Avatar Flight of Passage: Wait Times, Motion SIckness, and Plus Size Guests
Flight of Passage is the better and more popular of the two rides in Animal Kingdom’s newest land, Pandora — The World of Avatar. It is, of course, based on the then-popular-now-not-so-much 2009 film Avatar.
Disney began developing Pandora — World of Avatar in 2011 along with movie director James Cameron. Construction on it began in January 2014 (in the area where Camp Minnie-Mickey used to be) and the land opened to the public in May 2017.
If you, like many of us, are wondering how and why Avatar, of all things, inspired a new land in Disney World, YouTuber Jenny Nicholson has a very interesting video explaining how Avatar — World of Pandora came to be.
It includes the history of Animal Kingdom, including why it originally was intended to include dragons an unicorns — and why it didn’t end up having them. She also gives a full review of Pandora, including the rides, restaurants, and gift shops.
Don’t be put off by the video’s length. You won’t be bored.
(The Flight of Passage review begins at 21:40 in the video, if you want to just skip to that.)
Video: An Excruciatingly Deep Dive into the Avatar Theme Park
Now, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t really like the movie Avatar (although my daughter Rebecca loved it). I thought it was beautiful, but surprisingly dull, and I didn’t care about the characters at all.
However, I thought Flight of Passage was absolutely amazing. And here’s the kicker: I don’t have the ability to see 3D effects. So I couldn’t even experience the full attraction (sadly) … and yet I still thought it was incredible. I can only imagine how what the ride must be like for everybody else.
In this post I’ll cover the basics about Flight of Passage and address some of the questions and concerns you might have about it:
What kind of ride is Avatar Flight of Passage?
If you haven’t ridden Flight of Passage yet, you might be a little confused about what it even is. Is it a roller coaster? Does it go upside down? It is basically “Soarin’ Over Pandora?”
The answers are no, no, and kinda/sorta/not really.
Put simply, Flight of Passage a 3D flying simulator ride where you ride of the back of a winged banshee over Pandora. Technically, you’re not really riding a banshee, but rather you’re linking to an avatar already in flight. Whatever.
Yes, the basic idea is similar to Soarin’ in Epcot, but to compare the two does Flight a Passage a major injustice. (And I think Soarin’ is great.) Flight of Passage is much more immersive for many reasons, including the wind in your face and the fact that you don’t see other people’s feet hanging in front of you.
Also, the ride vehicle is an individual one that’s sort of like a motorcyle, so it’s a much more individual experience.
Here’s a short video that explains the ride vehicles and how to board them:
Video — Closer Look at Avatar Flight of Passage Ride Vehicles
Avatar Flight of Passage Height Requirement
The ride’s height requirement is 44 inches, the same as the requirements for both Space Mountain and Expedition Everest. Children under 7 must be accompanied by someone age 14 or older.
Does Flight of Passage Have a Single Rider Line?
The short answer to this is “No, but.”
Once you get to the point where Cast Members split people into different lines for the different theaters, they will ask for single riders to come up ahead to fill in any missing spots. So you will probably get to ride at least a little faster if you’re a single rider.
Review of Satu’li Canteen in Pandora
✅Does Flight of Passage Cause Motion Sickness?
As I’ve mentioned before, my hudband Rob is very prone to motion sickness and was sick for several hours after riding Mission:Space (before they offered the “Green” version). I, on the other hand, ride anything and everything and never get sick, much to Rob’s amazement.
So I can’t really answer this question because I never get motion sick, and Rob can’t answer it because he thought it would be best to skip it. (There are signs saying not to ride if you’re prone to motion sickness.)
The general consensus seems to be that, from a motion sickness standpoint, Flight of Passage is fairly mild and comparable to Soarin’. It won’t make you as sick as Star Tours, and it definitely won’t make you as sick as Mission:Space.
Part of the reason it probably won’t make you as sick as those other rides is due to the nature of its motion. Instead of being jerky and frantic, it’s more gentle and gliding.
However, just because you do fine on Soarin’ doesn’t mean that Flight of Passage won’t do you in. Jaiminee Krickit from the DisBoards says:
I made the mistake of not watching a video of the ride before riding it. I wanted to be surprised. I heard multiple times before riding that it was “Soarin’ on speed”. I love Soarin’! I thought it won’t be bad.
I was horribly wrong. I made it about 30 seconds before I started feeling horrible. I tried closing my eyes, but then there was wind in my face. That caused me to hyperventilate a little bit. Then there was mist blowing in my face. I turned my face away from the screen and that helped a little. After it was over I thought for sure my cookies would be tossed. The woman next to me even asked if I was okay. Somehow the long exit queue made me feel better, but I will never ride it again.
To compare – if I do not watch the road in a moving vehicle (any moving vehicle), I get nauseous. I can handle Mission Space Green just fine, but probably couldn’t ride it more than once in one day. I absolutely cannot do Star Tours any more. That one ruined an entire day for me a few years ago. I can’t handle most roller coasters, especially ones that go upside down.
I say, if you’re prone to motion sickness, maybe take Dramamine or something before riding. I won’t risk ruining an entire day at WDW to ride it ever again.
Is Flight of Passage Scary?
This is really hard to answer, especially if your question is really, “Will my kid be scared if they ride it?” It’s hard to predict what will scare kids — or anybody, for that matter.
I will say that I don’t think it’s an objectively scary ride, either “scary” from the ride itself (like the first ten seconds of Rock n Roller Coaster) or “scary” because of the story and action (like at the end of Dinosaur when they try to convince you that you might die any second.)
When Rebecca and I rode it, we did not see any children (or adults) crying as they exited the ride, for whatever that’s worth.
