Universal’s Volcano Bay installed a manually-updated billboard posting wait times on their second day of operation, while guests experienced up to four-hour waits at Pandora – The World of Avatar’s grand opening Saturday.

Theme park grand openings are always jam packed and both Universal and Disney got the jumps in attendance they expected.

People started lining up outside Animal Kingdom at 1 a.m. to be the first to enter the gates on Pandora’s opening day. By 8 a.m., there was an estimated six-hour wait to step foot into Disney’s newest attraction.

And social media exploded with complaints that the Disney’s FastPass and Universal’s TapuTapu were not up to meeting the crowds.

WDAlex complained on Twitter that he waited two hours to get into Pandora, four hours to ride Avatar Flight of Passage and three hours for the Na’vi River Journey.

Universal marketed a virtual line system that would allow guests to avoid standing in line for its 18 rides. But visitors found that removing lines isn’t the same as eliminating waits, as some of the park’s most popular rides backed up for four-hour waits.

Michael Oliver tweeted, “laugh out loud, Volcano Bay has lines for the action river. That’s such a fail.”

Many Volcano Bay visitors didn’t understand that they could wait in only one virtual queue at a time, meaning that people who tapped into their first-choice ride using the TapuTapu wristband were locked out of going on anything else before that time expired.

But some wonder what did those who packed the parks expect. Universal and Disney have spent months marketing their new attractions and many die-hard fans will weather the crowds and opening day glitches just to say they were there.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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