PHOTOS, VIDEO, REVIEW: Adopt A Shoulder Banshee in Pandora – The World of AVATAR, The Next Big Theme Park Souvenir

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The Windtraders shop in Pandora: The World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has some rather unique merchandise experiences, one of which is the ability to adopt a “Shoulder Banshee” creature to bring back with you to Earth.

These creatures are available near the front of the shop after you wait in a small queue area for your turn to make an adoption. Interested guests are then brought closer to the perches where dozens of the Ikran sit (Ikran is what the Na’vi call these creatures). Guests are given a few moments to pick out a Banshee that “speaks to them” (you can try a few on and test the controls until you are happy with one), then you can choose to adopt and take a pledge to do so. You can see us go through this entire process in our video below:

Once the oath is taken, guests may purchase (or adopt) the creature, and a display perch at an additional charge. The price to adopt a Banshee is $49.99 and no discounts of any kind are applicable. Perches for the Banshees are $14.95 and can be discounted (annual pass, cast member, etc.). Perches are obviously not a mandatory purchase with any Banshee.

Why are these so cool? As illustrated in the video above, the creatures have three ranges of motion (wing-flap, head turn, and mouth movement) and also have sound effects. On top of that, they are just a really neat thing to wear on your shoulder and certainly garner a lot of attention around the parks (at least during these early days of their existence). Cast Members on Pandora are very receptive to those wearing the creatures, and we saw some really cute interactions during our previews, especially with younger guests.

The Banshee stay attached to you via magnets underneath, with a magnetic pad provided that you can put under the shoulder of your shirt to hold them in place above it. I was worried that they would easily fall off, but they stay on there pretty well. The magnetic pad for under your shirt and a belt clip for the controller are provided upon purchase. The Banshee can also be boxed upon purchase should you decide that you don’t want to wear it just yet (or ever, I suppose).

Magnetic shoulder harness
Magnetic shoulder harness

The motion is all accomplished by a pneumatic control connected via a black wire to the back of the creature. The control is probably my only grievance with the piece, as it can be a bit hard to use at times, especially for children, but it’s not enough to not want to take one of these guys home with you.

I did buy the perch as well (for both of my adoptions), which is really great for home display. The long cord connected to the Banshee is held nicely underneath the stand, and there is even a place to lock in the controller on the back, out of sight. I highly recommend this if you will want to display it at home.

Once Pandora: The World of Pandora opens on May 27th, 2017, don’t be surprised if you start seeing these shoulder Banshees all over the Walt Disney World Resort.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

20 Comments

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  • Awesome – I hope they stock a lot of these all the time. My daughter’s going to want a blue one (and she’ll call it a dragon, sorry….she’s crazy for dragons and hasn’t seen “Avatar”). These guys will also be a big hit at Renaissance Faires.

    • It feels rubbery, I was actually impressed by the texture and everyone at the parks is in love with them. Saw one at Epcot the other day with a little sombrero on.

  • I know my little Na’vi warriors are each going to need their own ikran, which poses a problem for the flight home. Will Disney ship them back?

  • I work for a company called The Midsummer Knight’s Dream. We’ve been selling high-quality fine art fantasy puppets like these at renaissance festivals and sci-fi / fantasy conventions for over 30 years. I’m not going to accuse Disney of malfeasance but I personally sold our puppets to Disney executives and cast members at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando in 2010. Take that how you will.

    • Did you sell your “high quality fine art puppet” to James Cameron? These are based on his movie Avatar. Dragons of all kinds have been a universal figure in the public domain for a hundred years. You did not “invent” them, so get over it.

      • Banshees small enough to sit on a human or Na’vi shoulder do not appear in James Cameron’s film.

        I never claimed we invented the concept of dragons that sit on your shoulder (and any claims otherwise are a straw man argument). That honor goes to the late author Anne McCaffrey, with her Dragonriders of Pern series, started in the late 1960s.

        We have, however, invented Cable Puppets that sit on your shoulder and are held in place with a magnetic plate.

        • No one cares pal. Stop trying to sell us your garbage puppets we came to this site for avatar banshees buddy.

    • I have one of the Midsummer Knight’s Dream puppets, I’ve owned it for a few years now and absolutely love its quality, and that it was personally crafted in custom-picked colors. I just purchased a shoulder banshee today, and compared both- the mechanism is VERY similar, but the Disney puppet feels almost cheap, and mass-produced, by comparison- which it is, so that isn’t surprising. The controller is easier to handle on the banshee, however, I think the twisting knob of my original puppet allows for more subtle, realistic motions. The banshees are definitely a copy of the cable puppet design, with a different body and more funding to make them fancy.
      That said, I still enjoy both puppets greatly.

  • These puppets are amazing. They sell out very quickly. We got lucky and arrived at the shop first thing in the morning and got one just as they sold out. Not everyone who wanted one in our party got one and they don’t expect more for another week! So for folks hoping to get your hands on one, go to the shop first thing if you want a chance of getting one.

    They have a lovely rubbery feel and the three movements of head, wings, and opening mouth make them very entertaining! Each movement is controlled by a wire cable (like for your breaks on bicycles) so they work best if you control the puppet from the opposite hand from the shoulder it perches on and keep the cable straight.

    Good luck to those hoping to get one!

  • Has anyone had a problem with their Banshee’s mouth and wings not opening properly?
    Our were working well, but now seem to have stopped.

    • I have noticed that mine did not work so well when the cable was wrapped on the perch and for a while afterward I took it off. I think the cables inside got twisted around each other a bit when I did that. I left the controller dangling off a table to straighten it and it works as well as it did when I got it now. Though mine never worked as good as the one in the video. I expect the cables are a little loose.

  • My daughters banshee was $59.99 plus tax (not $49) and her perch was $24.99 (not $15)…..prices must have already increased. Upon arriving at our hotel her banshee box did not have the shoulder magnet or belt clip, talk about disappointed. Also….the banshee does not sit well on its perch, it doesn’t even seem the magnets are working to hold it in place, is this normal?

  • Prices are currently $64 for the banshee. It’s a neat toy, but unfortunately our son lost the shoulder piece before we even left the park, so watch out for that. We’re trying to get in touch with someone a out buying another piece, but may have to improvise with some creative DIY with Home Depot resources.