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Pandora — World of Avatar FastPass+ Strategies and Tips

by Leap on May 15, 2017 30 Orlando

Our frog family is about to make history. We're a few short weeks away from being THE FIRST AMPHIBIANS to travel light years through space. With the help of Alpha Centauri Expeditions (also known as ACE ) we're making our way across the universe for a visit to Pandora. Well, that's the "in-world story." Really, we're just headed back to Florida. I know you're eager to grab your Pandora - World of Avatar FastPass + reservations, so let's talk strategies and tips! But first, a little background ...

Pandora World of Avatar Fastpass - Avatar Flight of Passage

Based on the highest-grossing feature film of all time, the world of "AVATAR" will soon come to life at the Walt Disney World Resort. Our frog family, especially our cinema-loving son Tad is hopping with anticipation for May 27, the opening of Pandora — The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Inspired by James Cameron’s 2009 movie, this new land will send guests to the world of Pandora, home of the Na’vi. With the floating mountains serving as the land's centerpiece, the area will feature two attractions. Na’vi River Journey will take you down a sacred river hidden within a bioluminescent rainforest for an encounter with the Shaman of Songs. On Avatar Flight of Passage, you'll connect with your own avatar and fly over Pandora on the back of a mountain banshee. Visitors will experience cultural dining at Satu’li Canteen, tasty beverages at Pongu Pongu and eclectic shopping at Windtraders.

One key element of a visit to Pandora — The World of Avatar will be experiencing the Valley of Mo’ara at night. Disney has played up the inclusion of bioluminescent plants and teased "special nighttime immersive programming." Is this a projection mapping show? A parade? An extravagant nightly song and dance number. Please tell me—I need to know! 

Pandora - World of Avatar FastPass+

Before you start breaking out the MagicBands, I need you to consider this fact ...

Pandora—The World of Avatar Will Change How Everyone Visits Disney World

For years, Disney's Animal Kingdom has been generally been thought of as a half-day park. This was not necessarily due to its small number of attractions and shows when compared to other parks, but rather its shorter hours. Guests that close down at this park would either head back to the hotels, Disney Springs or scurry off to another park.

Pandora World of Avatar Fastpass - Tree of Life Awakening

Recently, Disney's Animal Kingdom has been adding nighttime activities. Rivers of Light—a nighttime show performed on the park's expansive river—Tree of Life Awakening—a magical lighting of the park's iconic tree—and even a "sunset" experience to Kilimanjaro Safaris have kept the park open after dark. Pandora will add another key after-dark element, with its bioluminescence flora and other nighttime experiences. Disney is betting that this nighttime experience will be incredibly popular, and they are adding Extra Magic Hours from 11 p.m until 1 a.m for Disney World Hotel Resort guests for a limited time. Click to read more details about it.

With four theme parks, each one offering some kind of nighttime experience, guests will need to adjust schedules and make some different choices. Do you skip IllumiNations for a few hours to see Pandora aglow? Will you start your morning in one park and keep the tadpoles awake and fed for a nighttime hop over to Disney's Animal Kingdom? Where do you fit your planned evening entertaining at Disney Springs?

Another layer to this "Now Glowing At Night" scenario is FastPass+. By now, repeat visitors to Disney World have a good idea of how they plan to use FastPass+ at Disney's Animal Kingdom, as well as the other parks. Attractions such as Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris can sell out on busy days. Another strategy park hoppers use is to visit one park at opening, hop into standby queues, then hop to another park, where they have FastPass+ reservations waiting for them. This new land's opening will require some adjustments to FastPass+ plans.

Pandora — World of Avatar FastPass+ Strategies

Both of Pandora's attractions—Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey—will be available for FastPass+ reservations. Due to the high interest in these new attractions, guests will only be allowed to reserve ONE of these two attractions per day. They will then have the option to select two other FastPass+ reservations.

From the standpoint of picking your FastPass+ priority, our money (at least at this point) is on Avatar Flight of Passage. We expect, much like Frozen Ever After and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, that getting reservations for these will be pretty tough. Keep in mind that this is our best prediction now. We’ll update it once we have more information about the attractions and Pandora officially opens. As far as those other two FastPass+ picks, we recommend Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids and Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurer's Outpost.

Note that Flight of Passage will have a Singe Rider option.

So here are our recommendations for visiting Pandora — World of Avatar, including FastPass+. Our recommendations will be based on whether you are staying on-site or off-site, and if you will be staying on-site when the Extra Magic Hours at Pandora are being offered.

Disney World Hotel Guests Staying On-Site Between May 27 and July 4 Should Use Extra Magic Hours at Pandora

Pandora World of Avatar Fastpass - Coronado Springs Rooms

If you are staying on-site at a Disney World hotel (or the Swan or Dolphin), experiencing these attractions during Extra Magic Hours at Pandora makes a lot of sense. You will likely still encounter higher waits, but less so during your dedicated time. You could still make Avatar Flight of Passage your first FastPass+ priority and then ride again in the evening if you wanted to experience it twice. Disney does not currently allow FP+ bookings during Extra Magic Hours.

