2017 saw one of the greatest additions to the catalog of rides and attractions at Walt Disney World with Avatar: Flight of Passage. Almost immediately, the amazing 3D ride system, alongside the beautifully landscaped Pandora era of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, drew surmountable crowd levels, which still hold to this day.
Famed Imagineer Joe Rohde put his all into the land and attractions at one of Disney’s newest theme park lands, conjuring up literal floating mountains and Na’vi River Journey. Still, the prized possession of the new area would be Flight of Passage.
What is Flight of Passage?
Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom is an exhilarating and immersive ride that takes guests on a thrilling adventure through the world of Avatar. Located in the Pandora – The World of Avatar section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Flight of Passage offers a unique and unforgettable experience that combines cutting-edge technology with breathtaking visuals.
As guests enter the attraction, they are greeted by the Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) team, who provide an introduction to the Na’vi people and their unique connection to the planet Pandora. Guests then proceed to the Flight of Passage Queue, which is designed to resemble a research facility belonging to ACE.
Once inside the research facility, guests are invited to participate in the Avatar Program, where they can link their minds to avatars resembling the Na’vi people. This allows them to experience the exhilarating flight on the back of a banshee, a dragon-like creature that serves as a mode of transportation on Pandora.
After completing the necessary preparations, guests are led to the Flight of Passage ride vehicle, which simulates the sensation of riding on the back of a banshee, or an “Ikran.” The rider’s feet are secured, and a safety restraint is applied, ensuring a comfortable and secure experience.
A Ride Experience Like No Other
As the ride begins, guests are transported to the awe-inspiring world of Pandora. They are taken on a breathtaking journey through the bioluminescent forests, soaring over floating mountains, and diving into deep valleys.
The motion simulator technology, combined with 3D visuals and sensory effects, creates a truly immersive experience that makes guests feel like they are really flying on the back of a banshee.
Throughout the ride, guests can feel the banshee breathing beneath them, sense the wind rushing through their hair, and even experience the splashes of water as they fly over rivers and waterfalls. The realistic visuals and thrilling sensations make Flight of Passage an absolute must-visit attraction for any Disney World guest.
Flight of Passage Remains Popular
It is worth noting that Flight of Passage is a popular attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and wait times can be significant, especially during peak seasons. Utilizing Disney’s Lightning Lane access, a paid upgrade available through the Disney Genie service is highly recommended to minimize wait times and enhance your overall experience.
Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom is a testament to the unparalleled storytelling and innovation that Disney is known for. It is an attraction that offers guests the opportunity to embark on a truly extraordinary adventure, immersing them in the magical world of Avatar and leaving them with memories that will last a lifetime.
However, some have noticed that the extremely popular attraction doesn’t look the same as it did when the land first opened, increasing concerns that the A+ attraction may not be worth the wait any longer.
Current Issues Plague the Ride
Pandora is a fantastic addition to Walt Disney World. Where else are you going to be able to see lifelike animatronics, bioluminescent flora, and even a floating mountain or two?
Still, as guests’ interaction and time wears on, Flight of Passage, in all its glory, is not immune to the test of time, and many guests, including myself, have pointed out that the ride doesn’t carry the same awe that it did initially, mostly because they view is blurred.
Reddit user u/Personal-Locksmith86 made the same observation recently, with many respondents offering up potential reasonings for the blurry views of Pandora. The majority pointed out that the 3D glasses utilized to bring the ride to life are worn and don’t work as well as they should.
However, one user u/just-a-pran-han discussed a different cause, one that seems like a probable culprit:
“So, from my understanding, it’s an issue with the position of the projector. Essentially, they haven’t adjusted the projectors since it opened. Over time, they move, and the 3D visual experience changes. This has been a known issue since 2-3 years ago!”
This makes sense, as we’ve noticed other simulator rides such as Mission Space, Star Tours, and even some of the Harry Potter attractions at Universal Studios having the same issue.
Is It Time to Shut It Down?
In terms of shutting down the ride, that’s a tough ask of Disney World. Flight of Passage holds a record standby line at times. Its popularity is only matched by Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Rise of the Resistance.
Still, the Animal Kingdom ride and the beautiful queue could use some tender love and care from Walt Disney Imagineering, who currently has their hands full with building brand-new attractions like Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
The ride is still fabulous in all that it offers. Seriously, despite it’s issues, it’s still one of the best rides at Disney.
If you don’t mind warped national landmarks on Soarin’, the blurry aspect of Flight of Passage won’t bother you much. However, for someone who will only get one shot to enjoy this extremely popular attraction, having an obscured view of the digital property brought to life by James Cameron is probably not what Disney wants in terms of customer satisfaction.
At some point, Walt Disney World will have to put the Pandora Conservation Initiative on hold and reroute guests to other attractions and offerings like Satu’li Canteen or Na’vi River Journey so they can keep the expensive ride system as incredibly enjoyable as ever.