Animal Kingdom is unlike any other! With new additions, classic attractions, shows, and entertainment… it’s definitely a full day park. While our focus may be on roaming from one attraction to another, don’t forget to look around and take in the beauty of this park – especially at these 8 amazing places!
The Harambe Market area is one of the most beautiful areas in the park. Right near the exit to Kilimanjaro Safaris, this market features some of the most unique food and drink on Disney property. Even though it’s brand new, it is fairly unknown to most people and is a great place to rest and relax during downtime in the park. Gorgeous archways and architecture and covered seating make it the perfect place to escape during inevitable Florida thunder showers. Don’t forget to take some time to read the never-ending posters and signs; they are always entertaining.
7. Forest Around DINOSAUR
This is a personal favorite. If you have little ones it’s a definite stop, but even for adults there are always some fun moments. In the trails surrounding DINOSAUR, there are dinosaur statues in the foliage. You might be lucky enough to find a battle between two behemoths, a campsite with a friend you can sit on, or even gentle horned friends just beyond the treeline. If you don’t see them right away just give a listen. They will give themselves away.
6. Bridge to Asia (Near Expedition Everest)
Just past the Finding Nemo theatre you’ll find some of the best photo opportunities the park has to offer. In one direction, marvel over a great view of the Rivers of Light space as well as the Tree of Life icon in the distance. In the other direction, enjoy a stunning look at Expedition Everest. From this location you can really get a sense of just how massive this park is. The key thing to realize, though, is that half of the park isn’t even visible from here. The beautiful work done by the Imagineers on this particular section of the park is astounding. The treeline, the bridge work, the details put into Rivers of Light, Tree of Life, and Everest itself is awe-inspiring, to say the least.
5. Pangani Forest
Visit this incredible area after getting off Kilimanjaro Safaris, or, if the ride queue is too long, consider skipping Kilimanjaro until a bit later and walk about the Pangani Forest first. One way or another it is never a disappointment. Obviously the number one reason to explore this area is to see the gorillas. The viewing areas are always packed but it is worth the wait. The first area you will come across is the family enclosure where you will usually find a mother and child playing. Seeing a baby gorilla playing up close might just be one of the most memorable moments of your life. If you are not lucky enough to catch them in their enclosure, not to worry. A few steps further and you will get to see the group of bachelor gorillas. There are usually 3 of them up on the hill in the distance and they don’t stay still for long, so stick around for a little while – if you can’t get a good picture at first, you will soon.
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4. Maharajah Jungle Trek
Come for the tigers, stay for the décor. It’s no surprise that everyone comes to this walkabout to see the tigers. And to see the tigers in their element, it’s all about timing. Some days they will be sleeping or lying about in a corner; some days they’ll be playing like kittens in the water or on the ruins in their enclosure. Even if you don’t catch the tigers, the area around them is stunning; ornately carved doors, colourful prayer flags, and trekking vignettes evoke images of Southern Asia. Of course there are other incredible areas to explore while on the trek. Make sure to make a trip to the giant fruit bat enclosure. Watching these gentle giants get fed is really fun and interesting to watch.
3. Yak and Yeti Restaurant
This should really include the entire area around the restaurant. When creating Animal Kingdom, Disney went out of their way to really give guests the feeling they are traveling to the different areas of the world depicted in the park. Like the World Showcase in Epcot, the area around Yak and Yeti features facets straight out of Nepal and India. It’s never just about the food when you go to a restaurant in Walt Disney World, and this restaurant is especially breathtaking. Be sure and take a walk inside to see all of the Nepalese flair incorporated into the restaurant’s design. And don’t miss the second floor. Before you leave the area be sure to walk just around the corner to the Yak and Yeti store. It is some of the most affordable and unique merchandise on Disney property.
2. Pandora – The World of Avatar
Pandora – The World of Avatar is the newest land in the Animal Kingdom theme park. Besides the floating mountains and cascading waterfalls, you will find two extremely popular attractions known as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Outside of these two attractions, the land is almost like an attraction itself with stunning beauty and ability to interact with guests… especially as it glows at night with glowing walkways and on the unbelievable glowing Pandoran plants.
1. Discovery Island Trails (Tree of Life)
There is a reason this is the iconic structure in the park. For starters, it’s 145 feet tall and 50 feet wide at its base. While its size is impressive all on its own, it is the carvings that make the Tree of Life a place you can literally get lost in for hours. The trails are home to the roots of the trees which themselves are home to over 300 animal carvings. Every time you visit, you’ll find animals you’ve either forgotten were there, or have never seen before. If that wasn’t enough, while you are traversing these incredibly crafted trails you will run across live creatures as well. Pools, meadows, and trees are teeming with tortoises, kangaroos, lemurs and more. The Discovery Island Trails are just one example of how people who call Animal Kingdom a half-day park must really be overwhelmed with its vastness. Don’t forget to stick around and check out the Tree of Life Awakenings for even more nighttime beauty!