Right now, summer is in full swing at Walt Disney World, with temperatures rising and guests packing the parks. However, something interesting is happening at the newly-opened Pandora – The World of Avatar area at Disney's Animal Kingdom: wait times in this area are actually on the decline!
Though the first few opening days for this new area were incredibly busy with the land filling to capacity as guests rushed in to be among the first to travel to this alien world, in recent weeks, wait times have fallen dramatically with Avatar - Flight of Passage hovering around two hours most days and the Na'vi River Journey under 90 minutes regularly.
And while you may be tempted to think that this is an indication that this land isn't the big hit Disney was hoping for, wait times are not diminishing because less people are visiting. On the contrary, so many people are visiting that Disney has actually run out of the ultra-popular Banshee souvenirs. So how then, is it possible for guests to be waiting less for attractions inside this land when guest levels remain high? The answer is more complex than you might think.
1. Getting the resort guests in early and late
Earlier this year Disney made the unprecedented announcement that resort guests would have daily access to Pandora – The World of Avatar after park closing for nightly Extra Magic Hours inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And while this offering was originally scheduled through mid-July, it has proven to be incredibly successful, and last week it was confirmed that Disney has extended this special offering into mid-August. In addition, Disney has added extra Rivers of Light showings during these nightly events as well.
When you add this special offering to the early morning Extra Magic Hours that are also regularly scheduled at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, resort guests are getting plenty of extra time to explore this new area, which means during regular park hours (which are still extended as well), the overwhelming majority of these guests are enjoying a ride of Expedition Everest or park hopping to Epcot. This is likely one of the biggest contributors to the falling wait times in this area, but there’s more at work here than just well-managed after-hours time for resort guests.