When you visit Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar, you most likely want to head straight to Flight of Passage, the innovative attraction during which guests take an awe-inspiring ride on a banshee’s back.
The land’s other attraction, Na’vi River Journey, might be a bit of an after-thought in comparison, because, as some say, “it’s just a boat ride like ‘it’s a small world.'”
It IS a boat ride, of course. But it is a relaxing and aesthetically pleasing boat ride through the bioluminescent forest of Pandora — not remotely like “it’s a small world,” in our opinion.
The queue is filled with Na’vi artwork and artifacts, setting the stage for those unfamiliar with the film Avatar.
The ride technology uses 3D video screens to display the glow-in-the-dark flora and fauna of the forest.
The most impressive thing about this ride is undoubtedly the Shaman of Songs, an incredibly lifelike Audio-Animatronic. Her haunting chant will follow you throughout the journey and even long after you pass her.
Altogether, it’s a beautiful ride, just under five minutes long, but to some, it seems to lack the narrative elements of other dark rides on property.
On top of all that, because it’s relatively new, plus it’s the only other attraction in the land, it often has wait times of an hour or more, even in slower seasons. Animal Kingdom currently has a tiered FastPass+ system, so that guests can only book an advanced FastPass for one top tier attraction. That means you have to choose between either Flight of Passage OR Na’vi River Journey on a given day.
So the question is: Is this ride actually worth it, given its long wait time?
Well — the answer is, that depends.
If you have several days in Disney World and you have the time to wait in the line or you’re able to get a FastPass after you’ve ridden the must-do Flight of Passage, go ahead and enjoy the attraction. It’s worth it to see at least once. The scenery is beautiful and the Shaman of Songs is definitely something else — fans of Disney Imagineering and audio-animatronics in general will be impressed at her fluid movements and facial expressions.
But if you only have a very short amount of time in the parks, you might be better off skipping this one. The long wait is the biggest detracting factor. Time is money at Disney World, and you definitely want to maximize yours. Spending a long time in a queue for boat ride is probably not the best way to do that.
Here’s our recent ride-through of the attraction to help you make up your mind:
What are your thoughts on Na’vi River Journey? Let us know in the comments!
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