Avatar Flight of Passage is one of the most talked about rides at Walt Disney World and for most, it is a must ride attraction! But for me, I actually chickened out my first time trying to ride it. I don’t want you to miss out on this amazing experience so I am here to give you all the ins and outs of this main attraction!
Let’s go over some stats on this attraction:
- Ride title: Avatar Flight of Passage
- Location: Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Ride Type: 3D flying simulator attraction – thrill ride
- FastPass+ offered
- Must be 44 inches or taller to ride
- The seating and restraints of this attraction may prohibit guests of certain body shapes or sizes from riding
- Children under age 7 years must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older
- Must transfer to standard wheelchair, and then to ride vehicle
- Rider switch offered
- Audio description, video captioning, and assistive listening available
- Due to the nature of the experience, service animals are not permitted on this attraction
- Ride duration: 4.5 minutes
- Opening date: May 27, 2017
I am going to start by saying I am not good with motion sickness and riding 3D motion simulator rides. I try to avoid them at all costs! So, what the heck am I trying to do riding Flight of Passage? Well, as I said, I heard it was that good!
But, my first attempt ended in failure. I made it all the way through the line, up to the point of actually getting on the Banshee and I opted out! I went home from that vacation regretting that decision.
When I got the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World Resort again, the anxiety immediately set in. I knew I had to face my fears and ride that Banshee! I went, I rode it, and I am so proud of myself for doing it!
Knowledge is power, so I am here to provide you with an inside look into flying in Pandora.
The first piece of advice, if you can get a fast pass, get one! It reduces your time in line and therefore the amount of anxiety anticipating the ride. If you couldn’t get a fast pass, get in line about 15-20 minutes before the closing of the park. The ride line is significantly shorter and if you are in line when the park closes, they won’t kick you out. Now if that timing doesn’t work for you, watch the movie Avatar on your smartphone while you are waiting in line. It will keep your mind occupied and your understanding of the movie will enhance your experience of the ride.
The Queue Experience
If you get a FastPass you will bypass much of the queue, but the line has some fun things to look at. For example, you get to see an incubating avatar.
Once you get through the queue, the queue keeps going! I think that’s important to know because this is where my anxiety really kicked in. First, you enter into a room and get assigned a number. You stand on your number where you will watch a show that explains how you are going to become an avatar and connect to an Ikran (known as a “Banshee” by humans) and fly through Pandora. They encourage you to wiggle and blow some air, which helps a little bit with the anxiety.
Second, you move into another room where a cast member gives you a pair of 3D glasses. You find your same number and watch another informational video that shows you how you will actually board the ride (more like a safety briefing).
Then the cast member gives more information, but their very last statement is if you are prone to motion sickness you can opt out; just let them know and they will escort you out of the ride. That was the point that got me on my first attempt; you offer me an exit and I’ll take it! But I was determined this time, I knew I could do it.
Third, you walk into the ride and put your belongings into a cubby to your left, then mount your Banshee to your right (like getting on a motorcycle), and finally put your glasses on.
I was located second to the end of the row of 8 seats. From what I was told, you feel more motion towards the outer seats of the ride versus sitting closer to the middle. If you think it would help ask to be seated closer to the center.
Getting Ready to take Flight
The cast member could see that I was visibly nervous and he came over to talk to me and encouraged me to wear the glasses because he said it would help with clarity and make me less nauseous. So, I took his advice and put them on!
Next, the ride seat engages. The key thing to know here is that there is a back piece that comes up and pushes you against the front of the ride. It is slightly uncomfortable on your stomach, but if you know it’s coming it’s much easier to breathe through it.
The ride itself is 4 ½ minutes. When the ride starts, the wall in front of you raises, If you are prone to motion sickness I suggest closing your eyes. This is where you are “connecting” to your Banshee. The lights are very bright and it’s like you are going through a tunnel.
During the ride, all of your senses are engaged. There are different smells that occur throughout the ride, you get misted going through waterfalls, and the Banshee breaths beneath you. What that means is the ride actually simulates the Banshee breathing. The 1st half of the ride was easy for me. You were flying through the sky; it is breathtaking. There are moments where it feels like you are going to crash into tree branches. It feels so real.
Then the ride moves into more of a stampede chase and this part bothered me due to the number of action sequences and seat movements. For me to combat this feeling, I turned around and looked at the ride mechanics. I focused on how the ride was actually functioning. The second thing I did was looked at the riders next to me. I focused on their face and the enjoyment they were experiencing. And lastly, I closed my eyes to feel the mist on my face and took in a deep breath of the smells.
When the ride is coming to an end you are “disconnecting” from the Banshee and you go back through the synapses of the bright lights. The ride mechanics disengaged and you can get up and do the most important thing: celebrate! You did it, you rode Avatar Flight of Passage!
I was so proud of myself because I combated my fear! I will ride this ride again. Hopefully, for you first timers this gives you a good idea of what you will experience when you fly on Avatar Flight of Passage!
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