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Animal Kingdom Isn’t a Half-Day Park, Guests Are Just Missing Out on Half of the Attractions

animal kingdom entrance
Credit: Disney

Ever since Animal Kingdom opened on Earth Day in 1998, it was heralded as a ‘half-day theme park,’ making it one of Disney’s least popular vacation destinations.

However, even as DinoLand U.S.A. goes extinct, the Disney World Park has a lot to offer Guests, even if they don’t realize it.

Credit: Disney

READ MORE: Animal Kingdom’s Science, Environment, and Health Team Is Led Nearly Entirely By Women

Animal Kingdom is home to six different themed areas: Oasis, Discovery Island, Pandora: The World of Avatar, Africa, Asia, and DinoLand U.S.A.

Each themed area (except for Pandora: The World of Avatar) offers many real animal encounters, not animatronics like Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise attraction.

For example, Discovery Island, Africa, and Asia have some of the most extensive encounters with animals such as otters, flamingos, gorillas, tigers, and so much more.

Disney's Kilimanjaro Safaris

Credit: Disney

READ MORE: Animal Kingdom and EPCOT Scientist Shares Her Exotic Animal Research With WSU

Unlike the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride, which takes Guests on an open-aired expedition through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, these animal encounters must be sought out on foot via self-guided walking trails.

Many of these trails are secluded and, they can be hard to find if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Because of this, many Guests miss out on the awesome Disney experience.

Although a self-guided walking tour may not sound as exciting as the handful of Animal Kingdom rides (Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, Avatar Flight of Passage, DINOSAUR, etc.), it’s truly a unique experience, and it’s definitely worth pursuing.

tiger maharajah. jungle trek

Tiger on Maharajah Jungle Trek (Left), Tiger Sign on Maharaja Jungle Treck (Right). Credit: Jill Bivins

READ MORE: Guest Captures Neat Close-Up of One of Animal Kingdom’s Most Dangerous Residents

The trails are so serene, and it’s a great way to escape from the hectic madness of a Disney Park, all while getting to spot real animals.

The trails are also decorated in a heavily-themed way, making many Guests feel like a Wilderness Explorer as they travel through the Disney experience.

discovery island trails

Credit: Jill Bivins

READ MORE: Here’s How Animal Kingdom Celebrates a Major Elephant Milestone!

The next time you visit Animal Kingdom, be sure to visit the Discovery Island Trails, Africa’s Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Affection Section, and Asia’s Maharajah Jungle Trek.

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.