We’ll trek back out to Animal Kingdom to check out a few odds and ends that didn’t make it into the last three or four posts covering the Park.
I don’t think anybody would say that they miss Camp Minnie-Mickey out loud, but losing the various Christmas trees that populated the area around the holidays is unfortunate. The trees themed to Minnie, Donald, Chip/Dale, Pluto, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Country Bears, and more haven’t appeared since 2013. Hopefully a home can be found sometime in the future.
Fortunately, New Harambe has gotten into the act with some decorations of their own.
You’ll find a variety of decorations ostensibly created by the villagers using only the spare items they had on hand. These wreaths are made of bottle caps, for example:
Another example here. It’s not a whole lot, but the extra touches are certainly appreciated.
Speaking of the Market, you may remember that the website recommends avoiding it from at least 12pm to 2pm due to long lines and longer waits. Here at 2:15pm on the 16th, there’s virtually nobody in line.
I thought this sweatshirt was attractive. Pick it up without the Na’vi while you still can.
Disney added FastPass+ to Flights of Wonder late last month. It’s another example of an attraction that really doesn’t “need” FastPass+, but Disney adds it to the system so overall availability is higher. FastPass+ also sends casual visitors to attractions they otherwise wouldn’t experience because they don’t otherwise know they exist by basically guaranteeing a certain number of people with FP+ will show up at a certain time. The website currently lists FastPass+ priority in the following order:
This list is largely based on how much time FastPass+ will save you in the late morning and afternoon, though other things are taken into account like availability and how unpleasant it is to wait in the standby queue. The one attraction that sticks out as having a somewhat arbitrary placement is Adventurers Outpost. Average and peak waits are well below the top four attractions, but being a meet and greet with a significantly lower overall capacity, availability is much less. So if you wanted to use FP+ for Mickey and Minnie, it would need to be one of your initial three selections. But average waits are typically under 25 minutes and there are plenty of opportunities to visit with a short or nonexistent wait, like before 10am and in the final hour they meet.
The return time for Flights of Wonder is between 25 and 10 minutes before show time, or 2:20pm to 2:35pm for a 2:45pm show. The website generally doesn’t recommend booking FastPass+ in advance for shows because it requires you to show up so early that you’d be able to get a similar seat in standby. At shows like Finding Nemo or Lion King, you’d have to arrive towards the beginning of the window, or 30 minutes prior to show time, to gain much benefit. Often, FastPass+ users will be guided towards specific, less-than-ideal sections of the theater or otherwise let in at the same time as standby. Both situations render FastPass+ largely useless.
At Flights of Wonder, there’s enough capacity that it’s highly unlikely a show will fill to capacity. And if you’re visiting during an extremely busy time where a show might near capacity, then you’ve got a lot bigger problems elsewhere.
One nice thing about using FP+ here is that users are allowed to enter the theater and select their seats well in advance of standby. Everyone using FastPass+ is comfortably seated in the enter section 15 minutes before standby is let through. At Lion King, FastPass+ users would be let into a specific section right around the same time standby is let in. At Nemo, FP+ users are let in towards the lower left hand corner of the theater while standby users fill in from the top. A FP+ user arriving 20 minutes early would likely end up being able to find the exact same seat as a standby user arriving at the same time.
At Flights of Wonder, those in standby are forced to converge on this narrow entrance into the theater.
There is plenty of seating of course.
I’m kind of wishy-washy on whether I recommend squeezing into the seats in the main seating section. They aren’t as elevated as the bleacher-style seating in the back, but they are closer and offer a better view of the stage so long as somebody tall isn’t sitting directly in front of you. The bad thing about the bleacher seating in the back is that they let people stream in throughout the show and most of those people inevitably walk in front of the bleachers and find seats there, which is pretty distracting for those trying to watch the show.
I otherwise really enjoy Flights of Wonder. It marries what Disney has historically done so well, mixing live action, humor, and audience participation with an emphasis on education.
Coincidentally this is also the face the last girl I asked out made. Maybe she thought I was also a parrot singing row row row your boat.
Probably the most popular trick during the show is when the bird fetches a $1 bill out of an audience member’s hand.
For a better shot at being chosen, sit a ways in from the left as you look at the stage in the lower seating area and enthusiastically hold your dollar bill up when they ask. Conversely, for a lesser chance of being chosen, run as fast as you can towards the exit right before the show starts screaming “I’M GOING TO MISS MY FASTPASS FOR IT’S TOUGH TO BE A BUG!!!!”
