The Opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar Will Affect All Guests This Summer. Here’s How

We’ve got only a few weeks left until Pandora – The World of Avatar opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and from what we’ve seen this new land will be technically impressive, immersive, and unlike anything else ever created for a Walt Disney World park. However, that doesn’t mean that this new area will be for everyone. If you find yourself uninterested in the Avatar franchise or don’t want to deal with crowds during the opening weeks of this brand new land, you might be thinking that it will be simple enough to drop by Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer and simply bypass the sharp left turn into this new area so you can enjoy the rest of the park.

However, Disney is expecting big things from this new land, and as a result, a number of operational changes are coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom that will affect all guests, even those who don’t even know what a Na’vi is. If you are planning on visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer, here’s everything you need to know, even if you don’t care about the world of Avatar:

1. A new kind of Extra Magic Hours

Image: Disney

For the first time in its history, Disney will take the unprecedented step of offering Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom every single night from closing until 1:00 AM.However, in an interesting development, these extended hours will only apply to Pandora – The World of Avatar, with the rest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom closing down at normal time. These nightly Extra Magic hours will be offered from May 27th through the end of June. 

Unfortunately, that means that resort guests who were hoping to experience other attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom after hours like Dinosuar or Expedition Everest during Extra Magic Hours will not be able to for most of this summer. Disney is betting big that Pandora – The World of Avatar will be the main draw for this park over the summer, and unfortunately, if you’re simply not interested in this new land, you’ll only be able to experience the other parts of this park during regular park hours.

2. Tiered FastPass+ comes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Image: Disney

FastPass+ reservations are now available for the two attractions inside Pandora – The World of Avatar, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the addition of this new land has brought the tier system to this park, which had previously only been in use at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Under the current system now in use, both AVATAR – Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey are both tier 1, which means that guests hoping to experience these attractions are only able to select one of these experiences with FastPass+, and will have to brave the standby line for the other attraction if they want to do both. 

However, perhaps more interestingly, because of thie tiered system, guests who are not interested in Pandora – The World of Avatar are now required to pick one of these attractions to experience from this new land before they can make FastPass+ reservations for anything else at the park. So, if all you want to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is see The Festival of the Lion King and ride Dinosaur, you’ll have to pick one of the two Avatar “tier one” attractions first before you even get the option to select the attraction you actually want to experience.

Image: Disney

Though this sounds like it might be counter-productive (especially during the opening weeks of Pandora – The World of Avatar), it might end up not being that much of a big deal, at least at first, as FastPass+ reservations have been “selling out” as they become available, which means those who don’t wish to experience this new area can just wait a day or two before making their FastPass+ reservations, and then just pick what they want from the second tier list if they don’t want to make a FastPass+ reservation for Pandora – The World of Avatar that they don’t plan on using. 

3. Nighttime entertainment beefed up in other places at the park

Image: Disney

Though Pandora – The World of Avatar will have its own special features once the sun goes down, for guests who want to experience everything else in this park after dark, Disney is beefing up options for its nighttime entertainment beginning next moth. First up, Disney is adding new viewing areas for the Tree of Life: Awakenings projection show. While guests previously were only able to see this show from the front of the park (which made a huge block towards the exit and also restricts access to the pathway to Pandora – The World of Avatar), guests will soon be able view the exact same projections on the rear of the tree from a new viewing area along the walkway from Africa to Asia. 

In addition, Disney will also be beefing up its Rivers of Light schedule at the end of May, and will be showing this new evening entertainment offering twice nightly until July, when it goes back to once nightly performances. 

Though Pandora – the World of Avatar might not be for everyone, Disney is certainly betting big on this new area, and is making some significant changes around Disney’s Animal Kingdom to make way for the opening of this new area. Are you excited to experience this new land, or do you think you’ll bypass it on your next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below! 

-Originally in Theme Park Tourist By , Wednesday, April 19, 2017 18:30





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