Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is one of the most unique and exciting theme parks in the world. Located in Orlando, Florida, Animal Kingdom is the largest Disney theme park in the world, covering over 500 acres of land. The park opened on April 22, 1998, and since then, it has been a popular destination for animal lovers and Disney fans alike. In this article, we will provide you with the ultimate guide to Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom has a variety of attractions, from thrilling roller coasters to animal exhibits. Some of the must-see attractions include:
- Avatar Flight of Passage – This attraction is one of the most popular in all of Walt Disney World. It is a 3D flight simulator that takes you on a journey through the world of Avatar. You will experience the sensation of flying on the back of a banshee through the forests and mountains of Pandora.
- Na’vi River Journey – This peaceful boat ride takes you on a journey through the bioluminescent forests of Pandora. You’ll see a variety of plants and animals that light up in the dark, creating a magical and serene atmosphere.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – This attraction is a safari ride through the African savannah. You will see a variety of animals in their natural habitat, including elephants, lions, zebras, and giraffes.
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – This roller coaster is one of the most thrilling attractions at Animal Kingdom. It takes you on a journey through the Himalayas, where you will encounter the legendary Yeti.
- DINOSAUR – Embark on a prehistoric adventure and travel back in time to save a dinosaur from extinction. This exciting ride will have you dodging obstacles and avoiding danger at every turn.
- Kali River Rapids – Get ready to get wet on this white-water rafting adventure. You’ll journey through the lush jungles of Asia, navigating rapids and waterfalls as you go.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a theme park that offers a wide range of entertainment options for visitors of all ages. From shows to musical performances and street parties, there’s something for everyone at this unique destination. Here are some of the top entertainment options available:
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond! – This stage show takes you on a journey through the ocean alongside beloved characters from the movie Finding Nemo.
- Festival of the Lion King – This live show is a musical celebration of the Disney classic, The Lion King. It features acrobats, dancers, and singers performing some of the most memorable songs from the movie.
- It’s Tough to be a Bug! – This 3D movie is located inside the Tree of Life, the iconic centerpiece of Animal Kingdom. It features characters from the movie A Bug’s Life and provides an entertaining and educational look at the world of insects.
- Tree of Life Awakenings – As the sun sets, the park’s iconic Tree of Life is transformed into a stunning visual display of light and music. Guests can watch as animal-themed images come to life on the tree’s surface, creating a magical and unforgettable experience.
Animal Kingdom is home to over 2,000 animals from 300 different species. The park has several exhibits where you can see these animals up close and learn about their habitats and behaviors. Some of the most popular exhibits include:
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail – This exhibit takes you on a journey through the forests of Africa, where you will see gorillas, hippos, and other animals.
- Maharajah Jungle Trek – This exhibit takes you through the ruins of an ancient palace in India, where you will see tigers, bats, and other exotic animals.
- Discovery Island Trails – These trails take you through the heart of Animal Kingdom, where you will see a variety of plants and animals.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great destination for families with young children, offering a wide range of activities and attractions that are both entertaining and educational. Here’s a list of some of the top kids’ activities at the theme park:
- The Boneyard – This play area is perfect for kids who want to climb, slide, and explore. The Boneyard is a prehistoric-themed playground that features fossils, dig sites, and plenty of opportunities for hands-on fun.
- Wildlife Express Train – Take a ride on this train that transports guests to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, where they can learn about conservation and see animals up close. Kids will love the interactive exhibits and the chance to pet some friendly critters.
- Wilderness Explorers – This interactive scavenger hunt takes kids on a journey through the park, where they’ll complete challenges and earn badges just like the characters in the movie Up. It’s a great way to learn about animals and their habitats while having fun.
Animal Kingdom has a variety of dining options, from quick-service restaurants to fine dining experiences. Some of the must-try restaurants include:
- Yak & Yeti Restaurant – This restaurant is located in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom and serves Asian-inspired cuisine. The menu includes dishes like Korean beef, sweet and sour chicken, and shrimp lo mein.
