Why I Hated Flight Of Passage

I've made no secret of the fact that I wasn't exactly impressed with Flight of Passage when I rode it on my most recent trip to Orlando in September. I'm actually surprised that this controversial opinion was met with less than a slither of the outraged hatred I received when I said that I didn't particularly care for Icon to be honest, but that's not to say people didn't raise their eyebrows slightly. I feel sometimes that people might think I just say I don't like certain popular attractions just to be different or to get attention or whatever, so I thought I'd take some time today to outline precisely why I hated Flight of Passage. Well...hate is a strong word. I didn't hate the thing, I just thought it was meh and probably wouldn't ride it again unless it had a less-than-fifteen-minute queue. But yh, here's my reasoning behind my opinion of Flight of Passage!

Yep, this is the obvious one. This ride was overhyped to fuck. I do my best to ignore the majority opinion of rides where I can and try not to look too much into what goes into them for fear of ruining the experience for myself, but Flight of Passage was one of those rides that seemingly everybody who'd ridden the thing would ram down your throat how utterly AMAZING and BREATHTAKING and LIFE-CHANGING the ride is. It'll make you cry! They said. It'll set you on the path of enlightenment! They exclaimed. Yh, not really surprising then really that I was left feeling slightly cold after my experience on the ride when I was lead to believe Flight of Passage would change my entire outlook on life then is it?


I bloody love Soarin'. OK, so that's mostly due to my undying love of the soundtrack, but my god I love that ride. And to clarify, when I say Soarin' I refer ONLY to Over California, not that shitty Around The World version that Disney insisted on ruining the attraction with. But yes, big place in my heart for Soarin' - the smells, the music, the feeling of utter elation and joy as you skim across clouds and fly over mountainsides. Disney magic at its finest and probably the best use of a Flying Theatre style attraction I've done to date. So yh, when this was described to me (and it was, often) as Soarin' BUT BETTER, I was excited. I mean, I LOVE SOARIN' so what the hell could go wrong? Turns out, everything.



I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't give a shiny SHITE about Avatar. And whilst the rest of land actually does a pretty good job of being awesome without a reliance on the guest caring about the IP, I was surprised at quite how much weight Flight of Passage gives to the rider having an emotional investment in Avatar and its world. In the preshow they talk with such wonder in their voice about how amazing it's going to be to fly on the back of one of these alien creatures and get a chance to inhabit the body of the Na'vi and embrace their culture. Don't. Give. A. Fuck. There was nothing wondrous or magical or remotely special about that experience because I simply do not care. This world isn't familiar to me, I have no nostalgia or love or appreciation for it so it was really hard for me to get invested in what was going on (and believe me I really tried - but when you have to try surely that's the first sign of the ride not doing its job anyway?)



My god that ride is so, so repetitive. With the likes of Soarin', despite the movements being pretty similar throughout the experience changes up constantly with differences in sound, tempo, smells, and visuals all cutting between different distinctive landscapes. The mountains look completely different to the plains, to the ocean, to the orange fields, etc etc. I felt like the visuals on Flight of Passage all looked pretty similar and the motion was extremely repetitive. Like oh my god, the thing I'm riding on is 'breathing' - cool! Oh it's...still doing it. Kind of annoying now actually. And omg I've been splashed in the face SEVEN FUCKING TIMES please stop now my make-up is melting off of my face. It felt like it didn't really...do anything? And it relied heavily on the visuals to distract from that - something Soarin' does pretty successfully but Flight of Passage just couldn't pull off for me.



This is going to sound so 'holier than thou' but whatever, I don't feel like I bring it up that often so I'm going for it. Everyone going on and on about how this is the best Disney ride in existence and me having done the Asian Disney dark rides had me excited. If this ride were even a fraction as good as the likes of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth or Battle For The Sunken Treasure we were in for a real treat in Orlando. Sad truth is, Flight of Passage can't hold a candle to the awesomeness of the Asian dark rides - it's a travesty to even mention them like they're in the same league. Even the likes of Dinosaur is a much better, more thrilling and exciting experience in my opinion. It's just not even worth mentioning if we're talking about the best of the best Disney rides.



It was nothing close to what I've seen the queue reaching on social media sometimes (345 minutes? People are insane) but we waited over an hour for this thing and I was a bit frazzled by the time we got on it. I don't tend to really wait that long for rides as I'll make sure I plan my visits to parks when I know they're going to be less crowded, so seventy minutes was really pushing it for me. The theming in the queueline is nice, but there's only so long I can star at some awesomely themed rocks before I start to get aggy. And the queue moved SLOWLY. I don't mind waiting when things are consistently moving along with this one really seemed to drag.



One of the reason I love the likes of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and Dinosaur is for me they have that real Disney magic. The stuff that makes you feel completely immersed and gets your blood and adrenaline rushing without ever really reaching high speeds. The rides that really do completely transport you to another world, if only for a few minutes in the scheme of things, but that leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and high off of endorphins because the thing is just so awesome. Yh, Flight of Passage had none of that for me. And I really don't mind a screen ride - I LOVE The Simpsons Ride at Universal for instance, but yh, Flight of Passage left me feeling cold. It didn't feel wondrous, it didn't feel magical, it felt corporate and bland.



The actual surrounding land of Pandora is absolutely, undoubtedly one of the best themed lands in any theme park in the world. It is utterly stunning. The detail is incredible, the forced perspective is insane and everything feels completely immersive. I wandered around for ages with my head tilted to the sky, jaw dropped just going wow wow wow at everything. Everywhere you look is so rich with textures and detail that your eyes need a while to just gaze over everything and slowly drink it all in. It's unbelievable that something like this even exists, and it's staggering to even start to try to comprehend the amount of work and blood, sweat and tears that went into bringing the place to life. Which is why it irks me so much that Flight of Passage pales so much in comparison. The attraction isn't worthy of such a beautiful land - it's almost cruel of Disney to taunt you with such awesomeness only for the E-ticket attraction to be a glorified simulator.


Feels good to actually get this all down on paper - I'll be sure to read it next time I'm in Orlando in the hopes that it'll prevent me from wasting any more of my precious time on this bland, cold attraction. Such a shame, I was really hoping it'd be better!

Talk later xoxo,

CONVERSATION

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