Flight of Passage ‘and uh, fly’ actor answers fan questions with Reddit AMA

by Jake Goldberg

From the floating mountains of Pandora to the front page of Reddit, David Danipour, the star of the Avatar Flight of Passage pre-show recently conducted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) to answer your uh, questions.

flight of passage

To those unfamiliar with Danipour’s character, he can be seen in the pre-show of Avatar Flight of Passage as Dr. Stevens. He has been helping guests prepare to ride their banshee since the attraction’s first opening in 2017, and the character has become an unofficial Disney Park icon among online fan communities. The character’s famous line “and uh, fly,” has inspired many memes and online jokes.

Danipour recently hopped onto Reddit to answer any burning questions fans of the attraction might have. Redditor Rainfully asked what was clearly on everyone’s minds, wondering if the “uhs” or “ums” were in the script or improvised. Danipour commented,

The uhs and umms were not in the script. But NOT all the takes that were shot had “uhs” and “umms.” So it was edited together intentionally, I’m assuming in an effort to portray the character as someone who is not experienced at public speaking about science to laypeople.

Redditor edgy-3mo-kid asked Danipour what was the inspiration of his character, to which he replied,

So the role was listed as a “grad student.” And I just remember, while attending university, there would be TAs (teacher assistants) that would be brilliant at science and know all the answers but have a little trouble articulating the science partly because of excitement and partly because of a lack of knowing how to translate something scientific and filled with jargon into something a layperson can understand.

The real burning question that was on everyone’s minds is what precisely the famous Dr. Stevens thinks of the attraction itself. The answer came to the surprise of many when he commented,

Thanks for asking, short answer is I’ve never been on the ride. Longer answer is that I live in L.A. so it’s quite a trip to Orlando. I did show interest with the company folks in seeing the attraction when it opened, but they never followed up with that, so I’ve yet to visit. Would still like to visit when it safely reopens.

Redditor invaderark12 called upon the other Redditors to champion a fundraiser to help Danipour take a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to ride the attraction. Danipour quickly replied,

Thank you for wanting to do that! But that is too kind, you don’t need to do that, I couldn’t accept.

When asked if James Cameron was involved on set and what it was like to work with Imagineer Joe Rohde, Danipour commented that, 

I’ve never met James Cameron, but it would be an honor to meet him one day. I enjoyed many of his films as a youth, as a teenager, and as an adult. Some of his movies hold up all the way through, which is incredible. Joe Rohde was great to work with, he’s a combination of very creative and encouraging from what I remember on set.

Danipour can also be seen outside Pandora – The World of Avatar, and has made guest appearances on shows such as “The Good Place.” Redditors asked Danipour how his experience working on the popular sitcom was.

It was awesome! All the cast and crew for that matter were kind, friendly, and professional. I probably got a little celebrity-awed at Ted Danson, but he was great.

“The Good Place” was a series known for its groundbreaking twists and turns and isn’t above keeping major plot points secrets from the cast. Danipour commented on what exactly he was allowed to know on set:

I also had no idea what the scene was leading to or going to because there was a lot of secrecy behind the show, so I was so clueless as to what was going on exactly.

He reflected on a similar experience while making an appearance on HBO’s “WestWorld”:

Working on “WestWorld” was such a surreal experience. They were such a secretive show that I didn’t get any other part of the script except for my scene, so I had no idea if my character was a robot or a human. Don’t want to spoil anything here so I’ll let you watch season 3 to find out.

At the moment, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is still waiting to re-open along with the rest of Walt Disney World Resort, but for fans wanting a little more Dr. Stevens in their life, they can check out Danipour’s YouTube channel, or Instagram, where he regularly uploads new comedic content.

What do you think of the Avatar Flight of Passage pre-show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Have any questions you would want Danipour to answer? Let us know in the comments down below!

You can also watch our video of the ride’s full queue and pre-show here:

Avatar Flight of Passage queue walkthrough and pre-show inside Pandora at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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