Five Exciting Avatar Flight of Passage Facts

by | Sep 4, 2020 | Animal Kingdom, WDW Blog

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Avatar Flight of Passage is one of the most popular rides at Walt Disney World, boasting long waits and running out of FastPass+ even years after it opened.

Flight of Passage is one of two attractions located in Pandora – World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is the much more thrilling and exciting attraction compared to its counterpart, Na’vi River Journey.

Pandora is one of the newest lands at Disney, having opened just three years ago on May 27, 2017. Flight of Passage has been delighting guests ever since. 

Here are a few facts about the über popular Animal Kingdom ride!

1. That’s A Really Long Line

standy wait time for flight of passage

This wait is over 4 hours! Photo by Laurie Sapp

It’s no secret that the line for Flight of Passage tends to get a bit… long. When I rode Flight of Passage, we arrived first thing in the morning, and still waited almost two hours to get on.

Wait times can climb to (or over) four hours during the busiest days at Disney. 

Imagineers knew the wait times for Flight of Passage would be very high, and because they had a long time to plan (it took six years to build Pandora), they prepared for it.

The queue at Flight of Passage is built to accommodate lines up to a six hour wait time! When it first opened, the ride would reach wait times that long.

They also made a very immersive queue—it’s a walk through of the history of Pandora, focusing on Banshee riding and Avatars.

The highlight is the Avatar in the lab. It’s really impressive to see a completely life-size Avatar floating in a glass tube. You know you’re at Disney when a ride queue is a photo destination!

2. Different Pre-Show Options

pre-show for flight of passage

This pre-show might be longer or shorter! Photo by Laurie Sapp

Those who have ridden Flight of Passage are familiar with the different pre-shows guests pass through before actually riding.

First, you get a bit of a background on what’s going to happen. There, you also get matched to your Avatar.

What you might not know is that this first pre-show actually has two different versions. 

There’s a short version, that typically plays, and then there’s a longer version.

The longer version of the pre-show is played when there are delays on the ride and guests need to wait a bit longer before boarding. Disney anticipated this may happen and created both pre-shows. 

The longer version is very similar to the shorter version, but you’ll get a lot more back-story in the longer one!

3. Your Avatar Impacts The Ride

FOP picking your avatar pre-show

You have to be decontaminated! Photo by Brett Svenson

In the pre-show, you, the guest, also get matched with the right Avatar for your flight. The chamber you enter genetically matches you to the Avatar you’ll use.

Of course, you’re not actually being genetically matched—Disney can’t just snag your DNA if you wiggle around a bit for them.

Most guests probably assume it’s all for show, and that the Avatar you receive is totally random, but it’s not!

The Avatar you get is mostly based on cosmetic features. It’s supposed to fit you and match how you look, at least a little.

And, to top it off, each time you ride, you’ll likely get a completely different Avatar. Which Avatar you get does impact your ride, very slightly! So go ride Flight of Passage as many times as you can.

4. Breathtaking Views

ride vehicles for flight of passage

Get ready for some spectacular views on this ride. Photo by Laurie Sapp

As you’re soaring over Pandora, there’s quite a lot to take in around you. The views you see are really quite breathtaking and like nothing you’ve ever seen.

In fact, you’re passing through seven miles of the Valley of Mo’ara. That’s a pretty decent flight—and all in about five minutes!

While you’re flying around on your Banshee, be sure and keep your eyes peeled. During your flight, you’ll see around 1,400 Pandoran creatures, and you don’t want to miss a single thing!

5. Special Handprints

joe rohde and james cameron look at pandora model

James Cameron (left), Tom Staggs (middle), and Joe Rohde (right), look at a model of Pandora. Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

There are multiple ways to exit the ride, but through one particular exit queue, you’ll see three red handprints up on the wall.

These handprints aren’t there just for show—they belong to three very important people! 

Underneath each print, you’ll see the initials ‘JC,’ ‘JR,’ and ‘JL.’

They belong to Avatar director James Cameron, Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, and Avatar producer Jon Landau.

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Written by Leah Sikes

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Leah Sikes is a graphic designer and contributing writer for WDW Magazine and Dad's Guide to WDW. When she's lucky enough to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, you catch her hanging out with the 999 Happy Haunts. She also loves running in the parks (when it's allowed at the marathons).
Leah Sikes

Written by Leah Sikes

Leah Sikes is a graphic designer and contributing writer for WDW Magazine and Dad's Guide to WDW. When she's lucky enough to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, you catch her hanging out with the 999 Happy Haunts. She also loves running in the parks (when it's allowed at the marathons).