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News Disney's Animal Kingdom July 2020 reopening reports

djkidkaz

Well-Known Member
I’m really surprised at some of the negative reviews the parks experience is getting. I had the chance to visit Animal Kingdom and to be honest all I could think was “Wow, this is a very nice experience.” There was no wait for anything! Parking, temp check, security, ticket scan or ANY of the rides! I rode FoP, Navi, Dinosaur, Everest, Triceratops Spin, Kali and the Safari all with no wait. And by no wait, I mean you walked through the entire queue and we’re on the ride within a minute. Pathways were clear of Guests, no strollers or ECV’s bumping into you, plenty of places to sit and relax. We ate at Satuli Canteen but Flame Tree and Restaurantasaurus were also open, which covers the main food locales in the park. Even the fact that cast were wearing masks didn’t bother me like I thought it would to “take me out of the magic” because it’s becoming the norm in everyday life. Remember how weird it felt to walk into target or Walmart for the first time months ago with your mask on? And how un-awkward it feels now because we’re just used to it. It was something that didn’t really register to me. I was just enjoying the park again and so happy to not have to wait in huge lines that it was a small sacrifice to make for the greater good of my day.

So was there anything I didn’t like or felt would ruin a trip to the parks? Well, I’m personally not a “show person” so the fact that Nemo and Lion King were not open from what I could tell might be a deal breaker to some, but I would normally not visit these shows anyways so it didn’t effect my day one bit. Also, my group found the characters on boats in the waterway was nice and more than enough to satisfy our character quota for the day and it was nice to just see them doing something other than a parade or taking photos, but I could see someone with little kids looking for those autographs and photos being disappointed. Again, characters are not something that I go to the parks for so this change doesn’t effect my overall experience.

To conclude my experience, we did so many of the rides and visited plenty of shops to get our Disney merchandise fix and ate exactly where we wanted to and couldn’t have asked for a better day or experience at the park. This is truly going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for folks to come to the parks and actually take it easy. No need to rush anywhere to meet a certain FP time, no waiting 25 minutes in line to order food and no crowds. I think anyone who doesn’t take advantage of this moment is truly going to miss a different, but amazing Disney park experience that they will never get the chance to experience again once the crowds show back up. If you have a trip planned in the coming months and your nervous or worried about the Disney magic, don’t be, I think you will be more than pleasantly surprised at how great your trip will be.
 

disneygeek90

Premium Member
Maybe I'm missing it, but is there any way to tip the CMs through the mobile ordering? I know it's QS and all, but still feel like there should be a way to thank them for keeping the magic going.
Tipping isn’t allowed at QS from what I understand. Even certain drink stands that aren’t considered bars won’t accept tips even pre-covid.
 

Mainahman

Well-Known Member
Tipping isn’t allowed at QS from what I understand. Even certain drink stands that aren’t considered bars won’t accept tips even pre-covid.
Darn... I wanted to be able to do something other than a note or something that the cast member may or may not get to see or hear. It means so much to us to have them back doing what they love, and we love. I wanted to be able to show them that and thank them.
 

Kman101

Well-Known Member
I’m really surprised at some of the negative reviews the parks experience is getting. I had the chance to visit Animal Kingdom and to be honest all I could think was “Wow, this is a very nice experience.” There was no wait for anything! Parking, temp check, security, ticket scan or ANY of the rides! I rode FoP, Navi, Dinosaur, Everest, Triceratops Spin, Kali and the Safari all with no wait. And by no wait, I mean you walked through the entire queue and we’re on the ride within a minute. Pathways were clear of Guests, no strollers or ECV’s bumping into you, plenty of places to sit and relax. We ate at Satuli Canteen but Flame Tree and Restaurantasaurus were also open, which covers the main food locales in the park. Even the fact that cast were wearing masks didn’t bother me like I thought it would to “take me out of the magic” because it’s becoming the norm in everyday life. Remember how weird it felt to walk into target or Walmart for the first time months ago with your mask on? And how un-awkward it feels now because we’re just used to it. It was something that didn’t really register to me. I was just enjoying the park again and so happy to not have to wait in huge lines that it was a small sacrifice to make for the greater good of my day.

