Disney’s Animal Kingdom began exclusive use of FastPass+ on earlier this month. At that time, we updated of our Disney’s Animal Kingdom touring plans to use only FastPass+. Each plan now lists the suggested Fastpass+ start times for the attractions that will save you the most time in line, like this:
Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:
Kali River Rapids = 10 AM
DINOSAUR = 1 PM
Kilimanjaro Safaris = 4 PM
The updated plans are very efficient – the average wait in line should be under 7 minutes per step during summer for our standard 1-day Unofficial Guide Touring Plan - with more than an hour of free time available in the afternoon.
When we updated the plans, we kept track of how many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. As we did for the Magic Kingdom’s FastPass+ priorities, here’s the Animal Kingdom’s chart:
FastPass+ is offered at more than a dozen Animal Kingdon attractions, only about half of them ever require FastPass+ in our touring plans. Here’s why.
Kali River Rapids is the attraction that most frequently uses FastPass+ in our touring plans. Why? Like Peter Pan’s Flight at the Magic Kingdom, people go elsewhere first thing in the morning, and come around after they’ve seen a couple other attractions. In the Animal Kingdom, adults and teens head to Expedition Everest in Asia first, while parents with children too small for Everest head for the Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa. Using FastPass+ at Kali allows you to do other important attractions early in the morning while lines are short, while still getting a relatively short line at Kali when you get there.
Our second most frequent recommendation for FastPass+ is Africa’s Kilimanjaro Safaris. Most of our touring plans for tweens, teens and adults start off at Expedition Everest and try to get through Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl before the crowds arrive. (It also keeps backtracking to a minimum.) Those plans generally visit the Safaris around either lunchtime or late afternoon, and using FastPass+ here will save you a lot of time in line.
Dinosaur and the Meet Disney Pals at the Adventurer’s Outpost character greeting show up on our Animal Kingdom touring plans for parents with small children. Like Kali River Rapids, these aren’t going to be the first stop in your day, and using FastPass+ at these attractions will generally save more time in line than using FastPass+ at any other child-friendly attraction in our plans.
Why FastPass+ Isn’t Recommended at Expedition Everest
You’ll notice Expedition Everest only appears once in the chart. This is because our free Disney World touring plan software generally puts Everest as the first step in any Animal Kingdom touring plan. Posted wait times at Expedition Everest can average 60 to 80 minutes during summer, and more during holidays. Getting to Everest first thing in the morning allows you to avoid those lines and save a FastPass+ reservation for something else. Also, Expedition Everest has a single-rider line. If you can’t get a FastPass+ reservation for Everest and you don’t mind your family being separated for one ride, using Expedition Everest’s single-rider line is a great choice for avoiding long lines.
Attractions That Never Need FastPass+ In Our Animal Kingdom Touring Plans
These Animal Kingdom attractions never require FastPass+ in our touring plans:
Why? Most of them are shows and parades, and our touring plan software does a good job of getting you to the show at least 15 minutes in advance. When your touring plan gets you to a show 15 minutes in advance, you’ll almost always be able to get in to see that performance. And the worst case in most scenarios is that you’ll only have to wait until the next show. Finally, it’s rare for the wait time at It’s Tough to Be a Bug to be more than 15 minutes, so there’s not a lot of time to be saved there using FastPass+.
The Best Times for FastPass+ Reservations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Now that you know which attractions most need FastPass+, the next question is when you should make your FastPass+ reservations. Here’s a chart showing the times our Animal Kingdom touring plans use FastPass+ to avoid long lines (yellow=morning times, orange=afternoon):
Our touring plan software recommends Kali River Rapids from 10 AM to 11 AM about half the time, with the other half scheduled for mid-afternoon. All of the Safaris visits are scheduled for the afternoon. Don’t be concerned about the animals being unavailable or less active than in the morning. We’ve sent teams out to ride the Kilimanjaro Safaris all throughout the day, while keeping count of how many big animals (like elephants), little animals (like gazelles), and birds they see on each ride. There’s no predictable difference in the types or number of animals you see throughout the day. Not surprisingly, Disney created the animals’ resting spots to be cool, comfortable, and in view of the safari vehicles.
What To Do If You Have Other FastPass+ Attractions or Times
If you can get a FastPass+ reservation for the attractions shown, anywhere near the times listed, the touring plans will work exactly as shown, and your waits in line will be minimized. If you need to choose other FastPass+ attractions or times, our free computer-optimized touring plan software will incorporated those.
Here’s the process I usually follow to create an optimal Animal Kingdom touring plan with low waits in line:
- Select all of the attractions I want to visit during the day, and enter in all of the meals and breaks I want to take. I don’t enter any FastPass+ times at this step, because I first want to see what the Optimizer identifies as the attractions with potentially long waits.
- Click the “Optimize” button and wait for the touring plan to be optimized.
- Find the first attraction with a wait over 30 minutes, and see if a FastPass+ reservation is available for that attraction around that time. If I find one, I enter in the FastPass+ time that’s available, and re-optimize the plan.
- I repeat Step 3 for the two FastPass+ eligible attractions with the highest wait times throughout the day. I re-optimize the plan after each attraction, because saving a bunch of time on one attraction may allow the Optimizer to uncover other ways to save you time throughout the day.
Another great resource for optimizing touring plans is our Lines Chat forum, where lots of folks are happy to offer suggestions.