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In this post we discuss how to use Fastpass+ successfully to ride the best rides at Animal Kingdom in 2018. We suggest also reading our full Walt Disney World Fastpass+ strategy to fully understand Fastpass+.
Animal Kingdom Fastpass Tier 1 Attractions
There are two Animal Kingdom Fastpass tiers. Tier 1 has two attractions. Tier 2 has ten attractions. We'll start by discussing the Animal Kingdom Tier 1 attractions. When selecting your three advance reservations for Animal Kingdom, you can only pick one of these attractions. The two Tier 1 attractions at Animal Kingdom are:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na'vi River Journey
Best Ride To Fastpass at Animal Kingdom (Tier 1)
This is a simple call. If you can get a Flight of Passage reservation, you should. Flight of Passage is undoubtedly the best ride to Fastpass at Animal Kingdom. Lines frequently exceed three hours, and the wait at rope drop can be two hours.
If you get the Flight of Passage Fastpass, plan to rope drop Na'vi River Journey, which is comparably easier to grab a short wait for. If you can't get an advance reservation for Flight of Passage, then you'll need to get to the park as early as humanly possible and hop in line (and you'll want to us your Tier 1 Fastpass for Na'vi River Journey).
If you don't grab a Fastpass reservation for Flight of Passage, don't count on being off the ride earlier than two hours after park open. You very well may be off earlier than that, but better to be safe than risk missing a Fastpass reservation.
Finally, in our post on scheduling your park days, we suggest you try and reserve Avatar Flight of Passage for your second-to-last day at the parks. You want to aim for as late as possible (you'll have better availability later in your trip) but you want to leave a buffer in case something goes wrong (like the ride breaking down).
Animal Kingdom Fastpass Tier 2 Attractions
There are ten Animal Kingdom Fastpass Tier 2 attractions. When making your advance reservations, you can reserve two of these (or three if you don't reserve a Tier 1 attraction). The ten attractions are:
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Expedition Everest
- Kali River Rapids
- Primeval Whirl
- Rivers of Light
- It's Tough to Be A Bug
- Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo Musical
- Adventurers Outpost Character Greeting
Best Rides To Fastpass At Animal Kingdom (Tier 2)
Kilimanjaro Safaris is definitely the best ride to Fastpass at Animal Kingdom outside of Pandora. Fastpass reservations go quickly for this one, and lines get quite long.
Worth noting is that between 11AM and about 4PM you'll see less activity on the safari because the animals relax in the heat. This doesn't make or break our scheduling, though.
After that, it's a matter of preference between Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids for the third slot. We think, generally, Expedition Everest is the best ride to Fastpass at Animal Kingdom with your third Fastpass because it is the most popular of the three and will be the hardest Fastpass to get on the same day (though none of these are particularly hard. But we have a few caveats.
Expedition Everest has a single rider line, and we've found that in the morning while everyone is in line for Pandora rides, we can get Everest in multiple times.
Geographically, it makes sense to go from Pandora to Kali River Rapids to Everest or from Pandora to DINOSAUR to Everest. If you do this, you'll hit all the major rides except one pretty quickly. Here are two options for what a morning with a rope drop at Pandora could look like:
With this approach, you'd use your third Animal Kingdom Fastpass+ slot for whichever of River Rapids or DINOSAUR you skip.
Also, remember that even though crowd calendars might tell you Animal Kingdom is busier on some days, these crowds tend to concentrate on Pandora. This means even on busier days you'll find a lot of reasonable waits outside Pandora,
Rope Drop At Animal Kingdom
We've covered some of this in passing already, but let's quickly cover what you need to know about rope drop at Animal Kingdom.
Rope Drop at Animal Kingdom is pretty straightforward: head to Pandora. Typically, gates will open 15 minutes to 45 minutes ahead of scheduled park opening. At rope drop, you can enter Pandora only from Discovery Island, and that's where the queue for Flight of Passage will be directed.
If you don't have a Fastpass+ for either Pandora ride, arrive early (45 minutes to an hour before scheduled opening) and head straight to Flight of Passage. Then hop on Na'vi River Journey. If you have a Fastpass+ for Flight of Passage, you can arrive 15 minutes before open or even right at open to ride Na'vi River Journey. If you have a Fastpass+ for Na'vi River Journey, I'd probably still advise getting there at least 30 minutes before open for Flight of Passage.
After Pandora, go for DINOSAUR, Everest, and Kali River Rapids (you should have Fastpass+ later for at least one of these though). Then head to Kilimanjaro Safaris.
We don't like heading to Kilimanjaro Safaris too early because it is a long ride (so the other waits will have time to increase). You can walk on the other three rides and then wait 20 to 30 minutes for Kilimanjaro Safaris. That's preferable to walking on Kilimanjaro Safaris and then waiting 15 to 30 minutes (or more) for the other three rides.
Animal Kingdom Fastpass After Your First Three Reservations
- At Island Mercantile (shops on the left hand facing the Tree of Life from the front)
- Outside Kali River Rapids
- Outside Dawa Bar (near the "front" of Africa if entering from Discovery Island)
We suggest checking the Walt Disney World website to confirm kiosk locations in case they change before we update this post.
If you manage to put your Animal Kingdom Fastpass Tier 1 ride first, you'll be in a good position to tinker your second two reservations to earlier times. Alternatively, you can consider cancelling those if you find availability on either of the Tier 1 rides. DINOSAUR, Everest, and Kali River Rapids typically have moderate Fastpass availability throughout the day. We'd also consider pairing DINOSAUR with a wait in line for Primeval Whirl, if you're interested in that ride.
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way. If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
Don't forget to master your Disney World Fastpass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides!
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.