In Part 1 of this series, I discussed morning touring strategy at Animal Kingdom and what to expect from rope drop in a post-Pandora world. In this post, I’ll cover what I saw after leaving Pandora and what I’ll be changing to hopefully make the day come together during a rope drop later this week. But first, let’s take a look at wait times over the last week since we’re a bit more removed from the crazy opening-weekend crowds.
Here’s a look at Flight of Passage wait times over the last week or so:
It’s worth noting that the weather has been terrible the last few days with grey skies and the constant threat of rain, which changes crowd patterns considerably. One thing to note above is the number of “C’s” towards the end of the night, which stands for “ride at capacity.” Disney first shuts the line for Flight of Passage down once it thinks there’s enough people in it to carry them to regular close at 11pm. That has been as early as 10pm on June 1st. The takeaway is that if you want to ride Flight of Passage “last thing,” then you want to get in line by 9:45pm if it’s a clear, crowded night. If it’s wet or somehow crowds are otherwise low, the line may not be cut at all, though 10:15pm looks to be a more common shutdown time. This also happens during evening Extra Magic Hours, with the line typically closed by midnight when the weather is relatively decent.
So far, the highest recorded wait time is the 400 minutes it showed yesterday, though it was for such a brief period that this chart didn’t capture it with the 15-minute intervals. With rain virtually all day yesterday, we also see the shortest daytime waits so far at around 55 minutes. Posted wait times are typically exaggerated, probably because Disney wants to be conservative about the capacity with the propensity for one or more of the theaters to go down for a brief cool-down. Those 135+ minute waits around 9pm should be much closer to 75 minutes.
Disney may also close access to Pandora as early as 7:30pm in an effort to clear it of regular Park guests before the nightly set of evening Extra Magic Hours begins at 11pm. That means guests visiting for evening Extra Magic Hours may need to line up outside of the Land until about 10:45pm when Disney starts walking them in, if they’re not already inside. So if you want to see Pandora after dark and you’re not a resort guest or don’t want to stay out until after 11pm, you’ll want to be inside Pandora by 7:30pm. You might plan on eating dinner at Satu’li Canteen (reviewed very positively here and here) to kill some time. Mobile ordering makes that a snap, though seating can be a struggle as a lot of people will be sitting down waiting for darkness to fall. You can then enjoy the sights and sounds for about an hour before getting in line for Flight of Passage around 9:45pm.
It can be a real hassle to visit Pandora during what Disney is calling “Extra Extra Magic Hours.” Many people will line up well before 11pm and the line to enter can stretch back from just outside Pandora’s entrance all the way back through New Harambe. If you’d like to experience evening EMH, the best day to do so should be Wednesday as Magic Kingdom will also be hosting evening EMH. Otherwise, all of the other Parks are closed by 11pm and with only two popular attractions operating, Pandora will be crowded with about 100,000 people having access to EMH on any given day.
The situation at Na’vi River Journey is slightly less oppressive, with lower average and peak waits than Flight of Passage.
On the downside, the queue is far less interesting and about 99.2% falls outside, with only about half of that covered. Here’s a look at wait times:
I’ll take a moment to reassert that the weather has been miserably damp the last few days, which has more to do with the lower waits than a sudden decrease in popularity. But there are still a lot fewer capacity closures in the evening and the overall average wait is about 55.8% as high as Flight of Passage. FastPass+ are also much easier to secure.
While the jury is probably still out on exact crowd patterns with Pandora open, it seems like crowds in Africa are going to build much quicker than the DinoLand/Asia side.
We pick things up at 9:05am on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 31st.
Kilimanjaro Safaris is sporting a 20-minute wait with the line backed up all the way out here for a brief time.
And that ended up being accurate as I took this picture at 9:31am, or 26 minutes after arriving at the entrance:
And back out front at 9:54am for a 49-minute total experience time.
With Satu’li Canteen only serving breakfast through 10am, I decided to visit Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery, which is located to the right of Tusker House Restaurant in Africa.
