You may find it strange talking about fitting in 15 attractions in one day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Are there even 15 attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Fear not, there are plenty of attractions to catch at this frequently under-rated park, even before the massive renovations creating Pandora (the extensive Avatar-themed land) and Rivers of Light (a spectacular night-time show) are completed in the next couple of years. If you want to enjoy all this park has to offer, though, you need to make sure you plan your day carefully.
It all starts with your arrival time. Disney’s Animal Kingdom doesn’t typically have a lot of Extra Magic Hours at the end of the day. But it’s the park that opens early more often than not, so to maximize your day, be there when the park opens right at 8:00 am. First thing in the morning, the lines to get into the park can be quite overwhelming, so here’s the best hint I can offer for this park: head through the Rainforest Café gift shop, and enter the park via the little-known entrance on the other side. Of course, now that I have mentioned this, it may not be so secret anymore, but for now utilize it as you see fit.
Spend your morning covering the middle of the park, including It’s Tough to Be a Bug and the incredible Tree of Life. From there, make your way over to Dinoland USA for the ride Dinosaur, and the hilariously entertaining Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama, a dinosaur-themed midway for the young and young at heart. By the time you’ve enjoyed these areas, it should be time for an early lunch, and Restaurantosaurus is a great option if you want to stop by for a quick bite to eat. After you’ve eaten, start your journey into the rest of the park.
There are three major shows that you’ll want to see: Finding Nemo – the Musical, Flights of Wonder and Festival of the Lion King. The shows take place at set times throughout the day, so work them into your schedule before you go, to avoid wasting time wandering back and forth all over the park. Your best bet is to see the first showing of Finding Nemo – the Musical while you’re making your way to Asia. The first showing is usually not very busy, so you’ll be able to get great seats. Next, catch Flights of Wonder, located in the middle of Asia, before you get to Africa. Once in Africa, try to make it to the last showing of Festival of the Lion King after you’ve fit in all of your other attractions along the way.
FastPasses will definitely be your friend at this park. There are three attractions you’ll want to try to grab them for: Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, and of course, Kilimanjaro Safaris. For Expedition Everest, try to grab a timeslot either just before or just after your nearby Finding Nemo – the Musical showing (this is where your advance show-scheduling will come in handy). Kali River Rapids is great to do just before or just you enjoy the birds in Flights of Wonder. This will also coincide with the hottest part of the day, so it’s a perfect time to cool off with a water ride. You can save your last FastPass (Kilimanjaro Safaris) for later in the day. If you plan it for just before you watch Festival of the Lion King, you’ll walk off the ride and be less than a minute away from the show.
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The only thing I have left out is leaving time for opportunities to hang out and have some one-on-one time with the animals, who are, after all, the stars of this park. Before or after you get wet on Kali River Rapids, consider dropping by the Maharajah Jungle Trek for some prime animal viewing. Then make your way to the Wildlife Express Train for Conservation Station, to see how Disney cares for the animals on site. Leave yourself lots of time to see more animals in action in the Pangani Forest, before you hop on Kilimanjaro Safaris with your last FastPass of the day. Does any of this sound confusing? Just check out the list below, outlining the way we like to enjoy our day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With a little planning, you’ll easily be able to experience everything on your wish list – just remember to take your time and appreciate everything around you while you visit this absolutely incredible landscape.
- Tree Of Life
- It’s Tough to Be A Bug
- The Boneyard
- Fossil Fun Games
- Finding Nemo – the Musical
- Expedition Everest
- Flights of Wonder
- Kali River Rapids
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
- Wildlife Express Train
- Conservation Station
- Pangani Forest
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Festival of the Lion King