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