- Tusker House Restaurant – This restaurant is located in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom and serves African-inspired cuisine. The menu includes dishes like peri-peri chicken, curry vegetable stew, and grilled flank steak.
- Flame Tree Barbecue – This quick-service restaurant is located in the Discovery Island section of Animal Kingdom and serves barbecue favorites like pulled pork, ribs, and chicken.
- Satu’li Canteen – This quick-service restaurant is located in the Pandora section of Animal Kingdom and serves Na’vi-inspired cuisine. The menu includes dishes like slow-roasted sliced beef, chopped wood-grilled chicken, and cheeseburger pods.
- Tiffins Restaurant – This fine dining restaurant is located in the Discovery Island section of Animal Kingdom and offers a unique blend of African, Asian, and Latin cuisine. The menu includes dishes like Wagyu beef, lamb chops, and seafood curry.
- Restaurantosaurus – Located in DinoLand U.S.A., this prehistoric-themed restaurant serves up classic American fare like burgers, sandwiches, and salads. The decor features dinosaur fossils and artifacts, creating a fun and immersive atmosphere for guests of all ages.
- Pizzafari – This Italian-inspired restaurant, located in the Discovery Island area, serves up delicious pizzas and other classic Italian dishes. The restaurant is decorated with colorful and playful animal murals, creating a fun atmosphere for guests of all ages.
Character Meet and Greets
One of the highlights of Animal Kingdom is the opportunity to meet some of your favorite Disney characters in a unique and exciting setting. From Mickey and Minnie to the characters from the movie up such as Kevin, there are plenty of opportunities to snap a photo and get an autograph from your favorite Disney stars. Be on the lookout for character boat cavalcades. These special boats feature popular Disney characters, including Pocahontas, Meeko, and other beloved favorites, who interact with guests as they ride through the park’s scenic waterways. Be sure to check the park schedule ahead of time to see when and where your favorite characters will be appearing.
Animal Kingdom has a variety of shops where you can find souvenirs, gifts, and Disney merchandise. Some of the most popular shops include:
- Mombasa Marketplace – This shop is located in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom and features a variety of African-inspired gifts, including jewelry, clothing, and home decor.
- Windtraders – This shop is located in the Pandora section of Animal Kingdom and features Na’vi-inspired merchandise, including toys, clothing, and souvenirs.
- Island Mercantile – This shop is located in the Discovery Island section of Animal Kingdom and features a variety of Disney merchandise, including clothing, toys, and souvenirs.
Tips for Visiting Animal Kingdom
- Arrive Early and/or Stay Late – Like most Disney parks, Animal Kingdom tends to be less crowded in the early morning, so try to arrive at opening time. The park is most busy mid-morning through early afternoon. After Walt Disney World park hopping opens at 2 pm, Animal Kingdom crowds beging to drop. Towards the end of the day, the park is usually quite quiet with short attraction wait times.
- Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes (ILL) – Genie+ allows you to reserve a spot in line for certain attractions, which can save you time and reduce wait times. But if you are spending the whole day at the park, most likely purchasing Genie+ is not necessary unless you are visiting during major holidays. The ride currently using ILL at this park is Avatar Flight of Passage. An ILL purchase for this attraction may be a worthwhile purchase as the wait time will quickly climb after park opening and may hit over 2 hours very quickly. Ideally, you can visit this attraction as soon as the park opens.
- Stay Hydrated – Animal Kingdom can be hot and humid, especially in the summer months. Many attractions and restaurant seating areas are outside without air conditioning, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes – Animal Kingdom is a LARGE park and you will walk a lot! Make sure to wear comfortable shoes to avoid blisters and sore feet.
- Take Breaks – Animal Kingdom has plenty of shaded areas and seating areas, so take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge.
Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is a unique and exciting theme park that offers a blend of thrilling attractions and animal exhibits. Whether you are an animal lover or a Disney fan, Animal Kingdom has something for everyone. From the thrill of Avatar Flight of Passage to the beauty of Kilimanjaro Safaris, Animal Kingdom is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Walt Disney World. With this ultimate guide, you’ll be ready to make the most of your visit to Animal Kingdom and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.