Everyone is familiar with the splendor of classic Magic Kingdom, but for many beginning their Disney planning experience, Animal Kingdom is a whole new endeavour. Now Animal Kingdom did have the reputation for years of being just a half day park, but with one of the largest expansions to ever take place on Disney property, Pandora – The World of Avatar, Animal Kingdom has now become one of the hottest theme parks that you HAVE to do while on your Disney vacation.
Not only are you going to be able to experience some of the star animals from Africa and Asia, but you will also be immersed into the prehistoric times of tomorrow and then take a short walk over to Pandora, an out of this world experience.
Now with the addition of Pandora, the wait lines and fastpass system have become a little bit more complicated.
First we are going to breakdown how the fastpass system works at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
Back in the olden days of Disney, there was no fancy smartphones and apps to plan your entire Disney vacation, so the fastpass system was pretty basic. You would arrive at the theme and then make a mad dash to your most treasured attraction and grab a paper ticket with a return time to come back later.
Now if you are staying at a Disney resort, you select your first three fastpasses 60 days beforehand or 30 days if you are staying at an off property resort, then once you use your first three you can select one at a time throughout the rest of your theme park day.
You log into your My Disney Experience account either on the app on your cell phone or through your computer on an internet browser. Once you have logged in you then select the day you are booking fastpasses for and the theme park to begin your planning.
Animal Kingdom has a tiered fastpass system meaning that there are two groups of attractions you chose from. One attraction from the first group and two attractions from the second group.
You are never permanently locked into a fastpass selection so if you see something you may be on the fence about but know it is a high demand attraction, snag it! You can always change it later.
Make sure you pay attention to your dining reservations. You can book those up to 180 days out. You don’t want any overlap that would hinder your daily plans.
So now that you have the basics down, you head to your computer 60 days before your check in date at your Walt Disney World Resort and login to your My Disney Experience account. You select your first date and your first park, Animal Kingdom. Next thing you know a slew of attractions pop up and you have no idea where to begin!
Here we are to save your vacation! Next up, we have the top seven attractions you are going to want to snag fast passes for before you arrive at Animal Kingdom. So here we go!
One of the newest Disney World attractions on property! The flagship attraction of the new Pandora expansion, FOP is probably one of the best rides in all of the Theme parks combined. Now keep in mind, with the popularity of this new attraction, not only will the standby line be one of the longest you will encounter during your vacation, but the fast passes go very quickly.
This will be a rare and next to impossible score to snag during your actual day in the theme park so you are going to want to make sure that before you book any other fast pass, you grab this one first! Now this line will easily be 90 minutes all day. The line is a combination of being both inside and outside so while you will be exposed to those hot and maybe rainy Florida elements during your 90 or more minutes in line. Although you will be able to appreciate some air conditioning as well.
Now the one downfall of snagging a fastpass for FOP is going to be that fact that you are going to miss one of the most stunning stand by lines on property. It is absolutely gorgeous and technologically advanced. I would consider it a once in a lifetime experience, but even though you will be missing the stunning line features, you will save so much time booking a fastpass.
Do not hesitate and make this your first priority. Now if you do have little ones in your party keep in mind that there is a height requirement of 44 inches and there are simulated drops, darkness and some scare elements so this might not be the best attraction for the whole party. This also is one of the attractions featured in that first grouping of fastpasses where you can only select one from that group.
Na’vi River Journey:
So maybe FOP was snagged quicker than your internet connection could handle or a majority of your party just isn’t interested then make sure your priority is on Na’vi River Journey. Nestled right next to FOP, is a serene boat right through the heart of Pandora. Now it is dark in here but the colors are absolutely breathtaking and this is a must do for my little ones. Now the line won’t be as long as FOP so if you are trying to decide between the two, make sure you grab that. Otherwise the line can still be upwards of an hour during the high points of the day so you are going to want to make sure you have a fastpass for this attraction.
The standby line for the river journey is not near as exciting as FOP so don’t worry that you will be missing out on much. Plus almost the entire standby line is outside and it can get very hot. So do not hesitate, if FOP is sold out this will be a solid grab for your fastpass from the first tier of attractions. There is no height requirement so the entire family will be able to enjoy. Fastpasses also sell out quickly being another one of the new attractions at Animal Kingdom so make sure this is your first to try to snag.
