Pandora Wait Times

Opinion | Crowds and New Things at Disney

There are certain things that make crowd levels very predictable. Annual events such as New Year’s, Spring Break, Summer vacation, etc and the opening of anything new at the Disney Parks. Memorial weekend 2017 marked two big grand openings for Disney Parks. Pandora – The World of Avatar finally opened its gates at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park while Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout opened at Disney’s California Adventure. The crowds were not only predictable but also surprised me in some aspects.

Anything new at Disney draws huge crowds. The rides that constantly have the highest wait times, Frozen Ever After & Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, are also the newest rides in the parks! Well, Pandora & Guardians have changed that and the crowds have honestly exceeded what I thought was reasonable.

Let’s start with Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout. For those who don’t know, this is a re-imaging of the Tower of Terror in Disney’s California Adventure. It’s the same ride, just with a different theme and story. You’re still going to be doing the thrill inducing elevator drop at the end. The wait times for this ride on opening day were simply insane. The stand-by queue averaged about seven hours while FastPass got you in the ride in a super quick five hours. THAT IS CRAZY! Disneyland Resort is different than Walt Disney World in that it has a large base of locals who can afford to spend the day in line.

Pandora was not as bad, but was still insane. Guests stood in a line that was about an hour long just to enter the new land while both attractions hovered around the 2-3 hour mark. There was even an hour + line for the gift shops in Pandora! Let’s think about that for a second, if you wanted to go buy a shirt in Pandora you’d be waiting at least two hours for the privilege of giving Disney your money!

Avatar Mountains

Now, I get why these wait times are so high. Disney vacations are expensive. Sometimes they’re a one-time experience. So if you happen to be at a Disney Park when something major opens up for the first time you’re gonna try and experience it right? I completely understand that thought process, but where do you call it quits? Would you wait 7 hours, almost a full work day, in line instead of enjoying your vacation elsewhere?

I’m lucky that I visit the Disney Parks a couple times a year so I know if I don’t get to something it can wait for the next trip. I handled my first trip to Disney World is completely different than how I handle trips now. I didn’t know when I’d make it back to the parks so I wanted to take advantage of being there. If that meant waiting an hour and a half for Peter Pan then so be it! Now I usually won’t get in a queue if it’s over thirty minutes. I enjoy just being in the parks so I don’t mind doing less attractions throughout the day.

I’m not saying you should avoid long lines. If there is a certain attraction you feel that you must do then by all means, do it! Time at the parks is a very valuable commodity and shouldn’t be wasted. In my opinion the wait times seen this weekend will be nothing compared to what we have in store when Star Wars Land opens!

Don’t forget that if everyone is waiting in line for one attraction then the other attractions in that park will most likely have shorter lines. I’m hoping to visit Pandora in the Fall, but if it isn’t any quieter it may be a short visit!


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