Passage Through Pandora: 4 Na’vi River Journey Facts

Aaron WidmarAnimal Kingdom, Blog

The Shaman that welcomes visitors to the world of Pandora on the Na'vi River Journey

Want to discover the secrets of Pandora’s most beautiful attraction? Here are four must-know Na’vi River Journey facts for your next Avatar excursion.

Pandora: The World of Avatar is perhaps one of the most beautiful places in all of Walt Disney World. This breathtaking region in the Animal Kingdom park does a magnificent job capturing the majesty and creativity of James Cameron’s groundbreaking 2009 movie.

The Na’vi River Journey takes you through a unique ride along the Kasvapan River, where you’ll witness the planet’s flora and fauna illuminated in the midst of night. It’s more tranquil than other rides at Animal Kingdom—including Flight of Passage, the other highlight of Pandora—but the Na’vi River Journey still has a lot for you to discover. 

To help you along on your voyage, here are four Na’vi River Journey facts you need to know.

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An Educational Backstory

Some of the Pandoran wildlife on the Na'vi River Journey

Photo by Cliff Wang

If you aren’t paying attention when boarding your reed boat to float down the Kaspavan River, you might not realize why you’re taking this voyage– but there is a reason you’re here

Your journey is one of an outsider; a visitor to the exo-moon of Pandora. 

Having traveled from your home planet of Earth, you’re on a trek to see and appreciate Pandora first-hand. Your excursion, facilitated by the Alpha Centauri Expeditions eco-tourism organization, will bring you to one of the most secluded and sacred spots on the planet.

You’re not intruding, though. The Shaman of Songs actually arranged with A.C.E. to bring visitors to her village to introduce them to the planet and its spiritual value to her people.

Think of this as a journey to learn rather than a mission with a goal to accomplish.

You’ll Sing in a Different Tongue

The Shaman that welcomes visitors to the world of Pandora on the Na'vi River Journey

Photo by Brett Svenson

Near the conclusion of the ride, when you’re in the presence of the Shaman of Songs, you’ll be treated to the stirring music of the Na’vi people. 

The song, led by the reclusive sage, is entitled “Way Tiretuä” and features lyrics in Naʼvi, the language developed by linguistics professor Dr. Paul Frommer for the 2009 film. 

Translated into English, “Way Tiretuä” is about everyone in the forest connected as one and calling out together to Ewya, the Great Mother.

You don’t have to wait in line whenever you want to hear the moving melody, though. The song is captured in peak audio quality as a track in the official park soundtrack, Pandora: The World of Avatar. Yes, Pandora is one of the few places in Walt Disney World with its own dedicated, publicly released soundtrack. 

Cutting Edge Imagineering

A six-legged creature visible through a leaf on the Na'vi River Journey

Photo by Courtney Reynolds

 The Na’vi River Journey was groundbreaking when it opened in 2017. Disney Imagineers put all their creativity and cutting-edge technology into the attraction to make it unlike anything parkgoers had seen before.

The ride uses semi-transparent video screens and video projections to make the environment seem much bigger than it actually is—including a screen 100 feet tall and 70 feet wide.

At the time of its debut, the Shaman of Songs was an unprecedented accomplishment, the most advanced audio-animatronic the company had ever created. Its fluid movements and lifelike details truly bring the character to life. 

In fact, all the animals, characters, and foliage of the forest were designed to look as realistic as possible.

Lines are Shorter in the Evening

Some of the wild plants that make up the Pandoran jungle

Photo by Cliff Wang

The Na’vi River Journey has a reputation for being a popular attraction with long wait times, so it’s a great idea to ride late at night. 

In addition to usually having shorter wait times the later you board, it’s also less jarring when you leave the dark ride and head back outdoors. Walking out into the nighttime glow of Pandora preserves your immersion.

What makes the Na’vi River Journey a great ride for families is that there are no height or age restrictions. It’s a slow, peaceful ride that you can take together, even if the other rides in the park tend to give you motion sickness. Just keep in mind that guests in wheelchairs will have to transfer to the boat.

Na’vi River Journey Facts

Some of the Pandoran wildlife on the Na'vi River Journey

Photo by Laurie Sapp

You’ll want to take the Na’vi River Journey a couple of times to catch everything, as it’s less than five minutes long. There are so many details to spot when taking a ride on the Kasvapan River that you can appreciate them all in a single pass.

Hopefully, these trivia tidbits will help you appreciate the wonder of this underappreciated Animal Kingdom attraction.

What’s YOUR favorite attraction at Pandora– The World of Avatar? Tell us in the comments on our Facebook page!


About the Author

Aaron Widmar

Aaron Widmar is a lifelong fan of the artistic and emotional power of animation to tell stories. He was raised on Disney VHS tapes as a child and even as an adult still loves re-watching his favorites. Aaron is a professional writer in a variety of fields, including the automotive industry. Although he and his wife Vicki don’t travel to Walt Disney World as often as they’d like, he can escape to the Disney-themed room of their house whenever he needs creative inspiration.