Animal Kingdom


Pandora, the World of Avatar is small but mighty. The attention to details in every aspect of this land carries through to the food and beverage options.

Snacks and beverages

Pongu Pongu is the place in Pandora, The World of Avatar to grab a drink or the land’s signature snack. Pongu Pongu means “Party Party” in the Na’vi language. A place where the Na’vi and friends from Earth cam come together and celebrate.

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The drinks are very festive to go along with the theming of the land. There are two frozen options. The first is the Night Blossom which is a non-alcoholic option. The Night Blossom is a mix of Limeade with apple and desert pear flavors, all topped off with passion fruit boba balls. It can be purchased with or without a souvenir Pongu Mug complete with a glowing Unadelta seed. This “seed” is a clip on so you can use it on other glasses if you so choose to. The colors of this drink are vibrant with bright purple and green and a splash of yellow from the boba balls on top.

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The Mo’ara Margarita mixes Sauza Commemorative Anejo Tequila with strawberry and blood orange flavors. It is also topped with strawberry boba balls. I felt this option had nothing particularly special about it. It tasted like a Strawberry margarita. I did not taste the blood orange expect for the added sweetness I felt the drink had.

Mo’ara High Country Ale and Hawke’s Grog are your two beer choices.  Both these options were good but I preferred the Hawke’s Grog. So much so, I had a second! They’re both fairly light and well described in the board when ordering. The High-Country Ale was a little hoppier if you like that in your beer.

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The already much talked about Pongu Lumpia is the only option for a snack. Lumpia is a popular street food in Indonesia and the Philippines. I liken it to an egg roll ad typically filled with meat and veggies. Pongu Pongu has a sweet twist with pineapple and cream cheese-filled spring roll finished off with a sprinkle of sugar. This is all the rage right now and is a must have while visiting this land in my opinion.

 

Satu’li Canteen

For the hungrier visitors, your option in Pandora, The World of Avatar is Satu’li Canteen. This is a quick service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner but we are only going to look at the lunch and dinner menus as this is what I experienced.

The main entrees everyone is talking about are the “build Your Own Bowl” and the Cheeseburger pods.

Build Your own bowl is a game changer in the parks for those looking for a healthier option. You pick your protein, your base, and your sauce. Salmon was our fish that day and I tried that as well as chicken and beef. I added the chimichurri sauce and it was delicious with the whole grain rice. I am very sensitive to sodium and these types of meals can have too much but I found it to be very well seasoned without overdoing it.

The cheeseburger pods are very interesting in texture and I was hesitant. It is a lot of dough! But the filling was pleasantly tasty. It was a cross between a cheeseburger and a meaty skillet entrée. The pod encasing it was a very soft bread and didn’t really have flavor. The crunch to the slaw that accompanied it was a nice companion to the soft entrée and had good flavor. I do believe this will be a huge hit with the younger guests to the land.

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I did not try any of the signature drinks but have heard from someone else on our team that the Sangria was not only a strange blue color but not something she felt most would enjoy. The combination of the super sweetness and the wine, did not mix well. There are Banshee wine options and many thought these were nice choices on a hot day.

The two desserts are a Blueberry Cream Chess Mousse and a Chocolate cake.  The Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse was a tarter choice but wonderful in texture. The chocolate cake was surprisingly lighter in sweetness. It is not a super sweet chocolate option. It was more like a mousse inside and the dark chocolate flavor had a very strong cocoa flavor.

Overall, as a healthy eater, this is my new favorite in quick service restaurants in the parks. You have choices and it is different than anything else on property. Make sure to use the app and pre-order to bypass the lines so you can enjoy more of Pandora, The Word of Avatar.

Contact your Ears of Experience agent today to see all that Pandora, The Word of Avatar has to offer.

 

 

 

Some of my favorite dining experiences in Disney World parks include venues that offer character table visits, Mickey-shaped food and a wide buffet selection. Other times, however, I prefer my Disney dining experience to be in a location that doesn’t feel like I’m still in a theme park. Tiffins, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is just that type of venue. As soon as I entered the restaurant, I released a sigh and let the serenity of my surroundings envelope me as I prepared myself for a relaxing and memorable meal.

