We pick things up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 9:55am on Tuesday, July 21st, 2020. In Part One, we took a look at what to expect from the arrival experience, covered some general touring strategies, and reacquainted ourselves with joining the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. That post also linked back to our coverage of Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopening.
At the other two Parks, we ran into significantly lower crowds and wait times than we’re used to seeing. That will be true here at the Studios as well, but potentially to a lesser extent. While Disney has capped capacity at a low number, all of the live shows and meet and greets are dark, which in turn reduces the Park’s capacity and a lot of the major productions that help absorb the crowds. If you add ten thousand people to Hollywood Studios, you’re obviously increasing attendance dramatically. But if shows, stores, eateries, and the like entertain those people, then there shouldn’t be as much of an effect on wait times at the rides. We’ll see how the morning goes.
Our look at what to expect from Walt Disney World’s reopening continues with Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I tried to delay this series as much as possible. For your sanity and mine. But no matter how much we collectively will the Studios out of existence, there it remains. We’ll get down to it.
We started with Magic Kingdom, in order:
- Magic Kingdom Rope Drop Expectations and Tips
- Morning Touring in the Current Normal
- Fantasyland and Frontierland Touring in the Current Normal
- Late Morning Adventureland Touring
- Afternoon Touring After Reopening
- A Virtually Crowd-less Opening Day at Magic Kingdom
And continued on to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in order:
- Rope Dropping Avatar Flight of Passage in the Current Normal
- Morning Touring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom After the Reopening
- Low Crowds and Nonexistent Waits in the Current Normal
- An Afternoon of Low Crowds, Nonexistent Waits, Yak & Yeti Lunch, and a Bird Show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
We’re rolling up at 9:20am with the official 10am open. Currently, Disney opens the toll plaza and parking around 45 minutes before official open. You should be able to line up beginning just before 9am, but they may turn you around before that. As with the other Parks, they don’t want people lingering around the entrance. To be ahead of the game, you probably want to arrive here around an hour before the Park opens. You may sit in your car for about 15 minutes, but you’ll be parked and on your way as soon as possible. That will put you near the front of whichever attraction you want to ride first.
We pick things up at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on what is easily the least-crowded day that I’ve ever seen since Pandora opened. Granted, I don’t make a habit of going on hurricane day, but wait times around the major storms over the past couple of years have been higher. Today, we enjoy blue skies, 115-degree RealFeels, and a dew point that I’ll keep to myself.
So far, this is what I’ve accomplished:
- Avatar – Flight of Passage – 7:52am – 8:21am
- Na’vi River Journey: 8:23am – 8:33am
- Starbucks and a meander: 8:35am – 8:58am
- Kilimanjaro Safaris: 9am – 9:30am
- Kali River Rapids/Lockers : 9:40am – 10am
- Character Cavalcades and Water: 10am – 10:20am
- TriceraTop Spin: 10:22am – 10:27am
- DINOSAUR: 10:33am – 10:43am
If you’re curious about how we got here, you can pull up the Last Part, which links back to what I’m sure are many previous Parts. If you don’t want to pull up any Parts, and don’t want to read any more, then you can rest assured that at the moment, you can show up to Animal Kingdom whenever you want and do just about anything you want without an appreciable wait. That will be slightly less true on weekends, when crowds are naturally heavier. The early arrival remains your best bet to accomplish as much as possible. If you’re not up for an early morning, then arriving later and staying through close is your best bet. Wait times fall off again after 3pm and only get lower as the current 6pm close approaches.
Animal Kingdom Low Crowds and Nonexistent Waits in the Current Normal
Our day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom continues. In Part One, we took a look at the arrival process and saw what it takes to rope drop Avatar – Flight of Passage. The answer: (presently) not much. After Flight of Passage, we walked on Na’vi River Journey with “literally” nobody waiting in line in front of us. Part Two followed with a stop at Starbucks, a walk around Asia and Africa, and a ride on the modified Kilimanjaro Safaris.
We now find ourselves at Kali River Rapids. I’m on the record naming this as my least favorite ride across all four Walt Disney World theme parks. If you’ve missed the sound of my voice, you can pull up the podcast where I rank all of Walt Disney World’s attractions along with the Grim Grinning Guys here. As I recall, we name Splash Mountain as our number one attraction – an opinion that I’m sure will not age well.
Morning Touring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom After the Reopening
Our visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom continues after we took a look at what to expect from the arrival experience and rope dropping Avatar – Flight of Passage. You can pull up that post here. I may or may not have mentioned this in the first part, but at the moment, it doesn’t matter when you arrive at Animal Kingdom or what you do once you get there. Even if you show up at 10:30am and get in line for Flight of Passage, you’ll wait about ten minutes. That’s about 130 minutes less than you would have waited during the first eleven weeks of the year.