Everything You Need to Know About Avatar Flight of Passage

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You’re going on vacation to Walt Disney World! The only problem? You’re not sure which attractions are right for you and your kiddos and you have questions. Which attractions are too intense for little ones? What rides do I really need a FastPass+ reservation for? What’s the disability access like for certain attractions? We’re answering all those questions and more in our Everything You Need to Know attraction series with today’s focus on Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

What is Avatar Flight of Passage?

Avatar Flight of Passage is Pandora – The World of Avatar’s signature attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This flight simulator attraction creates the exhilaration of flight from the back of banshee over and through the breathtaking landscapes of Pandora. Flight of Passage is often compared to Epcot’s Soarin’ Around the World as it effectively simulates the sensation of flight and uses a giant screen coupled with scents and water effects. What makes Flight of Passage unique from Soarin’ Around the World is its use of 3-D coupled with unique ride vehicles.

Where is Avatar Flight of Passage?

Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to Avatar Flight of Passage. Upon entering the Discovery Island area of the park, guests should head left. When approaching Pizzafari, guests should turn left and continue past Tiffins to enter the land. The entrance to the Avatar Flight of Passage attraction sits under Pandora – The World of Avatar’s signature floating mountains.

What is the History of Avatar Flight of Passage?

©Disney

Pandora – The World of Avatar for Disney’s Animal Kingdom was officially announced in 2011. The land is a representation of the planet of Pandora seen in James Cameron’s 2009 Avatar film. Imagineer Joe Rohde described Flight of Passage’s premise at D23 Expo in 2013; but it wasn’t until D23 Expo in 2015 that the attraction’s name was announced. Pandora – The World of Avatar and Avatar Flight of Passage officially opened to guests on May 27, 2017 and was an immediate success. Avatar Flight of Passage continues to be one of the most popular attractions on property.

What Do You Need to Know About the Queue for Avatar Flight of Passage?

Your journey begins with a long walk from the base of Pandora, up an inclined path, and into abandoned cave dwellings. Wall paintings and markings inside the caves tell the story of the Na’vi who first used them. From there, you walk through jungle and more rocks, until you reach the research laboratory of the humans who’ve settled on Pandora. Inside the lab are various experiments showing how the study of the planet’s wildlife is progressing. Some of the effects are clever little engineering tricks – small, black, amoeba-like creatures scurrying about in the lab are probably made of ferrofluids (bits of metal suspended in a liquid) moved about by specially shaped magnets. Even if you know how it’s done, it’s a joy to see the idea used.

The star of the pre-show, however, is a sleeping Na’vi avatar suspended in a giant, water-filled tube in the lab. It’s eerily realistic, so much so that it occasionally twitches and moves.

Flight of Passage Pre-Show

Once through the queue, you’re brought to a 16-person chamber room to prepare for your flight. A video plays, explaining the concept of an avatar – a way for you to project your consciousness on to another being, in this case a Na’vi riding astride a banshee – and feel everything it feels. Your preparation includes a parasite decontamination procedure – Pandora is filled with critters, in case you hadn’t noticed. A second part of the video seems to be chosen randomly from a few different scenes, so you’re likely to get a different pre-show experience the first few times you ride

What are the Ride Vehicles Like on Avatar Flight of Passage?

When it’s time to ride, guests enter an enclosed room with what looks like 16 stationary bicycles without pedals. You’re handed 3-D googles and told to approach the “bike”, swing one leg over, mount it, and scoot as far forward as you can. The reason for doing this is that padded restraints will be deployed along your calves and lower back, ensuring you don’t fall off during your flight. (The snug restraint system, coupled with the confined space of the room, causes some claustrophobic guests to exit before riding.)

Riders are close enough that they can reach out and touch the rider next to the them, but this is very much of a solo experience. It’s something to be aware of for wary riders who prefer riding with a family member or friend.

What Do You Need to Know About the Ride Experience on Avatar Flight of Passage?

Avatar Flight of Passage is often described as emotional and thrilling. There are a few action-packed moments, dips and dives, and near misses, but the Flight of Passage is more of an experience than a wild ride.

The ride movements are impressively smooth and fluid. While most of the ride involves flying, there are a few moments when the banshee stops to rest. Throughout the ride, airbags at your legs gently inflate and deflate to simulate the banshee’s breathing. Each moment of the ride film is layered with details so there’s something new to see each time you ride.