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Now, if I were going to use my southern dialect to direct you to Tiffins, I would say, “as you enter Animal Kingdom and make your way over to the bridge in front of the Tree of Life, hang a left toward the Discovery Island area. Take your next left just ahead of the Pizzafari. If you get to Starbucks, you’ve gone too far.” Coincidentally, this will be the same directions to get you to the highly anticipated new Avatar world known as ‘Pandora-The World of Avatar’ which is scheduled to open on May 27th at Animal Kingdom.

Once you arrive at Tiffins, you’ll also find the Nomad Lounge. The Nomad Lounge is my new favorite bar in all the Disney Parks.  Why does this lounge and restaurant earn such a high decree from me? Location, ambience and menu offerings. Tiffins is open for lunch and dinner and is considered a signature dining venue with entrée prices ranging from $35 to $59.99 per adult. Those of you on the Disney Dining Plan will need to use two (2) dining credits for your meal.

The day I discovered Tiffins, I arrived early for my dinner reservation that allowed me the time to veer toward the Nomad Lounge. Boy, am I glad. The Nomad Lounge is tucked into surrounding greenery and offers seating at your choice of high-back chairs or spacious sofas on the open-air deck or if you prefer, you could also take advantage of inside seating. We enjoyed unique cocktail selections and chef’s charcuterie board which included house-cured and smoked meats. The menu here offered several light dining options that were a perfect snack prior to dinner or you could order several to share as a meal. The only downside to the latter is that you would miss the fabulous offerings at Tiffins.

When we arrived to Tiffins for our reservation, we were escorted to the main dining room with décor that is warm and inviting with bursts of color in the artistic wall hangings and gorgeous hand-carved wood sculptures in the center of the room.  Our party ordered three different entrees: Wagyu Strip Loin and Braised Short Rib, Duo of Lamb (photo above with the Leek Ash at the top of the plate), and the Chermoula-rubbed Chicken along with a side order of Brussel sprouts.  Each dish arrived cooked to perfection with unique flavors that did not overpower the taste of the meat.  I have never experienced ashes of Leek, but a delicate drag of the lamb in it makes for a totally different and memorable bite of lamb.

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We each sampled the others’ meals and agreed we would not hesitate to order what the others had in the future. The Brussel sprouts were offered in a shareable portion which made an ideal addition to our entrees. Overall, while the flavors of each entree and side dish were unique, because they were a simple enhancement to the food, the entrees should appeal to a wide variety of diners.

We dined without children but they did have a kid’s menu that included grilled chicken or beef, pan seared fish or pasta marinara.  If the adult entrees are any indication, I am sure the kid’s meals will be prepared to perfection too.

Be sure to make reservations at Tiffins for your next visit to the Animal Kingdom and see if you don’t agree that it’s the perfect location, with incredible ambience and mouth-watering menu options. You may even want to include a dining package that includes reserved seating at the River of Lights nighttime show.

 

Kristin Schulz

Kristin is a creative consusltant for Ears of Experience.

 

The availability of FastPasses for two attractions in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom seems to have guests thinking two things: “Hooray” and “Now what do I do?”

It is understandably very hard to know which ride to select a FastPass+ for when both options are brand new and information about them is so scarce. We hope the information below will let you make an educated choice during FastPass+ selection.

The Attractions

Na’vi River Journey

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Climb aboard a reed boat and drift downstream along the Na’vi River through the mysterious and beautiful world of Pandora. Towards the end of your journey through this bioluminescent rainforest you will meet up with the Shaman of Songs. This boat ride attraction has no height requirements and will be fun for the whole family.

 

Avatar Flight of Passage

 

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Explore the landscape of the moon on the back of a mountain banshee. This exciting attraction takes you to new heights, and the individual banshees have been promised to move and feel like living creatures. There is a 44” height requirement to enjoy this thrilling ride. This ride employs technology that is similar to that used in Soarin’, but the height requirement and information shared about the attraction so far indicates this will be a more intense ride.