So was there anything I didn’t like or felt would ruin a trip to the parks? Well, I’m personally not a “show person” so the fact that Nemo and Lion King were not open from what I could tell might be a deal breaker to some, but I would normally not visit these shows anyways so it didn’t effect my day one bit. Also, my group found the characters on boats in the waterway was nice and more than enough to satisfy our character quota for the day and it was nice to just see them doing something other than a parade or taking photos, but I could see someone with little kids looking for those autographs and photos being disappointed. Again, characters are not something that I go to the parks for so this change doesn’t effect my overall experience.

To conclude my experience, we did so many of the rides and visited plenty of shops to get our Disney merchandise fix and ate exactly where we wanted to and couldn’t have asked for a better day or experience at the park. This is truly going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for folks to come to the parks and actually take it easy. No need to rush anywhere to meet a certain FP time, no waiting 25 minutes in line to order food and no crowds. I think anyone who doesn’t take advantage of this moment is truly going to miss a different, but amazing Disney park experience that they will never get the chance to experience again once the crowds show back up. If you have a trip planned in the coming months and your nervous or worried about the Disney magic, don’t be, I think you will be more than pleasantly surprised at how great your trip will be.

Wonderful review. Glad you had a great time! I can't wait to be at AK tomorrow.

I do feel like out of towners who aren't 'Disney fanatics' should probably still wait though. Now isn't the time to hop on a plane IMO, but I agree if you're local-ish or drive down, it's probably going to be 'worth it' on some level.

Certain things like fireworks, shows, aren't deal breakers to me. I prefer the character cavalcades, actually to meet and greets. I will miss not having Festival of the Lion King. I did see that show EVERY time I went to AK. But for someone who lives close enough it's not a big deal.

It's still going to be a different experience though for many and any first timers should probably wait.
 

Mainahman

Well-Known Member
Wonderful review. Glad you had a great time! I can't wait to be at AK tomorrow.

I do feel like out of towners who aren't 'Disney fanatics' should probably still wait though. Now isn't the time to hop on a plane IMO, but I agree if you're local-ish or drive down, it's probably going to be 'worth it' on some level.

Certain things like fireworks, shows, aren't deal breakers to me. I prefer the character cavalcades, actually to meet and greets. I will miss not having Festival of the Lion King. I did see that show EVERY time I went to AK. But for someone who lives close enough it's not a big deal.

It's still going to be a different experience though for many and any first timers should probably wait.
FOTLK is litterally the only show we ever do. It will sting, but hey more time to power ride Everest!
 

Kman101

Well-Known Member
FOTLK is litterally the only show we ever do. It will sting, but hey more time to power ride Everest!

lol exactly! I was sooooo bummed when FOL was listed as initially opening but then it wasn't due to the Equity dispute. Sigh. Oh well. Will be even sweeter when it finally opens again though. It's the one stage show that's always a 'must do' for me. It's different than Beauty or Nemo, which aren't overly repeatable to me.
 

Mainahman

Well-Known Member
lol exactly! I was sooooo bummed when FOL was listed as initially opening but then it wasn't due to the Equity dispute. Sigh. Oh well. Will be even sweeter when it finally opens again though. It's the one stage show that's always a 'must do' for me.
Same. Things can change between now and August 14th when were actually at AK.
 

Rider

Well-Known Member
Thoughts from today's AK preview:

1. Parking and security. I waited about 5 mins in traffic to park at 8am and it wasn't a big deal. I do wonder if they will run out of spaces if they plan to scale up the number of reservations allowed. At the end of the day it looked like they had filled the "north" lots and at least one of the "south" lots with just the limited AP guests. I usually walk in from the AK lot so no tram wasn't a huge deal for me but I wonder why they don't think they can modify the trams to work?

