How Walt Disney Imagineering Could Improve Animal Kingdom’s Most Divisive Attraction

Credit: Disney, Canva

When it comes to the average Disney Park, Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is in a league of its own.

However, not every venture in the Disney Park has hit the mark.

In the theme park’s Pandora – The World of Avatar section lies two attractions, Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey.

Avatar Flight of Passage was an instant hit due to how immersive and revolutionary it is. However
its slow-moving counterpart, the Na’vi River Journey, is less popular with Guests.

Pandora - The World of Avatar

Credit: Disney

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For anyone who doesn’t know, the Na’vi River Journey is a slow-moving dark ride that takes Guests through the bioluminescent caves and rainforests of Pandora. Physically, it’s very similar to classic rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean, with some key differences.

These key differences are actually the fatal flaws of the ride, causing its downfall: for one, the attraction is an incredibly short boat ride. Unfortunately, it’s too late to improve this aspect, but there’s still time to improve the others!

Pandora World of Avatar

Credit: Disney

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Another fatal flaw is the lack of a story. The Na’vi River Journey invites Guests into the world of Pandora, giving them something beautiful to look at
but Guests find themselves bored with no story to latch onto and immerse themselves in, unlike attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s not too late to fix this aspect.

The worst flaw is the lack of animatronics. While this attraction is genuinely visually stunning and immersive, much of the Pandoran wildlife Guests get to see is through the use of screens, and there’s not much of it.

Na'vi River Journey

Credit: Disney

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It’s worth noting that the finale of this attraction, the shaman animatronic, is a stunning work of art, often tricking Guests into believing it’s a person in costume due to how lifelike it is. That being said, it’s the only animatronic on the attraction.

If Guests could see more of the Pandoran animals and the Na’vi themselves through the use of audio-animatronics, the reactions would be very different.

Pandora Wedding Venue

Credit: Disney Weddings

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Na’vi River Journey is beautiful to look at, it’s serene, and best of all, it’s air-conditioned. However, Guests are unwilling to stand in lines that are typically anywhere from 60 to 100 minutes long for this attraction.

If Guests were given more of a storyline and more to look at, this attraction may not be so divisive.

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.