With just three days to visit parks on this trip, we spent less time at Animal Kingdom than other trips. We were able to experience nearly all of the major attractions in just half a day, but with more time we would have watched the shows and spent some time at Conservation Station.
7am– We first purchased our individual Lighting Lane (LL) for Avatar: Flight of Passage, then got a Disney Genie+ LL for Na’vi River Journey for 10:15am
8:30am- Early entry for park guests. Unlike Hollywood Studios, all guests are allowed through the admission kiosks, making the lines a bit longer to enter. Guests who do not have resort reservations must stay a waiting area near the Tree of Life.
8:40am– Kilimanjaro Safari Ride (10-minute wait during early park entry). After many rides on the Safari, we finally got to witness firsthand why the ride so easily backs up.
For 15 minutes, our vehicle was unable to pass three very stubborn cattle, whose horns were directly in our path. Finally a very slight adjustment to their position allowed us to pass, but by the time we finished the ride the wait exceeded 60-minutes.
The highlight of the ride was the baby rhinoceros.
9:15am- Breakfast Mickey Pretzel and Expedition Everest (no wait for single rider lane)
9:45am- Dinosaur Ride (10-minute wait)
10:00am- TriceraTop Spin followed by a visit with Kevin from the movie Up in Discovery Island
10:30am- Na’vi River Journey LL (standby would have been 65 minutes) and some photo ops in Pandora
11:00am- Africa Trek- This added extra walking on the path between Pandora and Africa, but we wanted to complete our Na’vi River Journey Lightning lane early in the time window so we could pick up another LL for later in the day. This left us with nearly an hour before our Flight of Passage LL, so the Africa Trek (or Festival of the Lion King) were our top choices to fill the gap. This is one of the biggest challenges with the new system, and you are often faced with the choice between with added steps or more time in line.
11:45am- Flight of Passage Individual LL (standby would have been 70 minutes, so the $15/pp fee was worth it to us for our favorite ride). One thing we notice with the paid Lightning Lane system is that once you scan in to most attractions, the wait is much shorter than with the previous Fast Pass system, making the value greater.
12:15pm- Snack and a VERY strong drink from Pongu Pongu and a PhotoPass op between Pandora and Discovery Island.
12:45pm- Mickey and Minnie at Adventurer’s Outpost LL (standby would have been 50 minutes). They are using the new automated system for photos at the Outpost, and we miss the more personalized interactions.
1:00pm– Lunch from Discovery Island kiosks. We had never been in the small oasis behind Flame Tree BBQ, and found it a perfect respite from the heat and crowds. On other trips, we used the Nomad Lounge patio for this type of break, but it was fully booked during our visit.