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    Na'vi River Journey

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Description And Comments

The Na’vi River Journey is a 4½-minute boat ride through the Pandora jungle. You begin by boarding one of two small, hewn rafts joined together. Each raft has two rows of seats, and each row comfortably fits three adults. That might seem small, but it’s more likely a nod to authenticity – the Na’vi are unlikely to have invented technology like fiberglass to make larger vessels as in, say, "it’s a small world".

Off you go into the nighttime jungle, past glowing plants and exotic animals. To create these, Disney has used traditional, three-dimensional sets for the flora, coupled with video screens showing the movement of the fauna. Escape from Gringotts, the one ride at Diagon Alley, uses video screens for its action, too. But here again Disney has done Diagon Alley one better – the screens directly in front of you in Na’vi River Journey are semi-transparent, so you can see past them. And what’s past them are more screens, with background scenes that also move. That means you’re seeing action in the foreground and background simultaneously, all surrounded by densely packed landscaping.

Another bit of technology put to great effect is video projection mapping like that used in the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime show Happily Ever After. Here it’s used to project three-dimensional bugs crawling on tree trunks in one of the ride’s middle scenes.

The big star, however, is displayed in the ride’s culminating scene: the Shaman of Songs, easily the most lifelike animatronic figure Disney has ever created. The shaman’s arms move with astonishing grace—we certainly don’t know any real people who are that coordinated. Yet another nice touch: The shaman sings off-key rather than professionally pitch-perfect.

The main problem with Na’vi River Journey has to do with storytelling: You go in not knowing anything about the character, and not enough story unfolds during the ride to get you excited about meeting the shaman.

Touring Tips

Despite the ride’s shortcomings, waits routinely exceed an hour two years after it opened—this clearly took Disney off-guard, as they built the queue with only enough shade to cover maybe 30 minutes’ worth of guests. We don’t think it’s worth waiting longer than that. Na’vi River Journey offers FastPass+, but Flight of Passage is a better choice if you can get it.

For a look at Pandora first thing in the morning, Brian videoed himself riding both Flight of Passage and Na'vi River Journey at park opening:

Na'vi River Journey Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for Na'vi River Journey when you visit on a day with a given Disney's Animal Kingdom Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will be at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Na'vi River Journey Wait Times.

Attraction Photos

Special Comments

Na'vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage are both in a "choose only 1" FastPass+ tier, so for now you will only be able to reserve FastPass+ for one of the attractions in Pandora.

Special Needs

Other Attractions in Pandora - The World of Avatar

Touring Plans with Na'vi River Journey

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