Was in the process of planning a late June trip already when they announced Pandora opening... now torn about which day during our trip to visit AK... expecting it to be extra crowded now. Going on current crowd calendar for week of June 24 - 30 (which I expect will change) would you go on a CL 6 with 8am EMH or a CL 7 or 8 day with no EMH? We are staying off-site so would not be able to do EMH. A side note: My family only likes to rope drop MK & HS (for rides) so thinking I may not be able to convince them to do it every day of our trip!
Hi. I'm a local annual weekday passholder and we go to AK a lot! AK seems crowded anytime the crowd is larger than a Touring Plans level 3 because of the way the passageways between lands is designed, so bring your patience. I've been there when the crowd level is a 9 too.
For some crazy reason the park always feels hot to me in the middle of the day. Could it be the amount of asphalt?
The week after New Year's we went on what was supposed to be a level 4 day and it turned out to be a 9! My DIL gets panicky in crowds and she ended up having a panic attack.
We ended up leaving in the middle of the day and went off sight to get lunch and then spent from 4 - 7 back at the park. It was the best time we ever had, even though that park had reached almost peak level in the middle of the day. My kids were able to ride Everest three times in a row just walking on and that was on a level 9 day, but you see that's the difference between the middle of the day and evening.
I would expect Pandora/Avatar Land to be crowded all day for probably the next year or so on any given day.
I highly recommended going at rope drop leaving at 11:00 for lunch, a swim, or a nap, and going back at 4:00 no matter what the predicted crowd level was.
Do NOT go on an EMH day if you can't use the EMH. DO get there at RD. With the addition of Pandora's two new rides and ROL, there will be 7 very popular attractions in the park. You'll only be able to get 3 advance FPPs, and staying off-site you'll only be able to make them at 30 days vice 60 days. Just a guess, but I'm thinking your chances of getting them for the 2 Pandora rides will be slim, making RD the only realistic time to do those rides.
No one knows for sure what the addition of Pandora will do to overall crowds at AK, but I don't think it takes a degree in crowd dynamics to predict that there will be a lot more people going to AK, and perhaps more importantly, more people staying longer; seeing Pandora at night and ROL (plus the PM activities already in place) will draw more people to the park later in the day. I expect the "lull" that the park often saw from 4:00-7:00 will go away, and will perhaps become more crowded as the "day" guests are leaving and the "night" guests are arriving.
This is exactly what I was thinking with all the new Pandora stuff... better start prepping my DH for multiple rd's now!
Your points are well taken, and hold validity. While true that Pandora will bring a lot more evening people into the park, however, I would maintain that many of them would be there for the new attractions, so if you are interested, like my family is mainly in Everest, Safari, and Dinosaur, you still might have a good chance of getting those in the evening.
But, I agree if you are going for Pandora, pretty much forget it, except at rope drop, and really, I really hate the selfishness I see in people when they are dashing for their ride at rope drop. A lot of people are getting this idea, and it's getting a little ridiculous.
The only time I have not felt frustrated with my fellow visitors is when I took the Lynx to MK and got there wayyyy before rope drop and got at the very front of the line. We didn't try to get there that early, it's just how the bus schedule worked. We had taken the SunRail to the Lynx. The cast members had to calm down those people at the front of the line and remind them not to run and to be polite.
As for the evenings, using MK as an example, we got in five attractions on a Friday evening after 8:00 this past Friday, including Space, Thunder, and Splash, plus a couple of other less popular rides that we like, plus dinner. We did have FP for Thunder and Space, but only needed one for Space based on the wait times. Thunder was a 15 minute, and Splash was walk on.
We didn't get into the park until 8:15 and we left at closing which was at 10:00. My experience is that near close is like rope drop without being run over by the people in the mad dash race to the attraction you are trying to get on. Oh, and 7DMT had a 35 minute wait which is the same wait we get a rope drop and an excellent wait time. We didn't ride it. We could have ridden it, but our cost versus benefit always goes to Splash.
I am posting this not being able to see the original poster's question, so if this is all irrelevant to the question, I apologize.
I go to WDW just about every week when I am not on blackout, so I hoping I'm painting as relevant and up-date pictures as possible.