Congratulations on your upcoming trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom! This park, which is the largest theme park in the world, will provide you with a truly unforgettable experience. However, before you buy tickets and pack your bags, there are a few things about visiting the Animal Kingdom that you need to understand. One of the foremost is how FastPass tiers work. In this article, we will cover what FastPass tiers are and how to utilize them to your advantage so you and your family can have the best vacation possible!
What are FastPass tiers?
FastPass tiers are the groups in which Disney categorizes its attractions at a specific park. The tiers separate rides that are very popular from those that are less so.
They are used at only three Disney parks: Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Disney allows guests to have three Fastpasses per day, but only one of them can be for a Tier 1 attraction
This system doubtless helps to keep crowds from growing too large at the most popular Animal Kingdom rides.
What are the FastPass tiers for Animal Kingdom?
Animal Kingdom FastPasses have two tiers – Tier 1 and Tier 2. As we indicated earlier, Tier 1 attractions are the most popular, while Tier 2 attractions are less popular.
How do you get FastPass at Animal Kingdom?
So…how does a person get a FastPass? Thankfully, the process is fairly quick and easy. You can book your FastPasses via Walt Disney World’s website or the My Disney Experience mobile app. We will now walk you through the steps of choosing a FastPass that is perfect for you and your family.
30 days or 60 days
One of the benefits of FastPass reservations is that you can book them in advance. Disney allows guests to lock down their FastPass choices up to thirty days before their trip; however, guests that are staying in a Disney Resort Hotel can make reservations up to sixty days prior.
Of course, you can wait until the day of your visit to choose your FastPass rides, though it would probably be better to reserve your spots early.
Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity so that you and your party can get to your favorite rides as fast as possible!
How to get the FastPass you want
There are many factors to consider when making your FastPass choices. Here are a few questions that are very important to this decision process. Make sure to ask yourself all of them before you finalize your reservations.
What time of day is best?
Time of day is crucial to consider when making FastPass plans. Disney requires you to designate a time slot on your reservation regarding when you will visit a particular ride; if you and your group are not at the attraction within an hour of the time you choose, you will lose your reservation.
Furthermore, crowds are often larger at popular rides from mid-morning until late in the afternoon. If possible, it would be a good idea to reserve certain rides right after the park opens or later in the evening when many people are eating dinner or putting their kids to bed.
The Florida heat is yet another factor to consider. No one wants to stand three hours in line in the scorching afternoon sun if they can possibly avoid it. Doing so can even be dangerous for elderly people or those with preexisting health conditions.
What are the ages of my party?
The makeup of your group will play a big role in what rides you will want to book at Animal Kingdom. Clearly, a party that consists of two able-bodied adults and one that is comprised of two adults with three small children will need to reserve different attractions on their FastPasses.
Many rides require guests to be a certain height to enter. Moreover, the nature of some of the rides would not be conducive to a fun, magical experience for a young child.
DINOSAUR, for instance, has been called the scariest ride in all of Disney, which is quite telling. With its speed, twists and turns, and realistic dinosaurs bent on your destruction, you might not want to book this ride if you had a three-year-old in your group.
Are there any special issues to consider?
Do you or someone in your party have a disability? Then be sure to research specific rides before you make your FastPass reservations.
All of Animal Kingdom’s attractions are handicap accessible; however, some rides require disabled visitors to have the ability to transfer from their wheelchair to another seat.
Other needs should be kept in consideration as well. Guests who suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia will probably not want to choose DINOSAUR or Expedition Everest. Motion sickness can also be a problem for some visitors on fast, twisting rides.
Best Rides to FastPass Tier 1
There’s a reason why these rides are so popular. The experience you will have on them is truly unparalleled. Without a doubt, the choice of which ride to enjoy on your FastPass is a hard one indeed!
Avatar Flight of Passage
If the Na’vi River Journey is amazing, the Avatar Flight of Passage is truly superlative.
Nearly everyone who has been on this ride raves about the immersive, incredibly lifelike experience that it offers. Guests start out in a “briefing room”, where they are informed that only Na’vi can ride banshees; thus, they will each be paired with a Na’vi in order to achieve that experience.
After visitors have secured their belongings and sat in their seats, they enter a mind-blowingly realistic banshee ride via their 3D googles.
