Pandora: The World of Avatar

Well it's been about 2 weeks since my first amazing journey to Pandora -- the World of Avatar. And I've gotta say... I can't wait to go back! With all the hype about Star Wars Land, it seemed to me that things were pretty quiet on the Pandora-front.  I'm always excited to see something new, though, and so I've been not-so-patiently waiting for what was promised to be a spectacular new land in Animal Kingdom. And then... I was privileged enough to be invited to the media event! 

From the first moment we walked in, I was totally immersed. Completely and utterly amazed. Stunned.  The Imagineers truly were able to bring the Valley of Mo'ara to life.  The floating mountains, beautiful flora, and gorgeous water features were so amazing to look at.  I loved speaking to the Cast Members working with "Alpha Centauri Expeditions"... they were all truly in character, telling us details about what each plant was. 

So a bit of back story: Alpha Centauri Expeditions is the company that transports humans into Pandora, helping us to view and experience the culture of the Na'vi. In fact, they are the ones who sent me my invitation!

One of the features in this new land is "Flight of Passage".  In the Na'vi culture, riding a Banshee is a rite of passage - and so of course this is something I had to Sivako ("Rise to the challenge" in Na'vi) and experience for myself. OH MY GOODNESS.  I have to say that I have a new favorite ride.  All of the hype is absolutely true! I'm not normally a fan of screens (except Soarin' of course!)... but this was so completely different than I expected! I could literally feel the breathing of the Banshee... feel its wings... and I gasped, yelled, gazed in wonderment, and had all the feels throughout the ride.  And the queue... wow! Gorgeous!

And that's a good thing, as wait times have been reported as high as 400 minutes.  FastPass is key on this one, folks! Sadly, the FastPass queue cuts out much of the beauty of the standby queue.  So, try to wait for it sometime when it isn't 6 hours! 

The other new attraction is the Na'vi River Journey. And wow! It is simply beautiful. A gentle boat-ride lets you see much of Pandora in all of its bioluminescent splendor. And at the end, you pass the Shaman ... and that animatronic literally made me say "wow!". The realism was incredible! 

And as beautiful as it is by day, it's even more amazing at night!

And then there's the food.  The Satu'li Canteen is a quick service restaurant right in Pandora.  The restaurant itself is beautiful, and the was quite impressed with the food! I sampled a little of everything from the lunch menu during the preview, and then my husband and I went back for breakfast on opening day.

You can even order & pay for your food through your My Disney Experience app, so all you have to do is pick it up!  Right now this feature doesn't work with the dining plan, but we did see people taking advantage of it. 

There is also a refreshment area called "Pongu Pongu"... which is Na'vi for "Party Party"! I tried the Night Blossom - it was delicious! And pretty....

I also loved the Wind Trader's gift shop and all of the cool merch! And of course, I had to buy a Banshee...

This is a screen shot from the video I posted on Instagram! @uponastarjenn  Head over and check it out to meet Esmeralda!

This is a screen shot from the video I posted on Instagram! @uponastarjenn
Head over and check it out to meet Esmeralda!

What an amazing experience! If you can, be sure to get down to Walt Disney World to experience Pandora: The World of Avatar! Your Upon A Star Agent would love to help you and give you tips to make the most of your time there! 

VIP Disney Experiences - Dining Events (Part 1)

What a fun but crazy month! We here at Upon A Star Travel have been hard at work planning magical vacations and checking out new offerings for our clients!  I had the opportunity to check out some VIP Experiences down at the Walt Disney World Resort this past month, and let me tell you - I am super excited to share.  If you want even more detail, check out the Divas Dish Podcast where I shared live from my hotel at the Grand Floridian (Episode 68). Click this link, or grab it on iTunes, I Heart Radio, or Stitcher.

Of course, the magic of Disney is unsurpassed; but, if you are someone who likes just that extra special touch, never fear! Disney has it covered! So, let's start with one of my favorite topics ... FOOD. 

Of course, thinking of upscale, VIP cuisine in Disney, your mind may go immediately to Victoria & Albert's.  This is a 5-Diamond Restaurant located on the 2nd floor of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. I've often heard about the amazing food, and this is a place that had always been on my bucket list.  Let me say - it lives up to the hype! WOW!

So first of all - GO HUNGRY.  This is a 7-course meal, and it can be done with or without wine-pairings. Everything was absolutely delightful. Even if you aren't sure about a particular dish, trust me - it will taste amazing. 

And they even had this really cool way of brewing coffee for dessert - and as a coffee snob - trust me when I say it was fabulous!

Looks like a science experiment, right? Very neat to watch.  

Now we ate in the dining room, but there is also the option to do the Chef's Table. 

Speaking of Chef's Tables... did you know that you can request a special Chef's Table? Whether you're heading down for business or just having a special family gathering, Disney can coordinate a beautiful experience. 

It was such a neat experience watching the chefs prepare your food at the On-stage Kitchen. The head chef then described each and every course - it really brought the food to life! Oh, and as you might imagine, it was absolutely fabulous!

I also experienced the dessert portion of the "Highway in the Sky Dine Around" on the roof of the Contemporary.  The desserts were perfection, and of course, so was the view of the fireworks!

Another fun dining experience was "Savor the Savanna" at Disney's Animal Kingdom... but that's a post for another week! Stay tuned for more of this series very soon!

Interested in booking one of these experiences? Contact your Upon A Star Agent today!