Na’vi River Journey will float families through Pandora when The World of Avatar opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27, but you can experience highlights of the attraction already in ride-through video.
Guests approach the Na’vi River Journey by passing the iconic floating mountains and waterfalls on Pandora, heading towards a towering totem that pays homage to the mystical Shaman of Songs.
The totem also invites guests to venture further into grottos that lead to the mystical river – and an eventual encounter with the shaman.
At the water’s edge, guests board 8-person reed boats, which are accessible to those with disabilities. A Na’vi warrior appears, and with a nod, he grants passage to the human voyagers. A spectacular bioluminescent rainforest surrounds guests. By day or night, boats pass through this darkened world, pushing deep into a jungle alive with exotic glowing plants and traversed by Pandoran creatures.
“Na’vi River Journey is a very sweet, lyrical adventure through a spectacular visual environment that just becomes more and more spectacular as you go on,” explains Joe Rohde, Walt Disney Imagineering portfolio creative executive. The bioluminescent activity of the plants around you unfolds in richer and richer scenes in really just a very uplifting, wonderful kind of journey.”
The journey builds to an encounter with the animatronic Shaman of Songs. Like most Na’vi, she is nearly 10 feet tall. Guests observe the shaman in the midst of a musical ceremony, playing an instrument and singing.
“The shaman is even more extraordinary than we expected,” said Rohde. “Her facial expressions, little movements in the cheek, tiny movements in the eyelid – each one of these carries an emotion she’s capable of conveying.”
“There is a real edge to our Pandora,” he said, “just like the rest of Animal Kingdom. When guests get here and really look around, they will see there’s this edge, this little adventurous edge on the land. Na’vi River Journey helps complement that edge.”
The Na’vi River Journey is a 4.5 minute experience, and FastPass+ is offered. Get a preview of the voyage with our highlights video: