Before joining us on Part 2 of our Level Up! journey through Walt Disney World and Disney video games, make sure you read Part 1. It explains why Disney hosted us at the parks and began our trip at the Magic Kingdom to learn about Disney Dreamlight Valley.

Animal Kingdom and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a first-person, open-world action-adventure game (with a co-op mode) that has you play as an abducted, RDA-trained Na’vi warrior rediscovering your heritage on Pandora. It also includes bringing fans into an all-new area, the Western Frontier. And yes, in the game you can ride a banshee, same as you can at one incredible Animal Kingdom ride.

Level Up! day two kicked off at Animal Kingdom, home to one of Walt Disney World’s best themed areas, Pandora – The World of Avatar. If, like so many, you walked out of James Cameron’s historic hit angry you had to bid farewell to that beautiful bioluminescent planet for our regular old world, this is where you’ll want to go. It’s like traveling to Pandora without a spaceship. From the moment you walk into this part of the park you’re surrounded by floating mountains, glowing plant life, and Na’vi culture.

Then things get really good. The World of Avatar is also home to Flight of Passage, one of Walt Disney World’s best attractions. After some immersive pre-ride storytelling and silly fun you’re strapped into your own seat for a wild 3D journey as Na’vi hunter atop a banshee. During the ride your mount takes you through Pandora high above the ground (with plenty of huge, exciting swoops near it). While the ride itself is a total blast, what makes it special is how much it makes you feel like you’re really exploring Pandora. The giant screen is so big and vivid you can’t possibly pick up on all the details you soar past. It’s a fully realized place, and it made me appreciate Avatar in a way I never have.

Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life split with a promo of a Na'vi on a banshee from Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

It’s not the only attraction that did that. The slow ride Na’vi River Journey is a peaceful trip through a bioluminescent Pandora jungle. It also features a full-sized Na’vi Shaman of Songs, my single favorite animatronic at Walt Disney World. The area also has some of the best restaurants and food options at any of the four parks. That includes Satu’li Canteen, where we had an Avatar themed-breakfast. It was so good I was slightly bummed out while eating because I didn’t know when I’d be able to come back.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, our hosts also brought us to Pandora’s very own store, Windtraders. It has every type of Avatar merch you’d want, but we went for something unique.

Windtraders can turn you into a physical (mini) Na’vi. The store is home to the ACE Avatar Maker. There a tech scans your face and has you make some style choices so you can be transformed into a Na’vi avatar. In less than an hour you walk away with a custom action figure of blue you. Mine doesn’t look like my twin or anything—in the same way Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri didn’t look like her—but I love my one-of-a-kind collectible. Especially because it perfectly captures my toned swimmer’s body. (Note to Editor’s: no need to fact check that we’re good.)

Nerdist (Got my eyebrows right that’s for sure.)

I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Cameron’s Avatar movies. But my immersion in a real-life re-creation of Pandora still won me over. So much so I want to see how this experience might change my opinion of the films. And I want to play Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. To paraphrase Ariel, I loved being a part of that world rather than a passive viewer of it. Until I go back to Animal Kingdom the only place that can send me back inside Pandora is a video game.

Not every thrill ride or action-packed game requires a giant blue body or a banshee. For the rest there’s a different high-octane game that will send you back into Disney.

Continue with us on our Level Up! journey through Walt Disney World and Disney video games with Part 3: EPCOT and the Disney Speedstorm video game.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist who really hopes you don’t look into his Na’vi swimmer’s body claim. You can follow him on  Twitter and  Bluesky at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.