Visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be a unique and magical experience for each guest. If you’re looking for thrills, there are plenty of attractions to give you an adrenaline rush. If you’d rather take your time, learn about the animals and maybe take a few photos, Animal Kingdom can be the perfect place to visit. The park has so many things to explore that it’s easy to pass over some of the hidden gems. To help you explore everything Animal Kingdom has to offer, we have put together a list of the 7 ‘best kept secrets’ that should be on your must-do list.
7. The Details in Dinosaur
While the attraction is a favorite among guests, there are some details that not everyone knows about. Since Pandora attractions, Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safari draw some of the biggest crowds, Dinosaur typically has a shorter wait time. It’s a thrilling attraction with a fun storyline, which makes it easy to ride a few times during the day. If there happens to be a longer wait time, the main room with the dinosaur skeleton plays host to a show narrated by Bill Nye the Science Guy where he takes guests through the different ages of dinosaurs, from the Triassic period to the end of the Cretaceous Period.
6. Wilderness Explorers
For kids of all ages, becoming a Wilderness Explorer can be a fun and interactive way to move through the park and learn about animals, dinosaurs and lots more. Following in the footsteps of Russell and Dug from Up, guests can earn up to 30 badges from activities like observing and identifying animals, exploring dinosaur fossils, learning how to play an African drum pattern and even finding Yeti artifacts.
5. Discovery Island Trails
Under the shade of the Tree of Life, the Discovery Island Trails offer a chance to take a stroll through a tranquil space and experience some great sights up close. With over 300 animals carved into the trunk of the tree, trying to identify them can be a fun challenge as you make your way along the trails. Also on Discovery Island is a meet and greet with Tarzan. Just outside the Cotton Top Tamarin exhibit, guests can pose with Tarzan in the only place where you can regularly find him. One of the best reasons to explore the trails is the fact that you can see a number of animals up close. From otters and lemurs to the majestic Galapagos tortoise, there are plenty of creatures to see and learn about.
4. Morning Safari
Guests who have experienced a trip through the Kilimanjaro Safaris know that many of the guides will tell you to ride again because no two trips are the same. However, one of the best kept secrets is the fact that morning safaris almost always allow guests to see more of the animals. In the morning, before the day has had a chance to warm up, the animals typically are more active in the slightly cooler temperatures. You’ll see the gazelles bounding around, the hippos wandering on dry land and even the lions up and about. Once the day warms up, most of the animals tend to settle down to keep cool. While Disney Imagineers designed the safari with cool spots in view of the safari vehicles (including cool air pumped through the lion’s rock formation), the animals tend to be more docile and less active in a hotter climate.
Part human and part tree, DiVine is easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. You may see a small group of people bunched up and wonder why they’re taking pictures of the plant life when a second glance will show you DiVine quietly moving along the tree line. Wandering throughout the park, she is unique to Animal Kingdom and always happy to pose for a photo-op with guests – If you can find her.
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2. Second Entrance
Arriving just before the park opening, the crowds can sometimes seem overwhelming. One of the ways to cut down on your time spent waiting to get into the park is to head to the second entrance, which happens to be one of the park’s best kept secrets. Heading towards the main entrance, on the left-hand side is the Rainforest Café. Through the restaurant’s gift shop, a single second entrance to the park awaits and is very rarely used, even during the peak hours of the morning. Wander through and you’ll likely be first in line to walk straight into the park.
1. Kali River Rapids Buttons
For guests who ride Kali River Rapids, avoiding the seats that face backwards on the final hill is a tricky art for those who don’t wish to be completely drenched. That being said, riders are also vulnerable to other guests in the form of elephant-themed water sprayers that are activated by pressing a button on the bridge overlooking the ride. Guests can wait for the perfect moment, press the button and watch as riders get a second soaking. They are particularly fun for non-rafters who wish to stay dry.
What are your best kept secrets for Animal Kingdom? Tell us about it in the comments!