.

https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2017/05/connect-with-a-banshee-at-the-rookery-inside-windtraders-in-pandora-the-world-of-avatar/

Sounds cool, right?

A couple of things to consider, though.

1. These things are going for $50; and

2. These things are just puppets.

Yes. Puppets.

We had already seen several on guests' shoulders, and were amazed when we saw them open and shut their mouths and flap their wings, seemingly on command.

It turns out there's a long leash connected to these things with a controller at the end which you use to make the puppet move.

And it sits on your shoulder via a curved magnet that you slip on your shoulder, under your shirt.

We were considering buying one before we actually saw one an found out that it was just a puppet.

But, I think these things will be flying off the shelves here.

On that note, I'll stop this update, and come back to finish up our evening with some more landscape photos and a report on our visit to the quick serve restaurant.

TCD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

Good point about motion sickness.

I sometimes feel a bit queasy after Star Tours.  And definitely feel it after Mission Space.  Some of the Universal rides get me a bit- like Spiderman and Transformers.  I've never had an issue with Soarin'.  I think it's because all of the images are in synch with the motion of the ride vehicle.  I think that's the same thing that is happening with FOP.

Of course, I so far have only ridden Flight of Passage once, but I felt zero queasiness.  None at all.  Nobody in our group felt it, and for what it's worth, Twin #1's friend said there haven't been many motion sickness complaints at all.

That is a fun fact. I have some pavement photos coming up. I did not notice the noodle imprints, but I will definitely be looking for them next time. LOL.

TCD

I'll be watching comments on this too.  I have to shut my eyes a couple of times on Star Tours and several times on Soarin'.  Will definitely not ride the intense side of Mission Space again.  Watching the Avatar movie almost sent me into panic attacks.  Can't handle the sharp drops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the last of the sneak peek photos.

It was past 7:30 by the time we were done in the gift shop.  I bought everyone a shirt, and I was willing to spring for one of the banshee puppets, but nobody really wanted one.  When you think about it, what are you actually going to do with a banshee puppet?

We only had 30 minutes left in our preview.  We weren't sure how strict they would be when 8 o'clock hit, so the plan was that we'd take a few more outdoor photos and then head over to the quick serve right before 8 and hop that they didn't shut the doors early.

So here's some more landscape photos:

05%2003%2017%20133_zpsclpssdn5.jpg

05%2003%2017%20135_zps93inkf53.jpg

 

I'll bet that this plant will light up at night:

05%2003%2017%20137_zpssgvsa6fj.jpg

It looks like this pavement will glow too:

05%2003%2017%20138_zps0j8gl9dl.jpg

Some of the lights were on already, but it was still pretty light out:

05%2003%2017%20139_zpsswkqahrs.jpg

Another path:

05%2003%2017%20140_zps7csgwxss.jpg

This big item is on display outside of the river ride. There is no sign for the ride. I am wondering if this item is supposed to be the sign?  I heard mention of totems.  I don't know if this is a totem or what?:

05%2003%2017%20142_zps2ktxkpts.jpg

I know it will be a long, long time, if ever, that I will be in this new land with so few people clogging the paths, so I took a lot of photos of the mostly empty paths:

05%2003%2017%20143_zps6mnknvvh.jpg

We walked over to an area called the drum circle.  There's the face painting area over there, and the restrooms that are left over from Camp Minnie Mickey behind that:

05%2003%2017%20144_zpsxosajrcj.jpg

This is a look at the drum circle area. Twin #1's friend said that they planned to have a live performer up on the elevated area, and then there are small drums incorporated in the rockwork surrounding that.  I asked her if the performer would be a Na'vi or a human.  She said a human, as the Na'vi stay away from this area:

05%2003%2017%20145_zpseia9dji6.jpg

The sun was setting.  The elevated area where the human drummer will perform is there to the right:

05%2003%2017%20146_zpswqjq4ukr.jpg

The time stamp on this photo said it was 7:50 pm. We knew that we needed to head over to the restaurant, so we headed that way:

05%2003%2017%20147_zpsimmgfsfj.jpg

This is the last photo I took before we headed in to the restaurant at 7:52 pm:

05%2003%2017%20148_zpssy3rhwgi.jpg

I figured that ACE would operate its mess hall like Disney operates its restaurants- they weren't going to turn away paying customers until it was actually quitting time.

Twin #2 had already been in this restaurant twice for CM exclusive tasting parties. She told us that the build your own bowls were great, and that the food pods were not as great.

We all got the bowls.  I didn't do anything crazy- just chicken and rice, and a herb sauce topping:

05%2003%2017%20149_zps7hbetelb.jpg

The rest of the TCD gang got bowls too, but with different combinations.

Everyone loved it.

I don't think we were the last people to order, but we were near that.

I noticed that they stopped letting guests in at 8, and started to clean up.  The CM in our section came by, and told us that it was OK to take our time, and that she would give us a head's up when we needed to go.  She stopped at our table and spoke to us.  Like the other CM's we encountered, she was "in character" and asked us where we were from on Earth, and she talked about what she used to do on Earth.  She really enjoyed working here, and told us about her favorite items on the menu.  She told us that the breakfast menu is great, and described her favorite dishes in great detail.  I didn't even know that they would be serving breakfast here. It sound like a great quick serve option, though.

It was 8:29 when we headed out of the restaurant.  There were still a few guests wandering around, but there were CM's everywhere herding us out.  They said that they were not going to light up everything tonight, but we did get to see the lighting effect on the path:

05%2003%2017%20150_zpsoc9bxssy.jpg

We also saw all kinds of lights in the landscaping as we headed out. The sound effects with animal noises were amazing. 

Twin #1's CM friend said that they consider Pandora to have three attractions- the two rides, and the land itself. I see what she meant by that.

We headed on out after that.

And that's all I have.

Oh, wait, here's a photo of the bags they use in the gift shop- they don't say Disney on them:

05%2003%2017%20152_zpsnnsmc4wq.jpg

My final thoughts-

I like what they did here.  It's a great addition to Animal Kingdom.  I wouldn't say it's as great as Carsland is for Disney's California Adventure, but it's close.  It creates a whole new place to visit in Animal Kingdom, and you could easily spend a couple or three hours here and not be bored, and not see everything. We didn't see and do everything in the three hours that we were here for the preview. 

My concern is that this area is going to be congested and crowded for the entire summer and on toward the end of the year. The waits for the two new rides will be painful, and I'll bet that the restaurant will be overcrowded too.  But, I think that's exactly what Disney wants.

Building this new land was a bold and risky move on Disney's part, but I think it's going to pay off for them.

TCD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow.  I was just curious about Pandora before I saw your pictures.  Now I'm really excited to see it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the report TCD!

It looks great, but from what I've ready I think you are right about the congestion and long lines.  

WBI

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now