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Disney Reveals the Name, Details for its new Avatar Boat Ride at Walt Disney World

November 6, 2015, 8:25 AM · At the D23 Expo in Japan today, Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek revealed the name of the new indoor boat ride in the upcoming Avatar pavilion at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The name of the ride was the most prominent detail left out of Disney's presentation about "Pandora - The World of Avatar" at the D23 Expo in Anaheim last summer.

Na'vi River Journey
Concept art courtesy Disney

The ride will be called the Na'vi River Journey, and will complement the previously-announced Flight of Passage 3D movie ride that Disney detailed in Anaheim. We first showed you the plans for the Soarin'-like ride in 2013.

Here's how Disney is describing Na'vi River Journey, from today's press release:

The adventure begins as guests set out in canoes and venture down a mysterious, sacred river hidden within the bioluminescent rainforest. The full beauty of Pandora reveals itself as the canoes pass by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures. The journey culminates in an encounter with a Na'vi shaman, who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora and sends positive energy out into the forest through her music.

Pandora - The World of Avatar opens at Disney's Animal Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort in 2017.

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Replies (19)

November 6, 2015 at 8:38 AM · I hope its not ET in 3D. Little detail in press release. I hope its better than what it sounds.
November 6, 2015 at 9:17 AM · Sounds like a pretty nice Pirates of the Carribean type ride. Lots of potential here. Hope islets not a lot of screens though and I hope there are some nice animatronics around.
November 6, 2015 at 9:35 AM · Does Disney do anything that's not a Boat Ride omnimover? LOL
November 6, 2015 at 9:54 AM · Let's see...

A high capacity ride in an air conditioned building that the whole family can ride together with Disney Imagineers filling in the entertainment details....

This will be a smash hit with the typical Disney visitor.

And AK will move from the half day park category to the three fourths day park category. ;)

November 6, 2015 at 10:07 AM · I don't give a rip about Avatar and really wish this attraction was themed to something else, but I gotta admit that I like the fact it's using the classic dark boat ride design a la Pirates or Splash Mountain. And it looks like it will be beautiful. I guess I'll have to ride it at least once :-).
November 6, 2015 at 10:43 AM · This press release certainly doesn't create any anticipation for this ride. The details are very vague, and there's nothing in the release that remotely represents a "hook". Since it appears this attraction is going to be a standard Disney relatively plot-less dark ride, there needs to be something unique or interesting to get guests to come back. Even lesser dark rides like Little Mermaid and Pinocchio have the music to fall back on and some interesting animatronics. The only potential noted here is the "shaman" character that hopefully will be a pretty interesting animatronic. Aside from that, it's a bunch of pretty scenery with not much going on around it.

If Disney wants guests to ride this after the initial crush of interest, it needs to have a hook.

November 6, 2015 at 12:18 PM · I can't wait to visit Pandora, in fact I am holding out for a May 2017 trip in hopes things will be open by then. Rumors are swirling that Disney has finally cranked up the construction schedule, so late 2016/early 2017 is not out of the question.
November 6, 2015 at 12:28 PM · Disney has plenty of time to build interest. Plus, they're going to get some help from the Cirque du Soleil show based on Avatar that opens next week. That tour runs through August 2016.

For those unfamiliar, the Cirque show is "Toruk - The First Flight". The official description: "Inspired by James Cameron's Avatar, Toruk – The First Flight, a live experience by Cirque du Soleil, envisions a world beyond imagination thousands of years before the events depicted in the film."

The show uses the Cirque arena tour model (rather than the full tent), which means they can hit more cities in a short amount of time. The current tour has 30 cities across Eastern US and Canada. (Denver is the farthest west.) All of that real estate is the target audience for Walt Disney World.

November 6, 2015 at 12:40 PM · I think it sounds interesting. An important thing to remember is that DAK is still a family park and as such needs a gentle family ride like this to balance out Flight Of Passage, which will most likely be a thrill ride. I do agree though that they'll need a bigger hook to draw more people in. I just hope the Jimmy Fallon ride supporters take their own advice by "not judging it until it comes out."

And yes, Tim, this should make DAK a 3/4 day park, just like how WWOHP turned IOA into a 3/4 day park ;).

November 6, 2015 at 1:01 PM · Is it going to be kind of a "Living with the Land" type of ride on steroids and Neon lights? There is already a Soarin type ride plan too. Probably Avatar will be the "new"The Land pavilion for the XXI century
November 6, 2015 at 1:33 PM · Another name I won't be able to spell.
November 6, 2015 at 2:12 PM · The psychedelic ET ride was the first thing I thought of, too.
November 6, 2015 at 2:27 PM · Ugh, so much hate for the E.T. ride on this site! I love a good psychedelic dark ride with classic effects. I think there will have to be a song, right? A Na'vi song? ("Yo ho, yo ho, a Na'vi's life for me!")
November 6, 2015 at 5:17 PM · Who wants to start an over under bet for when the shaman animatronic breaks and Disney just puts a strobe light on it?
November 6, 2015 at 7:47 PM · @Kris: Ha!
November 7, 2015 at 10:45 AM · Looks beautiful, and totally immersive. I'm looking forward to this one more than the 3D ride.
November 9, 2015 at 12:06 PM · so much negativity i cant wait. I used to go to Walt Disney world every year since up until DIsney animal kingdom opened which i loved.
I stopped going after that because nothing interested me and was underwhelmed with the lack of new additions. I actually skipped it one year and spent all my money in universal instead. With Avatar and the recent additions now im ready to go back and planning a nice long trip
November 9, 2015 at 2:22 PM · And then perhaps the Yeti will get fixed?
November 13, 2015 at 7:08 AM · As I'm reading the description, my mind is thinking "hippies". Effing hippies. Smoking joints and grooving to the mellow tunes of the Navi shaman.

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