How Early do you REALLY Need to Arrive to Animal Kingdom to Avoid Avatar Crowds? A Guide.


How to do all of Animal Kingdom in 3 Hours, 2019.
A guide for the pressed-for-time vacationer.

Let's face it, most days Animal Kingdom is packed and it is not unusual to see Avatar: Flight of Passage and the Na'Vi River Journey reaching over 4 hour waits. Just this past February I waited 4.5 hours for the screen-based simulator, the "slow-season." So it's still common to see people spending a whole day at Animal Kingdom. But did you know all of the thrilling, wait-filled attractions and shows can be completed by Noon! Time saved, waiting saved, money saved.
The Icon of the park, the Tree of Life, has over 100,000 man-made leaves, and is over 50 feet wide.
Most of you will be thinking you'll need to stay on site at an expensive resort hotel and make use of Extra Magic Hours, and while this would help, it's still possible to do most of Animal Kingdom in just three hours without an on-site room key! This way you'll have time to enjoy the rest of your day, and actually relax!
The most common thing we hear after a Disney vacation is that people wished they just took a day off. This method will finally give you that afternoon to unwind. You'll be skipping toward the park exit as everyone else is just arriving!

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When to Arrive.

The most important thing is to arrive 1.5 hours before park opening on a day when Extra Magic Hours is not in effect, you can find these times on Disney's website. This may sound extreme, but it's necessary for you to be on the first ride of Avatar: Flight of Passage before the line reaches 3 hours, which usually happens before park opening. Any later than this and you may end up spending hours longer in the park.
The floating Mountains of Pandora (Photo: wdwnt)
It's common for Disney's Animal Kingdom to open the gates approximately 1 hour before park opening (depending on the season), the rides won't open yet, but you'll move into the park towards Avatar: World of Pandora and wait by the entrance bridge until Cast Members walk you towards Flight of Passage.

What to Ride First.

Flight of Passage and the River Journey quietly open about 20 minutes early every day, so as long as you are on the first ride of Flight of Passage, you'll actually be done with the experience before the park officially "opens."
Expedition Everest's main drop. (Photo: Sam Howzit)
After your flight, you can ride Na'Vi River Journey, where you'll see one of the most impressive Animatronics ever made, and then you'll head over to Kilimanjaro Safari, it should be right around official park opening now. There may be a small wait, but it's the ride to do next even if you notice other rides with shorter queues. Of course, if you want to skip the Safari or any of the other rides listed in this article, it will just make the day go even quicker.
The Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari.
Making your way around the park clockwise, you'll head to Expedition Everest next, and then Dinosaur, where you should also experience short-ish wait times. If you are behind schedule or see long wait times, it's sometimes best to use the single rider line at Expedition Everest, which is located to the right of the entrance and not extremely well-known, as it's one of the few rides in all of Walt Disney World with a single rider queue. (Dinosaur is a dark and loud ride that may be scarier for some children)

Ride Order Recap.

Hopefully your ride times look something like this:
1. Flight of Passage 8:40
2. Na'vi River Journey 9:00
3. Kilimanjaro Safari 9:30
4. Expedition Everest 10:15
5. Dinosaur 10:45

After Dinosaur, we recommend choosing two or three shows/experiences from the following list that you would like to see:
"Festival of the Lion King"  a must-see in our opinion. Stunts, singing, acting, it has something for everyone and is one of the best theme park shows we've ever seen to date!
"Finding Nemo The Musical," a Broadway-style puppet play with excellent actors and singing;
"It's Tough to be a Bug," a short, comedy 3-D show (some loud and scary moments for very young children);
"Winged Encounters," your standard bird/animal show, but with a nice set and energy;
"Pandora Drummers," a small, short drum show in the middle of one of the most incredibly themed lands in the World.
"Maharajah Jungle Trek," see Tigers, Blackbuck, Komodo dragon, Water buffalo and more!
"Pandora Jungle Suit," this 10-foot-tall mechanical suit roams the Mo’ara Valley to study fauna, collect plant samples and explore the rough terrain. You can talk to him about the plants and valley to learn more.

You can also go back and do activities or other rides you may have seen on your walk around the park!

That's it, you should be finished by Noon. All of Animal Kingdom's best offerings within three hours of operating park hours! This has been done multiple times by our group, even during Spring Break week! Our favorite things to do after the rides are Festival of the Lion King, walking around Pandora and seeing all the small details that the area holds, eating at Satu'li Canteen, jumping on the raft ride if it's hot, and just strolling around, enjoying the amazing atmosphere of Animal Kingdom, our favorite Disney park.
Who knows, maybe you'll enjoy the afternoon relaxing and then have the energy to go back for the "Rivers of Light" nighttime show!

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