Animal Kingdom: The Half-Day Myth

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by shelemm, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. shelemm

    shelemm DIS Veteran

    Feb 10, 2006
    I have read a number of posts referring to AK as a half-day park. After having visited on an uncrowded day the first week of March, I don't see at all how this is possible.

    In fact, we stayed there the whole day and still didn't see everything we wanted to see. certainly skipping attractions we didn't want to fool with in the first place.

    Here was our itinerary, with very little waiting:

    9:30 arrival (park opened at 9am)
    EE (no wait!)
    KS (no wait!)
    Watched Limbo dancers in Harambee
    Flights of Wonder
    Lion King
    Pocahantas (no wait!)
    Obtained FPs for EE
    Late Lunch Break
    Primeval Whirl
    Dinosaur again
    EE again with FPs (no wait!)
    Maharaja Jungle Trek
    Kali River Rapids, twice (no wait!)

    We had just enough time to race over to Paganini Forest Trail to find we arrived 1 minute late. 5pm. The trail closed. Arrrgh.

    Toured The Oasis, on the way out.

    Given this, I don't see how AK is a half day park under any circumstances. Plus we never planned on visiting Rafiki's Planet Watch, the Boneyard, and a few other attractions. The Limbo Dancers, Pocahantas, and Dinosaur were my favorites.
  2. Robo

    Robo 1971 Castle in the Hub: Your lights are on!

    Nov 18, 2001
    And "Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade" is not on your list.

    Its one of the GOOD ones, too.
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  4. Am_I_There_Yet

    Am_I_There_Yet Tells little white lies about Santa<br><font color

    Nov 28, 2005
    I've always liked the Animal Kingdom and this past trip, it became my favorite park. We really enjoyed the two days we spent there.

    I can't think of another park where the theming is that good. It's gotten absolutely beautiful since I'd been there five years prior. Expedition Everest certainly doesn't hurt either! :thumbsup2
  5. Vanryan

    Vanryan Mouseketeer

    Jan 16, 2004
    The Boneyard is one of my kids favorite places. They could spend a couple of hours there easily. We have spent about 7 days there over 4 trips and have not seen everything we wanted to. Although we are big animal lovers and could spend quite a bit of time animal watching.
  6. buckylarue

    buckylarue Can't decide who's Statler and who's Waldorf...

    Jul 15, 2000
    Had to smile :) picturing the Paganini trail; lots of violins, I'll bet! :teeth:

    The Pangani Trail in Africa and the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia can easily take up several hours of our time at AK.
  7. susykt4

    susykt4 DIS Veteran

    May 5, 2005
    We spent 1 1/2 days at AK last trip and still didn't see/do close to everything. We went during a very slow week in January (EE not yet open) and I don't recall waiting for anything! My family LOVES Animal Kingdom and we would never consider spending less than a day there. I'm pretty sure my kids could easily spend a full day just in the boneyard- AARRRRGGGGGG!!!
  8. bexareaglecheryl

    bexareaglecheryl Mickey Makes Me Happy! Pray for a cure for Interst

    Jan 24, 2000
    Maybe it has to do with if you're touring with young children or not. If you've got younger kids you may not be doing some attractions or rides. Even if you're touring with your older kids and teens there are things that they don't want to do. I think AK is a more polarizing park. It's harder for a group of people to do it together in a theme park sense. Plus, I think you have to have your mind wiped clean of that 'theme park' commando vibe before you set foot in the AK. You need to relax and enjoy AK, take it slow, look around and see the small things that make it such a great park. There aren't any bright flashing lights to lure you in any one direction.

    That's one reason I love AK. After the afternoon parade the crowds leave in droves and I feel like the park is mine to wander in and enjoy. I like that Expedition Everest is kind of 'out of the way'. I don't think it will detract from the park feel. In fact, AK is a true 'park'. A park with trees, flowers, birds, grass, natural waterways, and a sense of quiet and calm.

