We continue from *checks watch* Part One, Part Two, and Part Three, as we ideally finish up another Animal Kingdom series. I know there is some frustration with the lack of future guidance, but there is not much the website can do before Genie+ goes live and we see what kind of Lightning Lane adoption rates we’re looking at, what priority boarding will do to increase wait times, what effect early and late entry to the Parks will have on crowd flow, how much the Individual Lightning Lane Attraction selections cost, what the rides will even be, or when any of that will actually debut.
Disney likely wanted to show off the Genie’s capabilities at this weekend’s 50th anniversary media/travel agent extravaganza that’s only costing you money while no-names dine on shrimp and watch the one time Harmonious actually worked from their private walled off vantage points. Those “straight on” views are not a coincidence as “media” set up their point and shoots and try to figure out how to set it to video mode.
But the Genie technology still doesn’t work, so we ended up seeing an Alexa device with Mickey ears that you can use for all kinds of things, like checking the time or having your conversations recorded and uploaded to the cloud. Disney might not care which NASCAR race you’re watching, but I wouldn’t say “money” or “credit card application” too loudly.
Things are certainly picking up as the 50th anniversary is…two days into its 18-month+(?) stint, combined with the usual uptick in crowds that we see from the fall. Pluses are all the rage these days, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Disney rides the 50th out to at least the 57th or 58th. I don’t think anyone knows what year it is anyway, anymore.
I’m not smart enough to go through all of the travel bans and restrictions, but from what I’ve gathered from reading half of a couple of headlines, they’re set to ease this November. That may be when we really see the uptick in crowds that I’ve been threatening for months now. Combine that with the eventual launch of Genie+/-, and things will look a lot different in the next three to eight to twelve to seventy-two weeks.
But for now, we can enjoy a walk through Maharajah Jungle Trek, which will certainly(?) arrive with no lightning lane opportunities.
Maybe the tigers will actually be out in their main enclosure for those three seconds each day. (Spoiler: they won’t be.) I hope you like birds:
Me, chasing down Disney executives demanding what the second Individual Lightning Lane Attraction selection will be. I’m not quite as fast as I was in my youth, not to mention I’ve apparently stopped for a snack of leaves in the middle of the chase. It could still be the premise of Fast and Furious 11.5: Lightning Lane, at least if it were an attraction at Universal Studios and these were screens.
We were a little early for the KiteTails previews, which may have ended up being a good thing:
Expected showtimes are 11:15am, 12:15pm, 1:15pm, 3:15pm, 4:15pm, and 5:15pm. Seating is just on the DinoLand side, with the kites appearing to crash land unharmoniously on the Asia side. But there’s nothing a little duct tape and Gorilla Glue can’t patch. That’s approximately 74% of my own body composition after 43 stops at the Italy booth at Epcot.
Rivers of Light ended up being an abject failure, which I blame largely on what appears to be Disney’s newfound inability to properly pace a show, combined with budget cuts that saw the removal of all of the performers within about a year. Somewhat amusingly, the new show seems to use more cast, but probably fewer people behind the scenes, and a lower overall budget, even with six shows scheduled daily.
The good news is that KiteTails is about what Rivers of Light should have ended up being in terms of scope, or at least in how much time you want to devote to seeing the diversion – which is probably not much. Simply arrive 15 minutes before showtime and you should have your choice of seats, or simply gaze from the back of the theater as some of the 30-foot kites are dragged along behind jetskis a la Epcot
Forever For Back Then. It’s hard to come down too hard on these sorts of anytime attractions that are so easy to see. Plus crash landings of any sort are hard to beat, at least so long as they’re plastic or vinyl or whatever they are making 30-foot kites out of these days.
And some seats over at Flame Tree look to have a nice waterside view of the ~10-minute show, so you can enjoy it along with your barbecue-pork-topped macaroni and cheese. There are two versions of KiteTails, potentially just in case Baloo makes another crash landing. It’s possible they shouldn’t have taken the “bare necessities” quite to heart.
Otherwise, I don’t expect much strategy to be involved in seeing the two shows, which should switch off throughout the afternoon. I haven’t heard of any shows canceled due to wind, which would actually be rather amusing, but it’s certainly a possibility given 40+ mile per hour gusts.
I’m not sure why Home Depot didn’t get a shoutout for supplying the paper-in plastic and plyboard.
But it will certainly be nice to have another semi-comfortable, anytime show to take in at Animal Kingdom, whether you’re looking to sit and enjoy a snack, or waiting for a Lightning Lane time to come to pass. You lucky Red Dog (deep cut).
Supposedly, Expedition Everest is going to be tapped as the second Individual Lightning Lane Attraction selection. It would both make and not make sense. It’s a 15+ year old ride that most interested guests have likely experienced, though the kids do get taller each and every day. But it’s hard to imagine most people shelling out extra money for a ride they’ve potentially been on a dozen or more times over the years. Wait times are also shorter than most other attractions we’ve seen so far:
The average wait is less than a third of Flight of Passage, 13 minutes shorter than Kilimanjaro Safaris, and ten minutes shorter than Kali River Rapids/RAFT. There are some times in there where I may be liable to shell out a couple dollars to skip 50 minutes in line, but the waits are exaggerated at the end of the day, and the roller coaster is almost always a walk-on in at least the final hour. And usually longer. It also takes 2+ hours in the morning to hit a 30-minute wait when you consider early entry. Speaking of which, Flight of Passage was recently added to that roster, so it’s an option for early and eligible arrivers.
15 minutes going on 2pm doesn’t seem unreasonable at all, and it certainly isn’t getting me to fish for my turkey leg pocketbook.
We’ve probably taken a step back at the Trek Bar, where Golden Monkey, at 10% ABV, is no longer an option. Those cocktails have come up up in price about $5 each since they debuted as well.
The kites are looking fresh as we head towards DinoLand.
As we saw at the previous digital boards, we see wait times and showtimes just in the area. You don’t want to rush too fast on the green light, lest it turn red unexpectedly.
Meeko must have found out there are some choice riblets in the dumpster.
After uhhhh…15 months, Disney finally announced a replacement is coming to Finding Nemo the Musical…probably called “The Shortening of Finding Nemo the Musical.” That show was probably legitimately ten or fifteen minutes too long. But I suppose finding one fish that looks like 3,00,000 other fish when “Nemo” is the second most popular name, only to “Greg,” can be time consuming.
It will be interesting to see if Disney ends up doing anything substantial with DinoLand.
DINOSAUR and its 5-minute wait doesn’t seem to be a pull.
The only life worth living pic.twitter.com/xEuJyRPFiK
— josh (@easywdw) September 16, 2021
Primeval Whirl is being torn down, though it isn’t so evident here. It sits on a relatively small piece of land that could probably fit 3-5 bloggers. Disney still has the Epcot overhaul to complete, and Tron, and Avatar is still riding high, so it’s unlikely Animal Kingdom needs anything new to pull guests into the Park, particularly with Galaxy’s Edge at the Studios still practically new.
You can decide where KiteTails goes.
And with that, we just about come to an end.
But we will get to enjoy “Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight” on the way out:
We’ll see what’s next.