While there are a million and one reasons I could give you explaining why we love Disney, attractions are pretty high up on the list. With Walt Disney World’s growing construction projects and ever-evolving landscapes, attractions are inevitably changing, too. While some have been around since day one, others have entered my life and quickly become favorites. Today I want to start a new series going through my top 5 favorite attractions of all time at Walt Disney World, one at a time.
Originally I wanted to do a countdown, but each of these holds their own place in my top 5 and I cannot say one is necessarily better than any other (they can all “sit with us,” if you will). They essentially are all my number ones for their own respective reasons.
Doug and I have always shared this crazy affinity for Disney and a lot of people don’t understand, yet. For those who aren’t in the Mickey Mouse Club just yet, I typically get a look of confusion after I’ve burst with glee from telling them I’m going to Walt Disney World. I’ve become accustomed to this look by now. Typically it’s followed by questions: “Are you going with kids? Isn’t that just for kids?” I immediately shut that down explaining how much more fun I personally think it is as an adult.
To go further, I like to explain how Disney does a pretty good job of maximizing their space with new and popular activities. If something needs to be revamped, they aren’t afraid to bring in fresh, new ideas. It’s one of the things we can appreciate about WDW. In fact, this is something I have always loved. You can visit all the time, even live close by, and have new experiences every day! There is never a lack of things to do, or eat! Without further ado, let’s get to it!
First up, Flight of Passage in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You guys, if you haven’t experienced this yet, you are in for the treat of your life. I remember like it was yesterday, going to the premiere of Avatar at the IMAX theatre in 3D. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen in a film experience. Now, I know some of you (ah-hem, Doug) might be rolling your eyes, arguing Avatar is just Pocahontas in blue suits (it really is), but to me, the visuals were so much more.
A few years back, our family was on our regular schedule of Disney trips and that is when we got our first glimpse of the floating mountains of Pandora. I was enamored by how Disney can take something that is sometimes 100% CGI in a movie and make it a reality. I am a visual learner, so seeing something is way better to me than hearing about it if that makes ANY sense at all (no? Just me?).
Needless to say, when Pandora opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I couldn’t believe my eyes. In the first moments of being there, I could finally relate to Aladdin and Abu in the Cave of Wonders. I could stand in the middle for hours and just look and listen (nerd alert). With its opening came two new attractions. These new attractions were all the buzz and I could not WAIT to get my hiney on Flight of Passage, especially. I have to admit, I did watch videos on Youtube beforehand (I cheated), but it only made me that much more excited. It’s way different for me when I’m actually there as opposed to watching a video on the tube. When you are there, you are all encompassed by it (sights, sounds, smells etc…).
Now, as with all new attractions, booking Fastpasses is like playing a game of Press Your Luck at 7 am (No whammies, no whammies…..STOP). We were lucky enough to get some FPs for our visit in September of 2017, though. It was set for the evening time but we were able to play the other fun game of Supermarket Sweep to get to it after rope drop one morning to do standby (that sounded way too Disney language). Basically, we were able to walk onto it as soon as the park opened one morning (sometimes, I speak Disney).
My first impression was “THIS IS INSANE.” The park had just opened and they already had cast members out there with the “The Line Ends Here” signs (meaning the line was already going to be longer than the super long queue in place). We had to walk fast, so we didn’t get to take in too much of the surrounding landscape, but it was totally fine considering the payout in the end. Disney has done an amazing job at making their line queues much more enjoyable than in years past. For Flight of Passage, this was no different.
The line queue is incredible. It’s almost as cool as the ride itself. I must say, the lab is my absolute favorite part. To see the actual Avatar in the tube is the coolest…thing…ever! I would not be mad waiting in these inside areas for a stint at all. There’s so much to see and almost not enough time take it in (there’s so much to see, so much to do, so what’s wrong with taking the back streets? Sorry not sorry.)
Getting to the ride now. My connection to this ride is purely based on the fact that it’s the greatest attraction I have ever experienced. For this reason alone, it has to be in my top 5. I do not have any kind of nostalgic connection, but it is just plain amazing. To experience flying on the back of a banshee through what I already knew to be an incredible feast for the eyes cannot be put into words. You are truly flying through Pandora in this however many Ds experience (8?).
The technology alone is brilliant as you fly around getting splashed in the face while feeling the wind in your hair as you soar. I really enjoyed sort of having this personal vehicle to sit on to get the full effect without any distraction. You can hear everyone around you oozing with oooohhs and aaaahhhhs and you completely feel the exact same, in awe.
I think Disney’s Imagineers did an amazing job of putting this attraction together from the line queue, all the way down to how many guests can experience this at once. I have felt sad in the past for kids who get up the courage to ride an attraction only to be crushed under the “you must be this tall to ride this ride” sign. I love that this amazing experience can virtually be for anyone (no pun intended).
It is surely an attraction I want to ride again immediately after. I’m also sure the lines will start to slow down now that the new Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land is open, but we will definitely be FastPassing this as much as we can. I highly recommend this attraction to anyone and have yet to hear any negative feedback on it except a little motion sickness for some (for whom I feel so sorry for because it’s so cool, but I get it). All in all, it had to make my top 5 attraction list and I cannot WAIT to ride again as much as we can when we return!!
I would love to hear some feedback on your thoughts of FOP and maybe others on your own personal top 5! Let’s hear it, folks!
I want to give a special thank you shout out to @thezipadeedoocrew and @magicalshannonmarie for the use of their photography for this post.