    It took DH and I about 6 visits to see everything we wanted to see. And we stil haven't done Kali(only visited during Nov/Dec/or Jan) and the Flights of Wonder. Now, of course we've done some things multiple times. On our quick 2 day November trip DH and I went to AK and took over an hour enjoying Pangini. No one else was with us so we were on no time table. But i finally feel like on our trip in May we may only make AK a half day again.
  9. wdwguide

    wdwguide Ex Guide Book Author

    Mar 19, 2001
    The "half-day myth" dates back to the park's early days, when there was no Asia and no DinoRama.

    Now it's easily a full day park for first time visitors, and a half to 3/4 day park for repeat visits.
  10. Maggi May

    Maggi May DIS Veteran

    Jun 21, 2003
    "Plus, I think you have to have your mind wiped clean of that 'theme park' commando vibe before you set foot in the AK. You need to relax and enjoy AK, take it slow, look around and see the small things that make it such a great park. There aren't any bright flashing lights to lure you in any one direction."

    That really sums it up nicely.

    We easily spend 45 minutes each on the Pagani and Maharaja trail. The outpost in the middle of the Pagani trail is full of really interesting items. You can actually open all of the drawers and see bug and animal specimens. People were breezing through the room and we spent a good 20 minutes checking everything out.
  11. Leota

    Leota DIS Veteran

    May 16, 2000
    I love doing AK slowly. DS (17yo) rushes thru from E-Ticket to E-Ticket. I went one morning alone to wander Pangani & Maharajah & take picutures..... It was heavenly! I stayed from Park opening til noon & never even got on a ride. It was a fantastic morning. The detail & lush landscaping is really incredible. I met the family at noon & we stayed til nearly close & still didn't hit everything we wanted to.

    It took us awhile to "get" AK tho. We went when it first opened & it seemed so unfinished. It's a Park that grows on you, I think.
  12. Ghost

    Ghost DIS Veteran

    Jan 4, 2005
    Many visitors still think far to much about rides only. AK is so much more... I love this park and enjoy walking it, just looking at the Imagineering Masterpiece (I know, I am repeating myself on other topics)....

    A full day of AK and close the day at EPCOT with Illuminations... that is my magic!
  13. Allison

    Allison DIS Veteran

    Oct 27, 2005
    I totally agree. We spent a full day there in 2004 and didn't get to see everything we wanted. My kids specifically requested more time at AK this year so we have 2 days scheduled. They love the Boneyard.
  14. pepe of ohio

    pepe of ohio DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    be a great exhibition park but it just seems that not alot of people can make this park seem crowded and hard to get around.. The narrow walkways are always jammed and the people not moving and the entrances to exhibits being on the main pathway, over spill and clog even more. All the lush vegatation and trees block out any air movement and trying to find a space to catch a breather out of the mass is tough. Those are our reasons for a half day park, after a half of a day, you've had enough, not seen much but just had enough. Then trying to find your way out back against the grain of incoming guests, and you say, never again. Finally getting out, and the lack of A/C exhibits, sweaty, its a long hike back to the bus depot in the beating down Florida sun.

    That being said and our cause, this park might be at its best in the winter months, with less people and cooler temps. EPCOT, to us at least, is a better park right at sun down and later. Most everyone has gone, just from the heat of the day, and even though its not much cooler, being a huge open expanse park, it seems cooler and broader and easy navigating then. Another tough laid out park is MGM, confusing alley ways never knowing where you'll come out at. We're not map holding, walking people and even if you study before hand its still tough. MK, easiest park to manuever, either go right or left and continue around and you'll see most.
  15. patsal

    patsal <font color=FF3399>I've discovered I don't need to

    Jul 10, 2001
    This park took us a bit to "get" but once we did the number of hours there increases every vacation. It really is a beautiful park and does take us a few days to cover--mostly because we travel in the peak summer heat and crowds which makes it nearly impossible to stay from open to close. We were able to go one February and were able to stay from open until close--the crowds were a bit higher since it was President's week--we still didn't do/see everything!
  16. Robo

    Robo 1971 Castle in the Hub: Your lights are on!

