Avatar Flight of Passage IS Disney’s newest 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. So with all that said you may be wondering just how scary Avatar Flight of Passage is. Well after many rides on it over the years I can let you know what to expect from Avatar Flight of Passage.
What is Flight of Passage?
The Flight of Passage is the most anticipated ride of the two that opened in Pandora at the Animal Kingdom. Now full disclaimer, I am a huge ride CHICKEN! I was so nervous going onto the Flight of Passage for the first time because there was 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 are 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
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 waiting 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.
Fun fact that when they built this attraction they knew it was going to be very popular so it’s designed to accommodate up to a six hour wait time! Thankfully now that the ride has been open for several years it doesn’t get quite that high but is still often a multi-hour wait.
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. Just a little foreshadowing for your adventure to come.
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 holds true for this queue, making 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 of Pandora as well as how to link to the Navi.
In this room, you also come across the creepiest part of the queue, a FULL-size Avatar in some sort of incubation tank. He moves, and looks real, 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 pre-show room. 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.
Pre-show Video for Flight of Passage
Once you have waited and waited now it’s time for the show! Well, two pre-shows 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 an Avatar match.
The next pre-show 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 discussions 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. Everyone has a different body type 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.
If you are worried about waiting in a 2-hour line only to find out that you can not securely ride on Flight of Passage there is a test vehicle outside the attraction. Here there is normally a cast member who can advise you on how to properly get into the vehicle.
It’s an unusual seat, much like that of climbing on a bicycle or a motorcycle and there is a harness that comes down behind you to securely hold you in. It’s definitely something that may be uncomfortable to some.
For us on our first go, 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!
Do you Need Lightning Lane for Flight of Passage?
This attraction is a premium ride so it’s not included in your standard Genie + purchase. You need to buy an individual lightning lane for this ride and that will run you anywhere from $11 – $14. The pricing is scaled depending on demand and time of year.
If you are a resort guest and get early entry then I recommend not splurging for the Lightning Lane on this attraction. However, if you don’t get early entry or you sleep in then I recommend buying it. The wait for this attraction is next to never below an hour and will eat up a lot of your day here at Animal Kingdom.
Also, note that if you do opt for the Lightning Lane you will miss out on the majority of the queue, including that famous Avatar floating a tank.
Stats for Flight of Passage
Accessibility for Flight of Passage
- Must transfer to standard wheelchair, and then to ride vehicle
- Audio Description
- Assistive Listening
Advisories for Flight of Passage
- 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 the age of 7 years must be accompanied by a person 14 years or older.
Due to the nature of the experience, service animals are not permitted at this attraction.
- Rider switch offered.
- 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 the age of seven years must be accompanied by a person aged 14 years or older.
How Long is Avatar Flight of Passage
If you are going to wait 1-3 hours in line for a ride you want to make sure it’s worth your wait. While the very long queue is packed with lots to look at the ride itself where you fly on a Banshee is just 5 minutes long.
How Scary is the Avatar Flight Ride?
I started out the article stating that I was a huge chicken, so did I find this ride scary? Well the first go, frankly yes. Once I realized what was happening, no. Flight of Passage is most similar to Soarin’ just with a fancy individual seat that makes you feel like you are flying. If it gets too overwhelming or scary, I just simply close my eyes and it’s instantly less intense.
This ride simulates big swoops and drops but thankfully you are only taking small dips and tilting. The magic of the wind they are blowing back up at you makes it seem like you are dropping much more than you really are. Again this is where closing your eyes work like a charm. I have been able to repeat this ride with no issues.
Will Flight of Passage Give You Motion Sickness?
Of course, this is a hard topic to cover as motion sickness is so different for each individual. However, since Flight of Passage is a simulator-based attraction the chances of getting motion sick are very real. Thankfully, I have not gotten motion sick from this particular attraction nor have any of my family members or friends we have visited the parks with. To give you some more insight I do get sick on rides like Star Tours and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (located at Universal Orlando).
Flight of Passage often gets compared to Soarin, while I feel this ride is so much more it is probably the closest thing to this ride. I find more people have issues with Soarin than Flight of Passage. So if you can handle Soarin without motion sickness than odds are you will be just fine on Flight of Passage.
A tip to avoid motion sickness on this ride is to simply close your eyes. You will still feel the movement of the banshee but it is nowhere near as intense. I often close my eyes cause the dropping sensation feels a little too intense on this ride (yup, I am a big old chicken). But for my fellow friends out there like me this is the best tip I can give you! Plus when you get a little queezy I find a cool breeze greatly helpful and there is plenty of that happening on this ride too!
Our Review of Flying on Pandora’s 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 Banshee 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 flies. You are in front of a giant screen like that of Soarin in Epcot. This screen, however, is so crisp and realistic that 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 the nausea-inducing mess that other rides can be. We are thinking of rides like 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 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!
For more of our insights into this amazing new land for Disney’s Animal Kingdom check out the new dining location Satu’li Canteen Dining Review! We also cover how to Accomplish Everything in Disney Pandora during your next Disney vacation.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!
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