FIVE questions
you should
ask ...
Speak to one of our travel
within 5 rings

Which of these is important to you?

  • Concierge style service. Your own dedicated travel manager who'll look after you until you travel.
  • Better value. Exclusive fares you won't find online to save you money.
  • 24 hour helpline. A worldwide team just a phone call away if you need help while you're overseas.
  • Top on Trustpilot. More highly rated than all our competitors with 98% saying they'd book again.
  • Risk free. Fully licensed with Client Trust Account to protect your money. ABTA, ATOL protected.

Your calls always answered within 5 rings.

You've read the reviews so why not call us NOW?
Tell us what you need. We'll find you a solution
USA Reviews 17026
USA Fly-Drives 32
USA Offers 34

Holiday on a different Planet!

Take the ultimate long-haul trip to the incredible land of Avatar - but, like Susan and Simon Veness, you must fly to Florida first

Some of this flight might be intense, but trust your guide and be brave.'  The words of warning came from Dr Jackie Ogden as our group gathered in the Link Chamber of the Pandora Conservation Initiative. We had already been through the Genetic Matching Room and been decontaminated for micro-parasites, and were being given the final sequence of instructions before being let loose on the alien planet.



With the final motivational message of 'Rise to the challenge!' we were swooping off across the otherworldly terrain and lush foliage of Pandora on the back of a Mountain Banshee, the gigantic dragon-like beast from Alpha Centauri that eats people for breakfast.

Fortunately - or unfortunately, depending on your level of bravery - all this excitement was  purely man-made. Or, we should say more accurately, Disneymade. Because we were in the Animal Kingdom theme park in the heart of Walt Disney World, Orlando.


Step into an unbelievable new realm with the family



Pandora: The World Of Avatar is the latest attraction built by the House of Mouse - with the help of film-maker James Cameron - in its vast Florida resort. It has taken seven years to complete.

While some Disney die-hards doubted the wisdom of such an obvious film franchise being successfully shoe-horned into this most naturalistic of parks, the end result is a 12-acre immersive environment that is so packed with features and special effects it would take a small book rather than one article to list them all.

It starts with the Floating Mountains that seemingly hover over the area - gigantic, 156ft-tall rockworks that are complete creatures and waterfalls –  and continues through a junglelike panorama of immense complexity, studded with the bioluminescent plants from the 2009 movie that are all recreated in amazingly painstaking detail. They include some examples that react to touch and movement using specially developed sensors.

Cleverly hidden among the alien terrain - which mixes artificial plants with real ones from Hawaii and Africa - are two contrasting rides that take the story of Avatar into the future, 100 years after the war between Earth's Resource Development Administration and the indigenous Na'vi people.

Rivers of Light: the first nighttime spectacular at Animal Kingdom



The Na'vi River Journey is a meandering boat ride through the Pandoran jungle, usingwith vegetation, a mix of animatronics and screen projections to create a stunningly realistic series of encounters with the flora, fauna and people. It takes an ecofriendly approach, highlighting conservation principles and real-world issues such as habitat destruction.

After this the action intensifies - Avatar Flight Of Passage kicks things up several notches with the aforementioned simulator ride in the company of Dr Ogden. Sitting astride a kind of stationary bike (and equipped with 3-D glasses), riders seemingly dive, twist and turn in through a long whirl over Pandora, taking in the sights and sounds that made the film such a visual extravaganza.

There also ought to be a special award for the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse with its neon blue a there is such a thing as alien looking food, this is it.

Even James Cameron was apparently initially surprised at the huge scale of Disney's plans when they approached him with the idea of Avatar Lane. He said: 'I thought we were going to be talking about creating an attraction. Disney’s vision when they came to me was to create a land.'


It has been reported that the area cost up to 500-million dollars to complete. It features music composed by the late James Horner and Simon Franglen, based on the original score from Avatar.

The final word, though, deserves to come from Disney's Zsolt Hormay: 'We had to use a lot of experts to help us with the technology. It needed a lot of different skills. It melds art and engineering. It is like finishing a painting, only in three dimensions - and with a lot of engineering.'


First published in the Mail on Sunday -  January 2018

More articles below...

For more inspiration, read what travel writers have to say...

Bowled over by the Big Apple

England cricket captain Alastair Cook can't get enough of the bright lights

Tapping into Tampa

Max Davidson reports on its rich past and irresistible energy

Hidden New York

There are plenty of places to chill out, says Jane Knight

New York's finest!

Sarah Turner filters out the best in the Big Apple

Hollywood secrets

Forget Tinseltown’s tourist traps, says Steve Turner...

Gorgeous Georgia

Dave Balow revels in the romance of this southern state

Miami is in the pink

Jenny Coad finds the city is a masterpiece of glamour and creativity

Road tripping

Simon Lewis takes a drive through California's rock and roll past

Laid back LA

Olivia Foster experiences the fabulous contrasting lifestyles in California

Florida Keys

Ruth Styles learns about bloodthirsty pirate Black Caesar on a swashbuckling adventure

Back in the swing!

Siobhan Warwicker finds New Orleans in prime party mode

The true Dallas

...and that's more than steak and Southfork, says Richard Arnold

Virtuous in Vegas

Toni Jones explores the extremes of Sin City

Just my cup of tea!

Jane Knight discovers the delights of Boston's rich history

Southern sounds

Caroline Hendrie visits the iconic American sites that created legends and made pop history

New Orleans

Without all that jazz

Southern Belles!

Savannah and Charleston are both wonderful charmers, says Sue Crabtree

Miami's my vice

Dom Joly reveals why he can't resist Florida

Magical Music City

Mark Palmer hits the high notes in Nashville

Singing the blues in Chicago!

The Windy City is unbeatable for music, art and glitz, says Mark Porter

At home in Vegas

Khaleda Rahman checks into the Cosmopolitan

A golden oldie

Hipsters may have replaced hippies on Pier 39 but Tamara Hinson could still feel the love in San Francisco

The world's funkiest city

Music by the mile - New Orleans is a one-off says Giles Milton

Sunshine state of mind

Frank Barrett finds Florida is ideal for a beach holiday

California dreaming

The sunsets and the gold rush history grab Alice Beer's attention - but for her twins, nothing beats star-spotting

Only in Vegas

Jen Crothers is dazzled by the world's entertainment capital

Cool in Key West

Sharon Maughan-Eve bypasses the Florida theme parks and heads south for some nostalgia and serenity

The other Orlando

Liz Kavanagh finds plenty of thrills - and no need to go near a rollercoaster

Batty for Cincinnati

Sean Thomas explores this historic, up-and-coming Midwest city

Not quite what you're looking for?
We can easily customise an offer to suit your exact requirements