Animal Kingdom Rides and Attractions

Must Do Rides in Each of the Disney World Parks

If you read our post about Avatar – Flight of Passage, you already know that it is our favorite ride out of all four Walt Disney World parks, so you can go ahead and assume that it will top the list at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While that is true, since I have already given that away, I will go ahead and list an honorable mention when I get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Being that we are getting a handful of new rides in 2019, there is a chance that this list might change next year.  That said, here is our official list of favorite rides in each of the Disney World parks.

My Favorite Ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park

The Magic Kingdom is a park that can be hard to rate my favorite ride for so many reasons.  When I first started writing this, I used scratch paper to try and narrow down the list as my original list included five rides.  Of the five, I like each of them for different reasons. 

Enjoying the scenery on the PeopleMover

First off, I really enjoy the PeopleMover.  Call me crazy, but I love it!  Also, newest addition to the Magic Kingdom is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which is a great ride that everyone in my family was able to enjoy, including my three-year-old.  That said, knowing that the next time we go, my youngest daughter will be tall enough for each of the mountains, they must be considered.  If you are looking for bang for your buck, the winner is Splash Mountain.  If you consider the fact that the ride offers you just under 12 minutes of entertainment with a top speed of 45 mils per hour and a 50-foot drop, Splash Mountain just can’t be beat!

My Favorite Ride at Epcot

For me, Epcot is much easier to rank.  While I really enjoy being able to take the whole family on Frozen Ever After, it just doesn’t do it for me.  Don’t get me wrong, it is fun, and it can be a great break from the heat outside, I think that the total experience is just okay.  Another ride that is a lot of fun is Test Track.  I like the fact that you get to create your car and then test it on the test track.  I also enjoy when the car busts through the door and hits the track at full speed, but again, there is just something missing for me.  If you are looking for a ride that is both memorable, exhilarating, and will appeal to every one of your senses, then the clear winner at Epcot must be Soarin’ Around the World.  On my first trip to Disney World, I did not ride this ride as there was a wait, and I had no idea what the ride was (the name didn’t sound appealing to me).  Ever since then, I have made sure that it is something that I do at least once if not more.

My Favorite Ride at Hollywood Studios

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at night

The addition of Toy Story land gave us a couple of new rides that are both child friendly and still fun.  While we had to arrive at the park an hour before open, we were able to walk right on Slinky Dog, and because everyone behind us was still in line, we were also able to get onto Alien Swirling Saucers quickly as well.  If you are a morning family, I would strongly suggest you do this!  Like I mentioned, Hollywood Studios is adding a few more rides throughout 2019 including Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.  Once these are all on board, my favorite might change, but as of today, my favorite ride at Hollywood Studios is still the classic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  This has been my favorite ride here since my first visit back in 1997, and I always look forward to getting on it again!

My Favorite Ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Like I mentioned earlier, I lover Avatar – Flight of Passage.  I have never experienced the physical and emotional thrill that I feel when I ride this ride.  So, setting that aside since it is a complete given, we need to look around at the other options available.  I really enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris as well as Kali River Rapids (even though I feel this ride could have been much better if they added about two to three minutes to it).  The first time I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I thought that Dinosaur was the greatest thing ever.  It was so much fun and since there were no lines, we rode it like five times in a row!  Then, we made our way to the back of the park where I came across Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.  After giving it a try, this became my favorite ride in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  For many years (until Pandora arrived), Expedition Everest was my favorite ride.  That said, I will give my Honorable Mention trophy to Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.

In Conclusion

Well, there you have it!  These are my favorite and must-ride rides for each of the parks at Walt Disney World.  What are your thoughts?  Did I forget anything?  Do you dare challenge my trophy winners?  Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.  As always, please be sure and like our work and share it with all of your Disney Fanatic friends.

Oh yeah, did we mention that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!

Prioritizing Your Disney World Vacation Fast Pass Selections

When it comes to planning your next Disney World vacation, one of the most important tasks (also our favorite task) is prioritizing, choosing, and booking your fast passes.  Remember, if you are staying on property, you can book 60 days in advance.  If you are staying off property, you can book 30 days in advance.  If you are looking to get fast passes for the biggest attractions, please believe me when I say, log in the first day that you can and make your selections!  This means that you need to have a plan before logging in (what days will you be in what parks, how early will you be in the parks, what rides are the most important).

My recommendations for booking

If you will be getting to the park at rope drop, I would suggest that you not book your first fast pass until about an hour-and-a-half after the park opens.  If you are there at rope drop, you can prioritize a ride or two that you did not get fast passes for.  Most likely, you will be able to head in and get one or more rides knocked out before the crowds start getting heavy in the parks. 

