Animal Kingdom is definitely worth a day at Disney World!
We visited Animal Kingdom this April and had a blast. Our goal was to check out the new Pandora area (based on the land from the movie Avatar). You need to plan ahead if you want access to the new rides. I logged in to the My Disney app on the first day fast passes were available for the day we wanted to visit and already the Avatar Flights of Passage was all out of fast passes. We were able to get fast passes for the Na’vi River Journey ride (and also got fast passes for the DINOSAUR ride and the Kali River Rapids ride). We agreed to get to the park early in order to not have a long “stand by” wait. Well, we got there at Park opening an the wait was already 135 minutes!! Disney Extra Magic Hours were available that day at Animal Kingdom so guests staying at Disney owned properties got access an hour early. Guh. Then, our luck changed, one of the employees (or as Disney calls them, “Characters”, told us a great secret.)
At the scheduled Park Close time, they allow everyone to stay in the lines and continue until they got to do the ride. So, if we got there 5 minutes before close, we could stay in line. This is a great strategy because:
- People don’t know this so they won’t bother getting in line
- It’s late, so the Park would hopefully be not as crowded anyway
- Guests are focusing on nighttime activities like River of Light.
So, we changed our plan and decided to leave the park mid day, eat lunch, nap and come back in the evening. We arrived back around 5pm for our Rivers fast pass and quickly got on the ride. It’s like the Small World river ride, but with the theming that was completely modern and Pandora based. It was brilliant, with fantastic colors and exhibits as your boat travelled its path.
Afterwards, as we were walking by Flight, we saw that the wait was only 105 minutes, and with a quick glance at each other, we decided to go for it. The wait was actually more like 60 minutes, but with current day line theming, it didn’t feel like that long. And, was it ever worth it. My daughter and I agreed that it was one of the best rides we’d ever been on. Think of it as a combination between Soaring (at Epcot), Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Universal Studios Hollywood), and the The Simpsons Ride (Universal Orlando). We felt like we were in Pandora, and the smooth movement of the ride gave us a roller coaster type excitement (but not too much). It was incredible, and it didn’t feel like it went too quickly.
Having accomplished our goal, we decided to leave the park and go out to dinner locally in Lake Buena Vista.
As always, feel free to post questions in the comments below!