Pandora/AK strategy for 2nd class citizens!

I’m planning to visit AK on 25th and 30th August. I’m not staying on a Disney property so I can only book FP 30 days ahead.

It looks like I’m doomed for FP for FOP and NRJ.

So that begs some questions …

(1) Ignoring the rides, how much (in terms of time) is there to see in Pandora? How crowded does that general area get? Is there a good time to sight-see it?

(2) Does anyone have a detailed RD strategy? In other words, what time should I be parking my car? How much waiting outside the park will there be? How hot and humid is it at that time in the morning? Do they let you in the park early before the attractions open?

It may be too early to be asking these questions. But I’ve already seen mention that my first date has no FP availability and I can’t even try for FP for another 27 days.

On the “plus” side I guess I can use my FPs on other attractions, which may not be so busy.

I’m probably willing to queue for FOP for two hours as I hear the queue is interesting and interactive and indoors and air-conditioned. Maybe only an hour for NRJ, which is maybe only one of those things.

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I am anxious to hear about this too. I am staying at a Disney Resort and will be taking advantage of EMH at AK. We want to do NRJ but not FoP. So the FP+ is not such a concern, but I am trying to figure out how much time to allot to Pandora in my touring plan.

I know of the two rides and the mercantile shop at the FoP exit, plus the canteen and bar. Aside from those things, I have heard the scenery is amazing, but I wonder how long it would take to peruse it all? I’ve also heard it is a must see at both day and night.

I am also curious about parking/RD procedure. Though I am staying onsite, I will have my own transportation. I don’t intend to count on Disney transportation for much, but I did read somewhere that you should use Disney transportation for MK and AK. It stated that the parking lot for AK often doesn’t open in time to get you parked and into the park by rope drop. Has anyone else heard this?


I looked at this and while we don’t go until October I thought I would test FP+ 30 days out from today and NRJ FP+ is still available for the afternoon 27th July. FOP looks more difficult I looked yesterday about 30mins after park opening and the wait was 80mins estimate (about 100mins posted.) So my plan as a “2nd class citizens!” is to be there at rope drop and go in the line if I don’t get a FP+. We’ve not been there since it opened last time however at rope drop you are walked up to the hub beyond the bridge. We waited by Island Mercantile (number 17 on the map) before marching up to Kilimanjaro, I guess we will try to do the same this year just moving to the left rather than going to KS, unless given a clue here it’s different now.

You have to watch for strollers on the ankles for some reason it was quite bad when we did it last year.



I’m interested in this too. Might be doing a day trip to AK and will only have 30 day FPP.

I was at Animal Kingdom last week (6/22). We were staying at a Disney resort, so we had FP+ for NRJ, and our park hours might be different from what you’ll have, but here’s what we did:

I intentionally chose to get the FP+ for NRJ instead of FoP for two reasons:

  • I’d heard the line for FoP was really interesting to stand in.
  • Even if it ultimately ends up being the same amount of time, my family is vastly happier waiting in line for something that turns out to be exceptionally cool and different.

That ended up working out perfectly for us. NRJ was lovely, but my family was blown away by FoP and the line for FoP was great. There’s a part at the beginning that winds up a hill that gave a nice view of Pandora so it felt more like we were exploring the area instead of standing in line.

So we did FoP at rope drop. On our day, the park opened at 8 (regular opening time, not EMH). Our bus dropped us at the park at about 7:30, and we went through the bag check/ticket stiles and found the end of the line for FoP. We got in that line probably around 7:45. Someone was standing with a sign that said where the end of the line was. I think we were on the actual ride itself by 8:45. And for a lot of the time, like I mentioned above, it felt like we were moving and exploring, so it was really good.

My FP+ window for NRJ was 8:10-9:10–which I was really nervous about because I’d booked it before I had a sense of how long the wait was going to be. But we did make our window! After that, we wandered slowly out of the area to look at other cool stuff–probably for about 10 minutes. We weren’t interested in snacking or shopping at that point, so we didn’t do any of that.

We also came back at night, after Rivers of Light and a couple other things–it was probably about 10:00 PM.We wandered in the area for about 10 minutes and then got some desserts and beverages. Then we decided to ride FoP again. I think it had a 75 minute wait time posted and again, we waited only about 60 minutes. In this case, because we didn’t start from so far away as we did at rope drop, there was a lot more standing in the line, but it was still about the same amount of time.

Hopefully that gives an idea of what it might be like. Though who knows how similar it will be in August. Oh, and in general I didn’t find the Pandora area to be overly crowded at the two times I was there.


That’s super helpful – thanks!

Some friends of mine waited SB for FoP two days ago, 90 minutes, they had FP for NRJ.

