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If I Only Had One Day in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom I Would…

…Get going! Animal Kingdom is such a cool park. It’s unique, educational, magical, and fun! If I only had one day I would want to make the absolute most of it! I’d want to see as many animals as I could, eat some amazing food, learn about conservation, and soak it all it!

 

1. Go on Safari

Simba One! Kilimanjaro Safari is kind of the heart of Animal Kingdom. This is the best way to see so many of Animal Kingdom’s residents in one go. The Safari is always awesome, but if you go first thing in the morning – right when you get to the Park – you sometimes have a better chance of seeing all the animals. Florida mornings are cool and comfortable, so the animals like to hang then, but when it gets hot they tend to hide away. No matter when you go, a Safari is a must!

2. See the Festival of the Lion King

This stage show is incredible. Festival of the Lion King tells the story of the classic movie through song, gymnastics, and even fire eating! The hosts of this 30 minute stage show divide the audience into sections: lion, giraffe, elephant, and warthog! This is such a cool way to be a part of the Animal Kingdom story and connect with it on a different level. It is a must for me because of how beautiful and fun it is.

3. Explore the Treks and Trails

The Maharajah Jungle Trek is an amazing experience for all ages! This little haven is a brilliant way to get up close to some of the coolest animals in Animal Kingdom. Located in Asia, the Maharajah Jungle Trek allows guests to get to know and watch Gibbons, deer, Blackbuck, a Komodo dragon, a flying fox, water buffalo, over 50 types of birds, and my personal favorite: tigers! After the Trek, check out the Trail! The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is awesome for learning about hippos, meerkats, and of course, gorillas!

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4. Flame Tree Barbecue Lunch

I love Flame Tree. This is always my lunch pick. Flame Tree has a great selection of BBQ food items. (Go for the ribs.) Everything on their menu is super tasty, and can be super convenient thanks to mobile ordering! But what I love most about Flame Tree is the seating area. This quick serve restaurant has a huge seating area behind it. There are a ton of huge gazebos that sit right on the water overlooking Everest. It’s gorgeous and so relaxing!

5. Wander Hidden Paths

Sometimes with Disney vacations it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to just slow down and enjoy. That’s what I love doing in Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom has fantastic sections devoted to this. They’re called the Discovery Island Trails and the Oasis Exhibits. The Oasis Exhibits are what you see when you first enter the Park. Here you can see flamingos and parrots. But the Trails are my favorite. Completely covered and hidden away, these trails are home to playful otters, a wise old tortoise, kangaroo, porcupines, and more!

6. Take on Everest

Feeling brave? Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is one of Disney’s best rollercoasters. Deep in the Himalayan Mountains is Everest, a mountain with icy legends. You become a part of the story – walking through the touring agency and Tibetan ruins before boarding a train to take you to the mount. But things are not as they seem when the threat of an abominable snowman becomes real! The track in front of you, at the peak of the mountain, is destroyed and a yeti stands in your path. The only way out of it is backwards, all the way down!

7. Yak & Yeti Dinner

After a long day of traveling through Asia and Africa, I’m starving. That’s where Yak & Yeti comes in! Yak & Yeti is a full service sit down restaurant in Asia. The cuisine is labeled ‘pan-Asian,’ because as well as authentic Asian food, there are also American options to choose from. This restaurant is so cool for its décor and story! The idea is that it sits by Everest and is a resting ground for weary travelers! The owner and explorer of the restaurant has all of his artifacts and treasures around for guests to admire. Delicious food, fun history, right in the middle of the Park. What more could you want?

8. Visit Pandora

The newest addition to Animal Kingdom is truly a sight to see. Stepping into this section is like stepping into another world. There are so many details to soak in when you visit Pandora. From the floating mountains to the glowing bioluminescence, Pandora is stunning. There’s a lot to do there too! For a grand adventure, check out Avatar Flight of Passage, or for a tamer ride, Na’vi River Journey might be for you. Whatever you decide to do in Pandora, make sure you give yourself some time to experience it!

9. Bask in the Rivers of Light

This is a stunning light, water, and puppet show that only happens once the sun goes down. This show is fairly similar to IllumiNations in Epcot in the technology it uses and the message it conveys. The idea is to celebrate and honor the beauty of earth and the binding we have to it. To help the audience feel at one with nature, the gorgeous, glowing lanterns turn into animal spirits: Tiger, Turtle, Elephant, and Owl. The magic of this show really comes from its brilliant storytelling. Like the main mission of Animal Kingdom, Rivers of Light reminds us all that we are one and we must appreciate and care for one another.

10. Enjoy Tree of Life Awakenings

When the sun goes down, the Tree of Life comes alive. From nightfall to Park close, a light show springs onto the Tree of Life every ten minutes. Fireflies fly onto the tree and wake up the animals that make up the trunk. Fully awake, some of these animals tell stories through light and color. You could see deer, hummingbirds, foxes, who knows! This is a beautiful way to illuminate your way out of the park and close the day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

About Molly Elias

Molly Elias has been a dedicated Disney fan since she was 18-months old. She has grown up with and learned from Disney her whole life. As her family's main vacation spot, Disney World is a place of love and laughter and magic for her. Her family also prides themselves on their Disney Cruise Line knowledge and would rather be on the high seas with Mickey than anywhere else in the world. Molly plans to keep Disney in her life forever, while also pursuing a writing career. She recently completed a master's program in creative writing in the hopes that someday she will be able to be a writer for the Happiest Company on Earth. Molly keeps Walt's famous quote at the forefront of her life: "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."