A Rare Behind the Scenes Look at Disney World's Most Advanced Audio-Animatronic Character

A lot of us are still scratching our heads over Disney’s decision to spend millions of dollars building Pandora—The World of Avatar in its Animal Kingdom park, especially with Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opening so soon. But at least the themed area, which is celebrating its one year anniversary, led to the creation of one of Disney’s most advanced (and seriously impressive) audio-animatronic characters: the Shaman of Songs.


Audio-animatronic isn’t the most accurate way to describe the Shaman. The term was originally trademarked by Disney back in 1964 to describe a technology that used pre-recorded tones to trigger pneumatic movements in animated figures. Today most of the animatronics in Disney’s parks rely on servos, electronics, and other modern technologies that allow for more fluid movement, and even real-time interactions with park guests.

Seeing the Shaman of Songs in action is almost enough to make me want to visit Animal Kingdom’s Pandora—almost. But if Disney offered a behind-the-scenes tour, with a version of the character revealing all of the intricate motors and electronics underneath the blue skin and clothing that make it work, I’d be on a plane to Florida tomorrow.



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I think we had this discussion when you were writing about the stilt/mecha meet n’ greet things in Pandora. I grant you we were scratching our heads about this section of the park when it was announced in... 2011, I think. It seemed strange that they would invest heavily in something Pandora themed, when there wasn’t that sense of rapturous devotion to Avatar and the franchise didn’t exist yet.

But scratching our heads still? The investment seems to have paid off, I would imagine. Why the ongoing tone (at least in this and the other article) of “Oh man this land is so lame, you couldn’t get me to go there”? Have you been, either during day or night? Have you ridden either this ride or Flight of Passage? FoP was FANTASTIC. Even knowing nothing about Avatar/Pandora (which is probably true for many guests), the area is immersive, FoP is technically outstanding, and STILL the two rides are drawing wait times of over an hour, at 9 PM on a Wednesday, and they’ve been open over a year.

You don’t have to stan for Pandora, but as other readers have said before, it’s hard to understand why you write about it like you do.