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How To Do Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom In 12 Steps

Of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World the newest and largest is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The park brings guests into the beauty of nature through many different diverse and deeply detailed areas. While guests enjoy amazing attractions, entertainment, shopping, and dining, the park also aims to teach about the importance of conservation through educating but entertaining experiences. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to plenty of amazing things for guests to enjoy including a brand new area of the park that brings the world of Pandora to life. Those who explore this area and more can travel through time, come face to face with a fabled beast, enjoy wonderful and unique meals, and step into some of their favorite Disney and Pixar animated films. With so much to see and enjoy in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests will want to make the most of each moment and can do so by following a few simple tips and tricks designed to save them both time and frustration. Here are the perfect tips and tricks to help guests do Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 12 steps.

 

 

1. Rope Drop —

The best way to kick off any day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is by arriving for rope drop. This entails getting to the park before it officially opens and waiting at the gates to be let inside. While waiting for the park to open, guests are treated to themed background music and can take a chance to regroup and go over their day’s strategy. Once the gates officially open, guests who arrived for rope drop are some of the first inside of Disney’s Animal Kingdom where they are rewarded with few crowds and low wait times.

2. Visit Na’vi River Journey First —

Once the gates of Disney’s Animal Kingdom are officially open, guests should head straight for Pandora – The World of Avatar which can be found just off of Discovery Island on the left hand side of the Tree of Life. Once inside the area, guests should head straight for the Na’vi River Journey which is a serene boat adventure through a bioluminescent forest filled with special effects and awe inspiring moments. The highlight of the attraction comes with the reveal of the Na’vi Shaman of Songs who is one of the most advanced audio-animatronics ever developed by Walt Disney Imagineering.

3. FastPass Avatar Flight of Passage —

The other attraction located inside of Pandora – The World of Avatar is one of the most popular in all of Walt Disney World. Avatar Flight of Passage brings guests on a thrilling adventure where they have the opportunity to link with an Avatar and fly on the back of a banshee through Pandora. This amazing journey is incredibly popular with guests, resulting in wait times that are easily hours long. Guests who want to enjoy Avatar Flight of Passage without spending most of their morning waiting on line should opt to book a FastPass for the experience.

 

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4. Eat Breakfast at Satu’li Canteen —

After enjoying the two attractions in Pandora – The World of Avatar, guests should head over to the Satu’li Canteen to enjoy a unique and delicious breakfast. The quick service location is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serves up delicious breakfast options including Steak and Eggs, Breakfast Steamed Pod, Steel Cut Oatmeal, and Pork Hash. With an industrial setting inspired by Alpha Centauri Expeditions and whimsical food inspired by the Na’vi, the Satu’li Canteen is the perfect location to enjoy a breakfast. Be sure to use Mobile Ordering on your My Disney Experience App for easy pick up!

5. FastPass Kilimanjaro Safaris —

Guests should next head over to Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This attraction invites guests into the Harambe Reserve for a two week safari through the forests and savannahs of Africa. Guests who board the safari vehicles can set off for up close and personal encounters with animals like giraffes, elephants, rhinos, hippos, cheetahs, lions, and more. Since Kilimanjaro Safaris is so popular with guests, it is a great option to book a FastPass for.

6. Single Rider Line for Expedition Everest —

Another very popular attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be found in the Asia section of the park and invites guests to embark on a thrilling adventure deep into the Forbidden Mountain. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain has guests board steam trains and set off deep into the mountain where they find themselves scrambling to escape the clutches of the fabled Yeti. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is a thrilling and popular experience, and guests who want to enjoy it with a typically much lower wait time can opt to do so by using the Single Rider Line which offers the same experience so long as guests don’t mind being split up at the loading platform.

7. FastPass Dinosaur —

Dinoland in Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings guests back to prehistoric times thanks to all kinds of scientific and hilarious looks at the dinosaurs. Dinosaur invites guests into the Dino Institute where the technology to travel back in time has been perfected. Guests who board the Time Rovers soon find themselves on a thrilling unauthorized journey to locate one dinosaur in particular before a massive asteroid impact. Dinosaur is a very popular attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and guests who would like to enjoy it are smart to book a FastPass for the experience.

8. Lunch at Yak & Yeti Restaurant —

While Disney’s Animal Kingdom is full of amazing dining locations offering up unique atmospheres and cuisine, there is one location in the Asia section of the park that can’t be skipped. The Yak & Yeti Restaurant began after a family traveled throughout Southeast Asia and collected artifacts and recipes to start their very own restaurant. Guests who dine at the full service location for lunch can enjoy menu options like Seared Miso Salmon, Crispy Honey Chicken, Korean Beef, Chicken Tikka Masala, Malaysian Seafood Curry, and Vegetable Lo Mein.

9. Enjoy the Live Shows —

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to two amazing live shows which combine wonderful entertainment with classic Disney and Pixar animated films. The Festival of the Lion King is shown in the Harambe Theater and retells the classic story of The Lion King through fire dancing, music, special effects, aerial ballet, familiar characters, and acrobatics. Over in Dinoland, the Theater in the Wild is home to Finding Nemo – The Musical which brings the Pixar classic Finding Nemo to life through larger than life puppets and a new original song. Both live shows are absolutely amazing and should be enjoyed during any visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

10. Line Up Early for Rivers of Light —

Once night falls in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are amazing new experiences for guests to enjoy. In the massive theater located in the Asia section of the park, guests can enjoy a nightly show that brings nature and color to life in a beautiful presentation. Rivers of Light combines massive barges, the beauty of nature, and special effects to life on the Discovery River. With a finale that is truly spectacular, guests definitely need to enjoy a showing of Rivers of Light while visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Since the new nightly show is very popular, guests are smart to line up early to ensure the best possible view.

11. Enjoy the Tree of Life Awakenings —

After the sun sets, the Tree of Life becomes even more beautiful as special effects and lighting bring it to life in the Tree of Life Awakenings. Every few minutes, a special projection show begins on the Tree of Life which tells the story of another aspect of nature. Guests who spend some time in front of the Tree of Life after dark are sure to enjoy these amazing vignettes that share the beauty of nature and the world around us.

12. Explore Pandora at Night —

While Pandora – The World of Avatar is amazing during the daytime, once the sun sets the land takes on a whole new beauty. All of Pandora becomes ethereally lit with bioluminescent details that bring the area to life. Guests can enjoy the floating mountains, flowing waterfalls and rivers, and curiously lit pathways thanks to this gorgeous lighting that the Na’vi continuously enjoy.

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.