AK/ Disney newbie

We are taking our kids (5, 9 &11) for their first Disney trip this Sept. Although the official hours haven’t been released, if the trend continues, AK will have EMH on our first park day.
We plan on being there before the park opens. IF I can get a FP for FOP for later in the day (I know that’s ambitious) what would you recommend we do first? Since this will be their very first time even walking into a Disney park, I don’t want it to be a mad rush. Any advice, suggestions are greatly appreciated.

If you can get a FP for FOP later in the d, I’d recommend you head to the other lands first. You will have no problem getting on rides. Maybe, hitting Dinoland and doing Dinosaurs first and then Triceratops Spin (all of your kids can ride that ride). You can then get Fast Passes for the Nemo show and then do EE on a rider swap. (Your 5 YO may be too small or too nervous to ride). After this hitting the attractions heading through Africa and end up finally in Avatar Land.

If you can’t get a fast pass, your can do rope drop and join the mob heading in to ride FOP on standby. Personally, I wouldn’t want my kids that age in that crowd. The further back you get, the more pushing and aggressive stroller behavior you get. At the very front of the line, it is not that bad but you have to show up about 90 minutes before park opening to get those spots.

Be aware that fast passes are super hard to get to FOP. We were there from 12/27 - 1/01 and could never get one. There are stories of Disney Resort guests not being able to get them at 60 days out. So, the other strategy you can employ is to jump in line about 45 minutes before closing. We did that in December and waited about 1 hour and 20 minutes but did get to ride.

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Thanks for your suggestions. I have no desire to have my kids’ first experience in Disney to be in a throng of people headed towards the ride. I like the idea you gave about hopping in line at FOP later in the evening if we cant get a FP. Thanks!

One other thing, make sure you get them into the Festival of the Lion King show. It is the best show on the Disney property. If at all possible see if your can get a cast member to seat you on the end in the first three rows of a section. Performers will come out and pick out kids to join them during the show. My then 11 year old daughter was picked out in 2007 and it was the highlight of our trip!


If you want to ride FOP I would go later in your trip not the first day. It’s easier to get FPP for FOP at 60+ days out.

Are you planning to spend the day or hop to another park? If you aren’t hopping then you may want to pick AK for another day. On our AK day, we went straight to KS. In the morning the animals are often most active. If you are looking for a meal while you are in Africa, TH would be a fun way to start your trip with the kids seeing Mickey and the gang!

We are planning on spending the whole day at AK. I really want to take advantage of the EMH on that Mon.

Kilimanjaro Safari is still the “flagship” ride of AK; it’s really the heart of what AK is all about. FOP, Dinosaur, and EE may be excellent rides - among the best in WDW - but they are thrill rides that feature historical/fictional/legendary frameworks, not man’s interaction with the animals and ecosystems of today.

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But I should add that if FOP is a “must do” for you, and you can’t get an FPP for it, joining the seething mass of people at RD heading toward it is about the only way to avoid 2-3 hour lines…

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