Most visitors think that if you’ve seen one Walt Disney World gift shop you’ve seen them all. However, you may be in for a surprise as Windtraders at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is working to break this mold by providing guests with a retail opportunity that keeps visitors immersed in the vibrant and rich surroundings of Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Hidden behind a colorful facade and thatched roof, what guests will find is an absolute treasure trove of over 200 out-of-this-world souvenirs. Chris Edward, Area Manager for Merchandise Presentation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom had this to say about the surroundings, “[Windtraders] is located in an abandoned building that was once occupied by the Resources Development Administration (RDA). We used what was left behind on Pandora by the RDA to set up the location. Guests will not find mannequins displaying apparel as they aren’t something that would have been shipped from Earth by the RDA. We did, however, use RDA equipment cases, wood from Pandora, or, in some instances, woven baskets provided by the Na’vi to display products.”
Merchandise also plays a key role in keeping visitors engaged in the world around them as well as in Na’vi culture. Whether is items that pay homage to the bioluminescent world of Pandora, Navi-themed headbands, tails and hooded jackets, or drums and light up toys, there’s bound to be that special item that will appeal to visitors of all ages.
In a shop that appears to be taken over by plant life with root structures that creep through the center of the building and in may cases are used to showcase the merchandise, it’s no wonder that guests will also find an eclectic array of plants available for purchase. This ties in nice with Animal Kingdom’s overall focus the environment, sustainability and conservation.
Scattered among the roots, guests will also find a couple of very interesting areas. The first is the Bead Bar. Here guests can design one-of-a-kind necklaces inspired by the Na’vi.
If there’s one area of Windtraders that is already creative massive buzz it’s the Rookery. Here guests under the tutelage of cast members go though the process of picking their own interactive banshee which you can take home for $50.00.
And thought the temptation when hitting up Windtraders may be to go in, shop and head out, there is so much beauty in the little details that its worth exploring. For instance, check out the hand-carved native animals that are found on displays throughout the shop. Look up in the rookery to see the stunning hand-painted map of Pandora. The Imagineering team has filled this wonderful shop with lots of little surprises. Finding them is half the fun!
The are so many things to discover at Windtraders that you’ll definitely want to set aside some time in your touring plan to take in all the shop has to offer!
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