Spoiler warning: If you have not ridden Expedition Everest and you would like the elements of the ride to be a surprise the first time you ride, do not keep reading. Stop here, and then come back and read this post later, after you’ve had your first ride on this attraction.
On almost any other attraction, I sit firmly in the camp that says, “The ride is enjoyable in any seat, and you get a slightly different experience in each different place. Take the area you’re directed to anytime a cast member is controlling attraction loading and appreciate it for the good things about that area.” However, Expedition Everest is a little different because of an amazing view you can only see clearly from the front row of the train.
(Note: Expedition Everest is still an amazing ride no matter where you sit, and I would never advocate for a “my experience was ruined because I didn’t get to sit in seat X” mentality. It is, however, worth waiting a little extra for if you have the opportunity to do so, and is worth seeing at least once.)
Most days, the cast members working at the loading deck will run a separate line you can stand in to wait for the first row on Expedition Everest. If you would like to see if you can wait for row 1, you should ask the cast member at the end of the loading dock (the person who is assigning riders to rows) if they are running the line to wait for the front row. If they are, you will be diverted to the right instead of assigned directly to a row, and you’ll wait in the area next to the loading area for the single rider line. When you’re at the front, you’ll be sent down to row 1 as soon as the next group of rows are being filled.
The wait for this is usually not long, especially if it is a lower crowd level time at Animal Kingdom. The primary perk you will receive for waiting comes just as you come to the “broken track” section, just before you start to go backward. You can see part of Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and if the Characters in Flight balloon is flying at Downtown Disney, you can see that too. It’s fun to see how many landmarks you can point out before your train reverses and you lose your view, and if you are riding with your camera out, you can snap a few pics so you can admire the view later, too.