PlanningThe ParksTips

Best Touring Plan for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a Disney Park with so much to offer. From outstanding rides to shows and delicious foods, it can be hard to figure out how to get it all to fit into your touring plan.

During our last Walt Disney World vacation, we hit up Disney’s Animal Kingdom one morning and were able to get the majority of our goals accomplished before lunch.

To help you have a wonderful time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during your Disney vacation, I wanted to share our touring plan with you.

Avatar Flight of Passage
Credit: Disney


When looking at Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections, we knew that we would be purchasing Avatar Flight of Passage and focusing on Kilimanjaro Safaris for our first Genie+ selection.

The overall goal was to get Avatar Flight of Passage between 10 am and 11 am that morning and to have a return time of around 9:30 for Kilimanjaro Safari.

After those two selections, our goals were to ride Avatar Flight of Passage in the morning as well (allowing us to experience it twice) and then hit up Dinosaur, possibly Na’vi River Journey and then experience some of the trails before having lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue.

Here is how our day played out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom

General Information

We visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Saturday, March 12th.  On this day the Park hours were from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm with early entry for Disney Resort Guests starting at 7:00 am.

Because of the early morning, the alarm went off at 5:45 am (no sleeping in on a Disney vacation) and we were on the bus at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort at 6:20 am.

Security was super fast and easy (thanks to the new walk through system) and we were waiting at the touchpoints by approximately 6:35 am.

They allowed us to tap in slightly early and then you have to once again get checked to make sure you are a Disney Resort Guest.  From there, we were held for a short period of time at the bridge to Pandora and then walked to the queue for Avatar Flight of Passage.

While all of this was going on, we were able to purchase an Individual Attraction Selection for Avatar Flight of Passage starting at 11:30 am as well as get our first Genie+ selection for Kilimanjaro Safari with our hour window starting at 8:30 am.  We were pleased with these selections for the day.

Credit: Disney Tips

Our Touring Plan

As mentioned before, we rope dropped Avatar Flight of Passage during the early entry half-hour that we were able to participate in because we were staying at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.  We had a constant walk to get into the actual queue and were connecting to our Avatars by 7:23 am.  This was a great use of our morning as when we got off the ride at 7:40 (which is fantastic) the wait time was already an hour long.

From there we jumped over to Na’vi River Journey as the wait was posted at 10 minutes but we had less than a 5 minute wait.  This ride isn’t our favorite, but with Expedition Everest down there are limited rides in Disney’s Animal Kingdom right now.

Dinosaur Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Since we were finished with Pandora for the time being, we headed over to Dinosaur where we walked on at 8:05.  Once finished with Dinosaur we headed on over to Africa to ride Kilimanjaro Safari with our Genie+ selection.  At 8:25 we only waited five minutes for the ride which was fun and full of active animals at this time of day.

Credit: Disney

By this point it was around 9:00 and we had finished all the major rides in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

With the shows not starting until 10:00 am, we took this time to enjoy some popcorn (hello refillable popcorn bucket) and walk the Gorilla Trails.  We were able to see the baby gorilla which was fun and adorable.

It's Tough to Be a Bug

Our kids had never experienced It’s Tough to Be A Bug so we walked over to the Tree of Life and ventured in.  This was a terrible decision as our son (age 11) was still terrified of the loud noises and Hopper.  Keep that in mind parents of little ones.

Flame Tree Barbecue
Credit: Disney

After being traumatized, the rain was coming so we headed over to Flame Tree Barbecue to find a place out of the rain to wait for it to open.  We had already placed a mobile order prior, but we had to wait to ask them to prepare our order.  Lunch was served early at 10:20 mostly because of a major rain storm that came through.  We took our time enjoying our coverage as well as the delicious food from Flame Tree Barbecue.

Finally around 11:00 am the rain slowed down and we headed back over to Pandora so we could be in the area to use our Individual Attraction Selection that started at 11:30.  We were able to tap in five minutes early and waited only 9 minutes to get to the link chamber.  At this point in the day, the standby queue was posted at 105 minutes.

As my family didn’t want to stick around anymore, we left Disney’s Animal Kingdom around noon on this day.

Disney Animal Kingdom
Credit: Jennifer Retzlaff


Overall we had a great morning at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  We were able to experience all the rides that we wanted to with low wait times.  Although I would have liked to see more of the entertainment such as Animation Academy, Festival of the Lion King and KiteTails, with the rain storm that came through we had to adjust our plans.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a Disney Park where you can really slow down and enjoy the hidden treasures throughout the Park.  From the walking paths around the Tree of Life to visiting Rafiki Planet Watch, there are a lot of experiences you can enjoy that aren’t rides.

The issue might be that if your family is a big ride focused group, Disney’s Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a lot of options right now with Expedition Everest down.

Also- thinking about Genie+, I am not sure you would need it for this Disney Park if you are going to use early entry.  We were able to get a lot down in just a few short hours by getting there early.

We hope that this will help you as you plan your touring plan for your upcoming trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Going to EPCOT too?  Check out our touring plan suggestion HERE.

Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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