LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla – Not only can you explore like a Na’vi and talk like a Na’vi – you can eat like a Na’vi, too, on Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Dining Na’vi-style is at the heart of Satu’li Canteen, the fast-casual restaurant in the new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The canteen calls out the friendship and cultural kinship that exists between the humans on Pandora and the indigenous Na’vi.
“The setting of Pandora – The World of Avatar is long after the Na’vi and the humans have reconciled their conflict, and we are invited as guests to visit Pandora,” said Stefan Hellwig, executive creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering.
Satu’li (Sa-too-lee) Canteen is the land’s restaurant, with a design inspired by bases set up on Pandora by the Resources Development Administration (RDA) in the blockbuster “AVATAR” film. Once the main mess hall of the RDA base in the Valley of Mo’ara, the canteen is now owned and operated by the Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) tour company and has been redesigned into a beautiful museum-like dining room open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The interior has been transformed with colorful Na’vi items filling the walls and hanging from the ceiling – hand-woven tapestries, natural Pandoran elements and cooking tools decorate the interior.
Surprising Twist on Familiar Flavors
Satu’li Canteen combines creativity and approachable flavors in a menu inspired by the healthful bounty on Pandora, with wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and hearty proteins. An on-stage grill is a prominent feature in the colorful dining room, “bringing all five senses into play,” said Ed Wronski, director, culinary development for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
Fast-casual Satu’li Canteen offers bowls that allow diners to customize their meal. Diners start with a base of quinoa and vegetable salad; red and sweet potato hash; mixed whole-grain and rice or romaine and kale salad. Next is either wood-grilled chicken, slow-roasted beef, sustainable fish or chili-spiced fried tofu. And the bowl is finished with charred onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette or creamy herb dressing.
“This is one of our first fast-casual restaurants that gives guests the ability to customize their meal,” said Wronski. “We played with the theme of Avatar, and ended up with the bowl concept that is healthful, lighter and with plant-based ingredients to tie back to the World of Avatar.” The guiding principle, he said, was to “balance creativity with dishes that are approachable.”
The menu also offers steamed “pods” – bao buns with either cheeseburger ingredients or vegetable curry served with root vegetable chips and crunchy vegetable slaw.
For little ones, there’s an option of grilled chicken or beef, fish or tofu with greens or rice; a hot dog wrapped in Parker House dough; cheese quesadilla, or a steamed “pod” (cheeseburger bao bun).
Dessert is Blueberry Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Curd or Chocolate Cake with a Crunchy Cookie Layer, Banana Cream and Goji Berries.
Satu’li Canteen offers draft beers, including Avatar Private Label Green Ale and Avatar Private Label Amber Ale; Pandoran blend sangria; wine on tap, including Banshee Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast); Banshee Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast), and a non-alcoholic blend of tropical juices served in a souvenir cup with a removable, playable pan flute.
Satu’li Canteen is also the first Disney restaurant to offer Mobile Order, a new convenient option to order and pay for meals on-the-go using the My Disney Experience app. The service also enables guests to bypass the queue to order when they arrive at the restaurant. Using the app, guests can select menu items, customize their orders and pre-pay for their meals. When they arrive at the restaurant they will tap an “I’m here” button in the app, which will notify the kitchen to prepare the meal. When their meals are ready, guests will be alerted through the app to pick up them up at a designated window. Additional fast-casual and quick-service restaurants will begin to offer Mobile Order later this year. Disney Dining Plan is accepted but Mobile Order only accepts credit cards.
Satu’li Canteen offers 330 seats with an additional 190 seats outside.
Pongu Pongu Kiosk
Adjacent to Satu’li Canteen is Pongu Pongu, Pandora’s specialty beverage kiosk. “Pongu Pongu” means “party party” and this kiosk, as the story goes, was built by a human who befriended the local Na’vi clan and built a place to gather and socialize. The name came from all the “wild and memorable times” Na’vi and humans had together there.
The signature drink is the Frozen Nectar (frozen limeade with layered flavors of Granny Smith Apple and Desert Pear topped with bursting mango boba balls) that glows with bioluminescent colors reminiscent of Pandora’s flora. There’s also a Screaming Banshee Margarita and Avatar Private Label Ale. Drinks can be purchased in a tiki-inspired mug with an Avatar “juju” light-up cube.
For sweet snacking, Lumpia (loom-pee-ah), a pineapple-cream cheese spring roll, is also on the menu.