The other thing to remember is that you want to book all your fast passes by about 2 pm.  You can book three fast passes in advance per day. The good news is that once you use these three fast passes, you can then book one at a time for the remainder of the day.  TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS!!! Once you get in line for that third fast pass, open up your My Disney Experience app and start looking for your next fast pass. Keep this going into the night.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

How We Prioritize our Fast Pass Selections

Fast Pass Prioritization for Magic Kingdom

First off, I want to stress that this is my opinion.  This plan is what my family does, and this is what has been the most successful for us. This is assuming that we are there for rope drop.

Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom – Head into the park and go back towards Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.  If the park opens at 9 am, you can get both in by 9:30 or 10 am.  From there, we will head over to Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise and try to get both in before our fast passes start. If I did my job right the time should be about 11 am.

Fast Passes at Magic Kingdom – I try and have fast passes booked in the 11am hour, the 12pm hour, and the 1pm hour.  The three that we prioritize are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Space Mountain.

As soon as we get in line for our third fast pass, I then head into the app to start looking for whatever will be next.  If you follow this, you should be able to get to every ride that you want, even if it is a busy day in the parks.

Fast Pass Prioritization for Epcot

Epcot uses a tiered system for fast passes, meaning that you can only book one attraction from tier one. For Epcot, the tier one rides are Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Soarin’, Epcot Character Greeting, and Illumination: Reflections of Earth.

Fast Passes at Epcot – I want to start this by saying that you should choose what ride out of tier one you cannot live without visiting.  For us, this was Frozen Ever After. Out of the tier one rides, this is the only one that our youngest daughter could ride.  After that, you get to choose any two other rides from tier two.

Don’t wait 100 minutes! Book a Fast Pass+!

Rope Drop at Epcot – Because of our fast pass selection for this park, we go straight to Soarin’ when the gates open.  With the additional screens that have been added, if you get in and head over here, you will get on quickly, allowing you to head over to Test Track where you can either wait in line or head into the single rider line.

After you get your three passes knocked out, you can book what you want from there, but there isn’t usually much left that you will need a fast pass for. You can check and see if a tier one that you may have missed is available, or you can just cruise around the world showcase and enjoy all the food, beverage, and shopping that the park has to offer.

Fast Pass Prioritization for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom uses a tiered system for their fast passes, but this one is much easier to choose if you can make it happen. Rope drop and fast pass selections will depend on what you are able to book before you go.  I try for Flight of Passage, but if you are unable to book Flight of Passage, go ahead and book Na’vi River Journey (the only tier one rides).

Avatar – Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey

Rope Drop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – If you can get Avatar – Flight of Passage, I would recommend rope dropping Na’vi River Journey.  If you are unable to book Flight of Passage, then you should rope drop it.  For well over a year now, this has been the longest wait out of any ride in all of Disney World. It is not unusual for wait time to top out at four to five hours. Do anything you can to get this done as early as possible!

Fast Passes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – As discussed, your tier one ride will be one of the two rides in Pandora – Land of Avatar.  After that, the other two can be whatever is most important to you.  I would suggest getting Kilimanjaro Safaris booked in the 10am to 11am time frame as the animals tend to be more active earlier in the day.  For me, the third is going to be Kali River Rapids.  I tend to not book fast passes for Everest because the single rider line is usually a viable option.  If you knock out your fast passes early enough in the day, you should be able to get everything else done using your additional fast pass selections.

Fast Pass Prioritization for Hollywood Studios

I intentionally left this last, as what is important today, is going to be changed so many times in 2019 to even try and predict what to do.  As of February 1st, of 2019, the three different tier one rides are the ones that you will find in Toy Story Land (Andy’s Backyard) which are Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Toy Story Mania.  Here is how we handled this park.

Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios – We rope dropped Slinky Dog Dash, and because of its popularity over the other tier one rides, from there, we were able to ride it and then get on to Alien Swirling Saucers quickly afterwards.

This was at rope drop! So many people!

Fast Passes at Hollywood Studios – We went with Toy Story Mania! As our tier one followed by Rockin Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.  After knocking out these five rides (two at rope drop and three fast passes), we were able to get to everything else easily.  Like I mentioned at the beginning, this is how we plan our days at Disney World in Orlando.  I know that every family is different, and every family prioritizes differently.  Leave me a comment or send me a message and let us know how your family takes advantage of Disney’s fast pass system.  Please like our post and be sure and share the magic with all of your fanatic Disney friends!

