Animal Kingdom Touring Plans, Rope Drop, Wait Times, and FastPass+ Priority

The information below is available in an easily printable PDF here. Consider downloading it to your smart device for easy referencing.

General Touring Philosophy: Until Pandora – The World of Avatar opens on May 27, 2017, both rope drop and late arrival touring plans make sense. First, decide if the nighttime entertainment is something your group is interested in and able to experience. If not, an early morning arrival is best when standby waits are reliably short. Use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon, eat lunch, and enjoy the shows. If yes, there are two intelligent options. First, consider a rope drop arrival to take advantage of short standby waits, followed by a lengthy afternoon break during the busiest and hottest part of the day, and then an early evening return to use FastPass+, see the nighttime entertainment, and take advantage of short waits in the last two hours of operation. Those with fewer attractions on their to-do list may want to arrive later in the afternoon, use FastPass+ while mixing in shows and high capacity attractions, enjoy the nighttime entertainment, and visit high priority rides later in the day. Time your arrival based on how much your group would like to accomplish. Those that want to see two or three shows and do every ride will need to arrive earlier than those keyed into a couple headlining rides.

When Pandora opens, most guests will need to plan on spending at least two more hours at Animal Kingdom in order to visit the land and the attractions inside it.

Characters: Mickey & Minnie in Adventurers Outpost and Russell to the left of It’s Tough To Be A Bug are the only priorities and both usually see actual waits under 20 minutes.

Rope Drop: Animal Kingdom usually begins letting guests inside the park 30 minutes prior to open and holds them in front of the Tree of Life until regular park open. Guests are then walked by cast members toward Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa, Expedition Everest in Asia, and DINOSAUR in DinoLand.

FastPass+ Priority:

  1. Rivers of Light (Primarily first show. Last show is easier to see in standby)
  2. Kali River Rapids (when highs are 80+ degrees)
  3. Kilimanjaro Safaris
  4. Expedition Everest
  6. Adventurers Outpost Mickey and Minnie Meet (due to fewer experiences available)
  7. Kali River Rapids (when highs are under 80 degrees)
  8. Primeval Whirl
  9. Finding Nemo the Musical
  10. Festival of the Lion King
  11. It’s Tough To Be A Bug

FastPass+ at Animal Kingdom: If you’re skipping Rivers of Light, using a dining package, or seeing the last show in standby, then it’s relatively easy to tour Animal Kingdom without FP+ if you tour efficiently in the first or last two hours of operation. Doing so will give you an opportunity to use FP+ later in the day at AK or elsewhere. Use FP+ at Kali River Rapids in the afternoon when waits are longest and temperatures highest. Using FastPass+ at Kilimanjaro Safaris or Expedition Everest will save 30 to 100 minutes in line in the afternoon.

4th FastPass+ Availability: Most days, attractions 1-6 above will have limited availability by 2pm, but will become available as others cancel. Attractions 7-11 will have more availability.

FastPass+ Kiosks:

  • Discovery Trading Co. – On the right after crossing the bridge into Discovery Island
  • Island Mercantile – On the left just after crossing the bridge into Discovery Island
  • Kali River Rapids – To the left of the entrance across from the lockers
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – To the left of the entrance

Rivers of Light: The problem with booking FP+ in advance is that the show is late at night and because of that, you’ll be limited to just two FP+ during the day without the ability to book more. The easiest way to see the show is with the dining package, which guarantees a seat in the reserved section and allows booking FP+ elsewhere. Without the package, afternoon/evening arrivers probably want to book FP+ in advance as doing so won’t limit using FP+ elsewhere. Morning arrivers may want to see the last show in standby when applicable or refresh FP+ availability to try to score additional FP+ that someone else canceled closer to show time.

One Day Early Arrival With FastPass+ and Rivers of Light

Use FastPass+ at the following attractions:

  • Adventurers Outpost Mickey/Minnie Meet: 10am – 11am (Meet around 10:30am)
  • Kali River Rapids: 12:30pm – 1:30pm (Ride around 1pm)
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris: 3pm – 4pm (Ride around 3:15pm)

The Plan:

  1. Ride Expedition Everest: 9:05am – 9:20am
  2. Ride Primeval Whirl: 9:30am – 9:45am
  3. Ride DINOSAUR: 9:50am – 10:10am
  4. Ride TriceraTop Spin: 10:15am – 10:30am
  5. Meet Mickey and Minnie at Adventurers Outpost with FastPass+: 10:35am – 10:50a
  6. Have lunch: Flame Tree Barbecue, Yak & Yeti, Pizzafari are closest: 11am – 11:40am
  7. See 12pm Finding Nemo the Musical: 11:50am – 12:40pm
  8. Ride Kali River Rapids with FastPass+: 12:55pm – 1:15pm
  9. Walk Maharajah Jungle Trek: 1:20pm – 1:45pm
  10. See It’s Tough To Be A Bug: 1:50pm – 2:15pm
  11. See 2:30pm Flights of Wonder: 2:30pm – 3pm
  12. Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris with FastPass+: 3:10pm – 3:45pm
  13. Check 4th FastPass+ availability if desired
  14. Walk Gorilla Falls Trail: 3:50pm – 4:15pm
  15. Grab snacks, look around Harambe/Africa, relax: 4:17pm – 4:40pm
  16. See 5pm Festival of the Lion King: 4:45pm – 5:30pm
  17. Return to favorites, see skipped attractions, have dinner.
  18. See Rivers of Light with the dining package, FastPass+, or the last show in standby.

