Avatar Flight of Passage or just simply referred to as Flight of Passage is a simulator ride manufactured and designed in-house by Walt Disney Imagineering and is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This attraction opened on May, 27, 2017, and is located in the Pandora-The World of Avatar section of the park. Many who have ridden this attraction have said it is one of the best Disney attractions ever, including me. In this review I will be describing the entire ride experience as well as my thoughts on it!
I can’t start talking about Flight of Passage without mentioning the jaw dropping land that it’s set in. Pandora is an absolutely immersive and amazing land and that’s where you enter this ride. The attraction is located on the right side of the land, closer to the bridge that goes to Africa. Once you get to the entrance, you can either enter the stand-by queue, or if you have a Fastpass+ reservation, you will tap your MagicBand and enter that queue.
If you enter the stand-by queue, you will be waiting in very possibly the best queue ever created for any attraction. Unfortunately due to me riding extremely early, I did not get to see most of the queue, but I will try to describe it the best I can through pictures and videos I have seen. The first part of the queue is extended and outside. You can get some great views of the beauty of the landscape of the land. Once inside, you will wait in this cave-like area where there are a bunch of hand carved paintings from the Na’vi. This is where the complete immersion of the experience really starts to kick in. After waiting in the cave and if you are waiting longer, you will wait in the RDA mining facility. This really shows the complete bioluminescence of Pandora. There are all these rocks surrounding you to the point where it doesn’t even feel like you are waiting in a queue from what it seems like. After waiting in the mining facility, you will enter the research and lab facility where there are experiments going on. Also in this room is an audio animatronic of an avatar in a tube. After the lab, you will wait in a small room where a big screen is tracking other riders flying across Pandora. You will then head up to a link chamber to begin the first pre-show. Unfortunately, whenever the line is very short, cast members will direct guests from the cave right into the ramp to the link chambers, so keep that in mind if your insistent on experiencing the entire queue!
Once you get into your link chamber, the first pre-show will start where a video explains the story of the ride, how you will turn into a Na’vi and take a rite of passage through Pandora on a banshee. In order to do this, you need to be linked to an avatar in order to take the flight. You are then linked with an avatar and move on to the next room. The next room is a small pre-show in which is basically a description of how you are supposed to ride. After this short briefing, you will receive a pair of 3D glasses, then you head up to your seat to get ready to ride!
Once you get up to the ride, you will store all loose articles in a bin on the side and take your seat. This is a very different ride vehicle from any type of simulator ride ever. Think of it as your sitting on a motorcycle with restraints around your legs and on your back. It’s more comfortable as it sounds, as the restraints do have padding. After everyone is boarded and the restraints are locked, it’s time to take flight!
The cover will lift and you will see lights flashing before all of the sudden, the beautiful world of Pandora appears on the extremely large screen. You will then swoop down and fly across the landscape along side the other banshees. The banshee then flies through a forest, flying past trees and various plant life. Your banshee will then fly over the water, triggering water effects hidden in front of your seat. A humpback whale also comes out of the water and splashes the banshees. You then fly between the floating mountains, coming face to face with another banshee. After flying in between the mountains some more, you fly into a mountain where it is very dark and calming. Then, flower-like creatures come to life and light up the darkness in the mountain. The inside of the mountain quickly turns into luminescent light. Your banshee will then fly out of the mountain and back out into Pandora among all the other floating mountains. The final minute of the attraction is the banshee flying above the Pandora landscape. The ride ends as the sun sets and there is a flash of light that transitions into darkness, which pulls the ride vehicles back on to the platform.
You will then get off of the ride vehicle, grab any belongings, and exit the ride. You will then proceed down the stairs and back out into Pandora. There is an option to go into the Windtraders gift shop which sells Pandora-related merchandise and shoulder banshees.
My Thoughts: Where do I even begin trying to put into words my thoughts on this attraction. It’s simply unbelievable. It just feels so lifelike and beautiful. I felt like I was fully immersed and in the world of Pandora. I did not watch a POV of the actual ride before I rode, and I’m very glad I didn’t. A POV of this ride simply does not do it justice in the least. You have to actually experience the motion and 4D effects, such as feeling the banshee breathing on your legs (!), to feel the breathtaking sensation of flying over this beautiful world. I had very high expectations going into it, and they were still blown out of the water. I came off this ride stunned about just how well done and immersive the attraction really is. I really can’t say enough about how great this ride is, it’s so breathtaking!
Tips: The only downside to Flight of Passage is the insane wait times it’s known to get. On a normal day, the line for this attraction is normally 2-3 hours. On a busy day, the wait is usually 3 hours, but can get as long as 5 hours! If you don’t want to wait that long, this is the ride you need to go to first thing at rope drop. The only way to ride without a wait is to arrive 1 1/2-2 hours ahead of park opening, or with Fastpass+. Speaking of FP+, this ride is one of the toughest fastpasses to get at Walt Disney World. In order to secure one, you have to be staying at a resort and booking 60 days out in order to get one. If you are staying off-site and booking 30 days out, it is highly unlikely that you will secure one, but always refresh and look, as times might pop up if you keep refreshing the times on the app. Also, if you are a guest of larger stature or are on the taller side, try the test seat outside the ride entrance to see if you are ok to ride, especially if you are going to wait for 2-3 hours.
Final Thoughts: Flight of Passage is a stunning achievement in theme park attraction experience. It can’t be described in words how amazing this ride actually is. I don’t care if you wait 5 minutes or 3 hours, ride it if you ever find yourself at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It will be well worth your time!