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Hang on when riding a banshee on an alien world!

Technology has sure come a long, long way. As I am sure all of you know, Disney has been a technology innovator in the entertainment industry for nearly a century. The gee-whiz things Disney does has helped inspire many like myself to pursue technology careers.

Once again Disney has used technology to create a "Wow!" experience. I am talking about the new Flight of Passage ride at Disney World in Florida. I visited there a few weeks ago on opening weekend of the new Pandora - World of Avatar land at Disney's Animal Kingdom park. The new land and this ride in particular are based on the top grossing movie of all time - Avatar. This new ride ("attraction" in Disney parlance) is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I got to ride it twice on this trip. This ride simulates a wild ride on the back of flying banshee like those found in the Avatar movie. The Na'vi word for the banshee is Ikran.

For those in need of a refresher or somehow missed seeing the movie, Avatar takes place on the moon Pandora, which orbits a planet in the Alpha Centauri system. The movie involves a conflict between humans who have come to mine precious materials on Pandora and the locals who call themselves the Na'vi. The Na'vi have a deep, spiritual connection to Pandora and nature.

Disney has recreated the world of Pandora. Here are some photos of this exotic land and the new ride:

Flight of Passage ride on a Banshee

Flight of Passage ride on a Banshee

 

The ride itself is breathtaking. You can actually hear and feel the banshee breathing underneath you and move up and down as it flaps its wings. You can feel the wind in your face as you move across the landscape.

There is a lot of water on Pandora, and between cool technology and the interaction with water we can make the connection to AFT and fluid flow. And don't forget the wind on your face. One of the very cool experiences during the ride is when the banshee swoops out over the ocean and along a cresting wave and as the wave crashes you can feel the spray of the water.

One of the core values that Disney conveys in Pandora (and the whole Animal Kingdom park) is one of conservation and appreciation for nature. This is certainly appropriate today as humankind endeavors to achieve a better balance between our mastery of nature and the preservation of that nature for future generations.

One of the Na'vi words you learn when going through this ride experience is Sivako! Which means "Rise to the challenge!". So here goes - SIVAKO!

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Tuesday, 31 January 2023
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