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REVIEW Na’Vi River Journey in Pandora the World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Na'Vi River Journey in Pandora the World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Na’vi River Journey is one of the two new attractions coming to Pandora – the World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  It’s a tranquil, yet short, boat ride through the Pandoran bioluminescent forest.  Here’s our review, photos, full ride video and some thoughts on the ride.

First let’s cover the basics.  The ride has no height limit, but does offer Fastpass+.  It does not offer a Single Rider option.  Riders must transfer from ECV / Wheelchair into the boat.

Na'Vi River Journey in Pandora the World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The queue lines for the new rides in Pandora are enormous!  It looks like they are well prepared for guests who are willing to spend 2 or more hours waiting in line.  I guess they don’t subscribe to Character Locator huh?

Na'Vi River Journey in Pandora the World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The area is filled with a combination of earth plants, bushes and trees along with those that are only found on Pandora.  We were told we are 4.4 light years from Earth, but it only seemed to take about 30 minutes to travel there from my home.

My son enjoyed the beauty of the outer queue line.

After passing through the outer portion, you’ll enter the main zig zag part of the covered queue line.  There are a number of fans in the area, but no air conditioning.

Disney applied an insane amount of detail to the new land of Pandora and the detail runs throughout the queue.

After passing through the outdoor queue, the ride is only a short distance away.  It will be difficult to judge the actual waits for the ride until it actually opened, but all the preview guests seemed much more excited about Flight of Passage.

Here’s our video of the full queue area:

You board a small boat that seats up to 8 guests with up to 4 in each row.  My 3 kids and I sat on the front row with now issues.  The boats are small compared to other Disney water rides, but I loved the thatch appeal of them.

There’s only ONE animatronic in the entire ride, which was a real let down for my kids.  We are used to things like Pirates of the Caribbean with lots of movement and action.  Most of the action took place on video screens and you may or may not actually see some of the scenes.   Most of it felt very distant as well.

On the plus side, the photos and videos cannot capture how incredibly beautiful the ride is.  There’s so many vibrant colors set against the stark black darkness.

I would have liked to have seen some sort of physical animals, but they are all projected.

It does make you feel like you’re traveling through a rainforest on a foreign planet.

This was my favorite photo that I took.

As you’re nearing the end of the ride you come in contact, briefly, with the Shaman of Songs who is a large animatronic with very detailed movements.

After seeing the Shaman, you’ll turn the curve and see a bit more of the details before getting

The ride is only 5.5 minutes long.  It is very attractive, but short.  It doesn’t really tell a cohesive story, but is literally just a “river journey.”  You’ll enjoy the casual boat ride as it does not offer any type of falls or water effects, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get wet, but you won’t leave with a feeling of attachment like you do with many other water attractions.  If the line is less than 30 minutes, I’d do it.  If it’s going to take longer than that, you may wish to just focus on the superior Flight of Passage attraction.

I would not use Fastpass+ for this, but would chose to ride at park opening instead.  Flight of Passage is the higher demand Fastpass.

Here’s a FULL HD ride through video for you to decide what you think.  Below is a wrap up video that my kids and I produced that tells about our feelings immediately after riding.

Our thoughts right after riding:




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24 COMMENTS

  1. Ok, I think it’s better then Mexico ride. Let’s not kid ourselves. But I agree it’s a short ride. They should add a large drop or at least make it less foliage and more animatronics like the one towards the end

  2. Hi Kenny. Do you know when they currently let guests in for the rope drop at the AK? I read somewhere they let guests into the park 30 minutes prior to opening and have them wait at the Tree of Life. I have an early dining reservation and trying to decide if it’s worth it being in the park prior to 8:30am (as far as being in line for Flight of Passage)? Hoping you can help me out :) Thanks.

  3. Were there any hills/drops during the ride? Like how during Frozen and Pirates of the Carribean there are small little hills the boat goes down.

  4. it was boring. One amimated character and alot of foliage. less than 5 minutes with 75 minute wait time….no fast pass.

  5. jus got back from Disney — 6/29. Wait time was 75 minutes for the Pandora river ride and it was under 5 minutes long. BORING really. and the wait time for the Pandora flying ride was almost 3 hours. on a Tuesday. With 90 degree humid weather. not worth it.

  6. Just curious if anyone knows why rider swap is available for this ride since it does not have a height restriction? The dark and potentially scary shaman maybe?

  7. Thanks to all 3 of you for the great video and review! I wasn’t sure which ride to FP so now the choice is easy. I’d love to ride this but I’ll save it for 2019 if it’s too crowded for our 11/2017 trip. You guys rock!

  8. Just read your comment and wanted to say I feel your pain. I have boy/girl twins and for 2 years my son was able to ride roller coasters at our local amusement park and my daughter could not. Boy was she mad! lol

  9. Trust me, it feels even shorter than 5 minutes. It feels like you got ripped off somehow. I am betting the ride was more ambitious but got cut back. It’s a shame really. I would rate the Land and Mexico boat rides in EPCOT over this one.

  10. Thanks for the honest opinions at the end! Wow, it sounds like a REALLY long standby for a SUPER short ride.

  11. Thanks for the review. Re: the above comment, we are also a family of 4 with only one child tall enough for Flight of Passage. Assuming we do it at rope drop, do all of us need to get in line to get the child swap, or if my husband goes with the oldest to FoP and I do another attraction with my little, will they give him a child swap he can hand to me? Just trying to avoid making it so obvious to the little one that she is missing something. Thanks!

    • Child swap only works if you bring the child with you to the entry point and request it before boarding.

  12. Would they offer a child swap for this ride? My son is sensitive to bright lights/colors & can cause seizures. I think he may need to sit this one out.

  13. It looks fantastic! You say it is short, but how long are rides like Frozen or The 7 Dwarf’s Mine train? They are short too aren’t they?

  14. Thanks for posting. I’m curious as to how hard it would be to transfer from an ECV as it looks very dark. Is this something I need to be concerned with? My mom is elderly and Flight of Passage isn’t an option for us.

  15. Hi there, my daughter of my boy/girl twins is not tall enough to ride the other ride yet. We’re going in November. I’m hopeful that maybe she’ll grow before we get there? Anyway, I was wondering if you would recommend going to AK on a day with morning extra magic hours or a normal day to attempt to ride the new rides? I was going to fast pass the river ride and try to maybe ride the other one at park opening?

    • Be sure to request a child swap at Flight of Passage before entering the line. I would choose a non-emh day

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