Rewinding a bit to this past Tuesday, May 29th. This post is going to be cut short by rain. Not that it’s raining now, but it was raining then. My intention was to time my “Ideal Animal Kingdom Morning” as described in my Planning Around Disney World’s FASTPASS Return Enforcement Policy post. You’ll recall that it’s:
- Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris. It usually takes about 30 minutes to wait for and ride Kilimanjaro Safaris. That means it will be 9:30am by the time I disembark.
- Collect FASTPASSes for Kilimanjaro Safaris with a return time of 10:10am to 11:10am.
- Ride Expedition Everest in the standby line. If waits are short, ride again. And if possible, again.
- Ride Primeval Whirl in the standby line.
- Ride DINOSAUR in the standby line.
- If interested, ride TriceraTop Spin in the standby line. It’s about 10:30am.
- Walk back to Kilimanjaro Safaris through Asia, pulling a FASTPASS for Expedition Everest on the way. The return time at 10:30am should be about 11:30am – 12:30pm.
- Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris with FASTPASS. It’s about 11:15m. Have lunch at Yak & Yeti Quick Service or Flame Tree BBQ. Collect Kali River Rapids FASTPASSes as soon as possible for an afternoon return time. The attraction is next to Yak & Yeti. Ride Expedition Everest with FASTPASS. See a show. Collect another set of FASTPASSes if I’d like to ride something again.
We’ll get an idea about the timing, but will have to return again to lock it down specifically. Or I guess we could just run some simulations or something.
Here we are arriving at exactly 8:30am.
You may remember our plan of attack is to move as far to the right as possible and get in line at one of the arrows. Just before it’s time for the turnstiles to open, the two turnstiles that were being used for Tusker House breakfast reservations will open. If you’re comfortable, you could also just go up and stand around the Tusker turnstiles.
For whatever reason, few people get in line at the turnstile furthest to the right, which is the one I’m standing in. I’m about eight people back instead of 25.
The lines are longer than they would be ordinarily because we have two additional turnstiles “closed” to the regular populace. A school group used the turnstiles to enter shortly before the rest of us were let in.
The cast member on the far right motioning for people to head over to the four previously “closed” turnstiles right before they opened.
I opted to stay in line because I was waiting for Craig and family (the moderator of the photography forum) and was hoping I could motion them up to join me before I was through. The turnstiles opened promptly at 8:40am after a short spiel welcoming us to Animal Kingdom.
Proceeding to the Tree of Life, where we’re going to be held as a monstrous group until about 8:53am.
Since there were already over 100 people backed up to the right, I decided to line up where the arrow is pointing. To the left of the arrow is a gap in the rope where guests dining at Tusker House could enter should they arrive after 8:50am. Before the $10/person cancellation fee, you could make a reservation, cut in front of all of these people, skip the meal, and head to Kilimanjaro instead. Now that’s going to cost you the $10.
Looking to our right, people are lined up all the way back past the bridge and into the Oasis. Since there is no longer any opening show whatsoever, it’s stupid that Disney holds a thousand people here and then lets them push, shove, and race to one of two attractions. If they don’t want to open the rides at 8:45am, I would much rather wait for ten minutes in the Kilimanjaro or Everest queues than in a hot (temperature wise) clump of people.
The guy holding the rope on the Kilimanjaro Safaris side is laughing about what’s about to happen to us.
Then on the other side people are headed to Expedition Everest. There’s a one-minute-or-so spiel before the walk to the attractions reminding everyone to walk slowly and follow the cast members holding the rope. The rope is intended to keep people walking slowly with the cast members always in front. What usually ends up happening is people just get more and more squished together as the people in back assume the people in front of them are walking slowly for their health rather than by necessity.
You can walk it with me if you want. At the very end you can see how many people are in front of us or just look at the static picture with the play icon.
We pick things back up at 8:56am in Harambe Village.
The scene behind us. Basically a wall of people up to the bridge that connects Discovery Island with Africa. Since Craig is running a little behind, most of these people are actually going to pass us before we get in line.
