Picture of the Tree of Life and a ram carving at Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom FastPass Guide

Disney’s Animal Kingdom FastPass system uses tiers to control access to the various attractions in the park.  It functions in much the same way the FastPass tiers we wrote about in our Epcot FastPass guide.  With the introduction of Pandora – The World of Avatar, this makes your choice for that tier 1 FastPass reservation more of a challenge and simpler all at once.  We’ll discuss that more in a bit.  If you’re new to FastPass, you can check out our page dedicated to why and how to use the FastPass system.

Like Epcot, Animal Kingdom FastPass eligible rides are actually relatively few with only 13 attractions eligible.  Since there are fewer rides to choose FastPass options for, this means that the park guests for any given day have to fight for those fewer available slots.  There are several attractions where hour long waits are not unusual for much of the day.  Failing to plan your Animal Kingdom FastPass reservations could slow down your day considerably.

Animal Kingdom FastPass Kiosk Locations

If for some reason, you choose not to use the My Disney Experience app, you’re going to need to know where the FastPass kiosks are in the park.  In Animal Kingdom, there are three locations.  They are located near the following attractions or shops.

  1. Near the entrance to Kali River Rapids in Asia
  2. In front of Island Mercantile on Discovery Island
  3. Near the front of Dawa Bar in Africa. It’s just after you cross the bridge from Discovery Island into Africa

The numbers in the list correspond to the numbers on the map above.

If you’re not sure on the My Disney Experience app, then read our top apps for Disney post.  Hopefully it convinces you as to why you must use this app!

Animal Kingdom FastPass Eligible Attractions and Tiers

How the Animal Kingdom FastPass Tiers Work

As we said earlier, there are two Animal Kingdom FastPass tiers.  Tier 1 attractions are those that are generally in higher demand, while tier 2 attractions are busy, but not to the same level as those in tier 1.  There are some tier 2 attractions that really aren’t all that busy.

Remember, you are allowed to book three FastPass reservations in advance of your trip.  For those parks with a tiered FastPass system, you are allowed to use one of those reservations on a tier 1 attraction, with the other two left over for tier 2 attractions.  The only way you can get a second FastPass reservation for these tier 1 attractions is by using all three of your initial reservations the day you are in the park, and then seeing if you can get another reservation that day.  There is no way to book it in advance.

Animal Kingdom FastPass Tiers

Okay, now that you know how the tiers of the FastPass reservation system works, lets look at the Animal Kingdom FastPass tiers themselves.

Below are Animal Kingdom’s two FastPass Tier 1 attractions.  You read that right, only two of them:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey

And below here are Animal Kingdom’s FastPass Tier 2 Attractions:

  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Finding Nemo – The Musical
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
  • Primeval Whirl
  • Rivers of Light
  • UP! A Great Bird Adventure

Attractions at Animal Kingdom Frequently Requiring a FastPass Reservation

With the tiered FastPass system at Animal Kingdom, you’ll have to make some hard choices on your initial 3 reservations.  There are certainly attractions that require a FastPass reservation if you want to avoid a long line.

If you want to do any research yourself, open up the My Disney Experience app on your phone.  Right there you can see what wait times for attractions look like.  Do it for a few days, and you’ll be able to get the sense of what wait times look like throughout the day.  Of course, by reading this post, we’ll help you figure out where to prioritize your FastPass reservations.  If you’re a type A person and need really precise information, check out touringplans.com for some of their free or paid content.  Although we don’t think you need to pay anything.  Stick to what we have here and you’ll be okay.

FastPass Reservation is Essential

As you look around in the My Disney Experience app, you will quickly realize which rides have considerable wait times.  This is what we think you will see in terms of attractions where having a FastPass reservation will be essential.

Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey – With the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar in 2017 the park gained these two attractions.  And when that happened Animal Kingdom became a must-see park and these were (and still are) must-see rides.  It isn’t uncommon to see wait times well over two hours at these attractions during the day.

Wait times are over an hour or two almost immediately after the park opens, and certainly within the first hour of opening.  These two attractions are tier 1, so if you plan on doing both, we’d say get your advance FastPass for Avatar Flight of Passage, as it has the more ridiculous waits.  It’s also nearly impossible to get a 4th FastPass for Flight of Passage the day you are in the park.

We can’t stress enough that you need a FastPass for Flight of Passage.  If you don’t get one, you will likely have a 2+ hour wait on your hands.  If you can’t get a FastPass, you MUST go to this ride right away when the park opens.  You should be at park entrance 45 minutes to an hour before the park opens to minimize wait times.  Show up right when the park opens and you’ll likely be waiting 2+ hours.

You can beat a path right to Na’vi River Journey as soon as the park opens and get a shorter wait time and then use your Flight of Passage FastPass reservation shortly after.  If you don’t want to do that, try to get a 4th FastPass reservation for Na’vi River Journey as quickly as possible.  You likely won’t be able to do this though.

Kilimanjaro Safaris – Kilimanjaro Safaris is a very popular ride that can build substantial lines as the day progresses.  It’s also an attraction that will shut down due to weather.  This is one of the more popular rides in Animal Kingdom because 1) it has no height requirement and 2) kids and adults love to see some of the most majestic creatures to grace this earth just wondering around you.  You won’t run into some of the crazy wait times like the two Pandora based rides have, but it can get to over an hour during busier times.  It is certainly a worthy choice for using an Animal Kingdom FastPass reservation.