    Nov 18, 2001
    Look for much of this discussion to become moot when EE is officially open.

    The number of people coming in should increase dramatically.

    That increase alone will push up the average time spent in DAK substantially.

    The increased crowds for EE will tend to fill the other attractions at many parts of the day.

    Gotta take the bad with the good.
  17. Dancemom

    Dancemom Mouseketeer

    May 7, 2000
    I love AK. We never seem to spend enough time in this park. We usually park hop and spend a morning in AK and the evening in a different park. This year I would like to spend a whole day so we can see all the shows. We have not seen Pocohontas. Hopefully, the family will go along with this idea.
  18. Mo-Yo

    Mo-Yo Mouseketeer

    Dec 15, 2005
    It's funny you would say AK is a polarizing park. I've been there 2X and had Polar opposite experiences.

    The first time we went in late March 2003, and it was the most crowded park that we experienced during our vacation. Construction bottlenecked the crowds, and we did not enjoy it at all. Liked Kali and KS and Lion KIng, but I felt vaguely uncomofortable and irritated all day.

    Last year we went at Christmas. I consciously took a deep cleansing breathe before arriving, and I swore to let go of my park commando persona and treat it like a exceptional zoo, but a zoo, a park, a place to relax.

    We stopped to buy coffee, watched animals, read placards, waited in a 20 minute line to visit Stitch, and just went without a plan wherever the wind took us. We saw the Lion King, KS, Kali, Bone Yard, Tricertops Spin, The parade, Rafiki's PW, visited with characters, played drums, listened to singers and bands, and ate a relaxing lunch by the water at the FlameTree BBQ, while we watched birds. Mickey, Minnie and Goofy even came on a boat and waved to us and danced as they floated by. It was one of the best days of our vacation. Go Figure.

    In my experience, AK is a tough park for a first timer trying to get their money's worth...and I am a big one for trying to get my money's worth. But changing my attitude for the day made it a great day for us. Still, I would have liked to have squeezed in Dinosaur, Pocahontas, Flights of Wonder and others, but there is always next time.

    I will sure to go right to EE, then, and then take a deep breath and relax.
  19. Fonzy13

    Fonzy13 Proud DVC Owner

    May 21, 2003
    The first time I went to Disney as an adult it was to AK for Donald's Breakfastaurus. I fell in love with AK. This past trip was the first time I ever spent two days there. I just can't get enough. I could spend an hour with an orange juice and drummers in Africa. It is most definately not a 1/2 day park.
  20. MouseEarsJenny

    MouseEarsJenny DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2006
    Thank you for the great info! This is the park I feel least confident about touring, so I'm glad to know we should allot plenty of time.

    Question for you, if you don't mind. How long were the lines for Dinosaur? I really really want to ride this, (and will probably be going there second after the safari) but since I may be the only one in my party riding I don't want to make everyone wait if it's a long line.

  21. cornflkgrl

    cornflkgrl DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2006
    My husband and I did Animal Kingdom in a half-day.
    We got there at opening and rode Expedition Everest right away with no wait, we went to Camp Mickey Minnie and did some character pics, we went to the conservation station thing, Kiliminjaro Safaris, Dinasoar, and we did all the animal/walking trails, It's Tough to be a Bug, and we did a little shopping. We also had time to eat at Flame Tree BBQ.
    We would have gone on Kali River Rapids but we didn't want to get really wet because it was kind of cooler out that day and I was already getting sick.
    We felt we had plenty of time at the park and we were there from opening until about 2:40 p.m.
    If you don't have kids with you it can certainly be done in a half day. However, OP mentioned going on the rides 2 times. You would have to be there longer to do that, of course.

    Edited for spelling error.

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