We came for this. Happy seniors in that Happy Place. Avatar opened only last May 2017 and we simply had to try those 2 new rides: that 3D Flight of Passage on a banshee and the Na’vi River Journey through a dream-like cave world full of bioluminescent light from the Avatar movie. All inspired by that all-time top grossing film by James Cameron.

We went on a Thursday, thinking it won’t be crowded but passing by a FULL parking lot on our way to the Dolphin Hotel within the Disney compound could only mean we should expect a huge crowd. Then again, we thought the huge throng of humans in Disney’s Animal Kingdom must be there for that popular safari ride. We were wrong again. Every human seems headed for Pandora. And yes, everyone wanted to ride the banshee!

The lines for the rides were long. More than an hour. But we can’t be deprived. We drove more than 3 hours from Miami to Orlando for this, so what’s another hour? We chose the 3D banshee ride first. The line weaved through a laboratory reminiscent of scenes from the top-grossing Jim Cameron’s epic film. We even passed Jake’s avatar floating in an aquarium-like space. Finally, we were in a room, ready to be paired with our respective Avatars. Mine looked like the rest — blue, wide forehead, big eyes and all.

It was a marvelous ride. I screamed at the top of my lungs as my banshee soared high, dove low, flew through the floating boulders, got entangled with some floating trees, went through the falls, nearly collided with another banshee and other banshee-like birds, and simply paused to float in the air to take in the whole lovely panorama comprising the Na’vi world. I heard there were a few medical cases since the Flight of Passage in Disney’s Pandora opened last May. Mind you, not every collapsed person was a senior. Thankfully, I was completely aware of every minute of the ride and enjoyed it tremendously. Will I recommend it? Of course.

After “surviving” the banshee ride, we were ready for some Na’vi food. We were so curious we ended up overordering. Had a piece of the burger pod which looked like steamed Chinese buns we call “siopao” except that the Na’vi pods were dry and tasted bleh. Most reviews I’ve read recommended it though. But this Oriental knows her Chinese buns and the pods I tried just don’t make the cut. As for the grilled beef with potatoes and chimichurri sauce, we hardly touched it. Beef looked half-cooked, sauce could have been better. Another bleh. Good thing I added a kiddie meal of grilled chicken with rice which I liked. I also liked the “lumpia” (rolls filled with pineapple custard) I bought with the Na’vi drinks from the Pongu Bar. Now, the desserts looked really good but tasted overly sweet. They were left half-eaten. As for the drinks, forget the Night Blossom. They just look good but not worth a sip.

After a heavy meal of stuff we hardly enjoyed, we went for the River of Lights Show. No fireworks but the lights display in the pond in Asia World in the Animal Kingdom was worth seeing. Then, we trooped back and queued up for the boat ride through the Na’vi River. The journey didn’t elicit as much excitement as the first but it was relaxing, and cooled us through this hot, humid day. It was however just a boat ride, not much different from the “Pirates of the Carribean” or “It’s a Small World” but certainly not much more enjoyable as these last 2 Disney boat rides. And that ends our day in that Happy Place. Best part was the banshee ride. A few letdowns on the Na’vi food, but we’re too happy to be upset about it. 💕