12 Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the newest theme park in the Walt Disney World family, features some of the newest attractions, most unique entertainment, and one-of-a kind experiences. Whether you’ve been 1 time or 100 times, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do during your visit.

12. Don’t miss the Tree of Life Awakening

One of the newer additions to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life Awakening. With high definition video projections and synchronized music, animals carved in the tree come alive! Once night time falls, don’t miss out on this experience that runs randomly several times per night. In addition, you’ll see the tree branches beautifully illuminated in a myriad of colors that make this park icon show off its unique night time beauty.

11. Do the Maharajah Jungle Trek

Set amongst the ruins of the Maharajah Palace, this nature walk will capture the attention of everyone in your party. Showcasing tigers, bats, birds and more, this walk-through exhibit makes you want to rush through to get to the next exhibit. But, don’t go so fast that you miss out on the elaborate temple ruins which are an attraction in themselves. This escape is perfect for a middle of the day tour when many of the other attractions are at peak crowds.

10. Don’t take in plastic straws and lids

One of the big no no’s in any zoological park is the use of plastic straws and lids. These items can easily get stuck in the throat of many animals as they are left behind by guests, both carelessly and unintentionally. Even if the animals were to swallow it properly, their system will not digest it, which will lead to even greater problems. Disney is committed to the health and safety of their animals. Thankfully, Disney does offer a unique solution. When dining, drinking straws are still made available to guests. They are made of paper! While it feels a little different in your mouth, know that it’s in the best interest of our four footed friends.

9. Do the Live Action Theatre Shows

Animal Kingdom has some of the best live entertainment to be had in all of Walt Disney World. Two guests favorites you’ll want to check out include Finding Nemo – The Musical, which recreates the story of the movie title with the same name. In this version, the big blue world comes alive with life sized puppets in forms you won’t see anywhere else. Our other guest favorite is the Festival of the Lion King. This original interpretation features singing, dancing, acrobats, fire dancing, and more. Both of these shows draw large crowds, so grab fast passes for guaranteed seating and line up early.

8. Don’t miss DiVine 

Upon entering the gates, many guests rush through The Oasis in order to hurry to Discovery Island to begin their day. But if you take the time to slow down you might see some things you never expected. One of those things happens to be DiVine. While we could explain in detail who she is, we’ll leave that for you to find out!

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7. Do Rafiki’s Planet Watch

In one of the far reaching places of the park, only accessible by train, you’ll find Rafiki’s Planet Watch. While some guests unknowingly dismiss this as a simple train ride, it’s so much more. Once you arrive at your destination you’ll be treated to special exhibits, a petting zoo, and maybe a few character meet and greets. Inside the Conservation Station, be sure to head into one of the small darks rooms where sets of headphones are waiting for you. It’s a little nugget of fun for the whole family!

6. Don’t miss the Live Street Entertainment

Dancers, stilt walkers, musicians, DJ’s, and parties are waiting for you. As you stroll from land to land, you’ll be drawn into the African pop rhythms, Caribbean masquerades, and other authentic cultural gatherings. Stop, take a break, and join in on the fun of signing and dancing from nationals who come from every corner of the globe to immerse you in the sights and sounds from lands far away.

5. Do Delicious Dining

Animal Kingdom offers some of the most unique dining experiences in all of Walt Disney World. Table service options include Yak & Yeti for asian food, Tiffins for African food and Tusker House for character dining. In addition, a Rainforest Cafe located at the entrance, but outside the gates, welcomes guests even without park admission. But don’t limit yourself to table service meals. Grab a bite at the famed Flame Tree Barbecue and you can dine with a view of Mt. Everest!

4. Don’t miss The Boneyard

I’m embarrassed to admit how many times we as a family walked right by this massive elaborately themed play area and never took notice. With tall slides, rope bridges to cross, and caves to explore, you’re little ones won’t want to leave. Be sure you cross over the foot bridge that crosses over one of the main pedestrian walkways. It will lead you to the dig site. Children can spend a long time here and never get bored, while mom and dad can take a much needed break.

3. Do Kilimanjaro Safari

No trip to Animal Kingdom is complete without taking in arguably the most signature attraction the park has to offer. Board your safari truck and prepare to see elephants, hippos, giraffes, lions and some animals you may have never even heard of. It’s been said that every time you journey on this attraction, you’ll get a different experience. Experts who have been on actual safari’s in Africa say Disney has done an incredible job of, not only recreating such an experience, but carefully enhancing it to make sure guests are able to maximize their viewing of the animals.

2. Don’t miss the Characters 

We already know Walt Disney World is the perfect spot to meet your favorite Disney characters. The Adventurers Outpost is where you will find Mickey & Minnie dressed ready for a safari. In addition, look carefully for other characters you’ll only see inside this park. They include Pocahontas, Tarzan, Baloo, Flik, and more. Depending on the time of year, you just might be in luck to see a rare character or two hiding out. If you happen to be in the park on Earth Day, head over to #7 and you just might catch a cricket named Jiminy!

1. Do Stroller Valet

One of the best conveniences Walt Disney World offers is exclusive to Animal Kingdom. As many stroller pushing parents are keenly aware, the stresses of stroller parking can rival car parking any day of the week. Not so at select Animal Kingdom attractions. Upon arriving at the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safari and It’s Tough To Be a Bug, don’t be confused if you can’t figure out where to put your stroller. Simply enter the line, stroller and all. At a designated point in the line, friendly cast members will be waiting to park your stroller for you! After exiting said attraction, your stroller will be waiting for you just around the corner. We love this amenity so much we wish it would expand to other attractions and other parks. It’s also why it comes in at #1 on our list.

This completes our list of 12 Do’s and Don’ts when visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Which one is your favorite? Let us know by commenting with your choice!

About Tim Forgette

I grew up in southeast Michigan. I took my first trip to Walt Disney World in 1986 when I was just three years old. I am blessed to be the husband of 14 years to my beautiful wife, Rachel and father of four precious children, Lily (10), Elijah (8), Grace (6) and Josiah (5). We have always enjoyed doing things as a family which is why, when we moved to Florida, one of the first things we did was buy Disney annual passes. I enjoy everything Florida has to offer, but absolutely love watching my kids light up when it's time to go to Disney! We visit the Disney parks on average about once a week. When not at Disney, I enjoy participating with my church and community, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.