One Day Early Arrival Without FastPass+

  1. Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris: 9am – 9:30am
  2. Ride Kali River Rapids or Meet Mickey at Adventurers Outpost: 9:40am – 10am
  3. Ride Expedition Everest: 10:05am – 10:30am
  4. Ride DINOSAUR: 10:35am – 11:05am
  5. Ride Primeval Whirl: 11:10am – 11:30am
  6. Ride TriceraTop Spin: 11:32am – 11:45am
  7. Have lunch or see the 12pm Finding Nemo. Restaurantosaurus and Flame Tree are close.

Afternoon Planning With or Without FastPass+: Skip attractions that are of little interest and either move up previous attractions or fill in time with characters, atmosphere entertainment, Wilderness Explorers, other attractions, snacks, or whatever else you would like to do.

Late Arrival Planning: Benefitting from FastPass+ and a late close, a late morning, afternoon, or early evening arrival is a perfectly viable way to experience the best of what Animal Kingdom has to offer. Those planning more shows, lengthy attractions, or sit-down meals will want to arrive earlier, while those looking to enjoy just a few attractions and/or the nighttime entertainment may arrive later. Either way, focus on using FastPass+ and visiting the high capacity/low priority attractions until about two hours before close then key in on higher priority rides and/or the latest showing of the nighttime show.

With variable closing times, the plan below goes by hour-after arrival rather than exact time of day. With a 9pm close, the plan starts around 3pm.

One Day Late Arrival – Africa to DinoLand with Rivers of Light

Use FastPass+ at the following attractions:

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – 00:00 – 01:00 – That is, for the first hour you plan to arrive
  • Expedition Everest – 02:30 to 0:3:30
  • Rivers of Light – Arrive at least 30 minutes before show time

The Plan:

  1. Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris w/ FP+: 00:00 – 00:40 (Flip first two steps if timing is better)
  2. See Festival of the Lion King or walk Gorilla Falls Trail: 00:45 – 01:30
  3. Meet Mickey/Minnie at Adventurers Outpost or see Tough To Be A Bug: 01:45 – 02:15
  4. Have dinner/snacks – Flame Tree and Yak & Yeti are closest: 02:20 – 03:10
  5. Ride Expedition Everest with FastPass+: 03:15 – 03:30
  6. See Rivers of Light with FastPass+: 03:35 – 04:30
  7. Ride DINOSAUR or Expedition Everest: 04:40 – 05:00
  8. If the park is open later, visit skipped attractions, return to favorites, or enjoy the entertainment.

One Day Late Arrival – DinoLand to Africa without Rivers of Light

  • Use FP+ at DINOSAUR: 00:00 – 01:00, Everest: 01:00 – 02:00, Safaris: Start at sunset

The Plan:

  1. Ride DINOSAUR with FastPass+: 00:00 – 00:20
  2. Ride TriceraTop Spin: 00:22 – 00:40
  3. Ride Primeval Whirl: 00:42 – 01:05
  4. Ride Expedition Everest with FastPass+: 01:15 – 01:30
  5. Meet Mickey/Minnie at Adventurers Outpost or see Tough To Be A Bug: 01:45 – 02:10
  6. Have dinner/snacks – Flame Tree and Yak & Yeti are closest: 02:20 – 03:10
  7. See Festival of the Lion King or walk Gorilla Falls Trail: 03:20 – 04:00
  8. Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris with FastPass+ around sunset: 04:05 – 04:40
  9. Enjoy the Harambe entertainment, see the Tree of Life Awakening, or return to favorites.

One Day Early Arrival – Break – Evening Return

  • Use FastPass+ at: DINOSAUR: 10:30am – 11:30am; Kali River Rapids or Adventurers Outpost Mickey/Minnie Meet: 12pm – 1pm; Rivers of Light first show

The Plan:

  1. Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris: 9am – 9:30am
  2. Ride Expedition Everest: 9:40am – 9:55am
  3. Ride Primeval Whirl: 10am – 10:25am
  4. Ride TriceraTop Spin: 10:26am – 10:35am
  5. Ride DINOSAUR with FastPass+: 10:40am – 11am
  6. Have lunch. Flame Tree Barbecue and Restaurantosaurus are closest: 11:10am – 11:50am
  7. Visit an anytime attraction/character on way out if desired. Finding Nemo starts at 12pm.
  8. Ride Kali River Rapids or Visit Adventurers Outpost: 12:45pm – 1pm
  9. Arrive back around four hours before close. As closing times vary, times are hours/minutes after arrival. Return earlier if eating dinner at the park or you’d like to experience more attractions. Arrive later if skipping Lion King.
  10. See It’s Tough To Be A Bug or look around The Oasis or other area until about 20 minutes prior to Festival of the Lion King then see the show: 00:00 – 01:00
  11. Visit attractions, have dinner, and/or enjoy entertainment: 01:00 – 02:30
  12. See Rivers of Light with FP+: Arrive at least 30 minutes before show time. 02:30-03:30
  13. Ride Expedition Everest 03:40 – 04:00.
  14. If park is still open, ride Kilimanjaro Safaris or enjoy other attractions/entertainment.

Rivers of Light Tips: All FP+ viewing is on the side with the entrance across from Expedition Everest. All dining package seating is in DinoLand with the entrance across from Finding Nemo the Musical. Standby is in DinoLand across from Nemo and stretches back to Discovery Island. If seeing the show in standby, absolutely see the last show when available. There’s very little standby seating for the first show. Try to sit on the concrete bleachers closer to the water. There’s more elevation between rows making it easier to see.

Wait Times By Crowd Level


  1. Megan says

    Planning a trip for October and Just wondering if you will have new tips and touring plans with Pandora open…


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