Tree of Life at Sunset at Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • On Jun 19, 2024
    Genesis from WI Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    How can we see Pandora lit up and the Tree of Life awakenings if the park closes before sunset?

    Hiya, Genesis!

    I'm so glad you stopped by planDisney to discuss my favorite Walt Disney World Resort theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom! Between the self-guided walking trails throughout the park, the epic roller coaster, Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, in Asia, Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa, the iconic floating mountains of Valley of Mo'ara in Pandora - The World of Avatar, and the fearsomely adorable Chipmunk-O-Saursuses in DinoLand U.S.A., there are so many reasons to dedicate an entire day of your magical vacation to the wildest part of The Most Magical Place on Earth. 

    I first saw Pandora in all of its bioluminescent glory while logging pre-sunrise miles during a runDisney race weekend, and I will never forget the jaw-dropping moment. Because Animal Kingdom closes earlier than other theme parks so that the wildlife can retire for the evening, it can take a bit of planning to see Pandora's glowing flora and fauna during the summer months, and even then, there's no guarantee that it will be possible. I did some research for your dates, and it appears that the sun will set around 7:30 PM while last year during this time Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park closed for the day at 7 PM. Of course, this timing is not guaranteed for 2024, so you'll want to keep an eye on the Hours & Events Calendar as your vacation approaches. But, we can use this information to work out some tentative ideas for you.

    My husband and I scheduled the last available dinner reservation at Yak & Yeti Restaurant during our March vacation and were able to walk through a post-sunset Pandora on the way out. While it's not a guarantee that you'll be allowed to take this detour after park closure, it's definitely worth a shot. Another option would be to make Avatar Flight of Passage your last standby attraction of the day. Depending on the length of your wait, the sun just might have set as you exit. Please keep in mind that if you are able to see the lights of Pandora, it will be after the theme park has closed for the day, so you will be unable to linger. 

    Because the projections on the Tree of Life require it to be dark out, Tree of Life Awakenings often does not happen during the summer months when the park closes before sunset. I suggest keeping an eye on the Hours and Events Calendar and Disney Parks Blog as your vacation approaches to see if it is scheduled to return during your vacation. Regardless of whether or not you're able to see the projections, I hope you'll dedicate some time to walk the trails of Discovery Island and see how many animals you can spot carved into its trunk!

    While I was unable to guarantee that you'll be able to see Disney's Animal Kingdom after dark, I hope you are encouraged that the theme park is worth a visit during all times of day. If you have any additional questions or are in need of more recommendations on how to spend a day in my favorite theme park, feel free to stop back by. I'm always happy to help!

    Hakuna Matata,

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Meet the Panelist: Lizzie, Georgia

Hi y'all! I'm Lizzie, a happily married teacher, coach, and proud dog mom of three from Georgia. While I loved the magic of Disney as a child, it wasn't until my twenties that pixie dust became a defining characteristic of my personality (and my wardrobe). I can't wait to answer your Walt Disney World Resort vacation questions so that you can embrace your inner 'hakuna matata' as you stroll through The Most Magical Place on Earth with your favorite Mickey-shaped snack in hand.  Learn More About Lizzie

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