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – Up until the point of Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage opening, this would have been on the must FastPass list.  However, in comparison to those two attractions, the wait times here look somewhat tame.  The waits can still crest over and hour or two in the busiest of times for the park.  It is well worth using a FastPass reservation here.

One thing you should contemplate is that this is one of the attractions in the park that offers a single rider line.  If you’re okay with riding alone or with a person you may not know, the single rider line can drastically reduce your wait times.  This will then save you a FastPass reservation that you can use on a different attraction.  Before booking this FastPass, you should make sure the riders in our group meet the ride height requirement of 44 inches.

FastPass Reservation is Advisable, but not Essential

DINOSAUR – DINOSAUR is a ride that can build some sizable waits, but not usually to the extent that the above rides can.  Part of the reason that the waits for this ride are lower is that it is in the dark and can be scary to younger kids.  The ride does also have a height requirement of 40 inches.  These two factors can chase away parents of younger kids.  If you don’t get a FastPass here, you’re likely to see wait times in the 45 to hour range.  On the busiest park days, you may see an hour and a half wait time.

Kali River Rapids – If you’re looking to cool down in the summer at Animal Kingdom, a FastPass here may be in the cards for you.  As an Animal Kingdom FastPass tier 2 attraction, you should be able to get an advance FastPass or maybe even a 4th FastPass here.  Waits for this ride can escalate to around an hour to hour and a half, depending on time of day.  You should be thoughtful about what time you get it for.  Get a FastPass for 9:00 AM and you could start your day off soaking wet, which may not be all that pleasant.  Saving this FastPass for the heat of the day may make more sense.

FastPass Reservation is Optional

We consider FastPass reservations as optional for these next three attractions.  If you can’t grab a 4th or 5th FastPass reservation on one of the above attractions, then we’d still take a FastPass for the attractions below.  You may be able to be opportunistic and take advantage of a short standby line for these however.

  • Primeval Whirl
  • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
  • Rivers of Light

FastPass Reservation is Not Needed

Lastly, we have the attractions where you generally don’t need a FastPass reservation.  Can they spike a wait here and there?  Sure.  But by in large, they don’t accumulate hour plus long waits.  All four of these attractions are show with lots of seating space available.

  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Finding Nemo – The Musical
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • UP! A Great Bird Adventure

Picking the FastPass That’s Right for You

Now these are our Animal Kingdom FastPass recommendations in a vacuum.  We don’t know what your trip goals are and what your vacation travel party is like.  That’s where you come in.

If you are planning on riding everything, this is certainly sound advice.  However, if thrill rides aren’t your thing, you probably don’t need to burn one of your Animal Kingdom FastPass reservations on Expedition Everest or DINOSAUR since I assume you are going to skip them.  If you have little ones focused on seeing characters, you may be wise to get a 4th or 5th FastPass for the character meet and greet.  Only you will know for sure.

General Tips for FastPass at Animal Kingdom

If you want to minimize your time trekking across Animal Kingdom, there are some tips on how to book your FastPass reservations that we think you should try.  The main point largely has to do with how you handle the two rides in AVATAR – The World of Pandora.  This assumes you want to ride both of those attractions.

If you can pull it off, get an advance FastPass reservation for Flight of Passage for 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM or 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM.  This will allow you to ride Na’vi River Journey immediately upon park opening.  You’ll need to rope drop that ride.  Plan on being at the park entrance about an hour before it opens.

If you can’t get this type of timing, you’ll likely be backtracking to Pandora to ride the rides at different times of the day.  It’s not the end of the world, but it will save you some extra steps and time hiking across the park.

Beyond Pandora, things can be pretty low key here for a Disney World park.  Make sure you use a FastPass reservation for Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris if those attractions interest you.  They will generally have the longest waits of the Animal Kingdom FastPass tier 2 rides.

Once you get through your first three FastPass reservations for Animal Kingdom, then try and get opportunistic 4th and 5th FastPass reservations that work with your plan.

Given the outdoor nature of this park, you should be aware of the season you are traveling to Disney World in and the implications it can have on the FastPass reservations and timing that you pick.  If it’s a cooler time of year, you probably won’t need a FastPass reservation for Kali River Rapids.

You may also want to avoid certain outdoor rides in the heat of the summer if you have people who will need breaks.  Not so much because one attraction is outdoors, but because many of them are.  You’ll want to intersperse some of the indoor shows like Festival of the Lion King or It’s Tough to Be a Bug!  This will help you avoid the sun during the hot summer months.

FastPass Guides for the Other Parks

If you found our Animal Kingdom FastPass guide helpful, you may be interested in our FastPass guides for the other Disney World parks.  You can find them in the links below:

Magic Kingdom FastPass Guide

Epcot FastPass Guide

Hollywood Studios FastPass Guide

Wrapping Up

Hopefully you found our Animal Kingdom FastPass guide useful.  If you did, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d share it on your social media accounts!  Just hit one of the buttons over on the left of the screen to share.  We greatly appreciate it!  It spreads the word on our blog and allows us to help other people.