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).
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.