Animal Kingdom is part attractions and show, part zoo, and all Disney magic. Read on for Animal Kingdom FastPass recommendations and itinerary for you family to plan an awesome day at the Walt Disney World park.
About Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is the fourth theme park at the Walt Disney World resort. It opened in 1998 and has continued to grow and evolve ever since. Animal Kingdom is unique because it blends real animals within a theme park setting.
When visiting Animal Kingdom you feel as if you are at a zoo and a theme park. It is wonderfully done in a way that only Walt Disney World can accomplish.
What is a FastPass
FastPass is a free virtual que that is available to all guests with a theme park ticket. It is a reservation system that allows you to reserve your time for shows or attractions.
To learn more about the step by step ways to plan your FastPass I suggest reading Disney World FastPass Tiers + 7 Tips to Get You Started.
How Walt Disney World Has Changed
Ten years ago a visit to the Walt Disney World theme parks were different. You could show up and decide what to do as you go. It was more spontaneous. Today you need to have a plan. It will save you time, money, and cause less stress throughout the day if you know what you are doing and have plans in place.
You will save time because you won’t wait in long lines all day. You will have time to enjoy more attractions.
You will save money because you want your dollar to be worth it when visiting Walt Disney World and with a plan in place you will maximize your day.
You will have less stress. I know when I am out with my family at a theme park, especially when it is hot, I like to have a plan. Even if we are flexible and plans change it is nice to know where we are going and what to do next.
Trust me making decisions when it is hot, crowded, and people are hungry is not easy! Having a FastPass reservation allows us to have less of these moments are more fun.
Things to Know for Making Animal Kingdom FastPass Reservations
Animal Kingdom is one of the largest Walt Disney World theme parks and is part animal experiences and part attractions and shows.
You do not need a FastPass to experience the animal exhibits and they are really worth your time. The areas are themed perfectly and it is stunning to explore.
Animal Kingdom FastPass are tiered. This means you can pick one from Group A and two from Group B. More on the tiers below.
Before you book your FastPass you must purchase tickets and link them to your My Disney Experience account.
Create a list of the attractions you want to experience before you are ready to make your FastPass reservations. Keep in mind the ages and height of all the people visiting the park.
Everyone must have a FastPass. This includes young children or adults that may not want to ride. They need a FastPass reservation to wait in line with you.
You can book 3 FastPass attractions per day in advance. After you use all 3 FastPass you can book a 4th, use it, book a 5th, use it, etc.
On-site guests can make FastPass reservations 60 days in advance beginning at 7:00 AM Eastern. This starts on the day you check in to your resort. If you arrive on a Saturday but do not go to a park until Sunday you can start making reservations Saturday. Read this post about why staying on-site at Walt Disney World is a good choice.
Off-site guests can make FastPass reservations 30 days in advance. This is from the day you will arrive at the park and means you will have to make a reservation everyday you are visiting a park 30 days in advance.
FastPass are connected to your MagicBands.
FastPass are hourly. You can’t reserve two in the same time period. So for example you can reserve a 9:00am-10:00am window and a 10:00am-11:00am window, but not a 9:00am-10:00am and a 9:30am-10:30am.
You may arrive at a ride that you have a FastPass for and find a short wait. If the wait is 20 minutes or under, ride in the regular line and change your Fastpass while you wait. You can do this on the My Disney Experience app.
Read this article for more Disney World FastPass Tips.
Animal Kingdom FastPass Tiers
Choose 1 from Group A:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
Choose 2 from Group B:
- Kali River Rapids
- Finding Nemo – The Musical
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
- Festival of the Lion King
- Primeval Whirl
- Rivers of Light
- Expedition Everest
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Animal Kingdom FastPass Recommendations
The Pandora attractions at the best FastPass reservations to secure. They are the best attractions in the park and the lines can get very long.
I suggest trying to book Avatar: Flight of Passage then Na’vi River Journey. The only exception to this is if you are not interested in riding Flight of Passage. Then book Na’vi River Journey.
