Updated: Mar 4, 2019
So I finally convinced my whole family to become Disney Annual Passholders! It took months of me constantly talking about Disney for them to take the leap and commit to buying a pass (they'll thank me later).
We had planned a trip to go to Disney's Animal Kingdom, and since my mom had never been and my step-dad has never been to any Disney Parks, it was perfect! We decided to we absolutely had to start our day at Pandora to try to avoid the lines as much as possible (spoiler alert: it didn't work), but we did manage to have a shorter wait time than usual.
Luckily, we were able to book Fastpasses for Na'vi River Journey so we could at least avoid one line! River Journey was averaging at about a 75 minute wait around the time we went to Animal Kingdom and Flight of Passage was at a whopping 180 minutes! Yikes!
Our plans were set in stone! We made it to Animal Kingdom Saturday morning for rope drop and quickly made our way to the wonderful land of Pandora. It is so beautifully designed and well executed, from the waterfall to the theming in the queue. Waiting in line for Flight of Passage is worth it! It is a simulation ride so if you are one of those people who doesn't enjoy harsh rides that take you around loops and are too fast, you might be okay. The most similar ride I can think of is Soarin' Around the World over at Epcot, it's just a little more interactive. On Flight of Passage you get to experience what it's like to be a Na'vi and ride a banshee. It is a fairly quick ride lasting about 5 minutes but definitely worth riding at least once, highly recommend it.
After Flight of Passage we went to watch Festival of the Lion King while we waited for our Fastpass for Na'vi River Journey to start. As usual, I cried during the scene where the trapeze artists in their beautiful bird costuming begin their routine to Can You Feel the Love Tonight, it gets me every time as it is what made me fall in love with Animal Kingdom so many years ago. It was so fun getting to re-watch such an important part of my childhood and really appreciate all the work put behind it, and I look forward to watching it again.
Next up, River Journey! I wasn't sure what to expect after Flight of Passage was so impressive, I had watched some videos on YouTube with footage from the ride but its nothing like seeing it in person. It started to rain pretty heavily by the time our Fastpass window started so the few minutes away from the bad weather was definitely appreciated, however, the boat ride was not as great as I had hoped it would be. It was a good ride and definitely a good way to avoid some of the crazy Orlando weather but it seemed too short to really enjoy it and it felt like something was missing, it didn't feel finished. The animatronic of the Shaman was beautiful and quite the showstopper, but it was obvious that Disney used a rather large portion of their theming budget for the ride on just the one animatronic. Probably not worth the 75-80 minute wait time, but if you have a Fastpass, go for it.
My time at Pandora was amazing regardless of the thunderstorms that made their way through the park, I just wish we would've had time to try the food at Satu'li Canteen, but that will just have to wait till the next time we go to Animal Kingdom.
The rain was pretty heavy but we got to explore Pandora, were reminded of how tough it is to be a bug, and go through a rainy Kilimanjaro Safari before we made our way to Magic Kingdom, but I can tell you about that later...