When I found out the resort lounge menu offers bourbon flights.
Few shows on property elicit such pure emotion from those enjoying the show. There’s easily more smiles here than you’ll see in the middle of the afternoon walking around Fantasyland.
The show otherwise revolves around Guano Joe, a poor tour guide leader that has misplaced his group and otherwise has an unfortunate case of FOB (fear of birds). Knowing that, I feel like the picture above is Star-Wars-level spoilers.
It’s hard to recommend Flights of Wonder over the likes of Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical, both of which are (arguably perhaps) much larger in scope. But you’re doing yourself a disservice if you have an opportunity to fit the show in and bypass it.
So what did we learn? You certainly don’t need FastPass+ at Flights of Wonder, but using it here does afford a much easier experience and there is some benefit to being able to walk in and pick most any seat ten minutes before showtime. It would still be a poor choice in most situations.
I popped into It’s Tough To Be A Bug to see if there were any changes to how FastPass+ worked there. Spoiler: There aren’t.
FastPass+ users walk the same queue as standby around the Tree of Life. With most of The Discovery Island Trails temporarily closed, it’s a good opportunity to get a relatively close look at the carvings.
Good thing we have FastPass+ with lines backed up all the way out here.
There are a few reasons why FastPass+ here is the lowest priority. First, it’s the most likely to be available later in the day. The last show time for Flights of Wonder is typically 3:45pm (4:45pm on very busy days), which means FastPass+ won’t be available there after 2pm most days. It’s Tough To Be A Bug offers FastPass+ through close every day, so there are a lot more experiences to go around and thus, they’re still available much later. It’s also mostly to completely useless at least 98% of the time. FP+ does guarantee admittance to the next show, but it’s rare that you wouldn’t be able to walk into the next show in standby. The absolute longest wait you’d probably ever see is 30 minutes. And if Bug’s Life is 30 minutes, Safaris and Everest are going to be three times that.
Those using FastPass+ wait in a separate area in front of the very first door into the theater.
This isn’t necessarily great placement to start with as there’s a reason few people prefer the very front row at the movie theater – sitting further back affords a more robust view of the screen.
Heading in to one of the rows first also means you’ll be at the very far side of the theater. Most people prefer to sit near the center to enjoy a more centered view of the screen. You want to let about half a row head into a row first to achieve that view. So if you’re the first person into the theater using FastPass+ and head straight through, you’ll probably end up with what is “literally” the worst seat in the house in the far corner of the first row.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug is otherwise a deceptively scary show for a lot of families with younger kids.
Several of the bugs are “literally” trying to kill everyone in the audience. Not to mention the theater going pitch black as spiders drop from the ceiling, smoke fills the room, and bees start stinging through the back of the seats. Be very wary taking anyone under the age of seven or so. I would tell you this is Disney World’s scariest show and you’ll almost always hear several kids screaming out in terror by the time Hopper shows up, if they even make it that far.
Anyway, the only time you’d ever want to use FP+ here is if it’s December 28th and it’s the only option available for your fourth or subsequent FastPass+ choice.
If it was any artsier I feel like the image would slide right off your screen.
Let’s see…you may find Tarzan in between Island Mercantile and Pizzafari now that the walls in front of the handmade pizza restaurant are down. He previously met in the same area closer to the Tree of Life. He may still meet there in inclement weather.
The Blue Ant still meets in front of Creature Comforts to basically nonexistent lines.
Disney gets a lot of flak for offering exactly one version of its resort refillable mug, but there are many more styles to be found in the Parks. This one filled with your choice of beverage for less than five bucks is a relative steal.
The temporary closure of the Discovery Island Trails has also shuttered the macaw perch in front of the Tree of Life.
But the show goes on and the birds are still visible in The Oasis.
Animal Kingdom will be hosting a “New Year’s Eve Street Parti” in Africa and specifically Harambe Market on December 31st from 3:30pm to 8:30pm. That’s a nice festive bonus for those trying to stay away from the much heavier crowds elsewhere.
Over in DinoLand, Primeval Whirl reopened after a refurbishment that lasted about three months.
That concludes what’s going on around Animal Kingdom these days. Fast forward a year and I have a feeling we’ll be talking about a lot more exciting things than fresh paint.