I have just been on MDE to check and I go August and have checked dates from 15th August to 27th August and there are still plenty of fast passes available for Navi River but afraid can’t see much for FOP but I’m sure at your 30 days you will still get at least one option to FP so you may only have to wait in line for one attraction

I also think they hold back a few slots for the 30dayers so try at 7am the day your window opens. You may get luck trying 1 rider at a time as opposed to a whole party too. Josh over at has done a few RD AK days.

I was there 6/20. 8AM park opening.

I arrived 7:15 and people were already in, walking all the way to Pandora and getting on rides. That might change, would keep and eye on the app and forum for updates on if that does start to change. Either way, I’d plan on getting to the park and hour before RD and definitely avoid any EMH since you won’t have entry.

If you are set on riding both, I would suggest riding NRJ first as long as long as you are there early and it is a walk on. The ride takes very little time, as opposed to FOP which is easily a 15-20 minute experience from pre-show to getting off the ride and out of the gift shop.

When I went I rode NRJ (no FP) first and then rode FOP (no FP) second. I waited for FOP for about 25 minutes. I did have a FP so went back and rode a second time.

Now, the only thing I would change from what I did would be to put FOP first if they do start holding people back at RD like they do in all the other parks. If that is the case and you are there an hour early, you’ll be able to see where the crowd is headed. If they are all headed to Pandora (probably wil be), I would go ahead and ride FOP first and then be just fine if I don’t ride NRJ. To be honest, if you are planning to see Pandora at night then you aren’t missing much by not riding NRJ.

As for the land - it is not very big. I was there early and it was not terribly crowded. Probably spent about an hour and a half there (including rides and breakfast at Satu’li). Came back for lunch at Satu’li (remember mobile ordering) and it was significantly more crowded but still manageable. Night time was crowded, but again manageable. CL was a 7 on our day.

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This new blog post might be helpful!

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You should get NRJ no problem, my parents are there now and had their pick of times at 30 days. Nothing for FoP though.

We got a fastpass for river journey less than 10 days before we travelled but it’s time was wrong for us so we ended up not using it

I mistakenly thought it was an outdoor ride so wanted to do it at night to see the bioluminescence (sorry if that’s spelt wrong)

I don’t think seeing pandoras world at night is necessary if your schedule doesn’t allow

If anything you will get better photos during the day

The car park for ak looked scarily full at 7.40am when we arrived for EMH last Monday. And the queues just to get in the park itself were full

(the hotel guests have to queue with non hotel guests to gain entry and they are big queues) it’s only once inside the park they filter another queue for hotel guests to then get to Pandora world one hour later

And then at Pandora world they have queues to get in the queues for each ride as well

FOP is definitely the one most head to first

If timings are a problem I would leave River journey out. It’s good but not great

FOP is incredible. As soon as you finish the ride I guarantee you will want to do it again

So you may want to plan accordingly

Not sure how to edit

At rope drop on emh day it’s everyone in together Hotel and non hotel

Then hotel guests filtered to the left to have room keys checked to be allowed into pandoras world an hour early at 8am

Because of the huge queues even from hotel guests alone we arrived at 7.40am on Monday and didn’t get on FOP til 9.15am

If I did EMH again there I would get there closer to 7am

On a non EMH day as a normal guest with 9am opening I would aim to be at the park for 8am latest

Having seen that ropedrop blog above and based on my EMH experience I wouldn’t do rope drop full stop for pandora

You just end up queuing in different places before the FOP queues

May as well just queue for 100 mins to 140 mins in the FOP queue later in the day without stress at th start of the day

The good news is rides like everest and the kilimajaro safari are easier to get on now

Ps the safari was way better than I remember it from 6 years ago

This time it was one of the highlights of our trip

Oh I agree! My family will be avoiding Pandora in the morning. We want to do Everest over and over.

Watch out for dinosaur we wasted lots of minutes in a non moving queue there and were told it had technical difficulties all day

Be wary of joining any queue there that doesn’t look to be moving well

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That blog was super interesting to me - I went back in June so had a very different experience.

I would still suggest RD though - even though you have to arrive very early and spend time waiting to get in, you are not spending park hours waiting. With a RD start, you can be in and out of pandora within the first 45 minutes and then still head to the rest of the park while others queue up for FOP.

Totally agree with NRJ as a possible skip. Unless you are super into seeing the animatronic shaman, the ride is basically just bioluminescent scenery, which you can see at night in Pandora.

I am pretty sure that is a myth, I forget where I read that - but my sister is going in mid-aug staying off site and was logged on as soon as it opened up - with nothing for FOP at all.
I couldn’t get one at 60 days for my last week in Aug trip - but I kept looking and ended up finding one a couple of weeks ago. Just lucky to be checking when someone must have canceled one,

The shaman was very good but not as great as I expected

If we could do FOP twice or FOP once and navi river once then it would be FOP twice every time for us

But I guess we needed to see navi river to know that

Give it a few months and navi river will be a 30 min queue ride max

Whereas FOP is going to be big queues for a long long time

It’s given AK a huge boost

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