I’ve posted about Disney’s Animal Kingdom a couple times, and like Disney Magic, each time I visit it’s a new adventure in one way or another. On this excursion we saw a new production called UP! A Great Bird Adventure, a night show called Rivers of Light, and because all FastPasses were issued, we had to wait in line to see Avatar’s Flight of Passage.
Waiting In Line
So, I’ve been on the ride Flight of Passage before, but I had not waited in line for it. Let me just take this moment to say, SO many industries could learn from Disney on how to make “waiting in line” engaging. (Hey, airports take note!) You ready for this? Disney crafted this queue (line) to accommodate a SIX HOUR WAIT TIME! Let that sink in for a moment. Heading for that “dreaded” queue, we must go through the floating mountains and careening valleys of the Mo’ara Valley.
Our wait was “only” TWO and a half hours. I believe the line experience at Disney to be a bit of an attraction unto itself. While waiting, we learn the backstory of the Na’vi (the people of the jungle moon of Pandora.) And, I’m talking the whole backstory: beginning with their ancient ancestral cave drawings!
Then we wander through the remnants of the crumbling mine company which wrecked havoc on the peaceful Na’vi lands (the premise of the Avatar movie.)
As we climb through the old airlock chambers you begin to see the Pandoran jungle taking over. We see the classic story of civilization vs nature… while waiting in line. In this case, I think it was a luminescent nature overtaking a crushed mining company.
Soon – well, maybe not “soon” – we enter the science labs. All these studies are presumably for conservation efforts to protect the people and their environment. It was like walking right into a movie set.
Finally, the ride. There are two video introductions which are somewhat interactive. Essentially they explain “the science” of being linked to your avatar. Then, you are led to your personal Banshee (the ACTUAL ride.) I timed it: from 1st video to end of ride = about 20 minutes. The actual ride = 85 seconds. Now, let that sink in.
The ride is sight, sound, smell, and sensation: misty mountains, animal life, wind blowing through your hair, you can even feel the Banshee breathing between your legs! One of the most immersive ride experiences you can imagine.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. It’s a sweet, sweet animated story. It had me bawling in the first “act”, essentially a silent movie.
Back to the Disney show, in the Great Bird Adventure, we follow Russell & his dog, as Russell pursues his scout Wilderness Badge. It’s a corny story line, but in the show we see the bond between human and bird. It can be quite remarkable. Their connection was palpable.
Rivers of Light
This is a night show incorporating light, water, and shadow projection. It is a bit of a “take it, or leave it” experience, but worth it because we had never seen it, no waiting in line and it was a welcomed sit-down opportunity to our day. Even Carli hadn’t seen it. My favorite part of this show was the appearance of Northern Lights. I have never seen them, but I felt as though I came real close with this production.
One Last Photo Compilation to Share
I just have to include the photos from the meal we had at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora. Again, Disney magic at work incorporating every nuance into the theme of the Pandora landscape: