The First Video of Disney World's New Avatar Ride Looks Fantastic

When the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride first opened at Disneyland in 1967, it represented the cutting-edge of amusement park technologies. Fifty years later, this video is our first glimpse at how far ride technologies have advanced, as Disney World’s new Avatar: Flight of Passage attraction is set to open next weekend, and the above gif doesn’t come close to doing it justice.

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The park’s new Pandora attraction has been open to select guests for previews for the past few weeks, and while many have already ridden the new Flight of Passage ride, YouTube’s Showcase of Wishes is the first to post a full video of the experience. Be forewarned: the footage is a little shaky as each guest actually rides their own animated Banshee (those flying dragon-like creatures from the film) so it’s hard to keep a camera still, and presumably hidden.

If you’re holding off on a trip to Disney World until the new Star Wars land is complete, this video will still give you a good idea of what the Avatar: Flight of Passage ride is like, minus the hi-res wraparound screen, surround sound, and motion-synced banshee seat.

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[YouTube via GeeksAreSexy]

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DISCUSSION

I rode both of the rides in Pandora on Sunday (annual pass holder and got in for the preview). The Pandora section is pretty well done. Looks nice, but it only has the two rides.

The river ride is like Small World but high tech and in Pandora. No story or action really, just a river ride through a forest. It was very pretty and had a lot of detail in it. Maybe when Avatar has more movies to build off of, it will feel more important. Most of it is done with projection and only has the one giant robot at the end. Looked good, but not exciting.

The other ride was not a bad ride at all. It is an updated Soarin’. The entry part needs tweaking because you watch these long videos prior to boarding that feel like they are teasing you and trying to build up the excitement. You ride on these things that look like arcade motorcycles that clamp you in. The thing moves like a simulator, pushing on your legs to add to the feeling of movement. The screen is huge and the 3d glasses are very unique. It was a fun ride, but the employees said the ride is setup for up to a 6 hour wait (3 outside, 3 inside) and that is insane.

Honestly, if you are traveling to Disney World from out of state and not coming back for a long time, don’t come just for this section of Animal Kingdom. I would wait until Star Wars opened and do it at the same time.