Disney Guests Surprised When “Avatar” Ride’s Only Animatronic is Missing

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na'vi river journey with a confused face where the shaman of song should be

There are two rides in Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

flight of passage screen
Credit: Disney

One of them, Avatar: Flight of Passage, is an intense simulator ride that boasted five-hour waits during peak season for over a year following its opening. From Disney:

Board your own mountain banshee and embark on a thrilling expedition, where interstellar explorers like you get an up-close look at this moon’s incredible landscape.

Bonding with a banshee is a crucial step in the life of a Na’vi hunter on Pandora—and flying on the back of one of these powerful creatures is an important rite of passage.

Now, as a visitor to Pandora, you finally have the chance to test yourself like a Na’vi!

Related: VIDEO: Animatronic From Na’vi River Journey Topples Over

The other ride, Na’vi River Journey, is a slow-moving boat ride through Pandora’s natural swamp. From Disney:

Feel a sense of wonder as the full beauty of the extraordinary dreamscape unfolds before your eyes.

On this visually stunning and mysterious river, you’ll glide through a series of caves and into a bioluminescent rainforest alive with the sights and sounds of exotic plants and creatures on all sides—even overhead.

Soon, you’ll join the legendary Na’vi Shaman of Songs, who demonstrates her deep connection to the life force of Pandora—and sends positive energy out into the forest through the power of her music.

Na’vi River Journey offers explorers an experience that has to be seen—and heard—to be believed!

For most Guests, the real delight comes at the end of Na’vi River Journey, when a beautiful animatronic Shaman of Songs truly brings the world of Avatar (2009) to life.

guests on na'vi river journey
Credit: Disney

Unfortunately, a few Guests had an unwelcome surprise at the end of their boat ride through Pandora this week. Instead of the Shaman of Songs, Guests were greeted with a screen replacement. u/RedVermicelli8060 posted to Reddit:

no shaman of songs animatronic at the end of river journey today ☹️ from WaltDisneyWorld

The Shaman of Songs animatronic has gone viral multiple times for breaking down mid-ride and occasionally goes missing for repairs or regular maintenance.

When the multi-million dollar animatronic was installed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney Imagineers placed her on a platform that can easily slide out of view of Guests without disturbing any of the surrounding props. This allows for easy and quick repair, unlike other animatronics at Walt Disney World, like the Yeti, which has been broken for years after Disney discovered its repetitive movement was damaging the Expedition Everest mountain’s infrastructure.

If you happen to find yourself aboard Na’vi River Journey when the Shaman of Songs animatronic is missing, some Reddit comments suggest asking for a return time from Cast Members to skip the line and ride again.

u/jeanvaljean_24601 wrote, “Yup, that happens. You can request a return time. In a later reply, the user said Disney is willing to give return times “because the shaman is pretty much the main reason to do the ride.”

family staring at tree in pandora world of avatar
Credit: Disney

Have you ever seen a missing or broken animatronic on a Disney ride? Let us know in the comments! 

If you want to visit Walt Disney World on your next family vacation to experience any of the four Disney Parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — but aren’t sure where to begin planning, then don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends over at the Authorized Disney Vacation Planners at Academy Travel for a free quote.



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