I threw my leg off of the ride vehicle and stood up not wanting to remove my 3-D glasses. Glancing over my shoulder to the right I could see the other people in my group grinning from ear to ear. And here I was… crying.
I quickly scanned the room for my media handler trying to wipe my face before she could get a look at me but she was nowhere to be found. Oh yeah, that’s right, she didn’t ride with us.
My friend John caught a glimpse of me and it was over. I’d been had. He quickly pulled out his iPhone to capture the moment. That’s what vloggers do right?
John: “Its emotional isn’t it? OK, why the tears though? What are you feeling?”
Me: “Cause it was amazing!”
John: (turning camera on himself) “That’s Flight of Passsge. The banshee ride…at Avatar…world of Pandora. Pandora…World of Avatar…I can’t even talk.”
Cheers from everyone else in the group: “Again! Again!”
After we exited the ride and made our way down a few flights of stairs to the gift shop my friend Bill pulled me aside to get my take on it. He wanted to know what had moved me so much. It’s taken me a few days to process it myself but here are my thoughts on why I cried while riding Pandora’s Flight of Passage.
Some folks had speculated on Facebook, after watching the clip of me crying, that it was tears from fear. But that’s not it.
The truth of the matter is, I went into the Land of Pandora having not seen the movie Avatar. This revelation garnered audible gasp’s from my fellow ACE exploration travellers during our media preview.
I can’t tell you why I didn’t see the film but if I had to venture a guess it’s because I’m a real sap when it comes to movies that draw out emotional responses. As a nature and animal lover, the thought of watching a movie with conflict amongst those two subjects was something that I just tried to avoid.
I could have watched the film before entering this new area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park but I figured my perspective would be different as someone going in blind.
Flight of Passage is an experience unlike any I have ever had in my entire life. And I have had some pretty amazing experiences traveling, and blogging, and doing what I do.
Nothing can prepare you for what’s to come and I think I had a huge advantage being the only person in my group to have not seen the film because it was like experiencing the story for the first time.
As a Walt Disney World local and annual passholder and someone who’s grown up in the Walt Disney World theme parks I think that a lot of Disneypiles can get somewhat desensitized to the magic. Not because it’s not magical, but because we’ve experienced it so many times over and over again.
Pandora was something completely foreign to me and when I saw it for the first time I stood there like a child in amazement. I can only liken it to a first time visitor who walks into the Magic Kingdom for the first time, passes underneath the Main Street Railroad Station, takes that first step onto Main Street U.S.A. and sees Cinderella Castle for the very first time.
Flight of Passage is the closest thing to individual unassisted flight that you will ever experience with the exception of growing wings. I’d like to keep the story spoiler free but I have to say that the ride starts out in a very thrilling way and then mid way through your journey you have the opportunity to stop for a moment and just take it all in. For me, that’s when the emotion and the music and the visceral feeling and response took over and the tears just started. Not because I was scared or sad…but because of pure euphoria.
I’m going to leave it at that.
I experienced Pandora the World of Avatar for the very first time as part of a hosted media preview. I am a Walt Disney World annual passholder and all opinions are my own.