Kaltxì, interplanetary adventurers! No doubt you've hopped here for the latest intel on visiting Pandora — The World of Avatar. Departures from Disney's Animal Kingdom are well underway. Since the Pandora rides debuted in 2017, they have been some of the hottest tickets in Walt Disney World. This is toadally true of Avatar - Flight of Passage, which remains one of the most in-demand rides in all of the resort's lands.
It lives up to the hype, and yes, you must experience it on your trip! That said, the lines are still long, and getting a Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass+ reservation isn't easy. Not to worry, we frogs are here to help! (If you're looking for the full scoop on everything inside the new Avatar land, hop to our guide to Pandora.) Read on for tips for getting Avatar FastPass+ reservations and more hopful hints.
Tips for Riding Avatar Flight of Passage
1. Make sure your crew meets the Flight of Passage height requirement!
There is a Flight of Passage height requirement of 44 inches. This is the same as Expedition Everest, one of Disney World's wildest coasters. You'll want to make sure your tadpoles measure up and communicate it in advance if they don't. There is nothing worse than a child walking up to the height requirement sign and not being tall enough to ride. Even if your tadpoles aren't tall enough, you grownups can take advantage of child swap and take turns riding without having to queue twice!
2. Make getting Avatar FastPass+ your top Animal Kingdom priority!
Both of Pandora's rides — Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey — are available for FastPass+. Due to the high demand for these rides, you are only allowed to make an advance reservation for ONE of these two attractions per day. You will then have the option to make FastPass+ reservations for two others rides or entertainment.
For FastPass+, the priority is Avatar Flight of Passage. This one is much tougher to get. (Bear in mind if you get a FastPass+ reservation for it, you will skip the cool queue elements.) For your other two FastPass+ picks, we recommend Kilimanjaro Safaris or Expedition Everest.
Whether you're staying on-site or off, make sure to book your FastPass+ reservations when your window opens. Make booking Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass+ your first priority. If you get it, great! If you don't, move on to other high-priority rides. After you have booked all of your rides, keep checking for Avatar FastPass+ availability. In fact, you can keep checking back in My Disney Experience periodically ahead of your trip. Use our other FastPass+ tips and hints.
3. Visit Pandora — The World of Avatar during Extra Magic Hours if you're staying at an on-site hotel
If you're staying at an official Disney World hotel or one of the Disney Springs hotels that offer Extra Magic Hours, you should consider visiting during Extra Magic Hours for Disney's Animal Kingdom. This strategy requires getting up extra early or staying out extra late, so it's not for everyone. However, these inconveniences can pay off big time. Extra Magic Hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom allow Disney World Resort guests to enter the park one hour before official opening or after official closing (check our Crowd Calendar for your specific dates). If you're visiting during morning Extra Magic Hours, make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before the morning Extra Magic Hour begins so you'll be one of the first ones in!
The above photo was taken at 6:50 a.m. on the main entrance bridge to Pandora when we arrived for morning Extra Magic Hours. We were led into the land — gasping at the floating mountains! — while following the masses en route to the entrance to Avatar Flight of Passage. From there, we traveled into the extensive queue and for the most part NEVER STOPPED until we reached the point where riders are grouped for boarding into either the upper or lower link chambers.
After experiencing Avatar Flight of Passage, we hopped over to the queue for Na'vi River Journey. We weaved our way through the queue at a leisurely pace. A short 15 to 20 minutes later, we made our way into the boarding area and sailed down the river.
What was our total time to experience both attractions without using FastPass+? ONE HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES. By the time we emerged from Na'vi River Journey, the latecomers and non-resort hotel guests had arrived, bumping wait times on both rides. We'd seen BOTH in less than 90 minutes. (We've experienced a similar pace when arriving at park open on non-EMH days.)
4. Visit Animal Kingdom on a day when there isn't Extra Magic Hour if you're not staying on-site or you're not visiting during Extra Magic Hour
If you are staying at an off-site Walt Disney World hotel or you do not plan on visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom during Extra Magic Hours, pick a day when the park isn't hosting Extra Magic Hours. These extra hours, especially morning EMHs, bring A LOT of people into the park. If you visit on a day when there aren't Extra Magic Hours, we highly recommend you arrive at least 30 minutes and more like 45 minutes to an hour before the park opens. This is because guests are typically let into the park ahead of the official opening, and you can guess where all of those people are headed!
5. Prioritize Avatar Flight of Passage over Na'Vi River Journey
While you no doubt want to experience both Pandora rides, Flight of Passage is not to be missed! Therefore, your priority should be Flight of Passage. If you have the option, take Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass+ over Na'Vi River Journey. If you're visiting during Extra Magic Hours or you're arriving ahead of park opening on a non-EMH day, go to Flight of Passage first.
