Disney’s Animal Kingdom FastPass+ Strategy, Tiers & Tips for 2021
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the FastPass system at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been suspended. We will be the first to let you know when it resumes.
Animal Kingdom is the largest of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World, but it is possible to complete it in half a day with a sound FastPass+ (FastPass Plus or FP+) strategy. While taking your time at each trail may extend it to a full-day excursion, you can finish the most popular attractions, including Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, in a short timeframe in the morning and early afternoon with a few tips.
This post will discuss Disney’s Animal Kingdom FastPass ride tiers, timing, strategy, rope drops, and other helpful guidelines. For our full FastPass+ series, see our guide on Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
How Do I Book FastPasses at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park?
We recommend using the My Disney Experience App or Disney’s website to book your Animal Kingdom FastPasses in advance. If you are staying at an eligible Disney hotel, you can book 60 days (starting at 7 a.m. EST) in advance. If you are not staying at an eligible hotel, you can book 30 days in advance. You also have the option to book FastPasses using one of the three kiosks located within the park.
- Near Mandala Gifts (Across from Yak & Yeti)
- At Island Mercantile on Discovery Island
- Near Dawa Bar (Across from Tamu Tamu Refreshments)
If possible, use your phone or Disney’s website to book all FastPass+ reservations in advance. While the kiosks can help in a pinch, the Disney My Experience App is the best tool to use beforehand and inside the park to modify and cancel FastPasses.
How Does Disney’s Animal Kingdom FastPass+ Tier System Work?
You can book a total of three FastPasses in advance at Animal Kingdom (the same amount as the three other Walt Disney World parks). Attractions are organized into two tiers — Tier 1 and Tier 2. You can either book one Tier 1 attraction and two Tier 2 attractions or three Tier 2 attractions. The choice is up to you, but we recommend targeting at least one Tier 1 attraction first when booking.
The Vacationer Tip
Use your phone to add and modify FastPasses throughout the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is much quicker than using the kiosks.
Animal Kingdom Tier 1 FastPass Rides and Attractions
As of May 2020, the following two rides and attractions are Tier 1
|Avatar Flight of Passage||Pandora|
|Na’vi River Journey||Pandora|
Best Animal Kingdom Tier 1 FastPass Picks
1. Avatar Flight of Passage
2. Na’vi River Journey
While Na’vi River Journey sees long lines, Avatar Flight of Passage is the obvious choice here for your Tier 1 FastPass. Wait times longer than two hours are standard, and they may be as long as three hours. Both of these rides are located in Pandora, which sees huge crowds throughout the day.
Animal Kingdom Tier 2 FastPass Rides and Attractions
As of May 2020, the following 12 rides and attractions are Tier 2
|The Animation Experience||Rafiki’s Planet Watch|
|Expedition Everest (single rider line available)||Asia|
|Festival of the Lion King||Africa|
|Finding Nemo – The Musical||DinoLand U.S.A.|
|It’s Tough to Be a Bug!||Discovery Island|
|Kali River Rapids||Asia|
|Meet Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost||Discovery Island|
|Primeval Whirl (seasonal only)||DinoLand U.S.A.|
|Rivers of Light (nighttime show)||Asia|
|UP! A Great Bird Adventure||Asia|
Best Animal Kingdom Tier 2 FastPass Picks
1. Expedition Everest (if you do not use the single rider line)
2. Kilimanjaro Safaris
4. Kali River Rapids
5. Everything Else
Ideally, you would use the single rider line for Expedition Everest, but make it your first Tier 2 FastPass priority if that is not possible. After Expedition Everest, we highly recommend getting a FastPass for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Wait times for Kilimanjaro Safaris can get very long, and the waiting area is pretty boring. Additionally, the ride itself is generally longer than 20 minutes, so you do not want to spend half of your day waiting in a long line for Kilimanjaro Safaris followed by 20 minutes riding it.
After Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris, we recommend DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids in that order. It may be tempting to get Rivers of Light as one of your initial three FastPasses, but we discourage doing that. You can arrive 40 to 60 minutes before the show to get a decent seat. If after using your first three FastPasses and Rivers of Light is available as a fourth one, it may make sense to grab it then. You can also book a Rivers of Light Dining Package for premium seating.
The Vacationer’s Ideal Animal Kingdom FastPass+ and Rope Drop Strategy
This strategy assumes you are booking three FastPasses in advance as well as arriving at rope drop. It also assumes you are taking advantage of every single rider line available.