I think motion sickness is the bigger concern over being frightened.
✅Wait Times for Flight of Passage
When our family went to Disney World in fall 2018, I could not get a FastPass for Flight of Passage. Rebecca and I arrived at Animal Kingdom before it officially opened and followed the masses to the ride’s line, where there was already a StandBy wait of 60 minutes.
However, it definitely did not feel like an hour wait. I wasn’t paying attention to the time, so I’m sure if that’s because the estimate was off or just because the queue is so interesting that time went by quickly.
According to Touring Plans, the average peak wait time ranges from 125 minutes (2 hours and 5 minutes) to 250 minutes (4 hours and 10 minutes). And that’s just the average peak time, so it could be even longer.
So what should your game plan be if you don’t want to spend half the day standing in line for one ride?
First, assuming you want to ride Flight of Passage, try your darndest to get a FastPass for it. Start early, and keep trying.
If, like us, you just can’t get a FastPass no matter how hard you try, here are some things you can try:
1) Arrive at the park 30-60 minutes before it opens (this is what we did);
2) Get in the Stand By line about 15-30 minutes before the park closes;
3) Ride during Extra Magic Hours;
4) Keep trying to get a FastPass throughout the day
Flight of Passage Queue
The queue for Flight of Passage is beautiful, and extensively detailed … and long. (Just like the movie.)
How long is it?
According the Disney blogger Tom Bricker, “It will literally take longer to walk through the Flight of Passage queue when it’s empty than it will to walk through Na’vi River Journey’s line, board the boat, do the attraction, and leave.” Wow.
The queue takes you through Pandora’s mountain range, interior caves, and RDA bunkers.
Flight of Passage Pre-Show
Flight of Passage two pre-shows (or, I guess, one pre-show with two parts, depending on how you want to look at it. I’m guessing it’s set up this way for some logistical reasons, but I have no idea.
In the first video, you and your ride group are matched to your avatars, while the second one is focused on the details of what’s about to happen.
Rebecca and I both thought the pre-shows were a little … weird. Or maybe a better word is “awkward.” There was one point where it felt like they were literally just stalling for time. I mean, maybe they were … but good grief, it shouldn’t obviously feel like it.
And apparently we weren’t the ones who felt that way. Tom Bricker says:
As much as I’m gushing over the ride experience, I was underwhelmed by the pre-shows. Actually, underwhelmed is way too charitable.
The pre-show videos are downright bad. And uh, felt choppy and amateurish in places. And uh, there was too much exposition. And uh, you’re beat over the head with the how and why of connecting to an Avatar (we get it–we’re not actually flying a banshee). And uh, it just really doesn’t set the appropriate tone for what’s otherwise a graceful and downright majestical ride experience.
Quite bluntly, the pre-show needs serious retooling. And uh.
But a couple clunky pre-shows was a small price to pay for an awesome queue and an amazing ride.
✅Flight of Passage and Plus Size Guests
A big concern among some guests is that they might not even be allowed to ride Flight of Passage because they are “Pooh sized” (as some people like to call themselves). If a guest cannot fit in the seat well enough to have the restraints locked by a Cast Member, they will told they have to exit the ride.
This is potentially upsetting for at least two reasons:
1) It would be awful to wait in line for 3-4 hours (or more) only to be told you can’t even go on the ride;
2) It’s embarrassing, to put it mildly, to have a mini-crowd of strangers watch you be unable to “fit” in a seat and then be asked to leave (and have everybody watch you during your Walk of Shame.)
So let’s talk about whether this could present a problem for you or someone in your party, and if so, what you can do about it.
First of all, Disney now has a test seat outside the entrance to the queue, so you can at least can get an idea of how well you fit before you wait on line for hours:
While this definitely helps, it’s still not perfect, because:
1) It’s not exactly private, and some guests may still find that unnecessarily embarrassing to have stranger watching them struggle to fit into a seat;
2) For reasons that don’t really make sense to me, I’ve heard of some people fitting in the test seat but not the actual ride, and vice versa.
Unfortunately (I guess?), there is no magic number for either height or weight that will tell you if the Flight of Passage seats will work for you or not. Two guests might weigh exactly the same, but one can ride and the other can’t because of their body shape and the way their weight is distributed.
The good news is that, to some extent, you can shift your position on the ride vehicle in certain ways that might make it possible to fit better.
DsnyFan246 from the DisBoards shares how they’ve successfully gotten into the ride vehicle multiple times, despite not being to fit in the test seat outside the queue:
At 5’8’’ and 310lbs I have never been able to fit on the FOP test seat. The last time I tried, the CM told me to go through the line anyway and try the actual seat. I quickly found some tips online, and I was able to fit that time and every time since.
Here’s what I do:
1-sit down and move all the way forward;
2-(when the CM says they’re activating the restraints) sit up straight with perfect posture, hold in my stomach, arch my lower back inward, and lean forward;
3-(right after 2) lift my heels off the floor so only my toes are on the floor (flip flops or bendable sandals are best) and then relax my back and feet after the restraints lock;
4-if the CM comes to check my restraints, I repeat steps 2 and 3. Sometimes the CM has to push the restraints manually. Once the restraints are locked, I relax and experience the best ride ever!
My sister (who is larger than me) follows these tips, and she has been able to ride every time. We also do not wear thick or layered clothing on the ride. Hope this helps!
There has been some talk that Disney eventually will — or least should — make some changes to this ride so it can accommodate more guests, but all of that is speculation and opinion.
Now it’s your turn.
What did you think of Flight of Passage? Did it make you motion sick? How long did you have to wait, and did you think it was worth it? What did you think of the pre-show? Let us know below in the comments!
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