The flying effects are very well done – you can turn your head almost 90 degrees either way to survey the Pandora landscape while you’re flying, and about 45 degrees up and down. Riders toward the middle of the room (seats 4 through 8 in one group and 9 through 12 in the other), we think have better range of vision. At any given time, Disney says, there are 3 levels of 16 riders flying with you. We didn’t see anyone other than our immediate neighbors, but people at the far ends said they could see almost all of the riders when they turned their heads.

What Do You Need to Know About Accessibility for Avatar Flight of Passage?

Guests must transfer to a standard wheelchair, and then to the ride vehicle to experience Avatar Flight of Passage. It’s also important to note that service animals are not permitted on this attraction.

The seating and restraints of this attraction may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from riding.

What Do You Need to Know About Health and Safety Advisories for Avatar Flight of Passage?

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. There are also moments of flashing lights or strobe lights.

The snug safety restraints against guests back and legs may make some feel claustrophobic. Guests who have a fear of heights may want to skip this attraction.

What Are the Height Restrictions for Avatar Flight of Passage?

Guests must be at least 44 in. to experience Avatar Flight of Passage. This attraction also offers Rider Swap.

What Do You Need to Know About FastPass+ for Avatar Flight of Passage?

Entrance for Flight of Passage

Avatar Flight of Passage is INCREDIBLY popular. Expect it to be busy from park open to close. If Avatar Flight of Passage is a priority for you and your family, I recommend getting a FastPass+ reservation as soon as possible. However, be aware that Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey are both in a “choose only 1” FastPass+ tier, so for now you will only be able to reserve FastPass+ for one of the attractions in Pandora. It’s important to note that Avatar Flight of Passage is one of the tougher FPs to obtain. Some of our brilliant users have noticed that available same-day FastPass+ seem to be released at 7 minutes past the hour. If you weren’t able to reserve a FastPass+ for Flight of Passage check every hour.

Does Weather Affect Avatar Flight of Passage?

A June storm pops over World Drive as a rainy afternoon gets started.
A June storm pops over World Drive as a rainy afternoon gets started.

The Avatar Flight of Passage attraction is completely indoors and out of the elements. However, there is an outdoor portion of the queue which can extend through the land itself on especially busy days.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Ride Avatar Flight of Passage?

We’re told that if the entire queue is full, the wait to ride Avatar Flight of Passage is between 4 and 5 hours. It’s not worth that much time. If you can’t get a FastPass+ reservation, get to Animal Kingdom early–an hour before opening is ideal–and join the crowds of people lining up already.

This chart shows you roughly how long you’ll wait for Avatar Flight of Passage when you visit on a day with a given Disney’s Animal Kingdom Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average “peak” wait time (that is, how long the line will be at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it’s the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Avatar Flight of Passage Wait Times.

Did I answer all of your questions about Avatar Flight of Passage? Is this attraction at the top of your family’s vacation to-do list? Let us know in the comments.

Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

14 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Avatar Flight of Passage

  • July 21, 2019 at 11:25 am
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    I use a small scooter that folds into the size of a suitcase and rolls on wheels. I can use a cane to walk small distances. Will I have to change Barbara to a wheelchair.x

    Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 1:08 pm
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    I am not claustrophobic, but I am mildly arthritic. The position of my hips and knees in the ride seat was intolerable – I had to get them to let me out before they started.

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  • July 21, 2019 at 1:50 pm
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    We arrived at the park at 8:30am last week and there was a lot of people there waiting to enter the Pandora world. We all (hundreds) walked quickly to the ride line at 8:35am when they opened and waited 45 minutes to get on the Avatar Flight of Passage ride. Not a bad wait. Very scenic. Get to the park early since there is parking, walking, bag check in and ticket check in. We used our 3 fast passes later in the morning. They give you one fast pass at a time once the 3 are used. We were able to grab an Avatar Flight of Passage around 2:30pm for a 3:30pm flight. We basically walked right in. This strategy of using fast passes early and adding one at a time is effective. Keep refreshing the fast pass list since it will be different each time. Once you check in, start searching for the next one. There is no guarantee that you will get a fast pass for a certain ride but you could get lucky with top tier rides. Enjoy your trip!!!

    Reply
    • July 21, 2019 at 3:35 pm
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      I really would like to try this ride. I would take some g8nger root and sit in the middle if I could. What do think?

      Reply
      • July 21, 2019 at 4:17 pm
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        I suffer severe motion sickness. I take 24-hr. Dramamine at bedtime every night I’m at WDW and this eleviates any fears of sickness on any attractions, especially FoP.