Rope Drop Attraction – Na’vi River Journey
Single Rider Line – Expedition Everest
FP Tier 1 – Avatar Flight of Passage
FP Tier 2 – Kilimanjaro Safaris
FP Tier 2 – DINOSAUR
This strategy will almost guarantee minimal waiting for the majority of Animal Kingdom attractions.
The Vacationer Tip
Make getting an Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass one of your top priorities during your Walt Disney World trip planning phase. While it is worth the potential three-hour wait, a FastPass can get you on the ride in 15 minutes or less.
How to Almost Guarantee Getting an Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass
Since opening in 2017 in Pandora, Avatar Flight of Passage has regularly seen lines of three hours or longer. While the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios has taken some of the attention away from Flight of Passage and Animal Kingdom in general, lines remain extremely long. To make matters worse, it is one of the hardest FastPasses in all of Disney World to get.
For a good chance of getting a FastPass, you are going to have to stay at an eligible Disney World hotel so you can book 60 days in advance. To almost guarantee you get a FastPass, you are going to have to book more than 60 days in advance.
You can do this by visiting the Animal Kingdom towards the end of your trip. The 60-day window for guests staying at eligible Disney World hotels allows you to book every FastPass for the duration of your trip. Let’s use August 1 as your first night in a Disney hotel. You can begin booking FastPasses on June 2. If you decide to go to Animal Kingdom on August 5, you will essentially be booking 64 days in advance. You should still be up at 7 a.m. EST to book your FastPasses, but the odds are there will be available slots for Avatar Flight of Passage.
Use The Single Rider Line for Expedition Everest to Maximize Your Strategy
Depending on your party, using the single rider line for Expedition Everest may make a lot of sense. It is generally significantly shorter than the normal standby line, but your party is most likely to be separated on the ride. This line may not be an option if you have young kids, but you should consider it if you do not.
If you do decide to use the single rider line, your FastPass strategy becomes much more clear. You will have the choice between two of the three rides for your Tier 2 options — Kilimanjaro Safaris, DINOSAUR and Kali River Rapids.
Check Height Requirements Before Finalizing Your FastPass Plan
Before booking any FastPasses at Animal Kingdom, you should be aware of the height requirements if children are in your party. This list is subject to change, but here is the current list as of April 2020.
Rides/Attractions With a Height Requirement
- Avatar Flight of Passage – At least 44 inches / 112 centimeters
- DINOSAUR – At least 40 inches – 102 centimeters
- Expedition Everest – At least 44 inches – 113 centimeters
- Kali River Rapids – At least 38 inches – 97 centimeters
- Primeval Whirl – At least 48 inches – 122 centimeters
Rides/Attractions With No Height Requirement
- Affection Section
- The Boneyard
- Conservation Station
- Discovery Island Trails
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
- Na’vi River Journey
- Tree of Life
- TriceraTop Spin
- Wildlife Express Train
Suggested FastPass Times
We recommend scheduling your initial three FastPasses between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This strategy allows you to rope drop popular rides like Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey first thing in the morning when waits are not as long. By the time crowds start to pick up around 10 a.m., you will be able to avoid lines with your FastPasses.
Using your three FastPasses by 2 p.m. also gives you the opportunity to grab a fourth one. While it is unlikely there will be available FastPasses for Avatar Flight of Passage or Na’vi River Journey in the late afternoon, you may be able to get one for a high-end Tier 2 attraction.
The Best Time to Book a FastPass for Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris is unique in the fact the time of day will greatly influence your ride experience. We have found many of the animals will sleep or not be as active during the afternoon on hotter days. Conversely, sometimes those same animals will be in view in and around the water.
Overall, we think the best time to book a FastPass for Kilimanjaro Safaris is in the morning (before 10:30 or 11 a.m.) or the early evening (after around 3:30 or 4 p.m.). Temperatures will be cooler, and we have found more animals to be active during those times.
Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey
You can book 60 days in advance if you are staying at an eligible Disney resort. Otherwise, you can book 30 days in advance.
You can book three in advance. After using the initial three, you can schedule more once at a time.
Expedition Everest is the only ride offering a single rider line.
FastPasses are free to use at all Walt Disney World Parks.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
A good FastPass strategy will provide you enough time to see all of the shows and walk the various trails within Animal Kingdom. Discovery Island Trails, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, and Maharajah Jungle Trek are a few of the many trails allowing you to see wildlife such as tigers, gorillas, Komodo dragons, and more. If possible, schedule Avatar Flight of Passage as your Tier 1 FastPass, rope drop Na’vi River Journey, and use the single rider line for Expedition Everest.
Featured Image by Jeremy Thompson via Flickr
Get The Vacationer Newsletter
Get highlights of the most important news delivered to your email inbox