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BREAKING: Leaked Image Reveals Ride Vehicle for AVATAR “Flying Banshee” Attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Concept Art for Flight of Passage attraction, Pandora: the World of AVATAR at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park
Concept Art for Flight of Passage attraction, Pandora: the World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park

Since the Flight of Passage attraction was announced, we have wondered how Disney would achieve such an attraction, where guests were promised that they would get to ride on a “real Banshee” from the AVATAR film series. Well, the following image was sent our way courtesy of an inside source and is a screen cap of some footage of Imagineers testing out the new ride which will open with Pandora: the World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this Summer.

Now, obviously, it is not the clearest image, but so is the nature of such leaked things. You can see that 2 people are mounted on a Banshee creature and are riding the attraction with the large Soarin’ type projection screen in front of them.

It might be possible to seat more than two guests on each, but it is unclear due to the clarity of the image. I would assume that children 7 and under would need to ride with someone 14 or older, as is the rule with many other attractions at Walt Disney World.

This is the structure to which the dozens of Banshees will be mounted, holding guests while they fly in Flight of Passage, Pandora: The World of AVATAR
This is the structure to which the dozens of Banshees will be mounted, holding guests while they fly in Flight of Passage, Pandora: The World of AVATAR

The image above, from the Disney Parks Magic Christmas Celebration, appears to show the ride system before the installation of the Banshee vehicles that will face the large screen.

We were promised that we would be able to feel the Banshee breathing and all of its motions below us when we ride the attraction. Based on the leaked image above, I may actually believe the Disney PR machine for once. If each guest really is boarding their own personal animal, I think we are in for something truly amazing. I think even the most bitter AVATAR project detractors will have to look at this as impressive.

But what do you think? Are you excited for Flight of Passage and Pandora: The World of AVATAR?

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

51 Comments

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  • That looks seriously amazing. The vehicles seem similar to the TRON ones in Shanghai, except in front of a screen :) I have my fingers crossed, though I know it’s unlikely, for a soft opening while we’re there the first week of May

    • I was just on bashee ride disappointed they say you have you one bashee you don’t. I was just in china 3 weeks ago went on pirates ride there best ride in disney parks. Boat ride in pandora terrible don’t waste time.

  • It appears that there are two sets of legs on the ride vehicle, and it also appears there is a “handlebar” just behind the head (visible against the screen background).

    Based on the length of the Banshee, plus the size of the individual in the white shirt, and what looks like a denimed leg with shoe, plus handle, I’d say it surely appears to hold 2 persons.

  • I imagined the Banshees on a track so you get full 360 degrees of view. This will allow the wings to flap since each person is single file on the track. So maybe not what I expected and its Soarin’ 2.0. The side view of Soarin’ isn’t much so it’s not as immersive as possible.

  • Was also hoping for a spiderman type ride. Disney is lacking a ride of this quality. Whilst universal seems to keep upping it’s game. Come on disney! And put some fun back in epcot while u at it.

    • Spiderman (and its exact same copy Transformers) are lame. Don’t even get me started on Skull Island which is the same thing as well only way shorter

      • The description of the Battle Escape attraction at SWL isn’t going to be 100% like Spiderman. The ride vehicles will be similar, but the actual ride will use over 200 full sized animatronics. You’ll also have to get off at certain points in the ride to explore the environment you’re in and to complete missions.

  • Just another motion simulator in front of a big screen. Disney is getting so lazy. Everything Disney does at its theme parks anymore seems to be focused on video screens. Purely lazy and dissapointing at best.

    • For goodness sake you are not even an engineer or designer. You do not know the hard work any of this stuff takes to conceptualize and actually be elaborated. You haven’t even sat on a banshee so you can’t speak before trying it. We have worked so hard to come up with something unique and revolutionary , please do not underestimate or delegitimize the quality of what we are able to create. We hope to see you soon. Do not seek to change your mind. Thousands of others will appreciate the hard work.

      • I totally don’t mean this in a cruel way, but I can’t help but picture you sitting on a motionless Banshee quietly sobbing as you wrote this. I’m sure it will be amazing, I just hope that unlike most amazing technological advanced attractions that it doesn’t immediately get broken by stupid teenagers. Are they stab proof? I imagine a teenager wanting to having the desire to stab a Banshee to see what would happen.

  • You are all so f’ing out of touch with reality, I am amazed. All I see is a blurry pixelated picture that could be someone sitting on a carousel pony.

  • This ride looks amazing. I’m very hopeful that Disney will continue with the pro environmental message that that the movie presented so well. My partner and I are really looking forward to joining the Navi when Pandora finally opens in May!!

