Five Things You Need to Know About Flight of Passage

by on June 26, 2017 21 Comments

Filed under: Animal Kingdom, Pandora

Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar officially opened on May 27th; and apart from the floating mountains, Flight of Passage has generated most of chatter and acclaim. This new attraction grants guests the experience of flight aboard a banshee. Flight of Passage has been described as a combo of Soarin’ and Star Tours, which is a fair comparison. Sort of. Flight of Passage uses both 3D and simulation, but is so unique and advanced that it’s changing the theme park game. After a flight or two on a banshee at Pandora, I’ve compiled a list of Five Things You Need to Know About Flight of Passage for those of you about to take flight and rise to the challenge!

1. You Are Riding Solo

Unlike other attractions at Walt Disney World, each guest riding Flight of Passage has their own ride vehicle or link chair. Guests straddle the link chair as they would ride a bike and both leg and back restraints keep guests sitting securely. The link chairs are positioned in rows and situated close to another; however, Flight of Passage is very much an individual experience. I believe this is worth noting for guests apprehensive about certain attractions or who are claustrophobic and for kids. The height requirement is 44″, about the average height of 7 or 8 year old. Be sure your child is prepared for the restraints, which limit movement, and riding relatively separate from you and others.

Note: Some larger or taller guests have had difficulty with Flight of Passage’s ride vehicle restraints to the point where some haven’t been able to ride. A test seat of the ride vehicle is located outside the attraction for guests to try out; however, it only provides an idea of the ride vehicle’s seat. This means guests who had no issues with the test seat may experience difficulties with the actual ride vehicle and still could be prevented riding.

Flight of Passage Preshow

Pre-show where guests are matched to their avatars

2. There are 2 Pre-Shows

Many attractions at Walt Disney World have pre-shows, themed videos in a holding room providing ride instructions and the safety spiel. Park regulars and fans quote pre-show scripts by heart. If “How about some backstage passes?” or “Nice work, pal,” mean anything to you, you get what I’m saying.

Anyway, Flight of Passage has not one, but two pre-shows with video. The first is where you and your ride group are matched to your avatars. The second explains the importance of banshees to Pandora and what’s about to happen. Why the need for two shows? I’m sure logistics play a role, but I also wonder if the concept of riding a banshee via an avatar was something Disney feared guests wouldn’t grasp and needed to explain in two segments? Regardless, be prepared for two pre-shows when waiting to ride Flight of Passage. (Ed- there are also multiple versions of the second pre-show that give more backstory to the attraction.)

Flight of Passage Pre-Show

3. 3D Glasses Feel Loose

Perhaps my only complaint with Flight of Passage is the 3D glasses. If you’ve been to Walt Disney World before, you’re familiar with Disney’s 3D glasses thanks to Toy Story Midway Mania, Muppet*Vision 3D, Mickey’s Philharmagic, and Star Tours. Flight of Passage’s glasses have a Na’vi vibe, which I like, but mine did not feels secure during my ride. Yes, Flight of Passage is a simulator with a screen, but you do learn forward and tilt quite a bit. That, and thanks to the wind effects, I was distracted from my ride feeling like my glasses were slipping or falling off my face.

4. Gives You the Feels

Flight of Passage is designed to feel as real as possible and it delivers, but it should be noted that you feel things physically and emotionally. Physically speaking, in addition to the feeling of flight, with dips and tilts, guests will also feel wind and water effects. The coolest might be the sensation of a guest’s banshee breathing under them!

The biggest surprise for me from Flight of Passage was how I felt emotionally at the end. Some guests claimed that the ride brought them to tears and I can see why. Flight of Passage is not a thrill ride, it’s joyful exhilaration. I leave Rock n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror with my adrenaline pumping. I left Flight of Passage in pure joy and wonder. Yes, there was a moment or two that made me react in surprise or shut my eyes, but that’s not the goal of this new attraction.

Entrance for Flight of Passage

5. There are Multiple Levels

When riding Soarin, it’s obvious that there are levels of ride vehicles. Unless you’re on the top row of hang gliders, you clearly see peoples shoes above you. Flight of Passage has multiple levels of link chambers facing the screen, but it’s not obvious. I was on the first level for my first ride and had no idea there were levels above me until my second ride, where I was directed up a flight of stairs to the pre-show. That’s when I intentionally looked around and down this time around, and only then saw other rows of link chairs. It shows the Imagineers efforts at making Flight of Passage as personal and immersive as possible.

Those are my five things you need to know about Flight of Passage, but I’m going to add one more to the list. The long lines for Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar are absolutely justified. If I could, I would be in line right now! Have you experienced flight on a banshee yet? What would guests about to experience Flight of Passage need to know?

Posted on June 26, 2017

21 Responses to “Five Things You Need to Know About Flight of Passage”

  • Flight of passage is an amazing ride ! I did it 3 times last week and always was amazed by the sensation. Every time i had goosebumps.
    The only thing bad about it are the glasses. In my first ride i almost lost mine….

