Warning! (Possible) New RD procedure at Animal Kingdom

lovett1979

Member
I just got back from a great weekend, running the Wine & Dine 10K. I hope to do a real trip report at some point, but I did want to share my experience at RD for AK since it might change some of your plans.

I had had an amazing AK RD in February where I was one of the first through the tapstiles, in the first 50 or so people on FoP, and off the ride BEFORE official park opening at 9am. I had hoped to repeat that this trip, and run over to the Safari right after, anticipating a 10-15 minute wait there.

I woke up on time (6:30am), I even got a bus at Pop (I had Uber'ed in Feb). I chose the far right queue and as more tapstiles were uncovered, jumped to each of those lines, ending up as the very first person! They started letting us in a little after 8am, and I was waiting at the bridge to Pandora (about 6 rows back) by 8:15. So far, everything was going to plan. But then we waited, and waited, and waited. We did not start the walk into the land/to the ride until around 8:50! I was so frustrated because I knew that Safari wait was going to start going up! I was actually in the first group of people to load at at FoP (it helps being a solo traveler, you can skip the line when they need to fill the seats), and of course the ride was amazing. But by the time I was done, it was about 9:20 and the Safari wait was already 40 minutes. I did have a FP for the Safari later in the day, so I didn't completely miss it, but I had been looking forward to 2 rides.

I should mention that this was on Sunday Nov 3, which was the first non-Extra Extra Magic day. It was also the first day of Daylight Saving Time (though I'm not sure why that would affect anything). And I suppose it's possible that the ride was having operating issues and they didn't want to start us back there until it was up and running (I rode later that day with a FP and had to wait a long time since they were running at a reduced capacity due to operating issues).

BUT perhaps this is the new operating procedure to not open Pandora before the rest of the park. And if it is, it's good to know that going in. I hope Josh has a chance to check it out a few times and report back/update the Cheat Sheet. If anyone else has experiences similar to mine (or experience the early entry into the land like it used to be), please report back!
 

bnoble

he's right
I will admit this is one of the reasons that I don't try to plan down to the minute in advance anymore. Things like this always seem to happen to me! Eventually, I decided to be a little less scheduled in advance, in exchange for lower stress later. Relatedly, I've also decided to *never* try to rope drop The Biggest Thing in any park. Too many bad experiences way back in the day with the Soarin' Stampede, the Toy Story Manic Dash, etc. Instead I either (a) FP it, (b) ride it at close, or (c) skip it. I did make an exception once recently for Slinky last year, and while it worked out okay I was a solo traveler and still wasn't sure it was worth the angst.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
We had a glorious day getting to AK around 11am a few weeks ago. We got two rides on FoP with FPs, also rode KS, EE, and NRJ with FPs. Maybe Dino too. It was just me and my husband so it was relatively easy to get great options for 4th and beyond FPs. If you have a small party, skipping RD can make for a much more relaxing day.
 

bnoble

he's right
I don't skip it so much as I zig where they zag*. So, I still get to rope drop, but maybe 20-30 minutes early rather than 75. In most parks, everything but The Biggest Thing is calm first thing, and often for a bit after too. It looks like Studios is still generating enough Slinky traffic that it might not adhere to this rule, but I suspect after RotR opens, that will change. And, if they don't add FP right away (they might they might not) I won't mind waiting in a bit of a line for one or the other of those late in the day.

*: Credit to the long-departed-but-not-forgotten TourGuideMike.
 

bnoble

he's right
I was bitter about that for a really long time. I've since gotten wind (maybe through Josh?) that the situation wasn't as simple as it appeared, and there were some borderline-predatory but silent partners in the effort.
 

beachta1

New member
Sorry that happened to you! My RD experience for EEMH was different from Josh's, as we were held at the turnstyles for awhile before they let us walk into the park. Not sure why the procedures would change so much from day to day.
 

Art Vandelay

that's a shame
Sorry that happened to you! My RD experience for EEMH was different from Josh's, as we were held at the turnstyles for awhile before they let us walk into the park. Not sure why the procedures would change so much from day to day.
Sometimes they're testing potential new RD procedures, sometimes it's staffing (CM's late to work), sometimes it's operational (we had a late DHS RD once because the Star Wars stage wasn't set up yet; mechanical issues with some of the big moving pieces; it had to be 100% in place before they let guests into the park for safety reasons).
 
Sometimes they're testing potential new RD procedures, sometimes it's staffing (CM's late to work), sometimes it's operational (we had a late DHS RD once because the Star Wars stage wasn't set up yet; mechanical issues with some of the big moving pieces; it had to be 100% in place before they let guests into the park for safety reasons).
Which is weird, because they move it out every afternoon/early evening with guests in the park. We got caught by it on our last trip. It was like the world's weirdest parade.
 

Kevin_W

New member
I've found Rope Dropping a popular ride (FoP, Slinky, Radiator Springs on the West Coast)to be the most stressful thing in Disney. Trying to keep a family together with a child while trying not to be bothered by people elbowing past/going around on sidewalks, etc is hard. It's efficient, but it is not a "fun" way to start the day.
 

Art Vandelay

that's a shame
I've found Rope Dropping a popular ride (FoP, Slinky, Radiator Springs on the West Coast)to be the most stressful thing in Disney. Trying to keep a family together with a child while trying not to be bothered by people elbowing past/going around on sidewalks, etc is hard. It's efficient, but it is not a "fun" way to start the day.
It did suck when my kids were little. DD now embraces the challenge and I'm in awe of her determination. :RpS_biggrin: I have 4-5 pictures of her walking into SDD with nobody in front of her. She literally drags me along.
 
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