Which FastPass+ to Select

If you plan to enjoy both attractions, Avatar Flight of Passage will likely end up being the more valuable FastPass+ to hold. This is simply due to projected loading times for each ride. Na’vi River Journey is being described as a family boat ride and the vehicles appear to be similar to the boats used in Pirates of the Caribbean. Hopefully this ride will have the same high capacity that Pirates of the Caribbean does and the line for this ride will move continuously.

Avatar Flight of Passage is being described as similar to Soarin’ – however, guests will be seated on the backs of individual mountain banshees. Although queue times for Soarin’ at Epcot have gotten shorter after the addition of the third theater, the nature of this attraction and the fact that the theatres are naturally going to have a lower capacity means that this line will probably not move continuously. Therefore, this ride seems likely to have longer standby lines and to be a better use of a FastPass+ selection.

The Bottom Line

Both rides are likely to be extremely popular – therefore, either choice will be a great FastPass+ to hold. Since the attractions in Pandora – The World of Avatar will be the newest in Animal Kingdom (and Walt Disney World in general), the queues will be lengthy all day beginning shortly after park opening. Whichever Pandora attraction you select a FastPass+ for, plan to arrive at park opening and enjoy the other one first – or, for a limited time, Disney Resort guests can enjoy them both during special evening “extra magic hours.”

Bonus Tip

Don’t forget that you can still select a FastPass+ for the Rivers of Light evening show in addition to one of the Pandora options! This is a great idea for everyone who doesn’t have a Rivers of Light dining package since standby wait times for these shows are excessive and seating in standby sections is extremely limited.

Heather Balbi

Heather Balbi is one of our travel specialists for all Disney destinations.

 

 

 

Walt Disney World® Resort will welcome so many exciting new attractions and events this summer. It is a great time to make a visit with longer operating hours and the kids out of school.

Pandora-The World of Avatar

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Pandora – The World of Avatar opens May 27th with extended hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort® , guests will be able to experience extra magic hours at this park from 11PM to 1AM from May 27th to July 4th.

In this land, you will float along through the sacred bioluminescent rainforest in search of the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. You can soar on the back of a mountain banshee during a thrilling ride above this vast moon and hike amid floating mountains, glowing fauna and flora, a native drum circle and many other wonders.

The Music of Pixar LIVE! in Disney’s Hollywood Studios®

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Starting May 26, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will present “The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters.” This limited-time concert event will showcase memorable music from Pixar Animation Studios films, complete with a live orchestra and appearances by beloved Disney•Pixar characters.  The show will also feature highlights from some of Pixar’s greatest scores, from films like “Toy Story” to “Cars 3.” The show will be presented three times nightly at Theater of the Stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios following the regular daily performances of “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage”.

New Happily Ever After show at the Magic Kingdom®Park

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Beginning May 12th this 18-minute show features more lasers, lights and projections than any other fireworks spectacular in the history of Magic Kingdom® park! Throughout Happily Ever After, you’ll witness the many transformations of Cinderella Castle as it becomes a part of popular Disney stories and is brought to life with fireworks, rooftop pyrotechnics, state-of-the-art projections, brilliant lasers and immersive lighting with contemporary versions of popular Disney songs.

The stories that come to life with heart, heroism, and humor are as follows; Aladdin, Big Hero Six, Brave, Frozen, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Incredibles, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid , Moana , Mulan,Tarzan, The Princess and the Frog, Toy Story, Up, WALL-E, Wreck-It Ralph, and  Zootopia

Miss Adventure Falls at Typhoon Lagoon

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Gather your crew and climb aboard for a thrilling, white-water voyage you won’t want to “Miss.”

The story takes place just beyond the pineapple fields of Crush ‘n’ Gusher awaits an all-new, family-raft attraction owned by Captain Mary Oceaneer—a sea-faring treasure hunter whose haul was caught in a rogue typhoon and scattered across this tropical paradise years ago.

From your 4-person raft, feel a rush of excitement with family and friends as an aquatic conveyor belt chutes you into action. Then, hold on tight as you spy precious artifacts collected from all around the globe.

If you’re lucky enough, you may even meet the captain’s old diving partner—a talking parrot who’s still hunting for treasure

Summer 2017 is an exciting time at Walt Disney Resort®! It is time to go!

