I typically don’t go to the parks much in the midst of the summer heat and humidity and so planned to visit Animal Kingdom yesterday, mostly to update menus. I had no idea I hadn’t been there since right after Pandora opened! I checked for last-minute FastPasses before leaving home, but nothing was available. I wasn’t surprised.
So here are some observations from my walk around the park yesterday, noting things I had not seen before. Perhaps you have… but these things are new to me.
After I parked and walked down to the tram area, I noticed that the name of each row has been repainted in much larger letters, much clearer than before. Yea! You will also notice better signage in the parking area as well.
I then noticed he new tram front vehicles. As you can see in the photo, they are now sporting bright new red and green driver and engine sections.
I went into the Rainforest Cafe to update our menus and as I exited out the side, I noticed this elephant fountain. It looked so inviting on the already hot and humid morning but alas, “Please do not climb on rocks”.
Next stop, Pandora. As I mentioned, the last time I was in Animal Kingdom was for a media preview of Pandora. My how different it looks full of people.
Crossing the bridge (shortly after 9 a.m.) the first thing I saw was the “End of the Line” for the Na’vi River Journey. The Cast Member told me that neither ride had “opened yet”, and the estimated wait time was currently 45 minutes.
I read after I returned home that either both rides open or neither does. Can someone clarify that for me please?
As I walked deeper into Pandora, the whole area was packed. Cast members had created lines and pathways with rope and it was kind of hard to get from here to there. I looked for a Wait Time for Flight of Passage but couldn’t get anywhere near the entry point, for either ride, actually.
I wanted to wander around the area, but as I said, it was very crowded and hard to maneuver so I decided to head out. Here’s a screen shot of Animal Kingdom wait times at 9:14 a.m.
I did manage to find one of the PhotoPass photographers and had this photo taken. It was in My Disney Experience a few hours later.
Next thing I know I am being told to head back out of the area and over to Harambe to get in line for Flight of Passage (not that I was going to get in line, but curious where I would end up). A very, very long line. Talking to the Cast Member at the end of the line, I was told the wait time was now three hours! Normally the Harambe area is for exiting Pandora, not entering, but the long lines and lack of space inside Pandora changes that during busy times.
Alrighty then, back to getting menu photos! By the time I reached Asia, I was feeling hungry. I was very happy to see that the Yak and Yeti Local Cafes serve breakfast.
I chose the Canadian Bacon English Muffin. A take on Egg McMuffin with an extra piece of Canadian Bacon, plus tater tots for $9.99. Ouch, but not surprised.
Checking My Disney Experience again for wait times now at 10:07 a.m.:
Ah… behold the infamous Coca Cola Rhino:
For those of you who do Mobile Ordering, the area to pick up your food is clearly marked. And if you can’t find it, ask a Cast Member.
I made my way back to the front of the park and decided to forego a second loop around. It was getting quite crowded. But I did wander the Oasis and entrance area.
Ok, I have a question. I have been to Animal Kingdom countless times since it opened in 1998. Unless I have to be someplace, I always walk around the Oasis and Discovery Island areas. The Reeve’s Muntjac has become almost as elusive to me as the Anteater. I think in all this time, I have only seen it once and it was under all the brush. Has anyone ever seen it out and about? And I think there are two, yes?
Ah ha! The Black Swan! Not always out and about, but on this day the pair were swimming and sunning.
Lastly, as I noted much better signage in the parking lot, there is also a great directional sign as you exit the park.
‘Til next time, folks…