On-Site Disney World Hotel Guests with a Trip Planned After July 4

Generally, there are only certain times we recommend hotel guests use Extra Magic Hours. In this case, we do think it makes sense if you’re staying on-site that you should take advantage of regular Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which are typically held from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturdays and sometimes Mondays (check the Crowd Calendar for your specific dates). Again, we would recommend you arrive ahead of EMH opening and make Flight of Passage your first stop and then Na’vi River Journey hopefully before the park opened to all guests (you’d still be in prime position to ride it then with low waits). You could still make Flight of Passage your first FastPass+ priority if you wanted to ride again later in the day or just to hedge your bets in case it breaks down or lines are still too long.

Staying Off-Site and Want to Visit the Pandora Attractions?

If you’re visiting in May before the official opening, there is a chance you could experience the attractions during “soft openings.” These are not guaranteed to happen and will not be officially announced. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. If you’re visiting after the official opening, your best bet is to attempt to secure a FastPass+ reservation for Flight of Passage (and Na’Vi River Journey failing that). Make sure to book reservations when your window opens at the 30-day mark. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. If this fails, plan to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom on a day when morning Extra Magic Hours are not being held. Arrive at least 45 minutes before the park opens. When it does, make Flight of Passage your first stop and then Na’Vi River Journey.

Two Days at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Pandora World of Avatar Fastpass - Family on Na'Vi River Journey

It’s safe to say with the additions of Pandora and Rivers of Light that Disney’s Animal Kingdom has become a “full-day” park. But it’s still too early to tell for sure if it’s a two-day park. But for guests determined to experience the new Pandora attractions, especially during the busy summer months, visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom over two days is another option. This makes even more sense for those with Park Hopper tickets. You would aim to make Flight of Passage your priority FastPass+ reservation the first day and then Na’vi River Journey the priority FastPass+ reservation the second day.

Accessibility and Other Information

It's always possible Disney could change accessibility and rider requirements during testing of Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na'Vi River Journey. As of now, this is what we know:

Avatar Flight of Passage will have a height restriction of 44in (112cm) or taller. Rider switch will be offered. Guests must transfer from wheelchairs/EVC's to the ride vehicle. As for restrictions, Disney has this posted on the Flight of Passage website:

  • WARNING! For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.

Na'vi River Journey has no height restrictions or similar warnings. Guests must transfer from wheelchairs/EVC's to the ride vehicle. Rider switch will be offered.

Is There An Updated Undercover Tourist Park Plan? 

Yes! We've already updated our Disney's Animal Kingdom park plan on the site and our Orlando planning app for iPhone to include Pandora.

What questions do you have about the opening of Pandora—The World of Avatar? Do you plan on using FastPass+ for Pandora or take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours that are available exclusively to Disney World Resort hotel guests? Let us know in the comments below! 

Keep Hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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Comments
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K Vogue Mar 29, 2017 at 12:38 p.m.

We booking an Annual Passholder sneak peek. Hopefully it won't be overcrowded or we can get fast passes.

Reply
Jen Apr 2, 2017 at 3:46 p.m.

Are fastpasses ever available during soft openings? We are visiting April 30-May 5.

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 2, 2017 at 1:52 p.m.

Hi Jen,

It's possible there will be FastPass available during soft opening, but we don't know for sure.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
brennan May 22, 2017 at 12:16 a.m.

Don't worry, the lines will be short, they only allow about 100 people each day to a soft opening, I should know my brother went to one, and you basically walked through each line. HAVE FUN!!!

Reply
Penny Apr 6, 2017 at 4:36 p.m.

I note you’re betting on FOA being the best bet for a fastpass. However since both FOA and NRJ rides are new guests are likely to want to ride both. Have you factored in that FOA has a height restriction and so fewer people can ride it?

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 6, 2017 at 11:56 a.m.

Hi Penny,

Yes. If Na'Vi River Journey is like Pirates of the Caribbean and is able to move lots of guests quickly through, then there will be less of a need to reserve an FP+ for that attraction. Again, this is all subject to change once we hop in and see how things are.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Stefani Apr 16, 2017 at 1:34 p.m.

How do you recommend Rivers of Light? FP+ or ADR package through Tiffins/Tusker House? I see major pros and cons of both.

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 17, 2017 at 8:17 a.m.

Hi Stefani,

It really depends on your family's priority. In our experience, it makes more sense to use your FP+ for attractions such as Everest, Kali River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris and try standby for Rivers of Light. If you want to enjoy a meal and save an FP+ reservation for an attraction, then the ADR is worth it.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Susanne Apr 16, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.

Once you experience the NaVi River Journey please let us know if there will be a boat that can accommodate a wheelchair. I'm really hoping so, like Small World or the Mexico boat ride. My daughter loves lights and I would hate if she can't experience it, she already misses out on Pirates and Frozen Ever After. I hope the Imagineers considered this and were able to apply it since it's described as a slow moving family ride.

Reply
Noemi Peralta Apr 17, 2017 at 2:06 p.m.

Is NaVi River Journey going to be the same experience during the day as it would be at night? Just trying to see if we should plan to ride it during day hours or at night. Thank you.