For my last trip into Overlooked Disney, we go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.  Here I would recommend that you take the train from Africa to Rafiki’s Planet Watch® Land (used to be called Conservation Station).  Here you will find a small back stage look at how the Cast Members work so hard to keep the animals healthy.  There is also an area call “Affection Section” where guest will experience a petting zoo for small domestic animals.

At some times during the day (usually early in the mornings) some quests get a chance to work with Cast Members in Disney’s conservation and species-survival efforts.  There are also areas that focus on the planet’s environment, conservation, and animal well being.  Remember that if you want to see the Cast Members at work with the Animals, it is best to get there early.  Planet Watch usually opens at 9:30 AM.

I also enjoy the train ride to and from the Planet Watch.  You do get a little look at the African Savannah and some of the back stage buildings, but the highlight is just kicking back and relaxing for a few minutes.

Make sure that when you book your next trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort, you set aside some time to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and take the train ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch® Land.

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.

www.themouseexperts.com

Phase III of planning a trip to Walt Disney World is what I am going to do now?  The resort is so large that I find it impossible to just get up in the morning and start going.  I do need to plan ahead on what parks I will visit and the attractions that I have to see.  How do I decide what park to go to each day?

First, if you have taken my advice and had Ears of Experience book you into one of the many resorts at Walt Disney World, you should look to see if any parks have early Extra Magic Hours.  Extra Magic Hours is when one park opens early (or remains open late) only for those staying on Walt Disney World properties.  If there is an attraction that I know I must experience, I try to go to that park first and ride that ride first.

Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme ParkAn example of this type of planning was on my 2008 trip to Animal Kingdom.  No one in the group that I was with had ridden Expedition Everest and we knew that this ride would have long lines all day.  We showed up for the early opening of Animal Kingdom and went directly to Expedition Everest.  We each got a “Fast Pass” for the ride.  A Fast Pass is a printed ticket that allows you to ride a popular ride at a later time without waiting in a long line. And best of all, they’re free. Then we rode the ride without using our Fast Pass, twice.  Once the line starting getting longer, we rode a third time using our Fast Pass.”  By combining Extra Magic Hours and the Fast Pass system, we where able to avoid the lines and experience this attraction three times; all before non-Disney guest where allowed into the park.Soarin at EPCOT

Toy Story Midway ManiaIt should be noted that if you plan on getting a Fast Pass for any of the popular rides such as Expedition Everest, Toy Story Midway Mania, or Soarin’, get them as soon as you get to the park.  These attractions run out of Fast Passes early in the day.

I usually go to one Park in the morning and “Park Hop” to another in the evening.  I often will go to a park in the morning that does not have Extra Magic Hours and move to the park with evening Extra Magic Hours near closing time.  Again, making sure that during Extra Magic Hours I enjoy those rides that the lines would be to long to visit during the day.  When hopping between parks around noon time, I often return to my hotel room on the park to relax some before returning for an evening of fun.  This can be really important if you have small children with you.  Being able to return to your hotel room for a short rest period is just another benefit of staying on the World.

I guess the bottom line is, it does not matter if you are visiting during peak summer days or some of the slower times of the year, working with someone at Ears of Experience and doing a little advance planning just makes your Disney trip a little more Magical.

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.

www.themouseexperts.com

If you like animals, habitats or thrilling adventures, you need to go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom®. It has animals from Asia, Africa, and figures of dinosaurs! You get to see your favorites in natural environments that are playing, eating, sleeping, and even up-close and personal. If you love nature with the animals that roam there, go to the Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition, where giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, lions, and other exotic animals live. For really up-close and personal action, Rafiki’s Planet Watch is the go-to spot.! You get to see, pet, and groom some animals, and if you are 16 or older, you can go behind the scenes.

For some really thrilling rides at Animal Kingdom, head to Expedition Everest, a ride that takes you through the tallest mountain, Everest, with an angry Yeti on your trail and the soaking wet Kali River Rapids that takes you through the rough, soaked to the skin, rapids of Asia. They are both really rough so if you don’t like rough rides, DON”T GO!!!!!

Written by Nattie, our Kid Expert. For more on her and all of our Kid Tips, check out our 4 Kids page .

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.