10 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Caitlin C

Of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is by far the largest and sure to thrill guests of all ages. The park is a massive celebration of nature and the environment and strives to teach guests about the importance of conservation and preservation through fun and educational experiences. Those who spend time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can travel into the Forbidden Mountain, go on an African safari, step into the World Of Avatar, relive The Lion King, travel back in time, and shrink down to the size of bugs. With so much to see and do in the park, there are some tips to definitely follow in order to make the most of guest’s time there. From saving time and frustration to making sure to see as much as possible, here are ten tips for getting the most out of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

10. Arrive For Rope Drop

The easiest way to kick off any Disney day the right way is to arrive at any of the four theme parks for rope drop. Arriving for rope drop entails getting to the park before it officially opens to the public and waiting at the gates to be let in. Guests who arrive at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for rope drop can enjoy a welcome speech which teases them of the wonderful adventures and experiences waiting inside. Once the gates are open, those who have arrived for rope drop are some of the first guests inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom where they can then enjoy few crowds and low wait times.

9. Visit Kilimanjaro Safaris First

After entering into Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests should head directly to the Africa section of the park to enjoy one of the most popular attractions. Kilimanjaro Safaris invites guests into the Harambe Reserve for a two week safari through the savannahs and forests of Africa. Guests can enjoy up close and personal experiences with animals like cheetahs, lions, zebras, giraffes, and elephants while taking in beautiful scenery. Kilimanjaro Safaris should be visited first thing in the morning as the temperatures are cooler and breakfast is being served in the Reserve which result in the animals being more active and visible.

8. Single Rider Expedition Everest

The Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to an attraction which brings guests deep inside the Forbidden Mountain for a chance encounter with the Yeti. Expedition Everest begins as a gentle tea train tour but soon turns dangerous as guests find themselves frantically rushing to escape the grasp of the Yeti. Since Expedition Everest is so popular, it tends to have long wait times on busy days in the park. Instead of using a FastPass for the experience, guests should opt to utilize the Single Rider line which allows them to enjoy the same attraction with a lower wait time so long as they do not mind being split up at the loading platform.

7. FastPass Dinosaur & Pandora Rides

Another very popular attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be found in Dinoland. Dinosaur brings guests into the Dino Institute where the technology to travel back in time has been developed. Guests are supposed to enjoy a serene tour through a quiet time in dinosaur history but find themselves instead dangerously close to a massive asteroid impact on a quest for one dinosaur to bring back to present times. The newest and arguably most popular rides in Animal Kingdom, Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, are both in Pandora-World of Avatar and a FastPass for one these experience will save you lots of time that otherwise would have been spent waiting on line for the attractions. You can’t get FastPass for every popular ride of course but you should prioritize these depending on what everyone in your party wants to do.

6. See The Festival Of The Lion King

Located near Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Africa section of the park is a live show which is sure to wow guests of all ages. The Festival of the Lion King retells the story from the classic animated film through song, fire dancing, aerial ballet, familiar characters, and acrobatics. Guests who want to enjoy a showing of the Festival of the Lion King should definitely consult a times guide when entering into Disney’s Animal Kingdom as the show only runs several times per day. I have seen this show so many times and I never get tired of it.

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5. Eat At Flame Tree Barbecue

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to several amazing dining options for guests to choose from, but a favorite option of many guests can be found on Discovery Island. Flame Tree Barbecue is a quick service location which serves up delicious options like Ribs, Half a Chicken, Turkey Legs, and a Watermelon Salad. After ordering their meals, guests can enjoy the cuisine of Flame Tree Barbecue on a back patio which offers a sweeping view of Expedition Everest across the water. Don’t forget to take advantage of the Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering right from your My Disney Experience App!

4. Enjoy The Trails

Two underrated experiences in Disney’s Animal Kingdom that should not be missed are self-guided walking tours that guests are sure to love. The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail can be found near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris and brings guests into beautiful scenery where animals can be found in their natural habitats. The highlight of the trail is the grassy area where gorillas frolic through lush hills and waterfalls right in view of guests. Those visiting the park should also stop by the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia to enjoy another self-guided trail which brings them through lush jungles and extravagant temple ruins. Along the way guests can enjoy exotic birds and playful Asian tigers.

3. Visit The Conservation Station

A unique area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom allows guests an in depth look at the care and science behind many of the animal species found nearby. Guests who board the Wildlife Express Train can enjoy a quick ride from the village of Harambe to Rafiki’s Planet Watch which is home to the Conservation Station. This area aims to teach guests about the importance of animal care and how that is delivered in the park. Guests can enjoy many different exhibits and features like the Song of the Rainforest, Nutrition Center, and Veterinary Treatment Room.

2. Enjoy Finding Nemo – The Musical

Found in Dinoland in the Theater in the Wild is another amazing live show that is not to be missed while enjoying time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Finding Nemo – The Musical retells the story of the Pixar classic film Finding Nemo with larger than life puppets of characters like Nemo, Dory, Marlin, and Crush. Guests will love seeing the story come to life in such a grand scale and singing along to the song “Big Blue World.” Like the Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo – The Musical is only performed several times each day so guests should be sure to check a times guide for show times.

1. Enjoy The Details

One of the best ways to get the most out of a day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is to simply slow down and enjoy the details. Each area of the park is overflowing with details that aim to make guests feel as though they have traveled to a different place in the world and are immersed in the culture there. With so many amazing details and beautiful plant life all around, guests are sure to be amazed by the little things in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

About Caitlin Corsello

Caitlin Corsello first visited Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of the trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning about the history and small details of the parks, enjoying a Lapu Lapu, and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York teaching preschool and spending her time counting down the days to her next trip.