Party on Pandora!
This week Walt Disney World opened its new theme park expansion, Pandora – The World of Avatar, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And among the eye-popping surprises and gravity-defying floating mountains is a truly unexpected treat: custom beer, wine and cocktail creations for adult visitors seeking an interstellar kick. (Parents of the universe, take note.)
At Pongu Pongu, a beverage kiosk located in the new area of the park, guests can sip on the Mo’Ara Margarita ($9.25), a strawberry-and-blood orange infused tequila drink topped with strawberry boba balls. (Boba balls are apparently very popular among the native Na’vi of Pandora — they also top the kiosk’s nonalcoholic offering, the super-sweet $4.99 Night Blossom.)
The exotic land also brings a new level of storytelling to Disney World’s drink offerings, with craft beers from Georgia’s Terrapin Beer Co. developed specifically for the park ($8.25 for 16 oz. and $9.50 for 22 oz). Mo’Ara High Country Ale features an herbal spice hop aroma and notes of caramel, toffee and nuts, while Hawke’s Grog Ale — which is Instagram-worthy alien green — boasts a fruity hop character with hints of apricot and peach. (Try it with one of the “burger pods” served at Satu’li Canteen, the new fast-casual restaurant that puts an Asian-inspired twist on many traditional theme-park favorites.)
“Terrapin is a little bit edgy as a brewery,” says Brian Koziol, Walt Disney World’s Food and Beverage Concept Development Director. (He’s also a master sommelier.) “We thought that when they were able to play with our story.”
The Canteen also serves a fruity blue Dreamwalker Sangria ($9.50), perfect for those steamy Orlando (ahem, Pandoran) summer days. For wine purists, there is a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir, both from Sonoma’s Banshee brewery — a nod to the winged creatures that soar over the alien planet.
“We came across some luck there,” says Koziol. “It’s an award-winning winery in Sonoma County that started just before Avatar came out!”
Both wines are on tap, which offers both “a good ecological experience” without disposable glass bottles, says Koziol, and also the ideal serving temperature: “Our Pinot Noir is served at just right around 65, 68 degrees, which is the proper temperature.”
The Satu’li Canteen will also debut mobile ordering at Walt Disney World, allowing guests to order via the My Disney Experience app and avoid long wait times.
Fun adult beverages and mobile ordering? Time to learn “cheers” in Na’vi!