Voyagers: Game On!
Orlando Magazine|August 2017

Disney And Universal Debut Immersive Worlds In Faraway Lands No Passport Required

Megan Padilla

What’s next on your travel bucket list? An alien planet with a thriving ecosystem or a joyful island in the vast South Pacific? Either is yours for the price of a theme park ticket. Walt Disney World’s Pandora - e World of Avatar is a new land, completing Animal Kingdom’s transition to an after-dark experience, which is kind of like having a brand new park to explore. With Volcano

Bay, Universal Orlando expands its fun with a water theme park. Both Pandora and Volcano Bay are meant for guests to linger and explore. Read on for a user’s guide to Orlando’s newest attractions and what you need to know to make the most of your visit.

Pandora The World Of Avatar

Allien Encounters: Welcome An Astounding Otherworldly Experience

FLOATING MOUNTAINS, CASCADING WAterfalls, plants that look familiar yet are unlike any you’ve ever seen. Pandora– e World of Avatar is an immersive alien landscape and you don’t have to pay SpaceX to get you there.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened its newest “land” on May 27, completing its transition from a daytime-only park to offering an evening experience too. And while there are no animal species that we know of from Earth, Pandora is a thriving ecosystem that has healed itself following a conflict with humans that left it utterly destroyed. You don’t have to have seen or know the film that inspired it to appreciate this exotic, completely immersive experience. When you are in Pandora, there is no crossover from the outside world. Even the airspace is filled with a layered landscape dominated by floating mountains that top out at 156 feet.

Cross the Discovery River to enter the Valley of Mo’ara, where an unrecognizable soundscape of chirps, grunts and howls by unseen creatures awakens your senses. First up is an oversized plant called the Flaska Reclinata that reacts to human touch, shimmering with a purple glow and spewing condensation. A bulbous blue plant seen on the riverbed is a Puff ball Tree, which absorbs sodium from the soil, making its leaves a food source for the Na’vi.

The Na’vi, of course, are the 10-foot tall, human-like blue creatures with bright yellow eyes who live in the forest and keep to themselves. Signs of their presence are everywhere. Colorful woven totems, sculptural pictographs left by the Na’vi, are like token breadcrumbs to lead the way. A stylized blue figure with crossed legs is the Shaman of Song and is placed near the entrance to the Na’vi River Journey, one of two attractions within Pandora.

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