Animal Kingdom’s Best Attraction Is Also Its Most Inaccurate

flight of passage, jake and neytiri covered by a 'cancelled' sign, mountain banshee

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is home to thousands of animals and a handful of attractions. But this Disney Park’s most popular attraction is also its most flawed, in terms of in-universe logic, that is.

Na'vi River Journey

Credit: Disney

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When Avatar Flight of Passage first debuted, Guests were blown away (albeit a little confused as to why Disney installed Pandora: The World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom). Years later, Guests are still blown away by this attraction. However, diehard fans of James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) film may have noticed some inconsistencies.

Avatar movie

Credit: 20th Century

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The story behind Pandora: The World of Avatar is that Guests are visiting the Valley of Mo’ara, a place that is never mentioned in James Cameron’s Avatar series. This is done so that Guests can feel that their experience is entirely original and isn’t tethered to a place they may have already experienced by watching the movies.

The story behind Avatar Flight of Passage is essentially this: Guests are visiting the Valley of Mo’ara and are given the unique opportunity to take place in the Na’vi rite of passage (also known as ‘iknimaya’) which involves taming a mountain banshee (or ‘ikran’).

Guests are linked to an existing Avatar which shares similar enough DNA. Not only that, but the Avatar is already sitting on the back of a mountain banshee, so Guests are ready for liftoff. This is where the most significant plot holes come into play.

banshee from james cameron's "Avatar"

Credit: James Cameron’s “Avatar”

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For context, it’s established in the film that an Avatar is a lab-grown hybrid genetically engineered by combining Na’vi DNA and human DNA. Therefore, each Avatar can only link with an exact DNA match. By that logic, it’s impossible to connect with a random Avatar made from someone else’s DNA.

However, the biggest plot hole is the fact that the Avatar itself is already sitting on the back of the mountain banshee. The film also establishes that the Avatars are essentially lifeless once the driver is no longer linked. They may appear to be in a very deep sleep, but there is no consciousness, and the Avatar body is unable to wake up without the driver linking to it.

So, that begs the question: how is the Avatar already sitting upright on an ikran when Guests link up to it? How has the bond already been made between the Avatar and the ikran if the Avatar’s body was ‘asleep’ on the mountain banshee’s back?

There are no answers to these questions, namely because Guests aren’t meant to be asking them at all.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Credit: Disney

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Although these plot holes are likely only noticeable or distracting to hardcore Avatar fans, they’re incredibly problematic regarding the in-universe rules that have been established.

But is it enough to ruin the experience for said hardcore Avatar fans? It certainly isn’t for this one! Avatar Flight of Passage is such an immersive, amazing experience that even plot holes as glaring as these can be ignored for the sake of the attraction.

At the end of the day, expending any energy on an attraction’s failure to follow in-universe rules is simply not worth the effort. It’s much more fun just to suspend your belief a little further and try not to let the inconsistencies bother you. Instead, sit back and enjoy the ride!

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.