Animal Kingdom is arguably one of the most unique theme parks there is. It’s not a zoo, but it has wild animals and a safari, it promotes conservation, love and respect for our planet, and it also has an area that isn’t even found on earth. So where do you start when thinking of a trip to Animal Kingdom? Here are 20 tips and secrets to help you plan your day at this amazing and diverse park.
20. Arrive Early
Arrive at least 30-45 minutes prior to rope drop if you plan on visiting Pandora in the morning and riding Flight of Passage. Lines get long early on to get into this area of the park.
19. Look Left
It’s difficult to ignore the terrifying Carnotarus chasing you through Dinosaur, especially at the ride photo spot. When you reach this point in the ride, look to your left and you’ll spot a second Carnotarus chasing your Time Rover.
18. You Will Get Wet
Chances are good you will get wet on Kali River Rapids, but there’s also a good chance you’ll get soaked! If you want to experience this thrilling raft ride without getting drenched, pack a poncho for your excursion.
17. Morning and Night
Kilimanjaro Safaris runs during the evening now, which means you have more opportunities to see different animals depending on when you ride this attraction. During the morning many animals are active, but some animals, like the lions, are more active and vocal as evening approaches.
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16. Single Rider Line
Expedition Everest is one of the few attractions at Disney to have a single rider line. This is something worth taking advantage of when the lines are long and you want to meet the yeti.
15. Don’t FastPass the Shows
There are two wonderful shows at Animal Kingdom that are worth your time, but not worth using a FastPass on. Festival of the Lion Kingdom and Finding Nemo the Musical are shows that play multiple times throughout the day and they have the theaters can accommodate a ton of guests. Use your FastPasses for attractions that will save you time waiting in line.
14. Save at Flame Tree
If you have the Tables in Wonderland Card (available to DVC members, annual passholders and Florida residents) you can save 20% at Flame Tree Barbeque. This is one of the few quick-service locations that accepts Tables in Wonderland.
13. Second Entrance
There is another entrance into the park, which can be less busy than the main entrance. It’s located at the back of the gift shop in the Rain Forest Café.
12. Dole Whips
There is an adult version of the beloved snack located at Tamu Tamu Refreshments. Here you can order a Dole Whip with rum.
11. Hidden Mickeys
If you love finding Hidden Mickeys, visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here you will find a massive animal mural in the main building which has a multitude of Hidden Mickey’s. (Hint, find the toad and look into his eye).
10. Afternoon Meet and Greet
Sometimes late in the afternoon there are unscheduled character meet and greets near the front gates of Animal Kingdom. Pocahontas and Meeko have been known to make an appearance and other rare characters like Thumper. With a little luck and good timing, you might happen upon one of these characters!
9. Pandora Creators
As you exit Flight of Passage, look for three red handprints. Under those handprints are initials, which stand for James Cameron, Jon Landau and Joe Rhode, the creators of Pandora.
8. Mobile Ordering
Don’t forget that Mobile Ordering through the My Disney Experience app can save you a lot of time, especially at Satu’li Canteen.
7. Rivers of Light
This nighttime show is beautiful and definitely worth seeing at least once. Because it’s a newer addition to the park, seating fills up quickly. Make a Rivers of Light dining package reservation at Tiffins or Tusker House and get yourself a VIP seating voucher for the show that evening.
6. Winged Encounters
Keep an eye to the skies and you might catch Winged Encounters. These are unscheduled appearances of free-flying macaws over the park. It’s truly a magical moment when you see it.
5. Tsum Tsums
If you’re a collector of the cute and stackable Tsum Tsums, you’ll want to visit Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures. It’s the only shop in Animal Kingdom that sells Tsums.
4. Tree of Life Awakenings
As the sun sets the Tree of Life awakens and comes to life with gorgeous projections. This happens throughout the evening and is worth lingering around the park for before you exit.
3. Don’t Skip the Trails
Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail are beautiful walking trails where guests can see tigers, exotic birds and more. There are also knowledgeable cast members located along the trails, so say hello and learn a few new things about the wildlife there.
2. Ride One Last Time
You can jump into the line for an attraction before the park closes and you’ll still be allowed to ride, as long as you’re in line before the official closing time of the park. This is the perfect time to ride Everest and get a great nighttime view of the park.
1. Multiple Day Park
Animal Kingdom used to have the reputation of being a ‘half-day park’, but that certainly isn’t the case anymore. In fact, you could argue that guests could easily spend more than a day at this fantastic park. Pandora has added a great deal to the park, and the park is open later. Rivers of Light is just one of a few nighttime attractions now, so it might just take more than one day at Animal Kingdom to see all it has to offer from morning until night.