As all theme park fanatics know by now, Disney opened their newest land, Pandora – The World of Avatar in late May.
The reviews are in, and they are justifiably stellar. We got to experience the land before it opened to the public and feel strongly that it’s one of the best theme park experiences. Ever.
Sure, as nature freaks, we were predestined to be crazy about it. The Valley of Mo’ara is lush with exotic plants and teeming waterfalls. And there’s those floating floating mountains, of course. But our high marks for the land stem primarily from the fact that the love and exacting attention Disney gave this special space are evident at every turn. All we need to tell you in defense of that statement is that—during our pre-grand-opening days in the land—we witnessed Academy Award winnerJon Landau making last minute adjustments to the landscape and surveying preview visitors about their experiences.
Viewfinder Tip: Don’t forget: You can book air, hotel, car, and things to do right here at Expedia.
Our highest praise goes to Flight of Passage, Pandora’s thrilling attraction that immerses riders in an experience that has them soaring with banshees. We rode it nearly non-stop and didn’t tire of it one bit.
Looking for the best way to experience Pandora when you visit Walt Disney World? Look no further! Here are our top five tips for maximizing your time in this other world.
Now, we want to take things to the next level and provide you with some tips that will make your visit the VIP extravaganza you might (uh, should) be looking for.
Where to stay
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort opened as the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort on July 17. Inspired by the legendary mining and railroad history of the Pacific Northwest, guests can now come “home” to outdoors-inspired elegance with these new resort options situated on majestic Bay Lake at the doorstep of Magic Kingdom.
Themed after our country’s great national parks, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is enough to make this duo’s hearts go pitter patter. Throw in these upscale villas and cabins, and we are over the moon. We toured each of the accommodation options and stayed in a villa.
One-Bedroom Villas sleep up to 4 guests, with a king-size bed and a queen-size sleeper sofa. The 2-Bedroom Villas sleeps up to 8, with a king-size bed, 2 queen-size beds and a queen-size sleeper sofa. These Villas also feature a fully equipped kitchen with stainless steel appliances, washer and dryer and a sleek bubble-jet tub.
If you want to go all-in on your quest for a nature expedition, we highly recommend the waterfront Cascade Cabins. These private, luxurious quarters can sleep up to 8 guests. In addition to a washer and dryer and a fully equipped, open-style kitchen, each cabin features a double-sided stone-hearth fireplace and screened-in wraparound porch with a built-in hot tub. The setting is sublime.
Again, though, what we most appreciate about this addition to Disney’s family are the little touches. The art and design details that “finish” Copper Creek are distinctly Pacific Northwest inspired (trust us, we know!) and thoughtful. The headboards are a great example of this.
Where to eat
Since you’ll be staying at Copper Creek Villas and Cabins right at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and you’re taking the VIP route, you have to eat at Artist Point.
It’s one of Disney’s Signature dining experiences, and it does not disappoint in its selection of Pacific Northwest cuisine. Our favorite item was the Heirloom Tomatoes salad—sheep’s milk ricotta, huile d’olive, watermelon, sea salt, and lemon verbena.
Also, just outside of Pandora – The World of Avatar, you’ll find another one of our upscale favorites, Tiffins. While the adventure and exploration inspired menu is stellar, what stood out most for us is the cocktails. Tip: Order the Hightower Rocks (watermelon margarita).
We also recommend that you take a look at the Highway in the Sky Dine Around. It’s a progressive dinner to three Disney Resort hotels all along the monorail line, starting and ending at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
And speaking of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we’ll leave you with one last dining tip. It’s always a good idea to go to California Grill. The views and food are among our favorite. Tip: Order the sushi.
What to do
Although you’ll be consumed by the awesomeness that is Pandora – The World of Avatar, you’ll have time for other adventures. Since you’re living large during this visit, be sure to take a look at Disney’s VIP offerings in Florida. Did you even know these things existed?
During our most recent visit to Orlando, we did Wild Africa Trek. During this exclusive, small-group tour, we visited parts of Disney’s Animal Kingdom not available to regular park visitors. And as if that’s not enough, the tour includes Africa-inspired snacks and your own personal photographer. How cool is that? They even take care of snapping pictures so that you can focus on all of the animals.
We’re continually surprised at the number of people we encounter who “can’t imagine that there’s anything at Disney” for those not bringing kids. Let us reassert: Walt Disney World Resort is a fantastic idea for a kid-free getaway. This is particularly true when you want to splash out a bit by taking part in some of the Park’s special offerings.
Now it’s time for you to get planning! You need to make it Pandora – The World of Avatar before Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019.
What’s your favorite part of a Disney getaway?