Tag Archives | Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Na’vi River Journey Canoe Ride

At the recent D23 (Disney’s official fan club) expo in Japan, it was announced that the still under-construction Pandora section of Animal Kingdom will include a family-friendly canoe ride called the Na’vi River Journey.

Na'vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey will open with Pandora – The World of AVATAR in 2017 within Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

This new attraction will allow park visitors to get an up close and personal view of the environment and creatures first introduced in the Oscar-winning 2009 film, Avatar. As guests venture down the sacred river during the Na’vi River Journey, they will be cast in purple and blue hues as the bioluminescent rainforest springs to life around them. The journey comes to an end upon encountering a Na’vi shaman, who has a strong connection to the life force of the Pandora landscape. She will be sending positive energy throughout the entirety of the rainforest with the music she makes, a portrayal that rings true with the spirituality of the Na’vi people originally presented in the film.

Though the details surrounding Animal Kingdom’s Pandora are rather elusive, a 2017 opening date can be expected for the Na’vi River Journey, along with the rest of Pandora. Disney originally announced the Pandora Project in September of 2011, with construction beginning in early 2014.

Also recently announced for Pandora is an attraction called Avatar Flight of Passage, an experience meant to simulate flying with banshees (if you don’t remember, those are the giant dragon-like creatures the Na’vi people fly around with). Speculation has run rampant around this ride, with some saying that the technology employed with be similar to what Universal Studios used for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. Guests with young children will probably be more apt to ride the Na’vi River Journey — the banshees and technology used for Avatar Flight of Passage does not sound like it is geared towards younger children.

Other Animal Kingdom attractions that are currently being worked on are Rivers of Light (the Animal Kingdom Equivalent to Magic Kingdom’s Wishes firework show or Hollywood Studios’ Fantasmic), a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro safaris and live performances on the park’s Discovery River.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you’re staying on Disney property, be sure to book those fast passes early! Resort guests get first dibs on fast passes up to 60 days before their hotel check-in date, while annual pass holders don’t get access until 30 days before their visit. In the past, when Disney has opened new attractions (most recently, Mine Train at Magic Kingdom), the queues have been outrageously long, with wait times regularly running higher than two hours on particularly busy days. Folks who purchase day passes have virtually no chance of snatching up the limited number of fast passes offered for these new, big ticket attractions such as Na’vi River Journey, so odds are, they’ll have to endure the lengthy wait. Resort guests, take advantage! Animal Kingdom has limited ride offerings as it is, so these new additions are bound to be swarmed!


Avatar Land Coming to Animal Kingdom

It will be a few years before theme park goers can enjoy the new Orlando attraction, but Avatar Land is coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Mark 2017 on your calendar. A project this big and detailed will surely be worth the wait.

It has been two years since Disney secured the theme park rights to this blockbuster film franchise. Our first look into this new attraction includes an artistic rendering depicting guests totally immersed in “Pandora,” the fictional planet in which the 2009 film featured. Park visitors will be able to walk among floating mountains with beautiful cascading waterfalls. They’ll float down a jungle river with bio-luminescent plants, and be able to soar in the sky “riding a Banshee,” given enough imagination.

Avatar coming to Animal Kingdom

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

The attractions in Avatar Land will include at least these four experiences:

  1. A soaring-style attraction
  2. An immersive boat ride
  3. A walk-through attraction
  4. Multiple themed restaurants and stores

Avatar is currently the highest grossing movie of all time. How Disney will make it suitable for young children is to focus on the imaginative creatures, intriguing characters and the strong theme of family and loyalty. They will not focus on the plot of the movie. The issue will be when a young child experiences the theme park and then asks to see the movie! What will parents say? Perhaps the movie sequel in this franchise slated to be out in December of 2016, will focus on less violence.

The addition of Avatar/Pandora will help Animal Kingdom’s night-time attendance. Some guests attending this Orlando theme park feel it is currently a half day or short day attraction. Some days during the year, it closes as early as 5:00 p.m. With a nighttime show with floating lanterns, water screens and glowing creatures, Disney will captivate their guests for several more hours. In some ways, this new Orlando attraction may even be better experienced at night! A lot of focus is going into new technologies in the park’s development and nighttime features are sure to benefit.

Some people are concerned about the safety and health of the real animals at this Orlando theme park. The additional hours and noises could possibly impact them. Pandora’s animals are imaginary creatures, so there is no concern about their addition.  Disney has assured us that the real animals will be taken to an area away from the night activities and not suffer in any way. Time will tell.

This new attraction coming to Orlando will be an exciting one to experience. Waiting more than 3 years will be the hardest part! During the coming years, parts of Animal Kingdom will be under construction and not so attractive. Let’s just hope anyone visiting this theme park between now and when Avatar Land opens will excuse the dust and return to see the final product. By the way, 2017 will also mark the year when the Orlando International Airport’s expansion is set to be complete. The expansion almost doubles the airport’s capacity…perhaps to accommodate all of the Avatar fans!