VIDEO - Disney's most sophisticated animatronic is part of Na'vi River Journey in Pandora - The World of Avatar

May 01, 2017 in "Na'vi River Journey"

Na'vi River Journey overview

When Na'Vi River Journey opens to guests on May 27, it will debut the first of a new generation of audio-animatronic figures, with the ability to move more fluidly and realistically than ever before.

“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.”

Your adventure begins as you enter Pandora, passing a totem, woven by the Na'vi, to celebrate the shaman's deep connection to the life force of Pandora. The totem also invites you to venture further into grottos that lead to the mystical river – and an eventual encounter with the shaman.

“There is a real edge to our Pandora,” Rohde 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 River Journey reed boats seat eight, on two rows. Leaving the dock, a Na'vi warrior appears and grants passage to the human voyagers. By day or night, boats pass through this darkened bioluminescent rainforest world, pushing deep into a jungle alive with exotic glowing plants and Pandoran creatures.

The 4.5 minute journey builds to an encounter with the Shaman of Songs. Like most Na'vi, she is nearly 10 feet tall. Music is central in Na'vi culture, and you'll observe the shaman in the midst of a musical ceremony, playing an instrument and singing. Through her music, the shaman sends positive energy into the rainforest, telling of the sacred bond with nature that Na'vi and humans share.

Designed and built by Walt Disney Imagineering, the Shaman of Songs figure is the most advanced and complex animatronic ever seen in a theme-park.

“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.”

Na'vi River Journey opens with Pandora - The World of Avatar on May 27 2017 at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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Article Posted: May 01, 2017 / 7:52am EDT
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*Grand Admiral Thrawn*Mar 01, 2020

I agree! Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom are the best Disney parks in my opinion. EPCOT and Hollywood Studios still need a lot more work.

TrainChasersFeb 29, 2020

DAK is a very different park. But I think it’s by far the most cohesive park in the USA right now. The only thing that is out of place is Dino-land and it does work thematically even though it shouldn’t be there. The park feels the most complete to me. But I also enjoy spending time watching the animals and exploring the details.

MisterPenguinFeb 23, 2020

You wondered if people's reactions were to your spelling. I told you what they were reacting to. That's all.

JabbasFeb 23, 2020

That’s why it is called an opinion. We all have different views, and there is nothing wrong with that. But regardless, you replied to another comment of mine and it seemed a little snarky. I’m not here for petty comments or judgment, I’m here for my love of Disney. Inside and outside of the parks.

MisterPenguinFeb 22, 2020

Spelling isn't the issue. It's calling a park very highly regarded by many as underwhelming. It was the opinion that got the reactions, not any typos.

JabbasFeb 22, 2020

I had replied earlier that I was typing on my phone with my toddler in my lap, SORRY about the spelling.

MisterPenguinFeb 22, 2020

I think the reactions are to "Animal Kingdom is still completely underwhelming." Among many park fans, DAK is considered one of the best parks. But, everyone's entitled to their opinions. ;)

tractor tipperFeb 22, 2020

Now we have distracted texting.

JabbasFeb 22, 2020

I’m sorry about the spelling, don’t know if that’s why you put a laughing face but I was typing on my phone with 2 year old trying to grab it.

JabbasFeb 21, 2020

Went this weekend for the first time since they completed Pandora. While pandora is beautiful at night, Animial Kingdom is still complete underwhelming. I think after Epcot catches up after all the contraction this park will still need something. It’s still lacking compared to the other 3. Hollywood studios blew me out of the water with the new addition, it used to be the worst park.

*Grand Admiral Thrawn*Jan 18, 2020

I absolutely agree! Its a beautiful ride but needs a lot more AA's and to be a bit longer.

Kate FJan 11, 2020

Did Navi River for the first time this trip. Verdict: glad we had a Fastpass for it. Wasn’t bad but nothing to right home about. Needed to be a few minutes longer and have more animatronics.

disneygeek90Dec 16, 2019

Yes! It was beautiful. I'd expect that's how they always imagined it should look, glad they took the time on this detail.

Disney AnalystDec 16, 2019

Yep.