As you probably already know, Disney parks are back up and running. That said, there have been some major changes in order to keep everyone safe during their time in the most magical place on earth. These changes include some social distancing measure you’d expect, but other changes may be a bit less expected. Therefore, if you plan to visit in the near future, it’s important that you take the time to educate yourself, lest you be caught by surprise on arrival day. In this article, we will discuss some of the bigger changes at Animal Kingdom park. This is the perfect article for anyone planning a trip to this Disney park, and should help you arrive fully prepared and ready to have an absolutely magical experience.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: What You Must-Know With The Park’s Reopening
1. Reservation Required
First, it’s incredibly important to know that all of the Disney Theme Parks are requiring guests to make a reservation to enter. Animal Kingdom is no exception. Because space is limited, you will want to figure out when you plan to visit in advance, and grab your reservation as soon as possible. Without this, you will not be having an Animal Kingdom day, so this is perhaps the most important point in our article.
2. Masks Needed
The next thing you’ll want to know is that masks are required for guests 2 and older, without exception. This means that if you don’t already own one, you will need to go out and purchase a mask before your Animal Kingdom day. Actually, we recommend grabbing a few so you can change throughout the day. Wondering if you can get a break from the mask during your park day? Fortunately, the answer is yes. There are comfort stations in various locations where you can remove your mask while sitting and resting.
3. New Entry Procedures
Going through the gate has changed as well. Bag check is quite different, as all bags are now put through a scanner, and only manually checked if something seems unusual. Additionally, all guests will have their temperature checked as they pass through the security area, ensuring nobody with a fever may enter the park.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >
4. Crowds Levels Low
Because so many people don’t want to travel currently, crowd levels are insanely low. In fact, we’ve never seen crowds this low so consistently and for such a long period of time. This is especially apparent in Animal Kingdom, where crowds tend to be absorbed into the vast mess of the park. This change is amazing, of course, because it means you won’t be fighting crowds to get from one place to the next, nor will you be waiting in long lines.
5. Different Hours
Because crowd levels are so low, Disney has made the decision to cut their hours. In Animal Kingdom, this means a closing time of 6pm. This makes perfect sense; after all, why keep a park open late into the evening when so few people are sticking around that long? However, it can be a bit disappointing for those who prefer evenings in the park.
6. No More FastPass
FastPass is typically a wonderful perk of Disney World. It allowed guests to skip some of the long lines by making a return time reservation for some rides. Unfortunately, this system has been put on hold for the time being, meaning everyone will be required to wait in the standby line. The good news? Because of the aforementioned low crowd levels, even the longest stand by lines aren’t very long!
7. Shows Are a No-Go
Shows of all kinds tend to draw a crowd—especially in Disney World, where you can count on the entertainment being top notch. Unfortunately, large crowds are not a great idea at the moment. Because of this, Disney has put a temporary hold on all of their shows. This is especially sad for those visiting Animal Kingdom, as many of our favorite Animal Kingdom attractions are shows. “Finding Nemo the Musical”, “Festival of the Lion King”, “UP! A Great Bird Adventure”, and the many street shows throughout the park have all closed up shop for the time being. The one exception to this is “Animal Encounters: Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight”.
8. “Rivers of Light” is No More
Another Animal Kingdom performance you’ll no longer be able to see is “Rivers of Light”. The difference between his nighttime spectacular and the shows mentioned above is that this one will not be reopening. That’s right—after we all waited with such anticipation for it to open not all that long ago, this show is closed forever.
9. Primeval Whirl Closed
To add insult to injury, it seems we’ve also seen the end of a second Animal Kingdom attraction. It has been confirmed that Primeval Whirl will no longer be operating. Luckily this wasn’t one of our favorites anyway, but it’s always a bit sad to see an attraction go, even if we didn’t love it.
10. The Magic is Still There!
A lot of the points mentioned above may seem downright depressing. That said, we feel it’s important to note that while things have changed, there is still magic in the air in the Animal Kingdom, and an adventure in this park is as fun and exciting now as it’s even been!