Disney World's newest theme park, Pandora — A World of Avatar, contains a number of surprises: the most realistic animatronic character to date, which you can find in the Na'Vi River Journey ride; a tear-jerking fly through the Hallelujah Mountains on the Flight of Passage attraction; and more.
But the most beautiful display may be at night, when the entire park is lit up in a Disneyfied “bioluminescence.”
During the day, walking across the bridge into Pandora is a completely different experience than it is at night. You're more likely to notice the details along the bridge in daylight — like a giant plant that spouts water and steam when touched. But in the evening, you're transported to Pandora under the cover of night, not getting a good look at any flora or fauna until the park opens up into its main area.
Here's what you should know about visiting Pandora at night.
Take full advantage of the black lights.
Along with the bioluminescent flora lining the walkways, there are parts of the park where you will even become a part of the attraction. Wear light colors to the park, and you'll glow underneath the black lights.
Even the food glows.
Some of the park's signature treats — Pongu Pongu's Frozen Nectar, Lumpia (basically a pineapple-cream-cheese spring roll), and chocolate key lime pie bites — glow under the nighttime scene in Pandora. They're also available during the day, but offer an added treat after sundown.
The park doesn't feel as full at night.
Maybe it's the lack of light, maybe it's the intensity of the nighttime park noises, but it just doesn't feel as jam-packed as it does during the day.
You will still encounter lines, but without the daze of intense direct sunlight and hoards of people looking for a shady reprieve.
The luminescent flowers are must-see.
The flowers and plants are beautiful works of art to be appreciate during the day, too — but at night they come to life in an entirely different way, glowing in the dark and guiding visitors through the various spots in the park.
The sounds are different.
The Imagineers spared no detail with this park — even the ambient noises are different during the nighttime. The real difference is the volume (it seems to be a bit louder at night), but you get to hear a different variety of birds and other animals during different parts of the day.
The walkways are completely lit up.
Keeping in the luminescent theme, the sidewalks are drenched in glow paint, lighting up the path to either of the rides or the various bridges you can find inside Pandora. While taking photos of the park at night is tough, there is one especially painted area that's perfect for a group shoe photo.
The photo lighting is tough, giving you a reason to ditch your phone.
Taking a photo in the park at night is difficult, unless you've low-light gear. While detail shots of illuminated plants are possible, consider giving your phone a break and just take it all in without the distraction.
Editor's note: Disney provided travel and accommodations for this trip.