Is Na’vi River Journey Really Worth Riding?

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.

Na’vi River Journey

 

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.

Na’vi River Journey queue – Shaman of Songs artwork

The ride technology uses 3D video screens to display the glow-in-the-dark flora and fauna of the forest.

Na’vi River Journey
Na’vi River Journey scene

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.

Na’vi River Journey – Shaman of Songs

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?

Pandora at Night

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.

Shaman of Songs in Na’vi River Journey

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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5 Replies to “Is Na’vi River Journey Really Worth Riding?”

  1. Not worth it because most people do not have an emotional attachment to Pandora characters or the storyline, so it just becomes a nice little boat ride.

  2. Long answer nooooooooooo… short answer no. It’s like 1/10 the length of PoTC , and ONE animatronic . I can’t see waiting more then 5-10 minutes for this on a GOOD day and that’s if nothing else is open at AK .

  3. We could not get Flight of Passage FP, and a 2-3 hour wait was a hard no! We all got a FP for this, general consensus from age 6 to 65 was “that was it”? Pirates of the Caribbean with black lights.

  4. Absolutely agree. Definitely not worth the wait. When we realized we were at the exit we were like, that’s it?? Way overrated. Watch it on YouTube. Save yourself the time. Only did it because we had a Fast Pass. Won’t return to it even though we have the annual pass. Very boring!!

  5. The first time we went on this attraction, we had a Fast Pass. The second time, we went in the stand-by line so we could use our a Fast Pass for Flight of Passage. While this is a visually appealing attraction, it is not worth standing in line 11/2 hrs like we did. The Disney employees let in about 5-7 stand-by guests for every 30-40 Fast Pass guests. Then, other guests were cutting the line constantly to catch up with their group. Disney made no effort to control this.