Avatar Flight of Passage IS Disney’s next greatest thrill ride! The Imagineers did not disappoint on the main event for their new world of Pandora land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The best part of the whole thing is they managed to find a way to make a thrill ride that was still family friendly versus other Disney attractions, such as Mission Space and Expedition Everest, which are way too intense for the whole family. Don’t get me wrong, Avatar Flight of Passage is highly intensive due to its immersive nature, but it manages to take you to the edge without over doing. In other words, I don’t expect to see a bunch of sick people piled up outside this attraction.
I was lucky enough to scoop up a spot in the Disney’s Annual Passholder’s previews for Pandora: The World of Avatar that was offered two weeks before the opening date of May 27th, 2017. The Flight of Passage has to be the most anticipated ride of the two that are opening in. Now I am a huge ride CHICKEN! I was so nervous going onto the Flight of Passage because there is so little information out there on what the heck is going to happen to you. I don’t like to be dropped, I don’t want to be spun, basically, I don’t want to be sick. So I am going to share my ride through experience with you, yes there is SPOILERS ahead! This way you can decide if this attraction is suitable for you and your family.
Disney states Avatar Flight of Passage as, “a banshee’s eye view of the beauty and grandeur of Pandora on a rite of passage you won’t soon forget!” Also, they used, “Fly on the back of a mountain banshee during an exhilarating, 3D ride above this vast moon.” You can see how this left much to the imagination on how they would simulate this ride.
The Flight of Passage Queue
Explore the walls of the cave to see the foreshadowing of what’s ahead on your Avatar adventure.
Make sure you wear your comfy shoes because this has to be the longest queue I have seen for a Disney attraction to date. If you are in the standby line you will start by meandering underneath the floating rocks and traveling upwards into the mountains. This is where you want to whip those cameras out and snap a family shot because you can really get some great stuff. After what feels like a mile long walk, you then journey inside the mountain. Here cave-like tunnels have been carved out and painted on. This is where you get a picture of what is ahead. The walls are covered with drawings of the Banshee and Navi.
Journey into a dark jungle lit with amazing flowers and plants.
Next, you head into this amazing bioluminescence zone. I think I have forgotten to mention that from the second you step foot in this new world the sound of animals, bugs, and nature surround you. The same hold true for this queue makes this portion a little spooky, if ya know, bugs aren’t your thing. While in the forest you stumble across the scientist lab, where they are clearly researching the life on Pandora as well as how to link to the Navi.
Take a peek at one of the desks.
In this room, you also come across the creepiest part of the cue.
A FULL-size Avatar in some sort of incubation tank. He moves, looks real, and I was just waiting for his eyes to pop open and someone to cue the scary movie background music. All joking aside be sure to take a look around and soak in all the hidden gems, there is so much to see!
After the scientist labs, you are so close! You enter a giant room where you can see humans getting linked to their Avatars by a computer. Then it is on to the sorting. You will line up in groups of 14 people to enter into the preshow rooms. A cast member will assign you a number before you enter. Remember this, because you will need to find your number a few more times.
Preshow for Flight of Passage
Inside the first pre-show room for Flight of Passage.
Once you have waited and waited now it’s time for the show! Well, two preshows to be exact. The first room you go into explains the adventure you are about to embark on. Inside this room, you will link to an Avatar who is flying on a Banshee. As you know if you watched the movie, is an important rite of passage for the Navi.
What happens to you in this room? They run some strobe lights during scans and blow some air while they decontaminate you and find you Avatar match.
The next preshow room is just a safety video. They run down how you are going to board your link machine. The link machine is the device you sit on and allows you to experience flying on a Banshee.
Loading onto your Avatar Link Chair
The ride vehicle is unique to Walt Disney World, and there is a lot of discussion online about the leg and back restraints. Similar to the Tron Coaster in Shanghai Disney, the vehicles are similar to a motorcycle, with a seat that you straddle. The automated restraints are built directly into the seat and are engaged directly before the ride starts. Because the seats are meant to keep your body safe throughout the experience, you’ll feel pressure as they are turned on.
Let’s talk about how comfortable they may or may not be. Every body type is different, and when creating an experience like Flight of Passage with new technologies, the ride designers have made conscious decisions to give as much information prior to guests being seated in the experience, without spoiling. With guests of larger frames, it’s similar to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, where you may end up being a little uncomfortable. The difference with Disney’s version is that you’re riding a vehicle that looks like a motorcycle, so your body is in a leaning position.
For us, the loading part took quite some time. It was a nice distraction to have the screens in front of you telling you how much progress has been made on linking. Our progress bar stayed around 64% for a long time and then all of a sudden before I could bail out we were linked and off!
- Must transfer to standard wheelchair, and then to ride vehicle
- Audio Description
- Assistive Listening
- Handheld Captioning
- Video Captioning
- The seating and restraints of this attraction may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from riding.
- Supervise children at all times. Children under age 7 years must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older.
Due to the nature of the experience, service animals are not permitted on this attraction.
- WARNING! For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.
- Supervise children at all times.
Children under age 7 years must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older.
Flying on Pandora’s Flight of Passage
A look at what expect on the Avatar Flight of Passage.
I really can’t explain how the next part starts. All of a sudden you go from sitting in this room to out flying over the moon of Pandora. This whole process happens so fast you don’t even really realize what is happening. Of course, almost immediately your Banshe
e takes a deep dive, this prompted me to first scream and then immediately shut my eyes. This is when I realized I could breathe again and I was going to be okay.
The platform that you start on slides out enabling your link chair to move up and down as the Banshee flew. You are in front of a giant screen like that of Soarin. This screen, however, is so crisp and realistic it’s a whole new ballgame. Much like the cars on Dinosaur all you are doing is being tilted and go up and down just a few feet.
So fear not! If it gets too scary, intense, or starts to feel like you are free falling hundreds of feet in the air just close your eyes. It helps me return to a semi-reasonable heart rate so I could watch some more. The other plus of this ride is it isn’t nausea inducing mess that can be Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Simpsons, or even sometimes Star Tours. Worst case, the movie is four and a half minutes long, you close your eyes and bounce around a bit.
The flight itself is full of surprises, I won’t give them all away here. Be on the lookout for some of the unique creatures of Pandora. One of my favorite parts was taking in the smells as well. Even be sure to notice that you can feel the Banshee breathing breath you as you ride around.
You can watch a video of the walkthrough up to the actual attraction here! If you don’t mind spoilers we also have the video of the flight of passage as well!
We’re going to be putting together more reviews of the World of Pandora, including dining, merchandise and other fun stuff! Stay tuned to WDWVacationTips.com for more of our insights into this amazing new land for Disney’s Animal Kingdom!