Little known fact about me (unless you’re one of my poor sisters, who’ve had to listen to me blather on): I’m a pretty big Avatar fan. I don’t own a Na’vi-to-English dictionary, but can quote more of the film than any normal person should. When I found out actually I’d be able to visit Pandora – the planet the film takes place on – at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Forget it. I jumped on that opportunity faster than you can say, “oel ngati kameie” (which, actually, isn’t that fast if you’re my sister, Katie…).
When you pass through the entryway the impact of it all is pretty immediate. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. To be able to walk amongst the floating mountains (coined the Hallelujah Mountains in the film) is completely surreal. You could turn in any direction and hit with a wall of green. Look up and you would see tall trees, hanging vines, or mountainous outcrops. There wasn’t an inch of that place that wasn’t themed and all of it was breathtaking.
Possibly the only thing that could trump my awe of the area itself were the rides. Navi River Journey was a totally engaging and charming tour of Pandora at nighttime when the forest comes to life with bioluminescent vegetation and wildlife. Flight of Passage, the next level of VR flight simulators, was an out-of-body experience in every sense of the word. Riders were ushered through the Avatar Program Research Centre to their own linking stations where would sync with an Avatar and ride on the back of an Banshee (or Ikran, as the Na’vi call it). As a fan of the film, it’s all you could ever hope and dream of doing. The ride vehicle you hop on it akin to a motorbike, which replicates the experience of riding an Ikran to shocking detail. The ride also featured creatures and landscapes that I strongly suspect will be featured in the upcoming films – I could feel my jaw hang open the entire time.
I knew ahead of time that I was going to kill my camera battery taking pictures; so nailing my look for the day was pretty crucial. I knew the area was likely going to be lush like it is in the film, but avoided all other spoilers as best I could. Armed with this knowledge, I picked out my outfit. Interestingly, the Na’vi don’t actually blend in to their background like you would expect a hunter to, so I took a leaf out of their book and went for the “reverse camouflage.” Anything with too many earth tones was an immediate no as was anything too patterned as both would’ve just blended right in to the landscape, which is why I went for a white shift dress. I’m a particular fan on this SS16 Zara dress as 1. It’s covered in bright patches and 2. Broke up my shape, which helped me stand out against the background. Since I planned my outfit with the location in mind, I actually stood out more and got a few compliments from other park-goers. Knowing where you’re going is as important a step in planning an outfit as picking out the right shoes (think about it this way: you wouldn’t wear a parka if you knew you were going to the beach, right?). Florida’s humidity is a (Hallelujah) mountain of a challenge, which is why pinning it down and away from my face was key. Additionally, I wanted the focus to be on the dress and not on an elaborate hairstyle. Comfortable shoes were also essential, as I knew I’d be on my feet all day, so I opted for these fun Vans flatform high-tops that play off of the dress nicely.
If you have the opportunity to go and check it out for yourself, I can’t recommend it enough and hope these styling tips help prepare you for Pandora!
On me: Ray-Ben sunglasses, Zara patchwork shift dress, Zara cross body with clear plastic handle, High-top flatform Vans
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