So you have scored one of your first fastpasses from the first tier, and now it is time to move onto your second tier. The first attraction you need to secure by any means is going to be Kilimanjaro Safari. This is probably the only ride you will never get the same view twice. You are actually riding through the savannah of Africa and each time the animals put on a different show. Now I always recommend trying to ride once in the morning and once in the evening. Different animals are up during different times of the day so you are going to be able to see a whole new experience every time. Try to get a fastpass for the evening or early morning.
These are the two busiest times of the day because the animals are most active. Now the wait time can get to be over an hour throughout the day so make sure you snag this fastpass. And if you do see the wait time go down throughout the day, don’t hesitate to ride it again. You won’t regret it! This is a family attraction the whole party will enjoy so don’t worry about anyone having to sit out! This should definitely always be you first choice for the second tier.
Now if you have any thrill seekers in your family, you are going to want to snag this fastpass for your party. Located in the Asia district at Animal Kingdom, you will see a giant mountain looming as you approach. This is going to be a high velocity roller coaster so if anyone in your party does not enjoy the thrills and high drops of a roller coaster then this will definitely not be the attraction for them. Otherwise, this is a must do. Now the wait line is both inside and outside which can provide some relief from that hot Florida sun but the line can get really long. It usually runs around 35 minutes at low points of the day, but it can get up to an hour or more during the peak times.
Now maybe your entire party will not enjoy this particular attraction, well, have no fear because Expedition Everest has a little hidden secret: the single riders line. Your entire party who does what to ride will go to the single riders line, and wait for maybe 15 to 20 minutes at the most. Every time there is an empty seat on the ride, they will pull a rider from the single rider line and you will then be able to enjoy the attraction. But if your entire party wants to ride, make sure you snag the fastpass! This is going to be worth all the screams down all the hills. Now remember that there is a height requirement of 44 inches so make sure your entire party is tall enough and grab this as fast as you can!
Maybe roller coasters aren’t really your thing but you still want to get some thrills and screams in. Dinosaur will be the best fastpass to select. Now there is still a height requirement for this particular attraction but it is lower than the height requirement for Expedition Everest coming in at only 40 inches. This ride is dark and has loud noises which can be scary and is slightly jerky so make sure you are in good health. Now the wait for Dinosaur can be low throughout the day but during the busiest times of the year it can be an hour.
The standby line is inside which helps with air conditioning but guaranteeing yourself a fastpass will make sure you have time freed up throughout your day to go see some shows or other attractions without having to monitor the wait time all day. You really can never go wrong make this one of your four advance fastpasses.
Kali River Rapids:
If you are coming during the summer don’t even bother trying to snag anything else from the second tier until you grab one for Kali River Rapids. Also nestled in Asia, this is going to be the biggest cool down you will have because you are guaranteed to get wet. Due to the hot nature of Florida’s summers, these go fast and most likely will not be available once you get to the park on your day so make sure this is your first priority when it comes to your second tier of fastpasses.
This long gets long. Well over an hour at the high times during the day and is all outside. You will sweat. Snagging a fastpass is going to save you so much time to see the magnificent tigers also located in Asia. Now there is some large drops and a height requirement of 38 inches so make sure you entire party can ride before you book.
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost:
So maybe you have a gaggle of littles ones with you on your Disney vacation and they aren’t the most interested in some of the best thrill rides on property. Not a problem! Your focus should be on snagging the coveted fastpass for Favorite Disney Pals where your little ones can get a one on one experience with some of their favorite Disney friends!
Now the line is always going to be close to an hour and these do go fast so make sure you get your fingers ready to click for this fast selling fastpass in the second tier grouping. This will allow you to get pictures with some of your favorite pals while saving some time for other must do’s in the park. The best part? There is no height requirement! Make sure your have your autograph books and cameras ready!
- DISNEY WORLD PLANNING TIP: Take advantage of the photopass photographers. Even if you do not purchase the Memory Maker, you can still utilize the photographer to take pictures with your own camera or phone. This is definitely a money saver if you are on a budget.
Now if you do have little ones who cannot ride all of the Disney rides, make sure you use the Rider Swap option. While one member of the party goes in line and rides the attraction, make sure they let the attendant know and they will give them a ticket for the rest of the party. They will wait in line, ride the ride and when they get out, they give you the pass and watch the kids while you are allowed to ride the attractions. This is a perfect solution so the whole party can enjoy the ride in a time efficient manner.
So now you have the seven must have advance fast passes for Animal Kingdom and the basics of how to make the most while on your Disney vacation while using the advance selection process of the new Disney Fastpass system. So make sure you set an alarm on your 60 or 30 days out, have your itinerary ready with your dining reservation and begin the planning for you magical vacation and memories that will last a lifetime!
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