When it comes to making Animal Kingdom FastPass+ selections, there are a number of different factors to consider. In this FastPass+ Strategy Guide, we’ll be taking a look at all of the FastPass+ options, weighing the benefits for selecting each attraction, and then giving you our own strategy for which FastPass+ selections to make.
If you are brand new to FastPass+ Reservations, please check out our FastPass+ 101 Guide – Everything you need to know about FastPass+.
Animal Kingdom is a Tiered park, which means there are two tiers of attractions for making FastPass+ Reservations. Guests can select one FastPass+ from the Tier 1 attractions and two FastPass+ from the Tier 2 attractions.
Tier 1 Attractions
In Animal Kingdom, there are currently only two attractions listed as Tier 1 attractions. This is due to the extremely high popularity of Pandora, the world of Avatar and its two signature attractions.
Flight of Passage
44” Height Requirement
Currently the most highly sought after FastPass+ reservation in Walt Disney World. It’s a fairly fast-moving 3D and motion simulated flight over Pandora on the back of an Ikran (also known as a Banshee).
Na’vi River Journey
The consolation prize for any guest hoping for Flight of Passage or the first pick of guests with younger children. It’s a beautiful slow-moving boat journey through Pandora’s bioluminescent rainforest, seeing all sorts of exotic plants and creatures. Capped off by meeting the most incredible animatronic Disney has created to date – the Na’vi Shaman of Songs
Our Tier 1 FastPass+ Strategy
This one is pretty easy. If your group is taller than 44” and not prone to motion sickness, Flight of Passage is an absolute must FastPass+. Standby wait times can frequently skyrocket to almost 3 hours during the peak season and the busiest times during the day. If you can avoid that standby line, by all means, do so.
Flight of Passage FastPass+ availability is usually the first to go in the parks, so be sure to make your reservations as soon as your booking window opens (60 days for Disney Resort Guests and 30 Days for off-property guests). If you don’t find any availability, keep checking back all the way up to your park day as there’s always a chance someone may cancel their reservation.
If you have children under 44”, then Na’vi River Journey is an excellent choice. While the standby line isn’t as busy as Flight of Passage, it can still get up there in terms of wait times, so bypassing that line can cut a huge wait out of your day.
Tier 2 Attractions
40” Height Requirement
A fast-moving and bumpy journey aboard a time rover into the cretaceous period to bring back an Iguanodon. This ride has a lot of sudden turns and big jolts as you make your way through the attraction.
44” Height Requirement
A speeding tea train through the legendary mountain and an up-close look at the mythical Yeti. This ride is a roller coaster that includes some backwards motion.
Festival of the Lion King
A musical show featuring characters from the Lion King. Large puppets, live performers and incredible acrobatic feats and lots of song help drive this nearly 30 minute performance. The FastPass+ return time is for a specific show time and gives priority seating close to the action.
Finding Nemo – The Musical
Similar to Festival of the Lion King, this broadway-style show features live performers and larger than life puppets telling an abridged version of Finding Nemo. A number of new musical numbers were written for this colourful and energetic show. The FastPass+ return time is for a specific show time and gives priority seating close to the stage.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug
A combination of a 3D film and live show with animatronics to discover what it’s like to be a bug. Shows run roughly every 15 minutes. Can be dark and scary at times.
Kali River Rapids
38” Height Requirement
A fast whitewater journey aboard a circular raft through an Asian jungle. Be prepared to get wet on this ride, with a possibility of getting soaked.
A guided safari aboard an open-air vehicle through the African Savanna. Live animals roam free within view of the truck with many different species to spot along the way. It can be a bumpy journey as the vehicle makes its way around the savanna.
Meet Favourite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
Meet Mickey and Minnie together in their safari/traveler outfits. Characters are subject to change, but it’s almost always Mickey and Minnie.
48″ Height Requirement
A spinning carnival-style coaster with a Dinosaur theme. The Spinning is make or break for some guests as it can be rough if you’re prone to nausea.
Rivers of Light – We Are One
Animal Kingdom’s nighttime show. This roughly 15-minute performance is filled with beautiful projections, colourful floating lotus flowers, ships and special effects. The show has an incredible musical score behind it.
Up! A Great Bird Adventure
Featuring Russel and Dug from Disney Pixar’s Up, this live performance showcases some incredible species of birds over the course of the 25-minute run time.
Our Tier 2 FastPass+ Strategy
This will depend on whether you are thrill-seekers or are traveling with smaller children. First things first, there are some attractions that definitely don’t require a FastPass+ reservation. Up! A Great Bird Adventure and It’s Tough To Be A Bug, run so frequently, that you’ll always be able to get into one of the showings. Similarly, with Finding Nemo the Musical and Festival of the Lion King, if you don’t desperately need a front row seat, you will almost always be able to find seating if you arrive 15-30 minutes prior to the show time.
Animal Kingdom FastPass+ for Thrill Seekers
Expedition Everest and DINOSAUR are easy picks, but if you had to pick between the two, we would recommend Expedition Everest. The Standby wait time for DINOSAUR can sometimes get a little long, but Everest usually has a lengthier wait. Primeval Whirl can have a longer standby time, but early in the day or late in the evening, you have a good shot at getting through the standby line with a relatively minimal wait.
An Early Safari
If you love animals, we highly recommend getting a FastPass+ reservation for Kilimanjaro Safaris early in the day. Especially in the summer months, the animals (like humans), tend to be a bit more active when it’s cooler in the earlier parts of the day. Once 11am rolls around and the sun is beating down, the animals tend to find some shade and are less active for viewing. Ideal time for this FastPass+ is 9:30 or 10:00am.
A Summer Chill
If you’re visiting in the summer months and expect to want to cool off in a big way, a FastPass+ selection for Kali River Rapids is a must-have, since it tends to have a much longer line, depending on the heat of the day. If you don’t want to take a risk, this attraction could be a good use of your additional FastPass+ selections, once you have used your initial 3.
What About Rivers of Light?
While a Rivers of Light FastPass+ reservation guarantees a viewing spot, the standby viewing is just as good. If you arrive 20-30 minutes before the show, it’s fairly likely you’ll find a decent viewpoint. Plus, Rivers of Light will sometimes play twice a night, so you have two options for times to see it.
If meeting Mickey and Minnie together is a priority, Adventurers Outpost is a good opportunity to see them, but if you catch them at the right time of day, you can see them with a lower wait time as well.
The Bottom Line!
Here’s what we would choose for these three categories:
Thrill Seekers: Pick Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest and DINOSAUR
Families with young children: Pick Na’vi River Journey, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Festival of the Lion King
For Everyone Else: Pick Flight of Passage, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.
If you’d like to check out any of our other FastPass+ Strategy Guides, you can find them here:
Epcot FastPass+ Strategy Guide
Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Strategy Guide
Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Strategy Guide
Or check out everything you need to know about FastPass+ with our FastPass+ 101 Guide.
Ready to make your Animal Kingdom FastPass+ selections? You can start here.
What are your FastPass+ Strategies at Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below!