10 Ways To Survive A Crowded Day At Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Pandora – The World of Avatar opened in May, 2017, bringing record crowds to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There is a reason why people want to check out the new land, it is phenomenal. With more people than ever visiting the park, it can get crowded. Here are ten tips for making sure that you have a great time, even if the park is packed.

10) Browse Through Windtraders

If you want to spend more time in Pandora but need a break away from the crowd, head inside Windtraders. It’s the main store in the area. At Windtraders you’ll find typical souvenirs like T-shirts, coffee mugs, and cell phone cases, but there are also some unique items. You can turn yourself into one of the Na’vi by buying ears and a tail, or maybe instead take home your own banshee. Like most stores within the theme parks Windtraders can get crowded, but there is so much to see that you won’t mind.

9) Relax at Nomad Lounge

Sometimes the best way to handle a crowd is to get away from it and sit down for a few minutes. Nomad Lounge is a great spot to do just that. Located next to Tiffins, you can enjoy an appetizer and a cold drink. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialties are served, as well as other beverages. Take a few minutes to relax, and then you’ll be ready to become part of the crowd again.

8) Cool Off Inside

On a crowded day in Florida a few minutes off of your feet in the air conditioning can make a huge difference, even if you aren’t traveling during the summer. If you can be entertained at the same time it is even better. That is why you won’t want to miss Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo – The Musical. They’re based on the classic movies, and they are both a lot of fun. The theaters offer plenty of seating, but on a crowded day you still might not want to wait until the last minute to arrive.

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7) Visit Pandora Again After Dark

Don’t let the crowds keep you from returning to Pandora – The World of Avatar after dark. The entire area becomes an attraction in and of itself. Even if you’ve already done everything you wanted to do in Pandora, you need to see it once the sun goes down. To avoid the crowds, return about half an hour before the park is to close. You’ll be able to see how Pandora has transformed, but the crowd will have somewhat cleared out.

6) Explore the Animal Trails

Take the “animal” part of the name Disney’s Animal Kingdom seriously, and plan to spend some time exploring the trails. You’ll see lots of happy animals (Disney takes very good care of them), and you’ll want to take plenty of pictures. You can explore the trails at your own pace, which is nice on a crowded day.

5) Hit the Other Rides

This can be a bit of a risk, but if facing the Yeti is more important to you than seeing the Shaman of Songs, you might want to head away from Pandora when you first arrive at the park at rope drop. After all, since most people will head directly to Pandora, the other lands will be less crowded. Hit the other rides first, then head over to Pandora. You might have to wait in a long line, but you can look at your ride and character photos on the My Disney Experience App while you wait.

4) Use Mobile Ordering

Mobile Ordering can save you a lot of time, and it’s easy to do. You need to have the My Disney Experience App, which you will want on a crowded day anyway. Use the “Order Food” tab under “My Plans”. Pick what you want and when you want it, and pay for it with a credit card. Your food will then be ready when you arrive. Currently you can’t use Mobile Ordering on the Disney Dining Plan, but don’t be surprised if that changes in the future. Many popular restaurants now accept Mobile Orders, including Satu’li Canteen and Flame Tree Barbecue.

3) Take Advantage of Extra Magic Hours

If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you are eligible for Extra Magic Hours. Each day at least one of the four theme parks will open early or stay open late for resort guests only. If there are morning Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you will want to take advantage. That extra hour could save you a lot of time waiting in line. If you’re not staying on property, avoid Disney’s Animal Kingdom if there are morning Extra Magic Hours. There will already be lines by the time it opens to the general public.

2) Use FastPass+

When Pandora – The World of Avatar opened, Disney implemented a tier system for FastPass+ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Tier One selections are Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. The rest of the FastPass+ selections are Tier Two. That means you can only reserve one of the new rides ahead of time unless you are planning to spend more than one day at the park. If you can get FastPass+ for Avatar Flight of Passage grab it, it’s the hottest selection at any of the theme parks right now. Use your two Tier Two selections for your other must-dos. The most popular Tier Two FastPass+ is probably Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.

1) Arrive Early

The best way to survive a crowded day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is to arrive early. A popular strategy is to get there at least half an hour before rope drop, and then head immediately to Pandora. Get in line for the ride that you don’t have FastPass+ for, then hit the rest of the park for a while. Return to Pandora when it’s time for your FastPass+, and then again after dark. It’s a lot of walking, but it’s the best way to make sure that you do as much as possible.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.