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Disney’s Flight of Passage is the best ride ever

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you are going to ride one ride at Walt Disney World in Orlando it should be the Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom.

The Avatar-themed 4-Dimensional attraction allows you to ride a Banshee through the magical world of Pandora. It’s the closest you will ever get to flying. And we guarantee that as soon as you have done it once, you will want to do it over and over and over again.

Wander through Pandora at Disney World Picture: Alison Godfrey

In Avatar mythology the Na’vi people undergo a special rite of passage where each bonds with an ikran – a flying creature that resembles a pterodactyl.

Flight of Passage begins with “genetic matching”. Riders are given 3D glasses, placed in groups of 16 and told to stand on numbered hexagons in a secure room. A scientist, seen on a large screen TV, then tells riders they have found a way to allow anyone to be matched to an Avatar. The scientists then asks passengers to move around until they are matched to their own personal avatar.

The pre-recorded video really makes you feel like you are chatting with the scientists – all part of Disney’s talent for immersion experiences.

Once the match is complete, riders are allowed into the simulation room. Each passenger is assigned a seat which matches their hexagon number. Disney called the seats “link chairs” in lieu of any existing terminology but what they really look like are motorcycles. Riders straddle a padded seat and lean forward to grip on to the handle bars. Once ready, they are locked in at the legs and the back.

Inside the genetics lab where you get paired with your own ikran Picture: Disney

A small screen on the bicycle shows your face and gradually links your image with that of your avatar. At the same time, the wall in front of the bikes opens up to reveal a huge screen.

The scene in front is the Pandora cliffside and soon after it appears you will be off soaring through the air. The room is flooded with smells and sounds that make you feel like you are truly inside Pandora. The seat between your legs begins gently expanding in and out as if the banshee is really breathing beneath you.

The first time the banshee swoops, you feel a surge of adrenalin, just like you are on a rollercoaster. And yet you have hardly moved at all.

As you glide and swoop through Pandora you feel the rush of the air and the force of gravity. At one point you will even feel a spray of water over your face.

A scene from Avatar simulation with flying creatures

You’ll feel like you really are in Pandora Picture: Disney

Disney’s talent for immersive rides has been getting better and better with each new experience opened. This ride has to be the highlight of my time in Walt Disney World.

It is suitable for kids and most would absolutely love it. However, the chairs are not suitable for all body types and anyone who has a fear of heights or a heart condition should consider whether the ride is appropriate for them.

The 3D thrill ride in Pandora World has long wait times, but trust us, it is worth it. Our top tip is to use your fast pass for this ride. It can cut the wait time in half.

Flight of Passage is the best ride I’ve ever been on. It’s worth the wait.

Read more about staying in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Or for more immersive experiences, visit real-life Disney locations.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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