We are fans of the Pandora movie, and were so very excited to visit the new Pandora land in AK this year. The beauty of the new area was just beyond beautiful. There really aren’t words for this, you simply have to experience it, both during the day and after dark. You MUST visit after dark. The bioluminescence is out of this world (duh, you are not on earth there!!)
Ok, this is a review of the ride, not the land. Katie and I went for our BFF trip in July and could NOT get a FP+ for this ride. We snagged one for the Na’vi River Journey, and enjoyed it very much. The standby wait for Flight of Passage was at a bare minimum 2.5 hours. We chose not to wait in line, and instead, enjoy the time we had.
Next, Prince Charming surprised me for my birthday in July, and, because he did that, we had NO FP+. None. Nada. We LOVE the movie, and wanted to experience this ride together, so we got up SUPER early, and rope dropped AK, and ran to Pandora to get in line for this ride. We tried the night before to go during the special Pandora EMH, but it was perhaps MORE crowded then than it was during the day; there were standby times of 3+ hours. I know right?? Shocking. So, we rope dropped the park, and went DIRECTLY to the standby line. The end of the line… was at the bridge to Africa. Did you read that? Let me say it again. We were on the bridge. to Africa. Look at the picture. Seriously…
Ok, so we are in line. And we are pretty sure that we are going to be in line for at least a couple of hours. We settled in and were determined to just enjoy the morning, and each other… And then?? We started walking. They had not filled the queue. We were walking thru the line. Let me say quickly, that sometime, you really NEED to go thru the standby queue. It is the best queue Disney has ever done. The views that you have of the Pandora land, the waterfalls, the vegetation… it’s beautiful. Also, once you are inside, the lab area is fascinating. As usual, there are so many little details that you can’t possibly see it all in one pass. There is a huge Avatar in a tank that you walk by. It is very cool. We walked thru this area and loved seeing the details. We were in line just under 45 minutes. WOW!
We were giddy as we watched the pre-show and then as we entered the ride chamber. Ok, I was, I won’t claim that Prince Charming was giddy… but he was happy. 🙂 I have to add a caveat here, that I really don’t like Soarin’. I was excited to ride this, but was very nervous that I would get sick to my stomach, or dislike it because I’d heard this ride compared to Soarin. This is Soarin’ times 193837485939372638485950574636280058746. Maybe more. But, all in the good ways. The difference for me, is that you are sitting on the “banshee” so I had a seat, and “limits”, which means a lot to me. It helped me. The back and leg restraints made sure I never felt like I might fall – which is a problem on Soarin. I know, it’s dumb. But… well, there you go.
This is the BEST ride Disney has ever done. Seriously. The visuals, the smells, the everything was beyond description. The water splashing, the smell of the earth, the detail in the video you are watching… just WOW! Also, as you are sitting on your banshee, you can FEEL the banshee breathing. You can feel their lungs expand. You can feel the banshee shudder when it feels frightened. The experience is totally consuming. You FEEL LIKE YOU ARE RIDING A BANSHEE!
We left nearly speechless. We were grinning ear to ear. We couldn’t seem to express exactly how amazing the ride was. We were listening to people around us, and they were experiencing the same things. You could hear “WOW” over and over again. We loved it. Later that day after we ducked into Restaurantasaurus to escape a Florida rain shower and grabbed lunch, I did a random check and what do you know… there was a FP+ available! I grabbed it immediately. I was pumped that we got to ride it twice in one day! We finished up lunch, dodged rain and headed to the FP entrance. Remember how I talked about all the awesome things to look at in the standby queue? You get NONE of that in FP+. None. It just takes you directly to the ride. In a lot of cases, this is fine (Haunted Mansion, etc, it doesn’t hurt my feelings to miss the queue there), but knowing exactly how cool the standby queue is made me miss it. Not enough to go get in the 3 hour line… but, we did frown a minute and say “man, that was a cool queue, ok, let’s ride again.” Second time, I will say that riding after eating made a difference, I got just a little queasy a couple times, but, not enough to ruin it for me.
We went back with the kiddos in October and I snagged 2 FP+ for Flight of Passage. The kids LOVED it. Even Little K who is cautious on rides and was worried she wouldn’t like it. They were freaking out as we left and C kept saying that it was so good that he would be willing to wait 2 hours or more to ride it again. It was just… fabulous. It was just as good the 4th time as it was the first.
You NEED to ride this ride. Watch MDE about 2 weeks out from your trip, it was my experience that they opened up some FP+ times in the 2 week window. It is by far, the best ride that Disney has done. I can’t wait to go back and ride again. I recommend doing rope drop to get there if you can’t snag a FP+, or, just go get in standby line and determine to have a good time.