For my “ideal morning,” I plan to collect FASTPASSes after riding Kilimanjaro Safaris. That’s because it takes about 30 minutes to wait for and ride Kilimanjaro first thing in the morning. If I collected FASTPASSes now, I would have to ride Everest, Primeval Whirl, and DINOSAUR and then walk all the way from there back to Africa in 50 minutes (by 10:40am). It’s not happening, even under ideal conditions. Heading straight for the standby line also puts us in front of anyone that is collecting FASTPASSes first.
Even with what seemed like a bazillion people in front of us, we only waited about 10 minutes to board our safari. The nice thing about it is that they have all the drivers lined up and waiting. So loading is fast first thing in the morning.
This was a good safari. Not that they aren’t all good, but we got some roaming rhinos.
And this thing just a few feet from the truck. I’m zoomed all the way out and that’s the back of the truck. Speaking of the back of the truck, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in the back row. If you have motion sickness problems of any kind or back/neck trouble, request one of the first three rows. If it’s severe, tell them you’ll wait for the first row of the next truck. The front is much less bouncy than the back. I don’t ordinarily get motion sick, but I was a little woozy coming off that thing.
Six or so hippos out. I am never sure what goes on under there. AND IF YOU DO KNOW PLEASE DO NOT SHARE IT WITH THE REST OF US. Spoiler alert please.
Just chillin’ bro.
The “termites” have been busy….
painting their houses.
It was neat to see several different species of animals in one area.
A little closer.
One of these days we are going to get a picture of an elephant’s face. I AM CERTAIN THAT THEY EXIST.
Giraffes just a few feet from the truck.
Giving the crocs a run for their money for laziest animal on the safari.
That’s one very long lion.
The baby Pumbas are new! Totes cute. And yes, I am the person that will end you if you say “souvie.”
Oh, you see something you like, do you? Probably not actually.
Work continues here on the savanna where Disney is installing zebras. The official story is that zebras used to roam here and are now returning. As you ought to know, the poacher story is gone. We no longer hear Wilson on the intercom and there is no Little/Big Red to worry about. I have mixed feelings about the change. On one hand, there is greater emphasis on the animals on the savanna. We heard a bunch of interesting facts that we wouldn’t have been told if the driver had to go along with the recorded spiel. On the other hand, there is no purpose for us being out on the savanna. Before, our two week safari was cut short because we had to save the elephants. We’re still told we’re going on a two week safari, but it lasts 20 minutes. There’s also no sense of “danger.” The truck doesn’t speed up at the end and race through the geysers. It just moves along at the same slow pace throughout. So I wouldn’t necessarily judge this change as overwhelmingly positive. Before it happened, I was of the mindset that the safari would be better without the convoluted storyline. But now, I’m not so sure.
There’s no way they could close Kilimanjaro Safaris over the summer, so construction is continuing at night, while the ride operates during the day.
I don’t have a date for when the zebras will arrive. “Fall 2012” is all that’s known. I’ll ask around.
We were off the attraction and back out front at 9:37am. I would have been about ten minutes earlier had I gotten in line when I arrived. FASTPASS is out to 10:15am to 11:15am. That’s perfectly doable. If you don’t want to ride the Safari again in the morning, collect FASTPASSes for Everest.
Walking toward Everest, the walkway isn’t too busy at the moment.
When I was doing the Magic Kingdom morning timing, there had been some question as to whether it was doable with kids/grandparents/etc. I received a very nice email a couple of weeks ago that addressed that:
I know there has been some debate about whether your early morning
routine at MK would work with kids, strollers and older adults. Well,
I can vouch for you that it does in fact work! I am so thankful!!!
