How to Tour Animal Kingdom After Rope Dropping Avatar – 3/15/18

We pick things up in hour two after riding Na’vi River Journey three times in standby and Flight of Passage once with FastPass+. Part 1 brings us to this point in case you missed it. The crowds heading into Pandora at 9:04am are far from overwhelming. Hopefully they have FastPass+ as the current wait for River Journey is 85 minutes with Flight of Passage coming in at exactly three hours.

Meanwhile, this is not quite the end of the line for Creature Comforts Starbucks on the walk to Africa. This is probably a 30-minute wait to get a cup of coffee, which probably means I should add it to the touring plan as the 4th or 5th highest priority on a “chilly” morning.

I continued to smugly chew my caffeinated gum while taking solace in the fact that despite the 50 degree temperature, I was already too warm.

I pulled up Safaris’ current wait time at www.easywdw.com/waits to see that it was at an even 20 minutes just after 9am.

And considering the number of people heading towards Africa, I thought that was probably about right.

Rockin’ out old school in Harambe, it looked like there were a lot of people around.

Luckily, part of the clump was due to the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe welcoming us to Africa.

Even so, Safaris’ posted wait rose to 25 minutes by the time I arrived at 9:08am.

When we double back to use FastPass+ later this afternoon, this entire section of the queue will be full and the standby line will spill outside of the entrance. I’m not even sure I know what’s back there. It could be a second desirable Avatar ride.

The queue in front of me was mostly clear. Or would be by the time I cleared it out with my elbows.

And while the loading bay down to the left was roped off when I arrived, it looks like they must have been filling the trucks earlier.

I continued to basically walk right on:











I arrived at 9:08am and was back out front at 9:39am for a total experience time of 31 minutes. The current wait time is “2P minutes.”

All of these people seem eager to wait however long that is. Maybe Disney will stop posting numerical wait times and will instead provide some sort of riddle that will indicate the exact wait. I’m not sure if “FGE321L5” is more or less intimidating than a 120-minute wait. “Well, I was going to get in line when it said ‘RTSH12’ but I was out when it changed to ‘CDJG65A.'” I could start doing crowd calendars again and instead of trying to explain to people that it’s their own ignorance causing them to misunderstand their experience that they merely solved wrong for the coefficient. “If you had just carried the three here in this step it would have been less crowded for you.”

Whether X = 2 or 2.01, there has to be 50 people waiting in line for Kusafiri with one cash register and two people preparing orders. Satu’li Canteen in Pandora opening for breakfast would have eased these lines considerably.

That “Hot Breakfast Wrap” is pretty good. But it’s not, “eat up an hour of touring time at 10am” good.

In my opinion, anyway.

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company, which is one of the Park’s Joffrey’s stands, is your best bet for a morning cup of coffee. You’ll find it in front of Yak & Yeti Restaurant/Local Foods Cafe in Asia. There’s maybe six people in line and several people working.

I continued on to Expedition Everest to use my second FastPass+.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t planning on riding standby.

While the scene outside the attraction’s entrance isn’t too chaotic.

That’s a 45 minute wait before 10am.

Single rider is viable at this hour.

It’s posted at 15 minutes with the actual wait being closer to ten, if that.

I arrived at 9:56 and was ready to board at 10:04am:






I was back out front at 10:10am to a 50-minute posted wait, for a total experience time of 14 minutes. That’s maybe a minute longer than average.

From our extensive look at Animal Kingdom wait times in January over the last five years.

As seen in this post.

You might remember that Expedition Everest wait times are up over 75% in the last five years.

Here’s a look at Everest wait times over the last six weeks:

Larger: Here.

With spring break in full swing over the last week, things have been rough since March 12th with the 60ish minute average waits each day. But even then, waits are higher on February 11th and 12th, which is a full week before the Presidents Day Weekend holiday, when average waits are again over 60 minutes. Two of the first three days of the month – a time when you’d expect to see lower waits  – come in close to 60-minute averages with 90+ minute peak waits. There are a few days of relief when the average wait for the day is under 30 minutes, but they’re few and far between. It looks like the end of February into early March would have been the best time to visit.

On this particular day, the 15th of March, the posted wait is 30 minutes by 8:30am, which is well above average. On the other hand, the 45-minute average at 10am is actually below the 6-week average of 46 minutes and less than half of what it would be the next day with the 110-minute wait at the same time on the 16th.

The takeaway is that you probably want to consider using FastPass+ at Everest if you’re planning on riding over an hour after regular Park open. If the posted wait isn’t already prohibitive, you can always ride in standby once or twice before actual waits are 20+ minutes.

I arrived in DinoLand, iPhone picture in hand, at 10:17am.

Primeval Whirl was posting 20 minutes.

