Lines, queues, wait times–whatever you want to call them. Only a few minutes on social media are needed to see the time lost waiting to enjoy favorite rides and attractions is one of the banes of a Disney Park Guest’s existence. This year has proven that Guests are even willing to pay $15 per person per attraction to gain access to a shorter wait time.
How can one tell when the wait time is too long? Well, that is the ongoing debate among Disney Fanatics. Most people will probably say that, in most cases, any wait time over 90 minutes is not worth waiting for. But I would argue that, at the end of the day, the answer is mostly understood to be, “it depends.” It depends on the experience. It depends on the listed wait time and it depends on the Guest’s situation. For example, someone who has small kids and only gets to visit Magic Kingdom a few times a year might say a 45-60-minute wait for Peter Pan’s Flight is worth it, whereas a local Annual Passholder might pass knowing he or she can come back another day.
But I believe there is one attraction at Walt Disney World that is absolutely worth waiting over two hours to experience, and that is Avatar Flight of Passage at Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here are a few reasons why:
Flight of Passage is the Best Ride Currently at Walt Disney World
To be clear: I am not counting Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios because it is so much more than just a ride. Now, moving on. There is hardly anything at Disney World–and Universal Studios–that can compete with Flight of Passage.
Joe Rohde and the other Walt Disney Imagineers set a new ride standard that can still stand toe to toe with newer rides like Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run. For those who have not yet experienced Avatar Flight of Passage, imagine if Soarin’ and Star Tours had a Pandora baby and gave it steroids.
Disney World describes its E-ticket attraction as the following:
Amazing Aerial Adventures Await
Board your own mountain banshee and embark on a thrilling expedition, where interstellar explorers like you get an up-close look at this moon’s incredible landscape.
Bonding with a banshee is a crucial step in the life of a Na’vi hunter on Pandora—and flying on the back of one of these powerful creatures is an important rite of passage.
Now, as a visitor to Pandora, you finally have the chance to test yourself like a Na’vi!
Briefing videos, akin to the ones Guests would find for Dinosaur and the original Test Track, build the suspense. You will feel the banshee breathing between your legs and be whisked away through jaw-dropping scenery. But it is the culmination of the journey Guests go through once they step in line–which brings me to my next point.
The Standby Line is Part of Pandora’s Complete Guest Experience
Instead of taking Guests out of the land’s immersion, Walt Disney Imagineers integrated Flight of Passage’s standby line into the Pandora experience. Perhaps it was to make the most of the relatively small space that was previously Camp Minnie-Mickey or an attempt to make what they knew was going to be an extensive wait time all the more tolerable.
Once you step through the line entrance, you will climb deeper into the wilderness and closer to the floating mountains before you are led into a cave. Inside the cave, you find Na’vi cave paintings and other artwork. Those cave paintings feature the Na’vi’s connection with the Banshees as well as the Na’vi’s recordings of their relationship with humans. Your short walking tour of the cave transitions into the old human complex–remember, Guests visit the Mo’ara valley decades after the events of James Cameron’s first movie–and come close to reclaiming nature before moving into the new human complex.
Disney World Guests come face to face with a full-size Avatar in its incubation tank, as well as full-scale representations of the Na’vi and the banshees compared to humans. Finally, after all of that, Guests are briefed, scanned, linked to their own Avatar, “and, uh, fly.”
And just to be clear, the Lightning Lane–formerly the FastPass+ lane–does not let you experience any of that.
Standby is a Must for First-Timers
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I can understand why people more familiar with the attraction would want to skip the visual show. But to all Guests looking to experience Avatar Flight of Passage for the first time, do not short yourself on this experience.
From being able to place your hand over a Na’vi’s on the cave wall to feeling the banshee breathe between your legs as you watch a sunset over an alien sea, and all of the jaw-dropping heart-racing excitement in between, Avatar Flight of Passage is worth the wait.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and may not be the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.