Pongu Pongu Review at Pandora World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We’ve taken a pretty good look at Pandora: World of Avatar, which opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27th. I’ve attended a couple of cast member previews in order to amass some intel on what to expect. Past posts include:

I’ll finish up with this review of the to-go bar that offers slushy-style drinks, beer, and a pineapple egg roll thing. Then we’ll get over to the Land’s marquee attraction, Avatar Flight of Passage. I don’t know what I’m more excited for – a 150+ million dollar ride or margaritas.

There’s not a ton offered here, but with only two registers, hopefully most transactions will go quickly. Both beers are available at Satu’li Canteen, but this is the only spot to find the two frozen drinks and the pineapple dessert.

I wasn’t very impressed by the cheap plastic souvenir cup and accompanying “glowing unadelta seed” which resembles…well…I guess we won’t go there. An acorn or something. It curiously adds $9 to the margarita or $13.26 to the non-alcoholic slushy. I would expect that pricing irregularity to be corrected with a future menu printing.

Otherwise, the bar is themed nicely with the Avatar OmniMech out front, though I wish it included the tree skirt around its midsection like in the original concept art.

Like most frozen drinks, everything is pre-made and dispensed from the various machines. You can ask for a different flavor of boba on top of your drink if you prefer or have them left off entirely.

The $4.99 “Night Blossom – Mixture of Limeade with Apple and Desert Pear flavors topped with Passion Fruit Boba Balls.”

It stands out as being particularly pretty with the bright purple and green, here with a hefty portion of the strawberry boba balls instead of the passion fruit. I like to suck up all the little balls myself – they make a fun popping sensation in your mouth with some fruit juice inside. The drink is a nice size I thought, cold and refreshing, but incredibly sweet. I think the limeade is supposed to add some tartness to the flavor profile, but the sugar rush is pretty overwhelming and you may want to start with one to share rather than ordering a bunch for the group. But the portion size is good for the price and Disney uses only the finest in churning flavored-ice machines.

The $9.25 “Mo’ara Margarita – Sauza Conmemorativo Añejo Tequila with Strawberry and Blood Orange flavors topped with Strawberry Boba Balls.”

While not as visually impressive as the layered version, I was impressed by the flavor, which has a surprisingly natural strawberry flavor with some lingering citrus. It was incredibly refreshing with just a hint of tequila showing through. At the $9.25 price, I thought it was a nice value and being frozen, it’s going to take some time to drink even with the thick straw. We’re not anywhere close to Nomad Lounge territory on quality, but for just about four bucks more than the non-alcoholic version, I thought this presented a reasonable value. You might order two considering Flight of Passage is expected to hit 240+ minute waits during opening weekend.

I reviewed both beers in the Satu’li Canteen review, but I wasn’t particularly impressed by either, even given the Terrapin pedigree. I’ll return to both either during the Annual Passholder preview this weekend or over opening weekend in a couple of weeks.

I didn’t do a very good job of making the $4.59 “Pongu Lumpia – A Pineapple Cream Cheese Spring Roll” look attractive. But you get two sizable fried rolls stuffed full of sweet cream cheese and pineapple pieces dusted with sugar on top. I was impressed by the hot temperature and the crispiness of the exterior, but it doesn’t hold together so well when you try to bite into it and sort of collapses on itself when cut into. The picture of what it looks like inside is kind of gross-looking, but you can see its innards here in case you have a strong stomach or want to be convinced not to order it. Otherwise, the rolls were surprisingly light with a thin wrapper that gave way to the creamy cheese and tropical flavors of the fruit. It’s a pretty reasonable value at $4.59 and a somewhat decent use of a snack credit, but I don’t think I’d wait more than a couple of minutes to order them on their own.

And I personally prefer the Blueberry Cheesecake over at Satu’li Canteen, which will run you less than a dollar more and is also good for a snack credit.

Overall, Pongu Pongu exceeded expectations even given limited offerings. The frozen drinks are cold and refreshing and the boba is a fun twist. The margarita isn’t going to get you smashed, but with the summer heat, may be a good afternoon snack. The lumpia are probably best shared – the flavor is richly sweet, particularly when accompanying the Night Blossom. But the four of us each enjoyed a bite or two, even if it’s not the most attractive dish to pass around. Hopefully lines will remain short.

Flight of Passage awaits.

Comments

  1. Amber says

    Thanks for the review! I like savory lumpia but have never tried a dessert version. I’m really looking forward to it!

  2. Andrea says

    I was not thrilled at the Avatar concept, but MAN, everything – from the floating mountains to the drinks – is just so PRETTY!!! I am actually excited to see it all in 80 days :)

  3. DwarfPlanet says

    Every time I see those boba balls I think I’m smelling fish, thinking “Hey I used to use fish bait that looked like that”!

  4. Jenny says

    Finally forcing myself to watch Avatar so I can make sense of the place when we go. Thanks for the reviews. Amazing as always

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