But the entire queue was nearly full, indicating an actual wait closer to 35 minutes.

This is how my FP+ stacked up:

Considering the FastPass+ grace period, which allows me to get in line up to five minutes before or up to fifteen minutes after the return window, I have 18 minutes until I can use my DINO FastPass+.

Knowing Primeval would be a pretty easy 4th FP+ to secure after DINOSAUR and that TriceraTop Spin waits would only increase, I decided to head in that direction.

And mostly to put Primeval off for as long as possible.

I arrived at 10:19am and was flying about ten minutes later.

Me trying to hide from Primeval Whirl.

Said attraction with a 30-minute wait.

Over to DINOSAUR, the standby line for which ends back there somewhere. Wherever there is.

DINOSAUR sits at 45 minutes just after 10:40am.

Despite the standby backup, I walked right into the next pre-show with FastPass+.

This is the best shot I got on the ride after boarding eight minutes later.

I was back out front 16 minutes later at 10:57am. That’s two minutes below average according to the website’s attraction page for the ride.

As soon as you scan your MagicBand or ticket at your third FastPass+ attraction of the day, you can pull up the My Disney Experience app or DisneyWorld.com to check availability for an additional selection. I checked at 10:44am, which was shortly after I arrived at DINO. With the crowds and long waits, the earliest return time for DINOSAUR for one person was all the way out to 5:30pm.

Primeval Whirl initially had an 11:40am return.

FastPass+ availability changes every second – hit one of the buttons along the top to refresh. While DINO initially had a 5:30pm return time, the earliest is now 7:35pm after refreshing. Expedition Everest didn’t initially have any availability, but is now showing 8:55pm as the lone return time. If something moderately desirable comes up, you can always book the experience and then go back and modify it.

The 11:40am Primeval Whirl has also evaporated, but Rivers of Light is available.

Refreshing again, an immediate DINOSAUR is available along with a much earlier Everest.

A minute or two later, plenty of availability for Primeval Whirl showed up, and I took a 10:50am return time, which is just three minutes in the future.

There are two main takeaways here. First, continue refreshing availability for better experiences and times. And FP+ availability is rather dire these days. There was virtually nothing available for Expedition Everest or Kilimanjaro Safaris. And of course, nothing for Na’vi River Journey or Flight of Passage. Even DINOSAUR was often showing the first return time available as more than six hours in advance. Persistence does pay off though, which can be frustrating in its own right. “If I just refresh one more time maybe Flight of Passage will come up.” And eventually, it probably will.

With newly-acquired FastPass+ in hand, I hesitantly approached Primeval Whirl. The ride is now sporting a 50-minute wait at 11:02am. Use that to your advantage with kids that want to ride. “Do you really want to wait 50 minutes when we could GET CANDY RIGHT NOW INSTEAD.”

I was on five minutes later.

Which was five minutes too soon.

Getting hit with a meteor seems preferable. I can only assume this dinosaur was already running away from Primeval Whirl when the space rock started barreling towards him.

I was back out front making a chiropractor appointment for 11:30am at 11:16am. That’s a total experience time of 14 minutes that I will never get back.

I stopped for lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue, which I’ll discuss in the menu/projects update.

A pretty day.

At 12:10pm, it’s hard to capture the length of Flame Tree Barbecue’s line.

But you can see the “Enter Here” sign back there somewhere.

There.

I saw the length of the line for DINOSAUR as I approached at 12:15pm and thought to myself, “Well, if the standby line was backed up that far at 11am, I could see it being backed up all the way back here by now.”

But alas, that’s the FastPass+ return line.

It continues out of frame down to the left before returning in the general direction of the attraction entrance. The posted wait would be 90 minutes at 1pm and is 70 minutes now. You might remember the 180-minute wait for Flight of Passage at 9am and how I mentioned you’d be off of it right around now. Imagine if this was your second wait of the day. Two rides in five hours. And a lot of people do just that.

Primeval Whirl is at 40 minutes.

TriceraTop Spin is posting 40 minutes, but it’s likely closer to 20 or 25.

That guy is holding up a FastPass+ return sign for what I’m assuming is Finding Nemo the Musical. I’m hoping.

The situation around Expedition Everest makes the morning look calm.

Even if the 60-minute posted wait is “only” 10 minutes longer than when I disembarked the ride at 10:10am.

I see some space along the FastPass+ extended queue that could be filled.

With the 70-degree high, Kali River Rapids was a mere 30 minutes. “It’s something.”

I spent 20 minutes walking Maharajah Jungle Trek, the pictures for which I’ll post in the menus/projects update.

Heading past the Caravan Stage work on the way to Africa.

The back of the line for Yak & Yeti quick service, which winds around and around up ahead.

