Originally, discussions were held about creating an Avatar-themed attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, perhaps at the park's then-functioning Studio Backlot Tour. Instead, Tom Staggs suggested to incorporate the film into a newly designed "land" at Disney's Animal Kingdom to improve the park's attraction roster. On September 17, 2011, a long-term exclusivity deal was signed between Disney, Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment, and Fox Filmed Entertainment.
This deal was officially announced to the public on September 20, 2011, on the Disney Parks Blog. The highlight of the announcement was that Disney's Animal Kingdom would receive a new themed area entirely devoted to Avatar.
The Na'vi Shaman animatronic seen towards the end of the ride is the most advanced animatronic ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering, boasting incredibly-realistic movement.
Boarding a hand-woven reed boat provided by Alpha Centauri Expeditions, guests take a journey down the sacred Kaspavan River into the colorful bioluminiscent rainforest. After a Na'vi scout greets us on the shore, the boat passes by viperwolves and hexapedes with woodsprites, panopyra and fan lizards floating up into the canopies. After passing under leaves that creatures above are hopping between, the boats come across a Na'vi tribe and their direhorses walking to a great ceremonial site. Passing by a waterfall, we finally see the Shaman of Songs leading the Na'vi into a musical celebration of their bond with Ewya. After this encounter, the boats enter a cave with various offerings and return to the loading docks.
The Shaman's Song
- Main article: The Shaman's Song
- "Thomas Staggs: Disney’s Heir, Apparently", The New York Times (April 25, 2015). Retrieved on April 26, 2015.
- Chmielewski, Dawn C. (20 September 2011). "Details emerge on Disney's plans to bring 'Avatar' to its parks". Retrieved on 23 September 2011.
- Smith, Thomas (20 September 2011). "AVATAR Coming To Disney Parks". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved on 23 September 2011.