The INSIDER Summary:
- Disney World’s new Pandora land has a 3D ride called Avatar: Flight of Passage.
- Stunning visuals and incredible technology pair to make it the best Disney ride yet.
- By July the wait time was averaging between two to three hours.
- But it’s totally worth if if you’re someone who loves 3D thrill attractions.
Anyone visiting Disney World should be prepared to stand in long lines, but Animal Kingdom’s new Avatar: Flight of Passage ride will truly put your patience to the test.
Since opening to the public in May 2017, the wait times for this new 3D thrill ride have peaked around five hours, and hover around a minimum of two hours.
But as a Disney park veteran, you can take my word for it — the wait is totally worth it.
Avatar: Flight of Passage is one of two new attractions in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. The other, Na’vi River Journey, is visually beautiful but lacks in excitement. It’s effectively a relaxing boat ride through a dark alien nature landscape.
Flight of Passage, however, is one of the most exhilarating and impressive attractions Disney has ever built.
The ride mimics an experience that the “Avatar” protagonist, Jake Sully, has in the 2009 movie. In the mythology of “Avatar,” the Na’vi people undergo a special rite of passage — hence the ride’s pun-name Flight of Passage — where each Na’vi bonds with an ikran (called a “banshee” by humans), a flying pterodactyl-esque creature.
Riders are seated in “link chairs” and put on a pair of 3D goggles, and then embark on a nearly five-minute-long experience that simulates flying on a banshee. For a full explanation of how cool this ride is, read our write up with every detail you need to know.
Personally, we believe there are very few Disney attractions worthy of a multiple hour wait. But Flight of Passage is definitely one of those few — assuming you’re not someone who gets motion sickness from hyper-realistic 3D or virtual reality experiences.
Disney World clearly anticipated the lengthy wait time for Flight of Passage, because they made sure to make the line as entertaining as possible.
The queue winds from outside, where views of the “floating mountains” will keep you occupied, and then goes indoors for a majority of the wait (a welcome feature, considering how hot Florida can get). There’s also a water station about halfway through the line, which is great for anyone who brought a reusable water bottle.
Another tip? Download games to your phone, like the super-popular “Heads Up” charades app. During our visit, we saw tons of families playing “Heads Up” while in line as a clever way to keep kids occupied.
Of course, you can avoid the hours-long wait by using Disney World’s FastPass+ system ahead of your visit. Download the “My Disney Experience” app and link your tickets to your account, and the app allows you to schedule a FastPass+ up to 60 days in advance. There’s a separate line for fast pass holders, and when we used our fast pass one afternoon, it only took 15 minutes to get from the start of the queue to sitting down on the ride.
Also, if you’re staying in one of the official Disney Resort Hotels, guests get an “extra magic hour” in the park — which means all non-hotel parkgoers are kept out — reducing crowd sizes significantly. So you can always try to get on Flight of Passage during extra magic hour when there are fewer people in the park.
For a full overview of everything else you can do in the new Pandora land, check out our inside look from the park’s opening weekend.
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