You’ll find the Hot Breakfast Wrap offered in the morning, in addition to some pastries and beverages.
The $6.79 “Hot Breakfast Wrap – Egg, Sausage, Spinach, and Goat Cheese” is unassuming at first glance, arriving unceremoniously wrapped up in brown paper
But it’s served piping hot and is jam-packed with creamy egg and tangy cheese, in addition to a lot of meaty sausage. It was significantly better than the Breakfast Steamed Pod from Satu’li that will run you $8.49.
It’s also pretty transportable if you want to order it on the go. Very satisfying and a good value for the money.
If you’d rather sit down, you might try the seating area behind Tamu Tamu Refreshments across the way, which is quiet and secluded early in the day.
A reminder of the wait times over the course of the day:
By 10:15am, wait times are already becoming prohibitive and the rest of my morning was spent using FastPass+ and visiting some anytime attractions. Here’s Gorilla Falls:
My Macro lens arrives tomorrow:
Up to 65 minutes at Safaris at 10:40am.
I was planning on seeing the 11am Festival of the Lion King show, but even that looked like a disaster with standby and FastPass+ backed up to wherever this is.
For the first show of the day.
The Pandora entrance/exit in Africa is typically used as an “exit only” unless crowds are low.
And while few guests use this exit, it seems like a lot of people heading to Pandora first exit through the main entryway and then continue onto Africa in the same direction they were originally headed.
From Pandora, the path out towards Africa is located on the far Satu’li Canteen side, which is on the opposite side of the main entrance/exit near Pizzafari and Tiffins. Basically, if you took a right after entering the Land and continued walking, you’d end up here.
The bridge probably isn’t as long as it looks in this picture.
And it’ll spit you out right in front of Lion King.
Pizzafari now offers mobile ordering via the My Disney Experience app, which should prove handy if you see a line as long as this one. It’s 10:55am and the line is backed up outside.
After spending some time checking in on Pandora crowds, it was time for a Safaris FP+. It’s 11:13am with a 35-minute posted wait:
I got a big kick out of this giraffe chasing the bird around.
Every time the giraffe started catching up, the bird would take off running. It’s over there on the right in front of the tree.
And back out front at 11:50am for a total experience time of 37 minutes.
The Frozen Jungle Juice drink is no longer available from Mahindi, the popcorn stand in Africa.
It was incredibly refreshing, if perhaps a bit too sweet.
Heading over to Asia and through Maharajah Jungle Trek on our way to use FastPass+ at Expedition Everest:
The total experience time with FastPass+ was 16 minutes with the standby wait jumping 20 minutes during that time.
A lot of people waiting for the 1pm Finding Nemo.
Fewer people waiting for Primeval Whirl.
More people waiting for Flame Tree Barbecue.
It had been a rough day, so I decided to reward my productivity with a $10 “Smokey Bones Chocolate Shake – Includes Bourbon and Candied Bacon” from Trilo-Bites, the kiosk located in Discovery Island just before the bridge over to DinoLand. Typically, Disney’s version of a “milkshake” is just their soft serve ice cream dispensed into a different cup, which is something I avoid 99% of the time for that reason. But I was in the mood for something very cold and very thick, and surprisingly, this was not it. It actually wasn’t very cold at all and had more of a thin, almost foam-like texture to it. The pour of Knob Creek Single Barrel was heavy, which I appreciated, but I think it would be too strong for at least 90% of the people that would consider ordering it. The candied bacon was satisfyingly crunchy – equal parts salty and sweet – but I would have preferred a much colder, much thicker shake. This may be proof that you just can’t please me. The guy complains when there’s no alcohol in the drinks…complains when there’s too much alcohol in the drinks…complains that it’s just soft serve…complains that it’s not just soft serve…
Overall, the day wasn’t a complete waste as I learned more about guest behavior and actual wait times than can be gleaned from the various wait times charts. We should be able to move through things much more efficiently next time.