This was Wednesday, May 16th–a recommended day and I believe a crowd
level of 5. We arrived to the park about 8:35, saw the opening show
and headed straight to Dumbo when the gates opened about 8:55. We had
a HUGE double stroller to navigate that we rented (who knew they made
cadillac strollers?), a 4 and 6 year old, 3-slightly over 30 year olds
and 3 grandparents in their upper 50’s. We got to Dumbo about 9:10,
and stood through two rounds of Dumbo before we got on. During our
flight, a lady was allowing her baby to stand up so they stopped the
ride mid-air and took us straight to the ground. After talking to
her, they started our ride again. My husband wanted to pay her for
letting her kid stand up because our kids thought we got to ride
About 9:35, we rode Barnstormer twice with less than a 5 minute wait
in between. Of course, my kids had to use the bathroom afterwards, so
I ran to get a Peter Pan FP, while my husband took the kids to the
restroom. We all met at Pooh after the restroom break, rode Pooh with
a posted 10 minute wait. It was 10:00 when we got off Pooh. Our FP
for Pan wasn’t up yet, so we went to Small World. After IASM, my
mother-in-law wondered off for a drink. At 10:35, we were off Pan
heading to The Pirate’s League to check in 15 minutes early for our
So in that first 1 1/2 hours, we got every ride done that I wanted to
do in Fantasyland that would have long lines later–Dumbo, Barnstormer
(X2), Restroom Break, Drink Break, Multiple Stroller
Parkings/Retrievals, Pooh, Small World (just because it’s a must for
my kids and we were waiting on our FP time) and Peter Pan–before
heading to the Pirate’s League. If it was not for your advice, I
would’ve had no idea how to plan that so important first hour and a
half! Please feel free to share this info when people say it can’t be
done. My group was much slower than I wanted to be, but I still feel
like we got a lot done!
Thanks for the info!”
Always nice to receive the good news.
Anyway, the posted wait was 15 minutes at 9:50am. I try to get to Everest by 9:35am because you’ll basically be able to walk on with no FASTPASS people returning yet. At 9:50am, we have a few FASTPASS returners, but not a lot. We were off the ride at 10:04am when it really started to pour, so the wait was around ten minutes. At that time, I put The Tom away. We ended up standing inside the Everest gift shop for about 10 minutes and then headed over to DINOSAUR in DinoLand USA. We were off DINOSAUR around 10:40am after waiting a total of about five minutes. The 10 minutes we stood in the Everest gift shop is about as long as it would take to ride Primeval Whirl. After riding those four attractions, we would ordinarily head back to Kilimanjaro Safaris to use our 10:15am – 11:15am FASTPASS. With 35 minutes to spare, we have time for TriceraTop Spin, another attraction we might like to do, pictures, a bathroom break, a snack, or whatever else. We can also pick up Everest or Kali River Rapids FASTPASSes on our way, having done all four of the major attractions in the first 90 minutes. Not bad!
We opted to head to the 11am Finding Nemo the Musical since most anything else would have been extremely wet. Ironic(?) that an “underwater” show is the driest attraction? Maybe.
I like it. At about 40 minutes, it isn’t short. But if you enjoy theater/musicals/Finding Nemo at all and have a group that can sit for 40 minutes, it’s a must do. I love (hate) the people that try to tell you Animal Kingdom is a “half day park” and then when you ask them if they saw Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical, or Flights of Wonder, they will look at you cross eyed and reply, “No.” Then you ask them if they walked Pangani or Maharajah and the answer is again, “No.” Yeah, Magic Kingdom is a half day park if you only do three things too, doofus. We took a better look at The Musical in this post back in April. Weird, it feels like it was just a couple of weeks ago! If you’re wondering what all of these “Jeff RUINER OF VACATIONS” references are about, then it’s also discussed there. And seriously, GET WITH THE PROGRAM.
Big, cute sets.
Fish are Friends, Not Food – one of the best songs of the show. I am not sure what to do about the glare.
A better shot of Nemo and Dory coming up through the crowd.
Lunch today is at Restaurantosaurus in DinoLand USA.
I ordered the Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwich ($9.99), which I recommended over a year ago here. It’s basically a roll, lettuce, a ton of little fried shrimp, and a sauce that is similar to a zesty thousand island dressing. Unfortunately, this iteration was overly salty and there wasn’t enough lettuce or sauce to go around considering the heaping helping of shrimp. I’m not going to go so far as to “disrecommend” it though. It was still filling and a good value for the money. Just wish they would have eased up a bit on the sodium. This isn’t Denny’s after all!
We will return for more formal timings of the attractions in the future, though you can rest assured that it’s the best plan of attack possible.