Animal Kingdom is the largest of the Disney World theme parks and although some people claim they can do Animal Kingdom in less than a day, there is a great deal to do and see here. It’s easy to miss out on a few things throughout the park, especially if it’s your first visit. Here are 10 tips for getting the most out of your day at Animal Kingdom.
10. Arrive Early
If you are staying at a Disney resort, Extra Magic Hours are available to you and the early Extra Magic Hour offered at Animal Kingdom is definitely worth taking advantage of. On particular days, Animal Kingdom opens an hour early to guests staying on property and you can accomplish a lot during that hour. It may be early, but you can often walk right onto popular rides like Expedition Everest, Dinosaur and Kilimanjaro Safaris. If you aren’t staying on property, it’s still a good idea to arrive early to tackle the park before the crowds get too big and the sun gets too hot!
The FastPass+ system is key to getting the most out of any Disney park and Animal Kingdom is not exception. If you enjoy thrill rides, make your FastPass+ reservations for Expedition Everst, Kali River Rapids or ensure you have a spot on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Or perhaps you would like to reserve your seat at a show like Festival of the Lion King, or get a FastPass+ to meet your favorite character. However you chose to use your FastPass+, you will find that they save you time waiting in line and help guarantee that you’ll experience the attractions on your Animal Kingdom must-do list.
8. Safari Early
It’s a good idea to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris in the morning. Often there are more animals out earlier in the day when the sun isn’t quite so hot. Many of the animals tend to hide out in the shade as the day progresses and the heat sets in. If you would like to better your chances of seeing more animals, head over to the safaris first thing. As a bonus, the line up will also be shorter so you probably won’t need a FastPass+ for this ride until later in the day, meaning you could ride it at least twice and hopefully see different animals on each safari.
7. Tusker House
You will find a delicious buffet featuring African flavors at this marketplace-style restaurant in Animal Kingdom. There is sure to be something at the buffet for everyone in your party and you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner here. Best of all, the Tusker House offers an amazing character dining experience. This is the perfect place to relax, dine with your family and recharge, all while mingling with Safari Donald and friends.
6. Become a Wilderness Explorer
Just like Russell in Up, guests visiting Animal Kingdom can become Wilderness Explorers. Embarking on the challenges and completing the activities of Wilderness Explorers makes it fun and easy to explore Animal Kingdom in a different way. It’s interactive, great for the whole family, and you may even discover new things about the park that you may not have noticed before – all while earning badges along the way.
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5. Share Snacks
There are so many delicious snacks and quick service meals to pick from that it’s difficult to choose just one or two. A great way to try a number of snacks and meals is to share with your friends and family. Why not share the rack of BBQ ribs at Flame Tree BBQ and then share a bucket of popcorn? Or split a pizza over at Pizzafari and then share the Chocolate Waffle for dessert at Tamu Tamu Refreshments.
4. Plan Ahead
It’s best to do some planning ahead of time before heading to Animal Kingdom. Make your dining reservations in advance and your FastPass+ selections early as well. Also, make a list of the attractions on your must-do list, check the scheduled times and places for character meet and greets, and look at the show time schedules as well. Disney makes all this information very easy to access and taking a few minutes to plan ahead means you have a better chance of doing everything on your list.
Animal Kingdom has some of the most unique character meet and greets, and many of the characters here are not found elsewhere. Guests can meet Pocahontas, Tarzan, Dug and Russell from Up, Baloo and King Louie from The Jungle Book and Rafiki from The Lion King, and sometimes Timon can even be found at Animal Kingdom. There is also a truly amazing ‘character’ to keep an eye out for, though she may be difficult to spot at first glance, and that is DiVine. DiVine is a character wrapped in green vines and plant life who moves seamlessly among the nature at Animal Kingdom. If you do happen to see her, make sure you get your picture taken with her since she can be difficult to fine and doesn’t have scheduled appearances like other characters.
2. Photo Pass
Disney has so many wonderful services and the Disney Photo Pass is definitely one of them. There are photographers all over the park, including a few at the most popular photo spots around the park. These photographers will take photos of you on their camera, which you can later view and purchase online. They are also more than happy to take your photo using your phone or personal camera, which means you can capture the magical moment at no extra cost. This is a wonderful way to ensure that you capture great photos with everyone in your party.
When you’re at Animal Kingdom, take the time to see and admire the animals that are at the heart of this spectacular theme park. Explore the trails and treks and see the gorillas, tigers, bats and birds. Learn about different species along the way and take a trip to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to see the cotton-top tamarin monkeys, learning about conservation and how to keep all these creatures alive in our world. Everywhere you look there are exotic and beautiful animals all gathered in this one park, so take advantage of the different ways you can see and learn about the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.