How do you make a half day park into a full day? Magic Kingdom has fireworks, parades, and Wishes that make guests want to stay until the park closes. Epcot has struggled with only Illuminations as an evening entertainment. People have things they must partake in then some lesser things to do if they have time. Without the night being packed with entertainment there is no need to stay and see the less popular things.
Animal Kingdom is going to become a full day park this Spring. They have added Harambe Market and expanded Harambe Village. Tiffins is a sit down restaurant going in behind Pizzafari. Tamu Tamu now does desserts and snacks. Zuri’s Sweets, Thirsty River Bar and Good Eats opened up between Africa and Asia but unfortunately are not allergen friendly. The special diets cart was moved while the old location became Smiling Crocodile. There was the addition of Isle of Java at the entrance to Dinoland. Starbucks took over a shop in Discovery Island. Riverside Outpost is a huge shop that has greatly improved the guest’s shopping experience. All these changes in shopping and dining are giving guests a reason to stay in the park a little bit longer.
Pizzafari uses handcrafted dough instead of their frozen pizzas. Flame Tree reopened with an allergy friendly menu and a delicious light watermelon and feta salad. Menus are adding chickpea salad, samosas, falafel, hummus, watermelon and feta salad, lobster mac and cheese, and smoky cheddar grits. It is nice to eat something besides a burger and fries. Flame Tree received a porch covering and more seating.
What a park needs is that big evening event to keep there all day. Animal Kingdom is adding Rivers of Light show and night time safaris. Guests will do Expedition Everest and all the good attractions then hang around the rest of the day on the trails, at the Conservation Station, and in the Boneyard. They will stay for Flights of Wonder. I cannot wait for the new changes coming.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has lost all hope of being a full day park. I can spend a whole day in the park but I am a rare bird. One must understand how the changes affect the park. There are four areas if one assumes total lockdown and no access to Streets of America.
1. Star Tours, Muppets, Momma Melrose, Indiana Stunt Show, Frozen Sing Along, and Echo Lake. Backlot Express is the only quick service site.
2. The hub with the Great Movie Ride. Behind the Great Movie Ride is the path to Pixar Avenue, Toy Story Mania, and One Man’s Dream. To the right is Little Mermaid, Playhouse Junior, and the Launch Bay. In this area is a dance stage.
3. Sunset Boulevard at the end is Fantasmic, Tower of Terror, Club Disney which closes except for special days, Beauty and the Beast show, and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. This is another good place for quick service dining.
4. There is a path from the hub to Star Tours that helps bypass Echo Lake Traffic. This has the ABC Commissary for quick service.
It is best to get Sunset Boulevard done last as you have 5 things to do and 4 are not to be missed. Toy Story Mania can be a side trip from Star Tours to Sunset Boulevard. While the Great Movie Ride can go from an hour wait down to ten minutes late at night. Part of planning for this half day park is the location of attractions and food. The hub, number 2, has the most things that can be seen with little waiting. Star Tours is the only FP worthy thing in that area. Frozen usually lets in all guests into that show or the next show.
There will be a new meet and greet next to the bathrooms and the Frozen Sing Along. Club Disney should have been made into a meet and greet area outside but is closing indefinitely except for peak times or events. Sadly I believe and know that there is no hope of DHS becoming a full day park unless one spends all that time in every attracion, street performance, and show. Fireworks can be seen from Epcot and almost all of the Studios. It is best to grab a cold drink and snacks while resting far from the hub. The music is important to fireworks but from Epcot they were still breathtaking. I prefer the repercussions and music but these are the best fireworks in WDW.