Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Pandora – The World of Avatar opened at Animal Kingdom last year. Our family was very lucky to get a passholder preview a couple of weeks before opening (and I’m checking my e-mail regularly to see if Disney will offer the same thing for Passholders for Toy Story Land, fingers crossed!). Unfortunately, I wasn’t a Disney blogger then and didn’t really take advantage of that little perk. I’m not sure that I’ll do a blog post for every single Disney ride but since I think that this ride is hands-down the best ride that Disney offers it’s worth a bit of writing. And so is the land it resides in, Pandora, which is exceptionally beautiful at night (click on the pictures to expand).
There are two rides within Pandora- Na’Vi River Journey & Avatar Flight of Passage. Na’Vi River Journey is visually stunning and has the most advanced animatronic to date. It’s a bit of a departure for Disney, in that the ride doesn’t follow a story. I suppose that’s my disappointment in the ride. In spite of the incredible bioluminescent forest that you’re floating through, it fails to draw you in to make you part of a story like Disney’s other rides. Because of that I rarely ride this one unless I can get a FastPass+- and Flight of Passage isn’t available.
Flight of Passage is truly sensational. The queue is very, very long and the walk is uphill most of the way so older guests could have trouble with that. I have seen wait times in the four hour range but recently during the off season things have settled to around an hour and a half to two hours (we’ll see what that looks like from now until August). Even though this is a spectacular ride I would never wait two hours, much less four to ride it (there are no bathrooms along the way). I don’t have the video equipment necessary to video the ride but if you want a sneak peek I found this on YouTube. You don’t get the flying sensation but you get the general idea. The queue is also fun and interactive in places which helps with the long wait times.
Thankfully, Disney is opening Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, plus some other great rides in the next few years which will help to disburse crowds a bit for the most popular rides. So, a couple of tips to avoid a very long wait time on this ride-
1. Get a FastPass+- Your best bet for that is to stay on Disney property and book at 7am Eastern time 60 days out. Even with Toy Story Land opening this one is still very hard to come by. Your next best opportunity for snagging a FP+ is to check the My Disney Experience App religiously the day that you’re going. We’ve had a decent amount of success in getting one the same day due to cancellations. Also, check the app if it starts raining and you might get one that way.
2. Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours. If you’re a Disney Resort Guest, Extra Magic Hours are a nice perk. They’re usually at 8am but worth it to not have to stand in line forever.
3. Get in line during Rivers of Light or right after the show is over. Travis and I did this (along with a couple thousand other people) and made it in line when it showed a 25 minute wait. Because of the flood of people we ended up waiting about 35 minutes but that’s still very reasonable.
4. Hop in line right before the park closes. The advantage to this is that there are no other FP+ holders in line which makes things move faster. I’ve never done this so I can’t guarantee the wait won’t be over an hour but it’s still better than during the day.
This ride does really make you feel like you’re flying so if you get motion sickness or are very afraid of heights you might want to skip it. Personally, I’m afraid of heights and get freaked out by Soarin’ but this ride doesn’t bother me at all.
Overall, Pandora should be a must do on your Disney vacation plans.
So, have you ridden the rides in Pandora? What do you think? And is it worth the wait times?