Flight of Passage is an amazing simulator ride. The height requirement is 44 inches but it can be a bit intense. My kids all really enjoy it. My youngest was 6 when he rode it.
To determine if your kids are going to like a ride you can watch it on YouTube and see what you think. You also know your child best and what they can handle. Consider using rider-switch for children that may not want to ride.
I never recommend making FastPass reservations for attractions you are not interested in, even when they are the most recommended. It is your vacation and you should plan your day based on what your family is interested in.
The best FastPass reservation after Pandora attractions is Kilimanjaro Safari. It is great for all ages and is a safari ride touring the real animals that live at Animal Kingdom. We always try to ride this early in the morning.
Expedition Everest is an intense roller coaster that is your next best choice-if you have kids that are interested in riding. If not I would suggest meeting characters or The Lion King or Nemo Show.
Dinosaur can be a bit intense as well but it is a well done ride. Some preschool children love it and others are terrified of it. I have watched it on YouTube and because it is in the dark it is tough to get a grasp for what to expect. Basically it is a dark ride with animatronic dinosaurs. Some friendly and some not so friendly.
One of our favorite things to do is participate in the Wilderness Explorer Scavenger Hunt. This is a free activity offered to guests in the park. Read How to Become a Wilderness Explorer to learn more.
I love Finding Nemo: the Musical so much. It is one of my favorite shows in all of Walt Disney World. The only con is that it is about 45 minutes long. I think it is well worth making the time for it. Make plans to see an afternoon show and take a break.
Always consider show times, park opening time, ride refurbishments, dining reservations, and FastPass times when planning your day at the park.
Animal Kingdom Itinerary for Families
This is an example of an Animal Kingdom itinerary for families with school age children. I added a few tips at the bottom of the list for preschool age kids.
The night before your Animal Kingdom day pack your bag, lay our clothes, and decide on a time to leave for the park.
7:30am-7:45am: Take the bus or drive to Animal Kingdom. Arriving early is a huge advantage.
8:00-8:30am: Arrive at Animal Kingdom. Go through bag check/security. We always eat breakfast and have our coffee as we are waiting in line to enter the park.
9:00: Park Opens!! Be ready to walk. Animal Kingdom is huge and you will do a bit of walking to start your day. Start walking directly to Pandora: The World of Avatar. If you are skipping the attractions head to Kilimanjaro Safari. You can explore Pandora later in the day.
- Na’vi River Journey
- Flight of Passage (FP 9:00-10:00am)
- Kilimanjaro Safari (FP 10:00-11:00am)
- Gorilla Falls Explorations Trail (Animal Exhibit)
- Maharajah Trek (Animal Exhibit)
- Expedition Everest ( FP 11:30-12:30pm)
- Lunch- Flame Tree BBQ or Satu’li Canteen in Pandora
- Primeval Whirl
- Triceratops Spin
- Tough to Be a Bug
This is a packed schedule so I want to explain a few things.
I don’t have any characters on this list but you can meet some really fun ones like Flik from Bugs Life, Russel and Dug from Up, and Donald and friends at the Dino-Bash. These are all really fun and you should fit them into your day whenever possible.
If you are skipping some of the more intense attractions take your time exploring the park, play in The Boneyard playground, or become a Wilderness Explorer.
I suggest starting your Wilderness Explorer guide at the beginning of your day and stopping at the stations through the park as you go through your day.
Animal Kingdom is an incredible park that offers so much for the entire family. The best part is every visit is different because it is always changing and there is so much to see. Having a plan and making FastPass reservations will help you and your family have an amazing day at Animal Kingdom.
More Walt Disney World Planning Tips:
- Disney FastPass Tiers + 7 Tips to Get You Started
- Everything You Need to Know for Your First Visit to Walt Disney World
- Why You Should Plan a Non-Park day during your Disney Vacation and What to do
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