Theme park ride review: Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney World

Avatar Flight of Passage lets you immerse yourself in the world of Avatar and even ride a heckin' banshee!
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved. /

Last week, I had the immense pleasure of being flown to Disney World for the Disney World Level Up! media event, where I, along with a few other influencers and members of the press, got to really experience Disney Magic.

During the event, we hopped from park to park, going on rides designed to immerse us in our favorite fandoms and make us feel like we were actually living in the worlds we all love so much for a few minutes. The biggest takeaway from the trip, at least for me, is that Disney World is a magical wonderland where fandom dreams don’t just sparkle; they explode into life with a pop of pixie dust. Disney parks are not just theme parks; they are portals to the worlds of your favorite stories, be it soaring through the skies of Pandora or zooming through the galaxy in a Star Wars starfighter.

Today, I am here to talk about one of the most jaw-dropping, heart-pumping rides ever to hit Disney's Animal Kingdom: Avatar Flight of Passage. If you've ever dreamt of flying on the back of a banshee, soaring through lush jungles and mystical landscapes just like in James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Avatar, well, pinch yourself and pack your bags because you're in luck.

Animal Kingdom - Avatar
Na'Avi bust in the guest shop of Flight of Passage. Photo Credit: Brian Miller /

Fly into the world of Pandora on Avatar Flight of Passage

From the moment you step into the queue, you're not just in line for a ride; you're on a journey to Pandora. Forget the Florida sun (and your sunburns); you're now in the lush, alien world that feels a million light-years away from Earth. The details are unlike any I've ever seen in an attraction before. There are real plants mixed with artificial wonders and the sounds of creatures you've never heard before. You might even believe you've actually left Earth.

Before you climb atop your very own banshee, you're welcomed by the RDA and introduced to some pretty stellar science to help you sync up with an Avatar. Yep, you get to be matched with an Avatar (the blue folks from the movie, for the uninitiated) that looks a bit like you, only bluer, to ride a banshee. How cool is that?

Now, onto the ride itself. You're not just sitting in a seat facing a giant screen; you're straddling what feels like a breathing, living creature. As the lights dim and your journey begins, a breathtaking vista opens up. Suddenly, you're swooping and soaring over Pandora’s incredible landscapes, from vast oceans to floating mountains. I have to admit, I forgot for a minute that I was on a ride. The sounds, the breeze (simulated wind, which is a wonderful touch), the slight splash of water as you zoom near the ocean...I also admit I got slightly emotional over the most beautiful scenery my eyes will ever witness. ("No, I'm not crying, the fans made my eyes watery" excuse deployed successfully.)

Avatar Flight of Passage on Pandora - The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Avatar Flight of Passage, a 3-D thrilling adventure set to open on Pandora Ð The World of Avatar at DisneyÕs Animal Kingdom, offers guests the chance to connect with an avatar and soar on a banshee over Pandora. The journey begins in the queue, as guests get a peek inside a high-tech research lab to view an avatar still in its growth state inside an amnio tank. The room features charts and screens that show just how humans will "connect" with a fully developed avatar for their upcoming flight on /

The sensations experienced during the ride are unreal. The banshee beneath you moves in sync with the action. You feel its lungs expanding and contracting against your calves as it dives, swoops, and soars. The immersive technology tricks your senses into believing you're flying, free as a bird...or, well, as a banshee. Flight of Passage is a story about connection with nature, the Na'vi, and the world of Avatar. The themes of the movie — respect for nature, the importance of connection, and balance — are woven into every moment of the experience. It's an emotional rollercoaster as much as a physical one.

Avatar Flight of Passage is a masterpiece of theme park engineering, storytelling, and pure imagination, and it should be on your must-ride list of Disney rides and attractions. It's one of those rare rides that combines cutting-edge technology with heart-pounding action and a deep, meaningful narrative.

And to top it off, we were all taken to the ACE Avatar Maker and had an Avatar action figure made to resemble each of us. It was such a cool concept, and the tinier blue version of myself now sits on my shelf, eagerly waiting to take me back to Pandora for another adventure.

Whether you're an Avatar fan, a thrill-seeker, or someone who appreciates the magic of well-crafted immersive experiences, Flight of Passage delivers on all fronts. Plus, it’s a great way to feel like a kid again, screaming your lungs out as you fly on the back of a banshee.

The world of Pandora awaits, and trust me, it's a trip worth taking. Pack your adventurous spirit, leave your fear of heights behind, and get ready to experience one of the most spectacular rides you’ll ever encounter.

Flight of Passage isn't just a ride; it's a passage to the world of Pandora, and it needs to be witnessed.

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