Posted on Friday, November 6th, 2015 by Peter Sciretta
Disney has been teasing Disney World’s upcoming theme park land based on James Cameron‘s epic Avatar franchise for a few years now. But as we get closer to the land’s opening in early 2017, we’re beginning to get more details about the upcoming addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando Florida. Right now D23 Expo Japan is going on and Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Bob Chapek shared some new information about the planned river ride that will be part of Pandora – The World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Hit the jump for more information.
At D23 2013, we were given a look at some props and photos from Imagineering’s research scout to Pandora. In February we got a bit more information when Walt Disney Imagineering released a video of the filmmaker visiting the Bioluminescent Forrest behind closed doors. Later that year, Disney finally revealed their plans and concept art for the upcoming project, and construction began on Pandora in January 2014. At D23 Expo 2015, I got a close-up preview in the form of an elaborate miniature model.
At D23 Expo 2015, the The boat ride was described as “fluid, romantic, lyrical” and “emotional.” It’ll take guests through a glowing bioluminescent forest, populated by animatronic animals. And now at D23 Expo Japan, we are learning new details about the boat ride experience which will be part of the new expansion.
Pandora – The World of AVATAR will bring a variety of new experiences to the Park, including a family-friendly attraction called Na’vi River Journey. 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.
Not a ton of new information in there, but we now have the attraction’s name (Na’vi River Journey) and we know the experience will climax with 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.” A musical sendoff? That could be amazing or really cheesy, I’m hoping Walt Disney Imagineering nails this one.
Na’vi River JourneyConcept Art
Disney also revealed a piece of new concept art for Na’vi River Journey, which you can see above. In the concept art painting, we see Na’vi and animatronic alien creatures watching from the side of the river in this secret bioluminescent forrest. Here is the previous concept art released for the Na’vi River Journey ride: