Walt Disney World’s new ride in Animal Kingdom, Avatar: Flight of Passage, is the most talked about Disney attraction in years. People wait for hours for the chance to ride a simulated banshee in gorgeous Pandora. But what is this ride really like? Here’s a list of 10 facts and tips for riding Flight of Passage.
10. Motion Sick Warning
We’re all familiar with the standard ride warnings at Walt Disney World: don’t ride if you’re pregnant, have back or neck problems, or are prone to motion sickness. Typically, we ignore these warnings, assuming they’re mostly for legal purposes. But for Flight of Passage, these warnings are no joke. We rode with a guest who felt so sick just seconds into the ride that she had to close her eyes for the entire 4 minute duration. The combination of the movement of the vehicle and the action on the screen is too much for some guests – the good news is that if this is you, you’ll get relief by closing your eyes!
9. Unreal Wait Times
The number one thing most people have heard about Flight of Passage is its shocking wait times! The queue area was built to accommodate a 6-hour wait time, and lines still do reach 5-6 hours at times. Your best bet is to arrive first thing in the morning, but be aware that there will always be a substantial line for this attraction. If you’re staying on property, you can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours to get into the parks before other guests – and join the crowd making a beeline for Flight of Passage!
Personally, I think 5-6 hours is much too long to wait for even the most amazing ride in the world (and this attraction is pretty amazing!). Luckily, we were able to snag a FastPass+ for Flight of Passage. These are tough to get, and you’ll need to be ready early in the morning at your 60 day mark (this is if you’re staying on property; if not, you won’t be able to book FastPasses until 30 days before) to even have a chance of getting one. Remember that you can’t have a FastPass+ for both Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey in the same day.
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7. Queue Marvels
If you do find yourself waiting for 5 or 6 hours for Flight of Passage, at least you’ll have a lot to look at! You’ll have stunning views of Pandora’s floating mountains at the ride’s entrance. Then you’ll walk through a cave adorned with Na’vi paintings, before entering an abandoned RDA building. But the most magnificent part of the queue is discovered further down the path, where guests encounter the bioluminescent rainforest that has started to take over the ruins. You will truly feel like you’ve entered another world!
6. Pre-Show Research Labs
There are two pre-show videos for this attraction (which take place in the Pandora Conservation Initiative research labs) and they explain the ride so that even people who haven’t seen Avatar will understand and enjoy the experience. You’ll be asked to stand on your number and you’ll be “scanned” so that you can be linked with your avatar. The research lab environment sets the tone perfectly for the ride!
5. Customized Pre-Show
The second time we rode Flight of Passage, there was a delay ahead of us once we got into the research lab section, meaning that we had to spend more time in this section of the queue. We noticed that the second pre-show video we were watching was different than the first time we rode, when there was no delay – Disney has created an alternate pre-show video with additional back-story to use in case of delays on the ride. If you haven’t ridden before without delays, you won’t even realize it’s not the standard pre-show video!
4. Ride in Style
You’ve never ridden on a ride vehicle like this! Because Flight of Passage is designed to simulate the feeling of riding on the back of a banshee, your vehicle is a bit like a motorcycle that you straddle. So even though you’ll have people beside you, you’re on your own vehicle, which makes for a very individual ride! Note: the vehicle and restraints don’t accommodate all body shapes, so if in doubt, make sure you try out the sample ride vehicle at the entrance to the ride.
3. Moving Floor
Not only does your ride vehicle (or “banshee”) move during the attraction, but the floor your vehicle is on actually moves several feet throughout the ride. This means that when your banshee dives off a cliff, you will actually feel it, thanks to the pitching forward of your individual vehicle, and the dropping of the floor beneath you.
2. Banshee Connection
The most impressive part of Flight of Passage was, for us, the simple moments where we were able to enjoy riding our banshees. During quiet moments, you can not only hear your banshee’s breathing, but you’ll feel it too, because your ride chair was designed to simulate the creatures’ breathing. It feels a bit like riding a (flying) horse. There’s really no other ride in Walt Disney World that makes you feel so connected!
1. Complete Immersion
In Flight of Passage, Disney Imagineers have outdone themselves by creating an utterly immersive experience. Guests feel the bursts of sea spray and the breeze in their faces, they see the magnificent landscape of Pandora unfold before them, and they feel like they are actually flying through it on a living, breathing, banshee, thanks to the marvels of technology. All ride elements combine to completely convince your senses that you’re actually in Pandora. It’s the next best thing to being there.