Touring Plan Test: Animal Kingdom

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On February 27, 2021, we did another side-by-side touring plan test. This time we were at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We did similar tests at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios earlier this year. Right now, Disney is admitting guests into the parks anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes before the official park opening. And that gives us an excellent way to test out how Early Theme Park Entry will impact waits in line, once Disney launches that later this year.

We selected seven Animal Kingdom attractions for this test:

Attractions in the Animal Kingdom Touring Plan Test
1 Pandora: Flight of Passage
2 Na’vi River Journey
3 Kilimanjaro Safaris
4 Expedition Everest
5 DINOSAUR
6 TriceraTop Spin
7 It’s Tough to Be a Bug!

The predicted crowd level at the Animal Kingdom on February 27 was a 2 out of 10 (which is very low), and the actual crowd level was 3.

Early Theme Park Entry Plan

Morgan arrived at the park at 7:20 a.m., but due to technical difficulties with our live streaming, Morgan didn’t start her plan until after 7:50. Fortunately, we had three TouringPlans subscribers following their own, custom touring plans that were similar to our test! (Thanks users: drjamesmerrell, bryangh, and LeighLeighJ) Using their actual wait times,  we were able to put together a composite of what an Early Theme Park Entry Plan looked like:

Official Park Opening Plans

The Animal Kingdom officially opened at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.  Morgan started her plan at 7:52 a.m., and Ivonne started at 7:59. Even with the slight difference in starting times, the TouringPlans software generated different plans.

Here’s Morgan’s plan:

And here’s Ivonne’s plan:

Afternoon Plans

Morgan was not ready to call it quits, so she did a second test starting after lunch. Chrissy started her plan at 2:00 p.m. Unfortunately, DINOSAUR was offline for most of the afternoon and neither tester could finish their plans.

Here’s Morgan’s second plan:

And here’s Chrissy’s plan:

Comparing the Plans

As in the other parks, this test shows that off-site guests who use a touring plan and arrive at park entry should expect to wait at least an hour more than on-site guests who use a touring plan and Early Theme Park Entry, for the same set of attractions. Unlike Hollywood Studios, peak wait times are later in the day and there is a benefit to start early, even if you are not at the park before park opening.

Traffic Patterns

Pandora is still a major draw at the Animal Kingdom. It is the first stop for most guests. The rest of the park is virtually empty for the first hour of park operations. The two Pandora attractions have their peak wait times before noon. If you can get to Pandora before the park opens, and complete the two attractions, the rest of your visit to the Animal Kingdom will be a breeze.

Following Along

During this test, we had the idea to stream both of the testers in the park while we data geeks tracking their progress. You can re-live our second attempt at live streaming at https://www.twitch.tv/touringplans or https://www.youtube.com/touringplans.

We plan on doing another Hollywood Studios Touring Plan stream Saturday, March 6, starting at 8:30. The stream will be available on Twitch and YouTube. Live streaming on Twitch and YouTube also gives us a chance to answer questions from readers like you! Subscribe to our channel on YouTube or follow us on Twitch to be notified when the stream goes live.

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Steve Bloom

By helping TouringPlans.com continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

3 thoughts on “Touring Plan Test: Animal Kingdom

  • March 5, 2021 at 6:35 am
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    At ak today. March 5. Ak is a 2. My plan (ak e day 5 evaluate) has early entry at 7:30. Optimized it last night and this morning. It put navi river first and 48 min wait. Tried different variations and even without navi, it put me waiting first thing 30 min for fop or safari 30 min first thing. That isn’t much different than if i slept in. So gave up. Going to get covid test first and get to the park latter. Sorry the approach described here isn’t what the plans calculate anymore for me but can’t figure out what i did wrong

    Reply
  • March 5, 2021 at 7:57 pm
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    We were at Disney starting Jan 3 this year. Touring plans told us to start on Dinosaur. We arrived a little later due to bus issues so we followed the plan. It was awesome. We did all the big rides early and then when Avatar slowed down we only waited 45 minutes. The only tough thing was we were unwilling to wait fir Navi so we caught it at rope drop our second day. Thank you touring plans

    Reply
  • March 28, 2021 at 5:48 pm
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    It would be so nice to be able to customize the optimized plan with putting KS fairly early in the am. There’s a reason TP always recommends doing it mid afternoon, that’s when the time is the best, but also the worst time for the ride, to see the animals. They’re all trying to escape the heat. Also would be nice to include an option to do water rides in the early afternoon, heat of day.

    Reply

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