Excitement is really starting to build for the May 27th opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and most of fans’ enthusiasm has been centered around Avatar – Flight of Passage, the thrilling new attraction that will harness cutting-edge ride technology to deliver a completely unique attraction experience unlike anything else at Walt Disney World.

However, even though Walt Disney World fans are understandably excited for this exciting new attraction, there’s another ride coming soon to Pandora – The World of Avatar that you shouldn’t forget about: Na’vi River Journey.

Though this attraction will use a familiar boat ride system (similar to what is in use at Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, and countless other Walt Disney World attractions), this new ride will also be using some new technology all its own in ways that will push the boundaries of what this kind of ride can be. And here's how: 

1. Using projection in new ways

Image: Disney 

Projection technology has been behind a lot of the innovation inside Walt Disney World attractions, especially during the past decade. From transforming Cinderella Castle every night during the Once Upon a Time nighttime show to giving Anna and Elsa expressive faces on Frozen Ever After, projection has come a long way in the past few years. And it looks like we are on the cusp of another innovation with Na'Vi River Journey as well. 

During a recent video preview of this new attraction, Disney showcased a new projection technique that will bring some of Pandora's most exotic creatures to life in this ride. Guests will be able to see creatures in the background of the attraction interacting with real-life objects closer to the ride vehicle. 

Image: Disney

This type of combined effect will help deepen guests' perception of the attraction around them, hopefully creating a world that feels both large and immersive. Though other boat-ride attractions around Walt Disney World do a great job at making guests feel connected to the world around them, this new ride will literally use its walls to connect guests with the larger world of Pandora in a unique way that simply hasn't been attempted before. 

To truly appreciate this effect, one only needs to look as far as a classic boat ride like It's a Small World. While guests on this specific attraction are often in awe of the cute little dioramas singing along to the music, it's easy to tell where the ride ends simply by looking around for the walls. However, Na'Vi River Journey will create a sense of depth with these new projection effects that will hopefully extend the setting beyond its physical barriers, and truly transport guests to a whole new world. 



I'm pretty excited to see this in person. I really hope that Disney can find a solution to people using flash photography in darkrides because politely asking 30 times in the que does not seem to be working. At what point do you start enforcing the rules so that the experience is not lost to those who are considerate. Anyways, I'm much more confident about Avatarland today than I was 4 yrs ago. Well played Disney...well played.

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