So you’re amped to see Avatar come to Animal Kingdom, or you’re already planning ahead for the exciting new Toy Story rides coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As thrilling as new ride openings are, those first few months aren’t really something you want to witness. You’re better pushing back your vacation and seeing these attractions a little later in their theme park tenure. Here are some compelling reasons to reschedule and avoid ride openings.
The parks get packed
You’re not the first person to hear about that hot new attraction and get excited. Theme parks market their latest rides to death to drum up more business, and it usually works. The thousands of people who flock to the park for that hot new attraction may only hop on the ride once, but they’re probably in the park all day or all week. There’s a natural surge of guest traffic that comes with any grand opening.
Animal Kingdom will be busier thanks to the new Avatar opening. This one land is expected to increase wait times throughout the entire park by about 15 percent. Epcot’s Norway is so packed with guests flocking in for Frozen Ever After that the park started opening both Norway and Mexico early to try and compensate. Even if you’re not vying for a front seat to the latest and greatest attraction, you’ll still feel the impact of it if you plan your visit to coincide with the first several months of a big opening.
With crowds and wait times swelling throughout the associated park, your visit is going to get a lot sweatier and slower. If you want a smoother experience all around with streets you can comfortably navigate and a schedule with a well-rounded number of rides on it, wait until the thrill of major openings has worn off.
Rides are glitchy at the beginning
Every ride has its characteristic glitches – some more noticeable or persistent than others. However, all attractions battle bumpy opening day issues. It takes time for engineers to discover all the quirks and errors in a ride system, and there are usually a lot of them. Try as they might to anticipate guest actions in the testing phase, it’s just not possible to get to the heart of it all. You don’t know what will really happen when you press the full weight of a heavy guest load into a vehicle and run it continuously for hours at a time until you’re doing just that.
Ride glitches can cause a variety of issues for you as the guest. This includes:
- On-vehicle down time: Cast Members are more hesitant to evacuate or dump an attraction when it’s a new opening with a massive line. While you will absolutely be evacuated in a safety situation, you may find that you’re left to linger in a non-moving ride vehicle that’s still perfectly safe.
- Non-functional features: You probably won’t even know what you’re missing, but in the early weeks of an attraction, it’s extremely likely that there are non-functioning elements. Some may have been left out intentionally to rush the opening day. Others will have broken down soon after the opening and linger in disrepair awaiting the first rehab. Even the Cast Members are new to the attraction at this stage, so they may not catch minor problems right away. Again, safety isn’t much of an issue, but show can suffer.
- Patchy Performance: Starts, stops, and slow-downs are especially common with a new ride system. While these are minor issues that Cast Members will push right through, they’re going to diminish your ride experience. If your vehicle slows or pauses in places where it’s not really meant to, the entire flow of the ride is off, and you’re not getting the full thrill that you bargained for.