From my Animal Kingdom Presidents Day update, you might remember my Landry’s Select Card recommendation.

That’s one of the handiest things you can have on a busy day like today since it puts you in front of even those that have a reservation.

Hundreds filing out of It’s Tough To Be A Bug, which is sporting a 35-minute posted wait right now.

There’s always time for a flower picture.

Here we are heading to Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.

Gorilla Falls, along with Maharajah Jungle Trek, are two good ways to spend a half hour while waiting for a FastPass+ window to open.

We’ll find out how this fight ends…….NEXT TIME. WHO WILL WIN? WHO WILL DIE?

Just in case there was any doubt that this is spring break, here’s a look back at Harambe at 1:45pm.

I managed to score a 5th FastPass+ for Safaris:

















I arrived at 1:44pm and was back out front at 2:18pm, for a total experience time of 34 minutes. That’s three minutes longer than standby took around 9am. There’s easily a thousand more people waiting in standby now.

The line extends outside into an extended queue for the extended queue along with the 95-minute wait.

This is how my day shaped up:

  1. Na’vi River Journey: 7:39am – 7:52am
  2. Na’vi River Journey: 7:52am – 8:04am
  3. Na’vi River Journey: 8:04am – 8:27am
  4. Flight of Passage with FastPass+: 8:28am – 8:58am
  5. Kilimanjaro Safaris: 9:08am – 9:39am
  6. Expedition Everest: 9:56am  -10:10am
  7. TriceraTop Spin: 10:19am – 10:32am
  8. DINOSAUR with FastPass+: 10:41am – 10:57am
  9. Primeval Whirl with FastPass+: 11:02am – 11:16am
  10. Lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue: 11:20am – 12:20pm
  11. Maharajah Jungle Trek: 12:30pm – 12:50pm
  12. Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail: 1:10pm – 1:40pm
  13. Kilimanjaro Safaris with FastPass+: 1:45pm – 2:18pm

It ended up being a good day.

At this point, I could see Festival of the Lion King or another show like Finding Nemo the Musical and work in other attractions with FastPass+ based on availability.

In what will apparently be Part 3, we’ll return to Pandora, check out the status of some projects around the Park, and see if there’s any menus of relative interest.

Comments

  1. Laura says

    Hey Josh, great update as usual! Question about rope dropping EE. What’s the quickest route there? Past Dinoland or straight through Discovery Island and past Yak and Yeti? Thanks so much!

  2. Mike says

    now. Imagine if this was your second wait of the day. Two rides in five hours. And a lot of people do just thaT

    And that IS just Crazy Nuts!

  3. Elizabeth says

    Thanks for sharing your experience. You have no idea how much it helps us plan our visits.

    What’s your latest take on EMH for AK? Does it help with Avatar or draw too many crowds?

    • says

      I was there 2 weeks ago, and had 2 EHM mornings at 7am. The first time (monday, the 5th) I got to the park about 6.45a, and headed straight there. They weren’t using the entire queue inside, and we didn’t even go into the Lab. When I passed the wait time sign, it said 120. I was off the ride before 7.45. On Saturday, the bus was later to the park, and didn’t get me there until 6.58a. The line went almost to Harambe Theater (where Lion King is). The full queue was in action, and I was off the ride about 8.15a. Both days, the wait after I got off was over 3 hours.

      I’ll be posting my trip report on my web site shortly.

  4. ThoroughbredofSin says

    “I’m not sure if “FGE321L5” is more or less intimidating than a 120-minute wait. ”
    I could see Disney changing all of its wait times to hexadecimal.
    A 60 minute wait is only a 3C hex minute wait.
    A 120 minute wait is only 78 hex minutes.
    180 minute is only B4 in hex minutes.
    It could happen.

  5. Mike M says

    Back on March 7th, we rode Primeval Whirl followed by Dinosaur.
    I’m not sure what the heck we were thinking.
    Disney should open a Chiropractorsaurs kiosk somewhere between those two attractions.

  6. Chris says

    So obviously the trick is getting a FoP FP+ for whenever you can, but assuming best case scenario and both options are open, which is better?
    Following the plan laid out here with early FoP or hitting NRJ at rope drop and heading straight to Everest then DinoLand, hoping to hit Everest, Dinosaur, and PW without FP+, then FoP and Safari both with FP+

  7. Bia says

    Hi Josh, thanks for all the info! I have a question about the Landry’s Select Club card (which I bought a few weeks ago). I have an ADR for Yak and Yeti at 1:30 next week (aka very busy spring break day). We would much rather eat lunch closer to 11:30, but I haven’t been able to find an earlier reservation. Can I just cancel my ADR and show up at 11:30 with my card? Should I keep my reservation just in case?

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