Animal Kingdom touring plans for 2016

by Shannon Albert 66 comments Like the Facebook page

(Article last updated: May 31, 2016)

Animal Kingdom is a really underrated park, in my opinion, and one I think most people should try to fit into their trips. It's relatively easy to tour, but you need to make sure you have a touring plan that includes good FastPass+ reservations.

Here's how...

FastPass+ priorities

You can make 1-3 FastPass+ reservations ahead of time.

FYI - these are priorities, not tiers. Tiering is only in effect at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Top priorities for FastPass+ at Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Jungle Book: Alive with the Magic

Second priority for FastPass+ at Animal Kingdom
Festival of the Lion King
Kali River Rapids
DINOSAUR
Primeval Whirl

Third priority for FastPass+ at Animal Kingdom
Finding Nemo - The Musical
It's Tough to Be a Bug
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
Flights of Wonder

You can't make your first 3 FastPass+ reservations for the same ride twice.
Your first 3 FastPass+ reservations must be for all different rides.

However, you can get more FastPass+ reservations after you use the first 3.
Once your first 3 FastPass+ reservations are used or expired, you can use the My Disney Experience app or go to a kiosk and get a 4th. Once your 4th FP+ is used or expired, you can get a 5th. These additional FastPass+ reservations can be in the same park or a different park and can be for the same ride over and over, if you want.

Don't use FastPass+ reservations unnecessarily.
If you arrive at an attraction to use a FastPass+ reservation and the standby line is short (5 or 10 minutes), skip the FastPass+ line, get into the standby line and then change that FastPass+ to something else to use later. You can make the change on your phone or at a FastPass+ kiosk.

Link your tickets

All guests should make FastPass+ reservations online ahead of time. In order to do that, you need to have tickets on your My Disney Experience account. If you are staying on-site and bought a package for your trip (which includes a hotel and tickets), they'll already be in your account.

If you are staying off-site and/or bought tickets separate from your on-site hotel room, you need to link them by going to MyDisneyExperience.com, logging in and then clicking "Link Existing Reservations and Tickets."

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You can also use the My Disney Experience app on your phone to link your tickets to your account.

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After making FastPass+ reservations, you will be able to scan your MagicBands or RFID-enabled park ticket when you arrive to an attraction at your FastPass+ time. There are often 2 sets of scanners at attractions - the first scanner can be scanned by just 1 member of your group; the second scanner must be scanned by each member.

What times should you make reservations?
The general idea is to start touring early and ride in the standby lines, and then use FastPass+ a bit later in the day. In the touring plans below, I've given suggestions on what time you might want to make your FastPass+ reservations.

After you've made your initial selection of 3 FastPass+ reservations, you can go into each individual reservation and modify the time if you want.

Animal Kingdom touring plans
Rigid touring plans aren't really necessary at Animal Kingdom if you have FastPass+ reservations ahead of time. Your goal for touring should be to visit the highest priority attractions that you don't have FastPass+ reservations for first.

I like to organize my touring plans by hour because minute-by-minute touring plans can make you feel like you’re running from place to place without any flexibility, but grouping them by hour can give you some sense of timing as you plan.

Here are some possibilities:

General Animal Kingdom touring plan (with FP+ for Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Festival of the Lion King)

If you want to ride Expedition Everest multiple times, it has a single rider line that you can use to avoid long lines.

  • Arrive at Animal Kingdom about 30-45 minutes before the park opens
  • First hour: Primeval Whirl, DINOSAUR, use FP+ for Expedition Everest (suggested FP+ time: 9:30-10:30)
  • Second hour: Kali River Rapids, Flights of Wonder
  • Third hour: Use FP+ to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris (suggested FP+ time: 10:45-11:45), lunch
  • Rest of the day:
    It's Tough to Be a Bug
    Use FP+ at Festival of the Lion King (suggested FP+ time: early afternoon)
    Finding Nemo - The Musical
    Maharajah Jungle Trek
    Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
    Jungle Book: Alive with Magic (temporary show until Rivers of Light opens)

Touring plan for families with little ones (with FP+ for Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, and Kali River Rapids which has a 38" height requirement)

  • Arrive at Animal Kingdom about 30-45 minutes before the park opens
  • First hour: Ride Triceratop Spin (multiple times, if you like), visit the Boneyard (may not open until 30 minutes after the park opens)
  • Second hour: Use FP+ for Kali River Rapids - if standby is short, skip the FP+ line and just ride standby (suggested FP+ time: 9:15-10:15), Flights of Wonder
  • Third hour: Use FP+ for Kilimanjaro Safaris (suggested FP+ time: 10:30-11:30), lunch
  • Rest of the day:
    Use FP+ for Festival of the Lion King (suggested FP+ time: early afternoon)
    Finding Nemo - The Musical
    Maharajah Jungle Trek
    Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
    Jungle Book: Alive with Magic (temporary show until Rivers of Light opens)

What about Rider Switch (sometimes called Child Swap)? That still works the same that it always has. Please read my Rider Switch article so you can see how to ride big rides even if you have little ones who can't or won't.

Combining Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom in 1 day (w/FP+ for Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror and Star Tours)
Since Hollywood Studios doesn't have a huge number of attractions, and many people consider Animal Kingdom a half-day park, you might want to do both in 1 day.

You'll need Park Hopper tickets to make this work, but here's 1 way you could do it.

  • Arrive at Animal Kingdom about 30-40 minutes before opening time
  • First hour: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur (if this feels like too much backtracking, you'll probably want to skip either Expedition Everest or Safaris to reduce the walking)
  • Second hour: Primeval Whirl, Expedition Everest in single rider line, Kali River Rapids
  • Third hour: Pick 1 or 2 shows or animal-themed attractions
  • Rest of the day:
    Lunch (FYI - Animal Kingdom has better Quick Service options than Hollywood Studios)
    Hop to Hollywood Studios
    Use FP+ for Toy Story Mania
    Use FP+ for Tower of Terror
    Use FP+ for Star Tours
    Ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in single rider line
    See shows, including Fantasmic

WDW Prep Members

Level 2 and 3 WDW Prep Members have touring plan tools to put together their own plans. The attractions indicate height requirements, if it's a good use of FastPass+, illustrations of ride vehicles so you can see how many people will fit (especially handy if the kids outnumber the adults), and when to visit each attraction.

And as you build your touring plans, they are grouped by hour (for the first 3 hours) and then your whole plan is plotted on a map at the bottom of the page so you can see how it all lays out.

⇢ Get access to Level 2 tools ⇠

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What else? Please share your questions in the comments.