We’ll stop by Disney’s Animal Kingdom to check out the Christmastime decorations during the day. Frankly, I’m not sure I’m ready to face Santa Mech under the cover of darkness, but we’ll return for a nighttime visit later this week to catch some of these same scenes lit up for the holidays.
Animal Kingdom has enjoyed a subtle holiday program for some time now with the characters typically donning holiday outfits and the residents of the various lands doing their part to create a festive atmosphere. This year, Disney has taken things a step further, adding decorations to every Land and extending entertainment with new acts.
The Merry Menagerie is brand new this year.
I’m excited to announce that the newest version of the guidebook that I co-write with Dave Shute of yourfirstvisit.net is now available for your consideration. Now in its seventh year, The easy Guide remains Amazon’s highest-rated Walt Disney World guidebook series of all time (of all time). Take a look at the product page to “look inside” at everything the book offers and follow along below. The Kindle version should be available shortly.
The release schedule of this year’s book is a little different than past iterations because of the timing of the opening of the first part of Galaxy’s Edge back in late August, combined with the opening of the Disney Skyliner in late September. Ordinarily, the first version of the guidebook would be released around August, but it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense to us to release a guidebook with 2020 on the cover before Star Wars had an opportunity to not only open, but mature a bit. We also didn’t want to base our thoughts on Disneyland’s version, or, heaven forbid, put a picture of Disneyland on the cover of a Walt Disney World guidebook because we decided to rush out incomplete work based on a smorgasbord of assumptions that obviously haven’t come to fruition. Even the most recent update of our 2019 version of our guidebook would be more up to date than any of the 2020 guidebooks currently on the market.
As with each of the last six years of guidebooks, “The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit” is the culmination of everything that you see covered on this website and over at yourfirstvisit.net. If you’ve ever been reading here, there, or on any other Disney-related site and said to yourself, “I just wish someone would put this all together for me so I can understand it without having to look at another freaking wait times chart,” then here you are. Although I’ve still included some wait times charts.
Together, Dave and I have visited the theme parks
hundreds thousands of times, stayed at every resort, rope-dropped attractions that have no business being visited before 8am, eaten hundreds of things that we wish we hadn’t, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and 20+ combined years of our lives to bring this information to you in the most easily-digestible format possible.
We also revise the book throughout the year as things change and send regular PDF updates to those who have purchased the book. With the last version, book readers received access to exclusive Toy Story Land touring plans, an updated Hollywood Studios map, and consolidated advice on the best way to experience everything that Toy Story Land offers before that information was available online. With this edition, we’ll continue to update on how Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is shaping up, and provide insight into other happenings, including the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. You can also enjoy those updated PDFs long after you’ve let someone borrow the physical copy of the book.
Let’s see what’s in store in these 300+ jam-packed pages.
Our visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the morning of Friday, November 22nd, 2019, continues outside Expedition Everest in Asia at 11:20am. In Part One, we began the day in Pandora for Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, after getting started a little later than we would have liked. Part Two followed with some big changes to how FastPass+ experiences are booked and changed in the My Disney Experience app, in addition to stops at DINOSAUR and Expedition Everest.
So far, this is what I’ve done:
- Avatar Flight of Passage: 9:06am – 9:38am
- Na’vi River Journey: 9:38am – 10:04am
- DINOSAUR: 10:16am – 10:40am
- TriceraTop Spin: 10:47am – 10:57am
- Expedition Everest with FastPass+: 11:03am – 11:18am
We don’t have a lot of updates on the food front, but Disney is offering these Pumpkin Pretzels at Tasty River Bar and Trek Snacks, immediately to the left of Expedition Everest. The Pretzel looks a little like a creepy child’s face with a bow in its hair to me, but I may be watching too much Watchmen. The sign to the left is a little obfuscated, but it’s advertising a regular Soft Pretzel that’s sort of in the shape of Simba, based on Rafiki’s cave drawings, for $6.79. It may or may not be a little more interesting than your standard Mickey Pretzel for just about the same money.
We pick things up on the way out of Pandora. In Part One, we saw the current rope drop procedure to Avatar Flight of Passage, and then visited Na’vi River Journey in standby immediately after.
It’s 10:10am as we head to DinoLand for DINOSAUR. From Part One, the key takeaway was that the walk over to Flight of Passage is now typically closer to 9am than 8:30am, with the average start right around 8:50am. That means that I’m about 40 minutes behind where I would have been most days over the last couple of years. We’ll see how much that affects crowds and wait times as we move about our morning.
We’re arriving at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the morning of Friday, November 22nd, 2019, or a little less than a week before the Thanksgiving holiday. This series continues our return to rope drop touring strategies after the Extra Extra Extra Magic Hours period ended on November 2nd. So far, we’ve rope dropped Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios, and started the day bright and early in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom over a holiday weekend.
With the official 9am open, bag check had already begun before I arrived at 7:35am, with a couple of extra bag checkers already set up on the right, indicating that this might be a busier day.