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7 Things Walt Disney World Insiders Do At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Wonderful changes have recently taken place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom now comes to life at night and boasts a new land, Pandora – The World of Avatar. There are countless things that Disney Insiders have always loved to do at Animal Kingdom and are finding to be new favorites as well! Here are a few of them.

7. Expedition Everest

For thrill seeking Disney Insiders, riding Everest just once isn’t enough, they have to ride it at least twice. The lines can often get lengthy for this ride, so it’s a wise choice to arrive at Animal Kingdom for rope drop and head over to Everest immediately when the queues are short, or grab a FastPass+. Another option is to get in the single rider line. This line is easy to miss as it’s not marked like the FastPass+ or standby entrance, so if you’re unsure of where to go, just ask a cast member. The single rider line moves quite quickly and if you don’t mind being separated from your friends or family for the duration of the ride, this is a great option to get in an extra encounter with the Yeti. Try to ride it at night as well, as it feels like it’s going so much faster!

6. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the best and most unique attractions at Animal Kingdom. For 18 minutes, you will be driven through the African savannah in an open air vehicle and your driver/tour guide will tell you all about the wildlife in the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. There are countless beautiful animals to see, like the cheetahs, giraffes, lions, and elephants. Disney Insiders know to book a Fastpass+ or get in line for this attraction early in the day. Typically the morning is a better time to see more animals, as they tend to hide out in the shade as the day gets hotter.

5. Festival of the Lion King

The Festival of the Lion King live show is located in the Harambe Theatre and if you are going to see one show at Animal Kingdom, this is the one to see. Festival of the Lion King is a celebration of the film The Lion King, featuring music and characters from the movie. You’ll see puppets, acrobats, colorful costumes and parade floats. The show is 30 minutes long and plays throughout the day. It’s a wonderful spot to take a break from the heat and just get lost in the spectacle of the Festival.

4. Pandora – The World of Avatar

Pandora – The World of Avatar is the newest land in the Animal Kingdom theme park. Head to this part of the park as soon as you arrive in the morning – due to huge crowds! Here you will find two extremely popular attractions known as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. You can expect a thrilling ride on Avatar Flight of Passage as you climb aboard a Banshee (dragon-like creature) and ride through the beautiful World of Avatar. The Na’vi River Journey is a perfect family-friendly attraction as guests boat down river and see just how beautiful the Na’vi tribe’s rainforest is with bioluminescence lighting and the latest animatronics. Unfortunately, you can only FastPass ONE of these two attractions. We recommend you FastPass one and head to the other the moment the park opens. Outside of these two attractions, the land is almost like an attraction itself with stunning beauty and ability to interact with guests… especially as it glows at night! Expect large crowds to be flocking to this area for quite some time.

3. Tours

Animal Kingdom offers some fantastic tours for guests who want to get a closer look at the wildlife there. The Backstage Tales tour is an early morning tour that takes guests backstage to show them how cast members care for the wildlife at Animal Kingdom. You will see how they prepare food for the animals, the veterinary hospital, and you will learn about how Disney promotes wildlife conservation, which is a huge part of what Animal Kingdom is all about. This tour does cost extra and it also requires a reservation. The other tour at Animal Kingdom is the Wild Africa Trek. This three-hour safari adventure tour runs throughout the day but like Backstage Tales, requires a reservation and does cost an extra fee. If you love Kilimanjaro Safaris, this is the tour for you. This tour will take you across a rope bridge, a photographer will take photos throughout the tour and you’ll have a knowledgeable guide who will share information not only about the wildlife but also about how Disney cares for the animals in the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. If you’ve visited Animal Kingdom multiple times, these tours may be a wonderful way to expand and build upon your experiences in the park.

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2. The Trails

There are two self-guided trails in Animal Kingdom. There is the Maharajah Jungle Trek and the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. The Maharajah Jungle Trek is full of wild animals from Asia, like fruit bats and majestic tigers as well as ruins, shady trees and an array of exotic birds. The Pangani Forest trail is home to African wildlife such as meerkats and gorillas. Both trails are the perfect place to slow down and just enjoy your surroundings with your family and friends. There are opportunities to learn about the flora and fauna and the animals around you, or you can merely take it all in, snap pictures or take a break in the shade on a bench.

1. Animal Kingdom Evening Hours

You don’t want to skip out early from Animal Kingdom! Now coming to life at night, guest have the opportunity to enjoy an amphitheater style show called Rivers of Light where nature is celebrated in an incredibly beautiful way! And who’s ready to dance? The Discovery Island Carnivale is a fun event to dance with colorfully costumed dancers, stilt walkers and musicians. The Tree of Life Awakenings is a perfect way to cap off the evening with its projections and music lighting up the iconic Animal Kingdom symbol. And finally, the perfect evening experience is a visit to Pandora – World of Avatar to see this beautiful land glow at night! Truly remarkable.

About Lauren Repei

Lauren lives in Hamilton Ontario, but dreams of one day moving to Orlando to be closer to the Magic Kingdom. She loves the atmosphere, the history, the magic of the parks and Dole Whips, so she’s always in the midst of planning her next vacation. In the meantime, she spends her days working for the family business as a baker, and as a travel agent specializing in Disney with ClicktheMouse. Lauren’s most memorable Disney moment by far, is when she became engaged in front of Cinderella Castle making it her best Disney vacation to date.