  • I’m sure this ride will be great, but something makes me think it will be like Despicable Me/Simpson ride at Universal. It may be a glorified version of the Universal rides though.

  • All of you are just mad that Tom beat your favorite website again at getting news. #dealwithit

    Also, this ride continues to gain steam on the hype train. If all of you are so upset about it, I’ll gladly take your spot in line once it opens!

      • What exactly did he say that makes you and your partner think he’s a Trump voter? Based on his clearly unabashed love for Tom, I’d have to assume he wrote Tom in for every choice. That being said, please don’t go around accusing any person that says something you and your partner don’t like of being a Trump supporter. All it does is make the real Trump supporters feel legitimized and that all liberals are whiny losers that are just upset that we lost and they’ll continue to be absolutely blinded by the constant lies and propaganda that they’re being fed.

  • I think this is going to be a lot more than people are anticipating. I don’t think you start out by sitting on a big plastic dragon. It think this will look like a generic ride seat… the room goes black, and then all of the sudden it’s a dragon and you’re flying. That would blow people away. It looks like there’s a movable wall that encloses the ride vehicles from the theatre so that dragon head comes from out of the guests view… same with the wings. Knowing James Cameron’s love of innovative 3D / video technology I bet the A/V in this theatre(s) will absolutely blow everything out of the water we’ve seen up until this point.

    I think comparing this to minons is like comparing Mr. Toad to Test Track since they’re both dark rides and you’re in an automobile.

    I have a feeling this will be fast pass only because the capacity appears to be worse than Peterpan from what we’re seeing here. The next year is going to be incredible for theme park fans.

    • Do you have any idea how theming works? So what’s the storyline? Here everyone, sit in these plastic chairs and then Banshees will swoop in and pick you up. The wow moment is when you first sit down on a vehicle that is moving and acting like it’s alive, not whoa I was in a chair and now I’m suddenly flying. You don’t board Mission Space and immediately start in space. Even Soarin has you “take off” on a runway, which is really what can be best compared to this ride.

      • Thanks Mike! Sounds like you’re really fun at parties!

        I attended the Destination D event in November where James Cameron and Joe Rohde gave us more details about the attractions and we saw several pieces of concept art/photographs that haven’t been released to the public yet. There was an illustration of a black seat with handles which guests would board. This seat looked like a combination of this photograph and the new Tron coaster’s seats in Shanghai (that Disney happens to have a patent on). They revealed the story to us at the presentation. Guests take over their own avatar (much like in the movie) to experience the Navi tradition where they fly their first banshee… hence the attraction’s name, “Flight of Passage”. So instead of laying down in a tube like they do in the movie to take over a Navi avatar, you’ll be sitting on this seat.

  • Spiderman at Universal and moreso the Harry Potter one under the castle are incredible rides. Was hoping we’d see that here. Was very disappointed with Soarin, it’s lame.

  • Theme Park Bits: Volcano Bay Opening Date, an ‘Avatar’ Ride Vehicle, and a New Disneyland Patent | Fishstream TV says:

    […] of completely insane ride technology, WDW News Today has obtained a fuzzy picture of what they say is the ride vehicle for the Flight of Passage […]

  • Theme Park Bits: Volcano Bay Opening Date, an ‘Avatar’ Ride Vehicle, and a New Disneyland Patent – HetFlix.com says:

    […] of completely insane ride technology, WDW News Today has obtained a fuzzy picture of what they say is the ride vehicle for the Flight of Passage […]

  • Theme Park Bits: Volcano Bay Opening Date, an ‘Avatar’ Ride Vehicle, and a New Disneyland Patent - Next Big Film says:

    […] of completely insane ride technology, WDW News Today has obtained a fuzzy picture of what they say is the ride vehicle for the Flight of Passage […]

  • […] of completely insane ride technology, WDW News Today has obtained a fuzzy picture of what they say is the ride vehicle for the Flight of Passage […]

  • Behind the Thrills | Avatar ride vehicles spotted-Could Disney really be putting guests on the backs of creatures? says:

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  • Which of the two Avatar rides do you think will be better? So are most of you saying the Flight of Paradise will be like Soarin? Thanks for input!

  • I am excited about the NEW land of AVATAR at the Animal Kingdom. I can imagine how exciting the lighted forests will look and I Like the thought of riding on the back of a Banchee. BUT I have memories of EXPEDITION EVEREST and how short lived the working YETI was. Now it sits in a closet with strobe lights to excite our imagination — OOWWWW — AAAHHHHH — but it’s now, NOT ALL THAT.

    Watching the other parks go stale, DisneyMGM Studios the BIG one on this point, I just don’t know if I should be excited or what for them to start turning stuff off .like Exp Everest.