Everything seems so true to life – from the movement of the seat and room to the panting of the banshee beneath them.
Even the smells of the place transport guests to Pandora in an instant. Regardless of if you are an Avatar fan or not, this is an experience that cannot be missed!
Before you choose the Flight of Passage, beware of the fact that standard wait times are extremely long (think 2-6 hours). Moreover, some people may fail to fit in the chairs or feel dizzy or nauseous during the ride.
Na’vi River Journey
This ride, located in the sensational Pandora of Avatar fame, takes people through the ethereal, bioluminescent forest and river of Pandora. The River Journey is quite faithful to the movie. As guests queue to enter the attraction, they are greeted by Na’vi artwork and artifacts.
When they start the River Journey, they are blown away by the ride’s stunning use of modeling, lighting, and animatronics.
One of the most exceptional examples of this is the Shaman of Songs. This audio-animatronic is incredibly lifelike, singing poignant chants to all who pass through the River Journey.
It is important to note that though this is an amazing ride, it only lasts a few minutes. The wait times to enter the ride are also exceptionally long. Therefore, be sure to plan carefully if you choose to enjoy the Na’vi River Journey.
Best Rides to FastPass Tier 2
Just because a ride is less popular than others doesn’t mean it’s not worth exploring. These attractions have a lot of fun to offer guests. There are twelve Tier 2 rides at Animal Kingdom. We will cover five which we think are the best to put on your FastPass. It will be hard to choose just two!
This amazing experience is a real-life safari as one can achieve in a Disney park.
Visitors drive on specially outfitted jeeps where they can view animals such as giraffes, lions, crocodiles, and hippopotamuses. These animals roam free and as true to their natural habitat as possible.
A guide accompanies guests on the jeep and provides lots of helpful information regarding the animals they are seeing.
Without a doubt, such an up-close experience with nature never grows old! If you choose to go on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, do keep in mind that there are no guarantees about how many animals you will see.
Sometimes the animals choose not to come close to the jeeps. This is a fact of life when it comes to wild animal safaris.
Be sure not to miss this exhilarating attraction while you are in Animal Kingdom! Based on the legend of the Yeti on Mount Everest, Expedition Everest treats guests to a rollercoaster that is simultaneously thrilling and stomach-twisting. The animatronic Yeti is still on the ride but doesn’t scare visitors…though that will might change soon.
A few points to keep in mind as you plan: if you don’t like intense rollercoasters, you will probably want to pass on this ride.
Furthermore, young children will probably find Expedition Everest a little too scary.
This rollercoaster is…very intense, to say the least. Though built in the 1990s, this ride’s ability to scare and thrill guests continues unabated. Go on a time travel journey to discover an Iguanadon at the behest of an evil scientist, all the while being chased by frightening, lifelike dinosaurs and narrowly avoiding destruction.
Before you go on this scarily exhilarating ride, bear in mind that DINOSAUR might be too frightening for young children. Moreover, the many twists and turns of this ride easily cause motion sickness in those that are so inclined.
Kali River Rapids
Love a watery adventure? Then look no further than Kali River Rapids. This ride takes visitors in a 12-person raft through areas devastated by deforestation.
The raft drifts down the rapids after being pulled up a 90-foot hill. After meandering through jungles and waterfalls, guests shoot down a 20-foot waterfall and get soaked with water guns by other park guests.
You can get absolutely soaked on this attraction, so plan accordingly. Also be sure to protect or store any valuables, especially electronics, that you do not want to get wet.
Festival of the Lion King
This fantastic show, based on the fabulously popular 1994 and 2019 Disney films The Lion King, is a must-see.
It loosely follows the storyline of Simba’s rise, exile, and resumption of his throne and incorporates the movies’ hit songs.
There is also a lot of audience participation, which is loads of fun! The music of Festival of the Lion King, combined with superb acting, costumes, and show effects, creates a truly unforgettable experience.
Be aware of the fact that Festival of the Lion King only provides bleacher seating to guests. Also, try to be at the show early in order to find a good seat without a tall person’s head obstructing your view!
With its FastPasses and FastPass tiers, Disney has provided its guests with an amazing opportunity to gain access to popular rides with less hassle and wait time. I hope that the tips that we have shared in this article enable you to enjoy Animal Kingdom to the fullest. Have the most fun imaginable in this amazing, one of a kind theme park!