Oh yeah, did we mention that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!

Emotional Experience Awaits you at Avatar – Flight of Passage

Do you ever ride a ride or roller coaster at a theme park that truly blows your mind? I have rides that I love, rides that I don’t mind waiting in line for, and rides that I will remember for the rest of my life. That said, what I experienced the first time that I got to ride Avatar – Flight of Passage was close to life changing.  I know that sounds a bit extreme, but once you ride it, you will see what I mean.

How Realistic is Avatar – Flight of Passage?

What you see as you approach Avatar: Flight of Passage

You may be asking, why is everyone making such a big deal about this ride? Well, it all starts with the theming. As you walk into Pandora – The World of Avatar, you will feel like you have been transformed into a whole new world. From the ground, to the foliage, to the top of the mountains, not one detail was left out. As you go through the process of getting to the ride, all your senses will be triggered, and you start to feel like you have been transported to somewhere you have never been before.

Becoming an Avatar

Once you make it through all the lines and queues, you will enter a room where you will be matched to your avatar so that you will be able to board your Mountain Banshee.  From there, you will be led into another viewing room where you will learn how to get on the ride to prepare for flight.  There are also back-stores told during both rooms. Once you are fully educated on the importance of banshees to the World of Pandora, you are now ready to put on your glasses and board your banshee.

An Emotional and Physical Experience

Getting on to your banshee, you might be feeling a little weird. You climb onto what feels like a stationary motorcycle. Once in place, the seat closes in on your back and tightens up around your calves. The ride starts out by bringing your ride out into the sky on your banshee as you enter the Valley of the Mo’ara. From here, you will begin your flight through what will most likely be one of the most exhilarating rides you have ever experienced.  Everything is so life-like as you swoop down into valleys and mountains, enter caves, hover over the ocean, and react with the other mountain banshees. You will feel the banshee breathing throughout your body, you will feel the rising and falling, and you will smell the scents of the caves, ocean, and animals that you encounter throughout your flight through the Valley of Mo’ara. As the ride comes to an end, your heart and mind will be filled with joy and excitement as you just experienced something that can only be seen in movies.

The Line for Avatar – Flight of Passage

How do we start. Let’s talk about the wait time. I have seen this ride have a wait of four hours or more.  While I do love this ride, with two little girls, I do not believe that I could stand in line this long, nor do I believe that would even be possible. So, how do we get around this?

Pandora – World of Avatar

Fast Passes for Avatar – Flight of Passage

On our last Disney adventure, I was up at 5:00am to book our fast passes for our vacation that was 60 days out.  I logged in only to find that there were no fast passes available. Ugh. Checking every day became a habit until one day, I finally lucked out an was able to score the fast passes.  This is by far the quickest way to get on the ride but be aware that like many other fast pass experiences, you will miss out on a lot of the theming and experiences that are present in the traditional line queue.  But, when the lines are four hours long, this is something that I am willing to give up!

Rope Drop for Avatar – Flight of Passage

Waiting in line for Avatar – Flight of Passage

In my opinion, this is the best option.  Of course, you will have to wake up early, and get to the park an hour or more before the gates officially open, but hey, you are on vacation at the most magical place on earth, so you can sleep when you get home! Like I said, you will need to be there at least an hour or more before the park opens, so grab a snack and a drink and head up the Animal Kingdom and get comfortable in line. The cast members will do a great job of leading a pack of people to Pandora – World of Avatar. There is no running, and you are lined up as you make your way to the ride. In doing this, I can say that it is my favorite way as I was able to get into the park, see everything that the line queue had to offer, ride the ride, and be on my way to enjoy the rest of the Animal Kingdom before most people were even arriving at the park.  For the next two to three hours, lines for everything else in the park were almost non-existent, so take advantage of this time!

Wait in Line for Avatar – Flight of Passage

While I would not recommend this, it is still an option, and for many people, this will be their only way to experience the magic of Avatar – Flight of Passage.  If you are not in the park as the gates open, you will see that the lines for this ride can fluctuate throughout the day, so just keep an eye on your app and make your move when you see the time going down.  Best chances are going to be during lunch when people are starting to take breaks, and then as the day ends, the lines will slowly start dying down.  I would recommend this time as you will get to experience Pandora at night which is a whole separate post on its own.

Pandora – World of Avatar

I hope that you enjoyed my thoughts on Pandora – World of Avatar and Avatar – Flight of passage. Please let me know how you felt about this ride, or if you have not tried it yet, let me know what you are most excited about. Please don’t forget to like and share with your friends!

Oh yeah, did we mention that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!