Security was super quick. Just 2 guests in front of me for temperature scan and then after that I just walked through the new scanners without stopping. MUCH better than the bag check lines. Total time: about 3 minutes.

2. Masks. Guests overall did a very good job wearing masks. I never saw anyone walking around without a mask (like I have seen at Disney Springs) and I never saw any cast member need to "remind" anyone. Even guests with drinks usually pulled their masks down to take a sip and then put it back up. Break areas existed but I only ever saw a few people there. The park was empty enough that if you wanted a break you could just step off to the side somewhere and there would be no one within 100 feet of you.

As for personal comfort, I tried two different types today. First a cotton Disney mask which worked pretty well but got a little wet from my sweat/breath/humidity. Breathing was as fine as it could be. After lunch I switched to a disposable paper mask and honestly I really couldn't tell the difference. Mayyyybe the paper was a little easier to wear. It didn't trap moisture as much as the cotton. If you can get both try them out at home first and be sure to bring spares in case you need to switch them out.

3. Crowds. Clearly the number of APs they let in was very limited. Even the cast members were commenting on it throughout the day and wondering if Saturday would be similar or busier. Disney was clearly being very cautious today and with hardly any lines for anything the changes they've made (spread out queues, limited attractions and stores, etc) didn't have much impact on my day. It would be VERY premature to make any predictions on how the full reopening will go over the coming days and weeks just from these previews.

I kind of liked the emptiness. It was a unique experience that probably wont happen again. Quite a few times I was the only person on a walkway or in an area and it felt like I had the place to myself. For the record: 3x FOP, 2x NRJ, 3x KS, 1x EE, 3x Dino

4. Entertainment. The character boats were OK but I only ever saw one up close. They zip by fast which I guess is the point but they just kind of... existed? The bird show was fine. All the bird behavior classics you remember from Flights of Wonder and UP.

5. Food. I ate at Satu'li Canteen using the mobile ordering and it went smoothly. Each station inside is now a numbered pickup window and your phone will tell you which window as your order. Beverages were no longer self serve but you can still get refills. Food was as great as ever. There were swarms of cast members doing full cleanings of tables after guests left.

6. Attraction changes. The queues mostly worked fine but often there would be an odd stretch with no standing area (usually because it came close to other standing zones) and that would really confuse guests. Even trying their best to follow the rules often guests ended up standing in a "no standing" area because the spots in front and behind were taken when they mistakenly moved forward. A few areas had plexiglass in the queues but not everywhere... it was in a small part of the Navi River queue and the last stretch of Safaris and Flight of Passage.

River Journey had 1 party per boat so I got to ride by myself. I also rode Dinosaur alone but they had barriers between the 1st and 2nd rows and were loading rows 1 and 3 if there were enough people in line (which there was not). They also had the pre-show running on the loop and markings on the floor to turn the room into more queue. Flight of Passage put at least one riding seat between parties and the safety video is played in both pre-show rooms (at the same time) so parties can spread out. The safari trucks were loading all rows with plastic barriers between them. They were difficult to see through so your only clear views were out the sides which worked but wasn't ideal. Everest was loading every other row.

For the animals there wasn't really any sort of "stand here" stickers for the viewing spots. The only place that had this was the gorillas. There were 4 "party dots" in front of the glass and guests needed to line up if they wanted to see the family.

7. Safety. It is hard to judge how "safe" everything was because there were so few guests there. It felt perfectly safe when you are the only one walking through the Flight of Pass queue! How well everything works long term and with more guests will be something we need to see.

Disney took cleaning seriously. I already mentioned the table cleaning but the rides also were cleaned... every 20 minutes or so. For some reason they seemed to do this all at once at several rides (Navi and Dinosaur) which caused everything to stop. It probably would be better for operations if they could find a way to just be constantly cleaning one ride vehicle while others are still loaded. The first time I rode Safaris there was a cleaning crew of 3 CMs at the exit who went to work as soon as we exited. The next two times there was no one. I'm not sure what changed there?

