One thing this process of 24 Days of Thanksgiving has taught me is that there is a LOT to be thankful for. Each day when I start thinking about what I want to write about, I find myself jumping all over the place with different things I’m thankful for. Narrowing it down has definitely been a challenge each time I write one of these! There is so much to be thankful for from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and now all of the 20th Century Studios! To narrow it down, I tend to start thinking about different experiences I’ve had and then wait for something to jump forward. Today, I am feeling pulled toward Florida and something that always makes me smile.
Go with me to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and then even more specifically, Pandora – The World of Avatar. As we walk through this gorgeous land we eventually find ourselves walking up into the mountains as a part of the queue of Avatar Flight of Passage. First off, this queue is an adventure in itself to go through. During this process, we get to wander through tunnels, through the fauna of Pandora itself, and then finally enter the base where there is a lot of lab work going on. Here, we must get ready to be paired with our avatar. This is the moment that I am thankful for. We get briefed by a grad student who gets us ready to “and uh, fly.” This briefing is one of the most memorable preshow sequences of a Disney attraction. It stands out to me because of how iconic it is with the likes of Patrick Warburton in Soarin’.
There are so many incredible moments in Avatar Flight of Passage but this is the moment that always makes me smile. I don’t know if it is amazing or something else. I do know it is memorable and how awkward it is always makes me smile every time. I’m so thankful that this actor, named David Danipour, was cast for this role and made it a little bit more of his own. Rather than it being perfect and polished, the fact that it feels like an awkward grad student trying to not mess up just makes it even better. It creates a character and a story in the few minutes that guests see him while getting ready to board the attraction. I love these kinds of details and am so thankful that Disney makes them come to life.
If you’d like to see this, go about 20 minutes into this video and you’ll see our favorite grad student brief us. I’m not aware of his name if he has one. I am aware that he is really good at what he does and I always look forward to his briefing when experiencing this attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
What are some of the characters and character moments that you are thankful for in Disney theme parks? Is there any that stand out to you? Share who and what you are thankful for in the comments below!