Animal Kingdom Late-Arrival Touring Plan

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Discovery Island (4)A couple weeks ago I tested our computer-optimized touring plans in Walt Disney World. My first post was on how the touring plan software routed me around a bunch of ride breakdowns in the Magic Kingdom. Today’s post is how the software worked at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Just like the Magic Kingdom, I waited until the last minute to make my Animal Kingdom FastPass+ reservations – actually the night before we visited the park. But I was still able to get FastPass+ reservations for the most popular attractions:

Expedition Everest at 10:15 a.m.

Kilimanjaro Safaris at 2:05 p.m.

DINOSAUR at 3:20 p.m.

Kali River Rapids and Flights of Wonder were closed during my visit, so I didn’t have to worry about it.

Bonus Sleeping-In Possibilities!

I used the Unofficial Guide’s standard Animal Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan and plugged these FastPasses in. The first thing I realized was that the plan wasn’t going to take all day – not even close. So I switched my arrival time to 10 AM, which gave us an extra hour to sleep in. In fact, even with the new nighttime Kilimanjaro Safaris and Rivers of Light show, it looks like it’ll be possible to see practically everything in the park even if you arrive around 11 a.m.  That makes the Animal Kingdom a great park to visit after a late night at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot. (We’re also testing a late-arrival plan at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for an upcoming blog post.)

My Animal Kingdom Touring Plan

Here’s my customized version of the Unofficial Guide plan, with my specific FastPass times and a 10 a.m. park arrival:

1. Maharaja Jungle Trek
2. Expedition Everest using FastPass+
3. Finding Nemo – The Musical
4. Eat lunch
5. Discovery Island Trails
6. Festival of the Lion King
7. Pangani Forest Exploration Trails
8. Dedicated play time for Wilderness Explorers
9. Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch
10. Tour Conservation Station
11. Wildlife Express Train to Harmbe
12. Kilimanjaro Safaris using FastPass+
13. It’s Tough to Be a Bug
14. TriceraTop Spin
15. Primeval Whirl
16. DINOSAUR using FastPass+

How’d the Plan Work?

The entire day went off really well. We only had to adjust around the plan once, when we found out that the Discovery Island Trails were closed just past the Tree of Life theater exit. We had to backtrack to Discovery Island and walk through Asia to Africa.

Here’s a short video from inside the Maharaja Jungle Trek’s aviary:

The rest of our visit was as easy as it gets. No rides broke down, we got to every show in time to find good seats, and none of the waits was more than 10 minutes. We even had time to play more Wilderness Explorers between steps in the plan. The Animal Kingdom’s crowd level was a 3 for the day, and we had predicted a 7, so being less busy than expected helped a bit.  But even on an average day in the park, I don’t think our experience would have been that much different. Until Pandora: The World of Avatar opens in 2017, you can get advance and day-of FastPass+ reservations for almost every bottleneck in the park. Schedule those right, and you’ll be able to sleep in a bit and still see everything.

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Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

5 thoughts on “Animal Kingdom Late-Arrival Touring Plan

  • March 28, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Thanks as always Len. Do you think a FastPass+ will be needed for Rivers of Life? If it is, then that would mean no 4th FastPass for that day since Rivers of Life is at night.

  • March 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    This is great, Len! I was thinking of doing an Animal Kingdom late start day next January on the day after a late flight into MCO. I figured we could sleep a little late and plan wisely and especially with the park staying open later than 5pm we could really cover it all. Last trip we also arrived late and were at MK at rope drop the next morning. We were falling apart pretty early that day….

    • March 29, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Thanks Bella! Let me know if there’s anything else we can help with!

  • March 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

    How long did the plan take you to complete?

  • March 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Len, how often during the day would you suggest we hit the optimize button on the app? Once or twice or after every attraction?


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