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 17, 2017 at 9:32 a.m.

Hi Noemi,

As of now, we don't know if Na'Vi River Journey is entirely indoors or if it has indoor/outdoor elements. We'll know more once guest previews start early next month.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Tessa Apr 17, 2017 at 4:40 p.m.

Hello! I know that the Flight of Passage ride has height requirements, but have you heard anything about being able to ride it (or not) while pregnant? I know it is similar to Soarin', and with Soarin' they do not show being pregnant as a reason to not ride it. I was just curious - thank you!

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 17, 2017 at 12:22 p.m.

Hi Tessa,

As of now, there is no indication that this is not recommended for those with back or neck issues or expectant mothers. It's always possible Disney could change requirements during testing.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Tessa Apr 17, 2017 at 6:23 p.m.

Great, thank you! :)

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 17, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.

Have a great visit!

Reply
J. Scott Hendrix Apr 17, 2017 at 4:50 p.m.

What are the height restrictions for Pandora area??

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 17, 2017 at noon

Hi,

Avatar Flight of Passage height requirement is listed as 44in (112cm) or taller.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Ritu wadhwani Apr 18, 2017 at 9:34 a.m.

I want your help . As I'm reaching Orlando at 17 May n I will be there for 9 days so could u please help me with the best deal of tickets I should purchase as I want to visit all the attractions there

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 18, 2017 at 3:35 p.m.

Hi Ritu,

You'll find the best prices for all of our Orlando theme parks right here. You'll save on Disney World and Universal tickets!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Fran Apr 21, 2017 at 3:38 p.m.

Will there be a single-rider line at either of the Pandora rides

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 22, 2017 at 9:27 a.m.

Hi Fran,

We haven't heard about single rider options for Pandora yet.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Bob Metz Apr 28, 2017 at 5:20 p.m.

Avatar Flight of Passage was already closed for Fast Passes....does this ride have single rider entrance?

Been tryin' to get a Fast Pass for Frozen in EPCOT since it opened....and it's been completely filled every time I go into my Disney annual passholders

website.....does this ride have a single rider entrance? Thanks,

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 29, 2017 at 5:35 p.m.

Hi Bob,

Sorry, but Frozen Ever After does not have Single Rider. As for Flight of Passage, we don't have word if there will be a Single Rider option. With previews beginning this week, we should know soon!

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Becca May 8, 2017 at 1:34 p.m.

So my family will be at AK June 5th. Of course no FP were available for either FOP or NR. Our family really wants to do NR. Do you think if we get to the park very early and head straight for this attraction we have a shot at getting in even without a fast pass ? Haven't been to Disney in 10 years so I've forgotten a lot. Our first FP is 910-1010 at Everest . Also, if not would you recommend using the FO for this on another day but that means giving up using any further passes at a different park (that's our Epcot day) we

Reply
FrogBlog May 8, 2017 at 9:01 a.m.

Hi Becca,

We recommend arriving at Animal Kingdom well before the park opens and heading right to Na'Vi River Journey. After that attraction, head to Everest.

Keep Hopping,

Leap

Reply
AliPat May 17, 2017 at 9:28 p.m.

Hi Lulu,

Today was the first day that I was able to book a Fastpass for my trip in July. Flight of Passage was available but even when I logged it at 7am to do so (the earliest time allowed) the earliest time I could get was at 3:40pm. I was hoping for a morning FastPass but was only slightly disappointed. We plan to just arrive in the park in the morning during Extra Magic Hours and hopefully snag a ride sooner. Right now the earliest available was 5pm or later. So being that today was the first day in our 60-day window, I would not wait to book a FastPass at all. There is a lot of excite surrounding this ride.

Warm regards,

AliPat

Reply
Lulu May 8, 2017 at 9:12 p.m.

Do you guys know if it has been easy for many guest to get the Fastpass to Flight of Passage ride 60 days before check-in time? If I plan to get a fastpass to the attraction at a specific time on a specific day, and then wait for the first chance to reserve it 60 days in advance, will I have luck getting it?

Thanks

Reply
FrogBlog May 9, 2017 at 8:21 a.m.

Hi Lulu,

Speaking from personal experience, we booked a 2-day trip to Animal Kingdom 30 days prior and were not able to get Flight of Passage. We did land an 8:00 pm Na'Vi River Journey Fastpass on our second day. We normally don't plan specific attractions at specific times, but it's possible that strategy could work for you.

Keep Hopping,

Leap

Reply
aaaily May 12, 2017 at 2:44 p.m.

Hello! By luck I was able to score 2 FP+ for flight of passage for two guest of my party and 2 FP+ for the other two in my party for Navi River for the first week in June. I also have 2 under two. Do you think rider switch will be available for both attractions or will there be a restriction on the rider switch FP+ option.

Reply
FrogBlog May 12, 2017 at 4:03 p.m.

Hi Aasily,

Since there are no height requirements on Na'vi River Journey, that one will not have Rider Switch. We assume it will be available on Flight of Passage, but we haven't seen anything official.

Keep Hopping,

Leap

Reply
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