Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the best theme parks rides you will ever encounter. Ever since its opening on May 27th of 2017, this attraction has garnered huge lines and continues to be one of the hardest Fastpass+ reservations to score. This 3d flying simulator matches you with an avatar for a flight across the impressive landscape of Pandora on a native Mountain Banshee.
Pandora Flight of Passage secrets
Each flight only accomadates 48 guest
Now when you get to your flight chamber and realize that there are only 16 seats, and only three loading docks you start to realize one of the reasons that the Flight of Passage queue takes so long to get through. Each flight accommodates up to 48 people. There are two different flight theaters, but because of overheating issues Flight of Passage is normally only running with one of these working at a time. During your flight try to take a second to look up, down, and out away from the screen and you will be able to see everyone who is on your journey through Pandora with you.
Just when you thought that the extra long queue and wait times made it take an unbearably long time to get on the ride you are taken to a preshow area after getting assigned your number in your flight chamber. You are then taken through two different preshows. The first one decontaminates you and matches you with an Avatar. Once you leave the first chamber you are then escorted to a hallway where you are told to stand back over your number while you let Dr. Jackie Ogden go over Ikran flight with you. Only then after these two preshows and videos are you able to sit on your link chair and take flight.
Longest Queue for a theme park ride
Just when you thought the queue for this E-ticket Animal Kingdom ride could not possibly hold more secrets you find out that it is actually one of the longest queues ever built for a theme park ride.
When Pandora the World of Avatar was first opened Disney Imagineers knew that it would be a hit, and this one of a kind ride would garner a huge audience. Because of this Disney made the queue able to hold 6 hours of “traffic”.
You can feel it breath
The ride is so immersive that while you are linked with you Ikran you can actually feel it breathing on your legs. This is a great piece of Imagineering that can easily be missed since your flight takes you so out of reality and completely immerses you.
Make sure to take a moment during your experience to pay attention to what you are feeling around your legs as Disney gets the details right and this is one not to miss.
The Navi in the queue is super realistic
Even though the wait time in standby for Flight of Passage is always long it is worth waiting in line at least once just to see the awesome queue. The best part of the whole thing being in the science center. Here you will see a life-size Navi floating in a tube. The lifelike detail of this Avatar is so real that you can easily believe that someone will be linking to it and taking it out for a spin on Pandora at any moment.
Hidden nod to james cameron
There are many hidden details hidden in the queue for this ride. One of the coolest ones that you may not realize ( unless you are a big James Cameron fan) is that his birthday is on the wall where the queue is an old RDA area. On the corrugated metal walls, you will see that they all have the same letters and numbers on them. This sequence of letters and numbers
JC Shoring 08.016.54
is an ode to Avatar director James Cameron.
Same Ride system as soarin
Even though it does not feel or seem like it the basic ride system for Flight of Passage is the same as it is for Soarin. In Soarin, you are taken from the ground and swung up into the air close to the screen so that you feel like you are fully immersed. The same goes for Flight of Passage. All link chambers are loaded on the same level, and then during the linking of you to your Avatar are the ride start you and swung up into the air, and the screen.
Flight of Passage did improve on the Soaring concept of this though as you are in your own enclosed room, and do not have to deal with other people feet in your way if you are not on the top row. The Disney Imagineers were also able to overcome the screen warping you get on the edge of Soaring by reducing the rows down and pulling you more into the middle of the ride screen.
Now, this one can be argued against, but FOP has one of the best souvenir ride tie-ins on Disney property.
Flight of Passage dumps you out into Windtraders the gift shop in Pandora after the ride. It is in this gift shop that you can adopt a pet Ikran “banshee” all of your own. The banshees sit on your shoulder and are interactive. The can move their heads and wings with a tension line, and make banshee roar sounds.
These “pets” are not the cheapest souvenir but it is nice to see Disney come up with something so creative that you can purchase to remember your stay.
Avoiding the long wait
Since Flight of Passage is one of the hardest Fastpasses to get it is important to have some strategies for cutting down your wait time just in case. Plus you really should try to experience the queue at least once.
There are two different strategies for cutting down the time you spend waiting in line for this attraction.
The first one is to make sure to be at rope drop during extra morning hours if you are staying on property. Now one thing to keep in mind when doing this is that 99% of the people you are waiting to get into the park with that morning are going to be doing the same thing as you and heading straight for FOP, but this is still a good time to go.
The other strategy involves getting in line as close to Animal Kingdoms closing time as possible. Because there will not be any more Fastpass riders the line will tend to go a lot quicker right after park closing.
Two time award winning attraction
Now that you know some secrets, and some of the success of Flight of Passage you may not be all that surprised to learn that it has one not one but two different major industry awards.
Flight of Passage is a winner of
a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement: Attraction
won the award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project from the Visual Effects Society
As you can see Flight of Passage is an amazing feat of Imagineering and a ride that is not to be missed on your next Walt Disney World vacation.