        Reply
      • July 22, 2019 at 10:01 am
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        I don’t think the placement within the room makes a difference, but the good thing about this ride is that the motion of the ride vehicle itself is minor, and there’s a nice breeze on your face the entire time. If you can’t handle the visuals (which I can’t), just close your eyes. I saw about 15 seconds of the entire ride, because I could not handle any of the screen simulations, but with my eyes closed I didn’t feel sick at all. But it can be a very woozy ride if you’re watching the screen.

        Reply
  • July 21, 2019 at 2:02 pm
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    This ride is not worth a multi hour wait. If you don’t get a FP and the line is over an hour our group says “meh” and moves on. The queue and ride intro are much cooler than the ride itself which is ultimately just sitting in a moving chair in front of an IMAX screen

    Reply
  • July 22, 2019 at 5:10 am
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    Any tips for October? Extra Magic Hours every day, but not staying on property so probably won’t be able to get a Fastpass, and can’t use the ‘arrive an hour before opening’ strategy if EMH is every day, so how do I minimise the wait?

    Reply
    • July 22, 2019 at 2:54 pm
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      Still follow the same standard “arrive early” strategy. There will be EMHers already in the park, but not enough to make the queue *significantly* longer right at official park opening.

      Reply
  • July 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm
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    After the first “Pandora – World of Avatar,” you can just say Pandora. Using the full, hyphenated name every time makes this read like a Disney-written article (where “Test Track presented by Chevrolet” is treated like a normal noun that people actually say).

    Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    I wear size 11 nike shoes and the calf supports wouldn’t close enough for me to ride with my toes crushing against the front of the foot well.

    I’m a big guy, I was expecting to have issues with the back pad, but it was my shoes that kept me from riding. Flip flops for the next time. I don’t imagine I be allowed to ride without shoes.

    Reply
    • July 25, 2019 at 11:41 am
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      Not to contradict you, Sam, but I don’t want large-footed people to see your comment and freak out.

      I wear size 13 shoes and have ridden Flight of Passage multiple times without issue. Big shoes will NOT prevent you from riding.

      Reply
  • July 26, 2019 at 3:25 pm
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    If you are prone to motion-sickness, either avoid Flight of Passage or take Dramamine. I was feeling quite ill about halfway through (closed my eyes through the rest) and it took me an hour to recover (which is a pretty normal motion sickness reaction for me). I can handle Star Tours, but FoP was too much without taking anything.

    Reply
  • August 3, 2019 at 9:05 am
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    I had been to AK a couple of times before and wanted to ride this ride but couldn’t get a fast pass and just don’t have the patience to wait for 3 hours. However, I got a last minute FP and while it took some luck, I also have a useful tip.

    Last Saturday I went to Epcot for the day with my friend and we spent the whole day there but saw that AK was open an hour later than Epcot. I had only seen Pandora during the day and have heard so much about how beautiful it is at night, so at about 8:30 we left Epcot and headed to AK. Pandora at night was totally worth it and would have been worth it just to walk through even without going on a ride. However, I had heard in several “tips and tricks” videos and articles to try to get on FOP 5 minutes before the park closes and that the line would be shorter. At 9:55 it did not appear to be shorter and still was listed as a 2 hour wait. My friend did not want to ride but was happy to just sit in the beauty of nighttime Pandora and wait. I asked the cast member, who was a very nice lady, if she thought there was any truth to the wait being shorter than the rest of the day if I got in line right then. She seemed to be looking for the right words to tell me that it was still going to be a long wait and we all sort of laughed and I said it was worth a shot and that even with it being a long line, I had heard good things about it and would wait anyway. I smiled at her and thanked her for her honesty and got on the line. About 5 minutes later, my phone rang and my friend told me to get out of the line and come back to the front. She had been talking with the woman and (this part I’m not 100% clear about what happened) a couple of people canceled their fast passes for some reason. The woman told my friend to call me and have me come back. And when I got there? She gave me a fast pass! She had also offered my friend one but she still did not want to ride. I know it should go without saying but being nice and polite to the cast members can work amazing wonders. My friend said she had asked her how her day was and that she had been there for 10 hours in the heat. She asked (not expecting anything at all- just being kind) if she could maybe get her a cold drink which the woman thanked her for but declined and they continued to talk about where she was from- her name tag showed her as coming from the same state as my friend- and they were having a nice chat for a couple minutes when the people with the fast passes canceled and she told her to call me up and have me come to the front.

    We always like talking to the cast members at Disney and always ask them about their days but I just wanted to share how simple kindness can result in that kindness being returned in an unexpected way. I ended up waiting for FOP about 10 minutes and it was as amazing as I had heard. I pretty much danced out of the park.

    Be nice to the employees!

    Reply

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