One Disney Avatar hint you'll want to remember is that there are two Pandora entrances. The main entrance — most convenient for those of you “rope-dropping” — is right past Tiffins and Nomad Lounge. The second available pathway into Pandora is off of Harambe Bridge near Festival of the Lion King in Africa. Both locations are entrances and exits. For less traffic, I recommend heading toward the path less followed at Harambe Bridge. This path will lead you straight to the dining area and closer to Avatar Flight of Passage … the perfect combo.
6. Consider a second day at Disney's Animal Kingdom
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. For guests determined to experience the Pandora rides, especially during the busy summer months and holidays, 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.
7. Use our Disney's Animal Kingdom Park Plan
Our Disney's Animal Kingdom park plan on the site and our Orlando planning app for iPhone include the Pandora rides, and they're optimized so you see when to visit. You can use the app to see all Animal Kingdom wait times.
8. Consider going standby for Avatar if you're a hard core fan
The amazement of Avatar Flight of Passage starts long before you get on the ride. With the queue … wow ... there is a lot to take in! The first portion has a very natural Na’vi vibe as you walk through caves covered in paintings. There is even a hand-woven banshee outside! But as you go further, you’ll be in ACE territory. After all, flying on a banshee is all part of an experiment … so you’ll walk through a lab straight out of the movie. All of the experiments are REAL. Toadally. Take your time to gaze at all of the experiments and test tubes, and especially the Avatar itself, floating in a tube ready for transport. You’ll spot a banshee skull too … I never knew how big those things were! Even the handrails are ACE-branded.
Hop tip: There’s a water bottle refill station toward the middle of the queue. You know we frogs love to stay hydrated and eco-friendly.
THIS PART CONTAINS SPOILERS. The great part about Avatar Flight of Passage is that there’s not a bad seat. There is just one row — so no pressure to get in a certain position. Once you’ve been counted off and let through to the ride portion, be ready to wait. But don’t worry, it’s fun! You’ll get a couple how-to videos on the fascinating process of linking to an Avatar for your banshee flight and get a little bit of background on the experience. The seat for this ride is very much like a motorcycle (I imagine, anyway … Mommy Frog won’t let me ride one!) so it’s like you are really riding a banshee. If you aren’t too distracted by the mesmerizing views of Pandora as you’re soaring around, you’ll even notice that you can feel the banshee breathing below you. It's so CRAZY … and so cool. Be sure to look in every direction rather than just straight ahead to truly take in the environment. OK, SPOILERS DONE.
Anywho, as mentioned above, using FastPass+ can definitely help alleviate waits, but if you want to geek out on all of the deets, do the standby line for your very first experience.
9. Find the Handprints
A friendly ACE Team member clued us into a hidden gem that most people pass by. Flight of Passage features four Link Chambers — A, B,C and D. Before being grouped for your link chamber, ask the ACE Team Member if you could use Chamber A or B. Don't worry, there is no difference in the experience using any of the chambers.
After your ride on Flight of Passage, you'll head down a staircase and head down a large cement-walled hallway. On the right side of this hallway, you'll see three red handprints with initials underneath.
These handprints belong to the three creative minds behind the creation of Pandora — The World of Avatar. JC = James Cameron, writer/director of "Avatar," JL = John Landau, producer of "Avatar," and JR= Joe Rohde, executive designer and vice president, creative with Walt Disney Imagineering. It was so cool to see this neat easter egg planted by three great creatives.
10. Know Where to Sit on Na'Vi River Journey
All of the cool visual effects of the "Avatar" movie come to life in Na’vi River Journey. On your way onto this slow boat ride, take note of the unique queue. When you enter the covered area, you’ll notice that the ceiling is woven by the Na’vi themselves. There is a center portion that is woven blue and leads you to the entrance, with neat displays along the way. This is representative of the journey you are about to take on the ride as you travel to meet the Shaman. You’ll find similar handmade, woven Na’vi art throughout Pandora.
I recommend snagging a front row spot so you can have an unobstructed view of every creature, bioluminescent plant and special effect that consumes this ride. There are two rows per boat, and two boats loading at a time … which means rows one or three are your best options when they are loading. It’s worth asking the last ACE Team Member (the one who asks how many are in your party) if you can have a front row. Each row of the boat holds three to four people, depending on how fully grown your frog squad is!
Whew! We know that's a lot to take in, but trust me when I say all the preparation will be toadally worth it. Have you been lucky enough to snag a Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass+? Share your tips!