    • This ride was absolutely incredible! It definitely made me feel some incredible emotions after. The chairs and the restraints on them are interesting. I can definitely see people having issues with them, feeling locked in. The glasses were also one of my big issues too. I had to adjust them a few times even though they want you holding onto the handlebars the whole time. And a warning for kids- neither of mine liked this ride (9 and 5). They love Soarin’ and Star Tours but this was too much for them, probably because they don’t like roller coasters.

  • I’ve be on Flight of Passage 3 times. It’s an absolutely amazing ride and totally worth the hype, but they have GOT to address the problem with the loose-fitting glasses. It detracts from the overall experience when you have to hold onto them for almost the entire ride.

  • The glasses are a problem- especially for kids- I had to use one hand to hold my son’s glasses on him because he didn’t want to let go on the ride.

  • Oh good, it wasn’t just me. The glasses were awful. The rest of the ride was AMAZING! This is a ride I might actually wait in line for (I do NOT wait in lines). I certainly wouldn’t wait 5 hours, but maybe I’d do an hour.
    Our pre-show malfunctioned and we were stuck in the first room for quite a while which made some people really nervous. Then when we finally moved to the second pre-show room, it had issues too. At least there was a cast member there letting us know what was going on so it was less nerve wracking.
    There was a guy in the group we went in with that was 6’5″ and he wasn’t able to ride. They couldn’t get the back restraint to latch properly. He was quite disappointed. They did give him a fast pass to something else.

    • Tammi,

      The 6’5″ guy that couldn’t ride – was he also heavy? I’m 6’5″ with long legs, but “only” about 240 lbs. Just wondering if it was leg/torso length that prevented him from riding or was it circumference playing a role?

      Thanks!

      • Same question here! My family is going in a month. My husband is 6’7″, 260 lb. He’s broad, but not very long limbed or heavy-just solid!

      • Brett,

        My family was able to enjoy the world of Pandora recently and my brother, whom is 6’3″ and a little heavier, was escorted off the ride as the back restraints could not close all the way. The reason I believe this was the case was because he didn’t have his legs all the way forward in the seat (he complained his legs were too tall). As we left the ride, we ran into a taller gentleman, who didn’t have a problem riding. My suggestion is to listen closely to the ride operator as they give directions on how to approach sitting in the seat (put your feet all the way to the front before sitting down). I believe if my brother would’ve stopped being so stubborn and tired sitting again with his feet all day he way to the front,, he would’ve had no problem. Sorry for the long response – hope this info helps!

  • 44″ is an average height for 5-6 year olds, not 7-8.

  • “This means guests who had no issues with the test seat may experience difficulties with the actual ride vehicle and still could be prevented riding.”

    Kinda defeats the purpose of a test seat if it doesn’t truly represent the actual ride seat. There’s still the possibility of waiting a long time in line only to find out at the end that you can’t ride even though you had no trouble with the test seat. Bad guest relations Disney.

  • Ye,the glasses were awful,but we considered it almost a “spiritual” experience and can’t wait to do it again!!

  • As the owner of a big fat head (hats never fit) I had no trouble with the glasses, but it sounds like most people do. For once, the huge melon was a blessing! I hope they get snugger glasses though, for the sake of the normals.

  • by Ruth Woodhouse on June 27, 2017, at 8:20 am EDT

    2 questions – are your arms/hands restrained?

    And – I wear glasses anyway – are they likely to slip off during the ride – or is it just the fit of their glasses? I have a thing I fasten to one of my glasses arms and then it goes around the back of my head and onto the other glasses arm – I think I might take that with me.

    • The ride glasses feel like they could completely fall off your head. I wished that I had a fastener with me when I

    • The ride glasses feel like they could completely fall off your head. I wished that I had a fastener with me when I rode.

  • rode. I will bring one next time if they don’t fix the glasses.

  • I will be using a motorized scooter to get around but can walk short distances. Is there a wheelchair line?

  • How intense are the drops? I don’t like roller coaster or the feeling of falling.

  • We just got back recently and both my kids (8 and 5) loved this ride, as did we! It was my daughters favorite ride at Disney. The glasses were a pain for my 5 year old son…he had to hold them up the whole time. I will say, this was such a spiritual and “wow” moment for all of us. I definitely got a little watery eyed from the experience. So amazing and so realistic. The first time we rode, we had fast passes so we missed the queue but the second time we waited (almost 2 hours but worth it) and I have to tell you, we were glad we did. There are so many cool things to see while you are in line. The Avatar in the tube was awesome!

  • is the movement intense or slight? I guess compare movement between the intense jostling of Star Tours to the smooth dips and turns of Soarin?

    • Kathy, the best way to describe the movement is like riding a horse. Smooth but animal-like. There are dips and turns but it doesn’t jostle too much.