First Sunday–Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary

By Dave Shute

Summary    To-Do List    Sat    Sun    Mon    Tues    Weds    Thurs    Fri    Sat    Sun

Note: see this for a revised approach to Disney’s Animal Kingdom that incorporates no legacy paper Fastpasses!


See Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to see Fantasmic.


  • Get up early and eat breakfast in your room
  • Double check the time of Fantasmic tonight—it could be anywhere from 6:30p to 8:30p or even later. (Call your concierge, or click today onthis calendar.)
  • Pack spare clothes in a plastic bag (because on one of the rides, Kali River Rapids, you will get soaked!)
  • Be at the hotel Animal Kingdom bus stop by 7:50 am


  • Arrive at the Animal Kingdom park by 8:30 am
  • Get in line and await the opening
  • After the 9:00 opening, ask a cast member if the combined experimental fastpass station is operating, and pick up a Times Guide and park map.
  • If the combined experimental fastpass station is operating, head straight there (just beyond It’s Tough to be a Bug) and fastpass Expedition Everest. Then go to Africa, and ride Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • If it is not open, head straight to Africa and ride Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Go to Camp Minnie Mickey, and while walking there, double check the show schedules against this itinerary. See the first Festival of the Lion King
  • Return to Africa and stroll through the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail just outside the Safari exit
  • Head to Asia, and, if you have not already, fastpass Expedition Everest. Ride it when your fastpass is ready.
  • Go to Dinoland USA, and ride Dinosaur
  • Ride Primeval Whirl and Triceratops Spin if time permits
  • In Asia, see the 11:30 Flights of Wonder
  • Return to Discovery Island and see It’s Tough to Be a Bug’s, or fastpass it if the lines are too long
  • Juggle lunch (Flame Tree Barbecue, counter credit), your fastpass return to Expedition Everest, and the Wildlife Express Train to Conservation Station, so that you can be in line (between Dinoland and Asia) for the 3:15 pm Finding Nemo show by 2:30 pm. If time presses, skip the train/Conservation Station
  • See the 3:15 Finding Nemo show
  • Go back to the bridge next to Flights of Wonder and watch the 3:45p parade from the Everest side of the path
  • Stroll through the Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Ride Kali River Rapids if the day is warm enough: you will get soaked!!! Change into your spare clothes
  • Head for the bus stop to catch the bus at least 90 minutes before tonight’s Fantasmic. If you have plenty of time, re-ride your favorites; don’t worry if you missed the Wildlife Express Train
  • Explore the exhibits in the Oasis as you leave

Note: Bring The Comprehensive Guide to Rides and Rides that Might be Skipped in case your day gets too intense!


  • From the Animal Kingdom bus stop, take the bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Be in line for Fantasmic (ask a cast member where the line is) at least one hour before the show. If the next show is late tonight, grab dinner at a convenient counter service first; if you have extra time, visit the Streets of New York
  • Enjoy Fantasmic, and head back to the bus area to catch a bus back to your hotel




1 Lisa white { 04.21.12 at 10:04 am }

Do you need a park hopper ticket in order to go to Hollywood studios to see fantastic?

2 Dave { 04.21.12 at 12:13 pm }
3 Andi { 05.07.12 at 8:13 pm }

Would you recommend that Fantastic dinner package?

4 Dave { 05.08.12 at 7:06 am }

Andi, I don’t. With Fantasmic now on every night, and the so-so restaurants in the package, I don’t think its worth it to save about 30 mins in line…

5 Andi { 09.09.12 at 9:06 pm }

Another question….we have dinner reservations at 445…park closes at 5…when should we do Kali river rapids and how wet will we get?

6 Dave { 09.10.12 at 7:23 am }

Hi Andi! You will get soaked on Kali–not wet, but soaked. If the day is cool, skip it; otherwise do it late and bring a change of closthes…

7 Amanda { 01.23.13 at 1:51 am }

Why do you see Fantasmic Sunday night instead of Monday night? If you see it Monday night you won’t need a park hopper ticket.

8 Dave { 01.23.13 at 8:20 am }

Amanda there’s a loooong story behind this, but the short version is that it used to be just as you suggest, then Disney started cutting back on Fantasmics, and Sundays (and Thursdays) were the most reliable nights it was shown. Fantasmic is now back on pretty much a nightly schedule, but leaving it where it is makes the second evening at HS so much cleaner that I decided to leave it as is. But your question is very fair and I promise to keep thinking about this!

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9 Danny { 05.08.13 at 12:22 pm }

Hi Dave

I hate to say this, but this really won’t work with AK. So first people go to everest and fastpass it. It will take them 18 min to walk to everest unless they run, so they would be getting fastpasses at 9:18am. Let’s say it takes them 5 min to get the fastpasses. So it’s 9:23am now, and it will take them like 13 min to go to the safari. They are lining up by 9:46am on the safari. The wait will probably already be like 15 min. So they are loaded on by 10:01am. It takes 19 min, so they are done by 10:20am. Let’s say it takes them 7 min to get off so they are off by 10:27am. It takes them 10 min to walk to camp minnie and mickey. This will already be passed the first lion king show which is 10:30am. But let’s say it did work, to tell you the next stuff. So the lion king would finish at 11:00am. It would take them like 12 min to get out, so at 11:12am, they would be walking back to Africa, and it will take them 10 min again. So it will be 11:22am. People will spend at least 20 min there, ideally 30-35. So again they won’t make it to the 11:30am Flights of Wonder, even without riding DINOSAUR. If Flight’s of Wonder did work, the show would be done by 12:05pm, and it will again take them 10 min to get out of the show place, and then 6 min to walk to discovery island. So it will be 12:21pm when they are loaded on it’s tough to be a bug. The wait will be at least 10 min. So at 12:31pm they would be ready to start the show. It takes 9 min, so at 12:40pm the show would finish, and it will take them 10 min to get out, so at 12:50pm they would be out, and walking about 3 min to get to flame tree barbecue, so at 12:53pm they would have lunch. This will take at least 45 min, probably 60. So let’s say it takes 45 min, and they are done by 1:38pm. They will absolutely not have time for rafiki’s planet watch. But you said this is skippable anyway. So at 1:38pm, they would walk 10 min to finding nemo show, so by 1:48pm they would be there. They would make it in 3:00pm nemo show, but won’t be able to catch the parade. The Nemo Show takes 40 min, and as I said on another post add an extra 5 min just in case. So the show would be done by 3:45pm. That’s when the parade starts, and not leaving time for people to find a good spot to watch, or even get out of the nemo theater. After the Parade, they will likely spend like 30 min strolling through the maharajah jungle trek. If they depart at 5pm they won’t make it to Kali, but they will if they depart at 6pm.

Anyway, I know this screws up this day, but I think you should rethink about this day.

10 Danny { 05.08.13 at 12:24 pm }

I would maybe add more time at AK on thursday, if I were you, and maybe move everest, the rides in dinoland, pangani forest exploration trails, and rafiki’s planet watch to thursday. Oh by the way I didn’t even mention the everest fastpass return time in my other post.

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