For your personal health make sure you stay hydrated. I spent more on bottled drinks today then I have in the past couple years in total. Water fountains were available but I didn't want to try using one.

8. Wrap up. Overall it was a good day for me. I got to ride a lot of rides without waiting and saw a lot of animals (baby Flamingos!). For the most part it felt like a very slow day at the park. It would have been amazing except for the sense of dread about the virus surrounding everything. I look forward to see how Disney manages increased crowd levels and how they respond if the virus situation continues to get worse.
 

Mainahman

Well-Known Member
I agree.

And with everything, there's almost always 'more to the story'.
Yep. Will be interesting to see what the caving point is. I mall for safety, however at some point those equity performers will not get any union paid furlough, and at some point the federal money will stop...
 

TrainChasers

Well-Known Member
Maybe I'm missing it, but is there any way to tip the CMs through the mobile ordering? I know it's QS and all, but still feel like there should be a way to thank them for keeping the magic going.

QS CM’s cannot accept tips.

The first major show that Disney seems to want to get up and running is FotLK.

I think festival is the easiest to adapt with non-equity. I’m guessing that is what guests heard rehearsing. You can’t really run nemo or beauty and the beast without equity but Festival you can. In theory they could use the African acrobats in place of the tumble monkeys and such. Could be interesting to see that show when it reopens.

Yep. Will be interesting to see what the caving point is. I mall for safety, however at some point those equity performers will not get any union paid furlough, and at some point the federal money will stop...

“If you want to eat you better dance for me you equity performer you!”
 

FullSailDan

Well-Known Member
Darn... I wanted to be able to do something other than a note or something that the cast member may or may not get to see or hear. It means so much to us to have them back doing what they love, and we love. I wanted to be able to show them that and thank them.

They really aren't supposed to accept tips as they don't want to encourage the practice, but they CAN accept thank you notes! ;)

Bring some envelopes and a pen. You must write the cast members name on the envelope. Cast are allowed to accept personal notes, but they are advised to open them off property as they should be turning in any tips contained within them (usually goes to a joint department fund where they do something for the whole team like pizza etc.) and the mouse is always watching!
 

Mainahman

Well-Known Member
They really aren't supposed to accept tips as they don't want to encourage the practice, but they CAN accept thank you notes! ;)

Bring some envelopes and a pen. You must write the cast members name on the envelope. Cast are allowed to accept personal notes, but they are advised to open them off property as they should be turning in any tips contained within them (usually goes to a joint department fund where they do something for the whole team like pizza etc.) and the mouse is always watching!
That is super cool either way. I know these cast members are hurting, as much as the parks are. We are ecstatic were getting to go, and wanted to do something for them. We have 3 sit down meals while were there. Sanaa, Sci fi, and Yak and Yeti, and will definitely tip heavy there, but its all the others that we interact with, that i couldn't think of an idea.
 

scpergj

Well-Known Member
We just left Animal Kingdom after day two of passholder previews. Since it was raining all morning, we didn’t get there until 8:30, and the park as very empty. The longest wait was early at Flight of Passage, but everything else was pretty much walk on. After our first ride on Kali we were asked if we wanted to ride again (of course!), and there still wasn‘t a line after the second ride. Safari was the best I have ever seen...but cm’s said that what we saw wasn’t unusual in the rain (I mean...female lion jumping on the rocks and roaring, giraffes walking right up to the truck, none of the animals hiding). It was a very good visit.

Now.....would I visit if I was not a passholder? No. Masks were horribly hot (switched between different ones including paper which was most comfortable) in Florida heat with high humidity, and you will definitely need more than one for a full day. Interacting with cast was strange, but every cast member we spoke with was incredibly friendly, and all appeared to be very happy to be back.
 

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