Can’t get FastPasses for Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
Don’t want to wait in the two-hour-long standby line?
Try an early Flight of Passage rope drop. Yes, even with the kids!
Riding first thing in the morning doesn’t have to be stressful and allows you to finish the attraction that will inevitably post the longest wait times all day long barely a half hour into the park day.
A successful Flight of Passage rope drop (that’s arriving before park opening so you’re ready to ride when the attraction opens!) requires just a few key strategies.
Arrive Early for Flight of Passage Rope Drop
I know, I know. You don’t want to wake up early while on vacation.
This is the sacrifice you make for a short line. And mornings at Disney World are so enjoyable. The sun isn’t overhead yet so the heat is bearable and the lighting around the parks is just so … lovely.
Now, when I say you need to arrive early, I’m not talking about five or ten minutes before the posted park opening time. If you arrive at 8:50 AM for a 9:00 opening, you are NOT going to have a short wait!
Arrive at Animal Kingdom at least a full hour early. We drove into the parking lot at 7:45 AM for a 9:00 park opening. The reason for this early arrival time will quickly become evident.
(above) The crowd in front of us at the Pandora rope.
(below) The crowd behind us! And my kid, enjoying some drawing time off to the right side, not getting overwhelmed in a sea of people!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Gradual Opening
Animal Kingdom has a gradual opening to ease guests into the park every morning. The proverbial gates don’t just suddenly open at the posted park opening time. Opening procedures begin well before then.
Your first stop upon arrival is security. The bag check tables were already open when we reached the park entrance before 8:00 AM with very little wait. These lines are always longer later near park opening time.
Note that you may not experience the exact times mentioned here on your Flight of Passage rope drop morning, but they’re pretty standard procedure at Animal Kingdom.
After passing through security, all guests are held behind the tapstyles where tickets or MagicBands are scanned for entry. Around 8:15 AM, well before park opening, this entrance opened.
Now, you’re free to walk through the Oasis, up to the Tree of Life on Discovery Island, and head in the direction of the land you want to visit first. Attractions at Animal Kingdom still aren’t open at this point, so there are ropes draped across the entrances to each of the lands.
Around 8:45 AM, the rope to Pandora: World of Avatar dropped and guests proceeded to the Flight of Passage queue. After meandering through the queue, standing through both pre-shows, and enjoying the ride itself, we were finished at 9:20 AM.
So, if you arrived just five or ten minutes before park opening, thinking you would be ahead of the crowds, you would be far behind! Those who arrived far earlier are already on the ride and the line that has formed behind them is already well over an hour long.
What About All Those People?
One of my biggest concerns with rope dropping a popular attraction like Flight of Passage is how my kids will handle the crowds. There are two points in the Animal Kingdom entrance procedure that crowds could be overwhelming.
The first is after security when everyone has to wait at the entrance tapstyles. However, despite the large number of people, this area is relatively spacious and everyone tries to form lines at each of the entry points which creates empty pockets of space.
The second jam is at the roped bridge to Pandora which narrows considerably. This is where claustrophobia could potentially set in as there’s a mass of people filling the entire width of the pathway. The key here is to stick to the right side next to Pizzafari and Tiffins. The left side of the path is lined with tall, thick vegetation while the right side is open to the restaurant patios which creates visual and literal breathing room. Our boys could sit on the side here and draw without being stepped on!
The space between these two jams is very enjoyable. Walking through the Oasis and onto Discovery Island after passing through the entrance is a breeze. Since it takes a while for guests to filter through the tapstyles, there are few other people around during this walk. You can even stop to take a picture in front of the Tree of Life with no one else in sight.
After heading left at the Tree of Life and onto the pathway to Pandora, however, just remember to stay to the right!
Is Flight of Passage Rope Drop Worth It?
Considering we were done with Animal Kingdom’s most popular attraction just 20 minutes after park opening, I’d say that Flight of Passage rope drop is worth the early morning. Much of that extra time is spent going through security, waiting for the lines to proceed through the entrance tapstyles, and walking all the way to the ride in Pandora, all of which you will need to do anyway.
The actual amount of time spent just standing and waiting is minimal when compared to those 120+ minute wait times that Flight of Passage posts for the rest of the day.
And, remember, that most of that waiting time is happening outside of park hours so you aren’t wasting park time that could be spent enjoying other attractions. While waiting in a 2-hour line in the middle of the day, those are two hours you aren’t able to ride other rides or watching shows.
If you aren’t able to get FastPasses, definitely give Flight of Passage rope drop a try!