Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998, and has been amazing Guests ever since with incredible attractions and experiences that are entertaining but also spread the important message of conservation and preservation. The Disney Park is broken down into several themed sections that are each unique and immersive and home to some very popular attractions including Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, The Festival of the Lion King, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, and Dinosaur.
Each of these popular attractions can boast some very lengthy wait times on busy days in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but there are still plenty of other amazing experiences to enjoy for Guests who are looking to avoid the crowds. When the lines are just too long in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, be sure to check out these experiences and attractions instead!
Discovery Island Trails
Discovery Island in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the busiest areas of the Park since it acts as a spoke that connects to all other areas of the Disney Park, but it is also very underappreciated and home to the quiet and overlooked Discovery Island Trails. With access from near Pizzafari and Creature Comforts, the Discovery Island Trails are a series of calm and winding pathways that lead Guests close to the Tree of Life. With lush vegetation, up-close views of the intricate animal carvings on the Tree of Life, gurgling waterfalls and streams, and unique views of the Disney Park, these trails offer up quiet moments away from heavy crowds on busy days.
Dinoland U.S.A. is a quirky and unique area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom that is home to the prestigious Dino Institute and Dinosaur attraction as well as the zany Chester & Hester’s Din-O-Rama, which feels like a roadside carnival. Guests looking for a fun and unique area in Dinoland U.S.A. to explore that many others skip should plan on spending time in the Boneyard. Primarily geared towards young children, this interactive area features climbing elements, slides, dig pits, and more, all with humorous notes, jokes, and props left behind by the students from the Dino Institute. Guests are sure to enjoy checking out the unique prehistoric details all around, and definitely enjoy escaping the crowds at the Boneyard.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most popular attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but many Guests breeze right past Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail when exiting and heading back into Harambe. This self-guided walking path brings Guests through beautifully themed buildings, lush forest walkways, and animal habitats with lots of informative displays and signs along the way. With quiet corners all around and the stunning gorilla habitat with rolling green hills and waterfalls, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail feels miles away from the Disney Park on a busy day.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Also found in the village of Harambe is the Wildlife Express Train, which offers Guests behind-the-scenes glimpses of Disney’s Animal Kingdom before dropping them at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This off-the-beaten path location is rarely ever crowded and is home to the Conservation Station, which has unique exhibits and live veterinary demonstrations, as well as the Affection Section where Guests can get up close to certain animal species.
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Like the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, the Maharajah Jungle Trek is a beautiful self-guided walking trail that offers Guests the chance to enjoy serene settings away from the crowds just steps away from Kali River Rapids. This pathway brings Guests into the Royal Anandapur Forest, where once majestic temple walls lie in ruin, slowly being reclaimed by nature. While there are plenty of beautiful spots to soak in the surroundings, the highlight of the Maharajah Jungle Trek is the habitats of the Asian tigers, where the cats can be found lounging in the grass and frolicking in large fountains.
When the lines are long, a great way to explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom and have fun for Guests of all ages is to join the Wilderness Explorers. Made popular by the beloved Disney and Pixar film Up, the Wilderness Explorers are a band of kids and kids at heart who complete a series of tasks to earn badges and help learn important wilderness skills. With the main headquarters located on Discovery Island, Guests can sign up and receive a special guide before setting off throughout the Disney Park to earn over two dozen badges along the way. Becoming a Wilderness Explorer is a great way to slow down and check out previously overlooked areas of the Disney Park, while having lots of fun along the way!
Hidden Mickey Hunt
Another way to slow down and truly soak in the immense level of theming and details throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom is to enjoy a Hidden Mickey hunt. Hidden Mickeys can be found everywhere from décor to overt signs and can feature not only Mickey but many other beloved characters in full form, silhouette, or other imaging. There are countless Hidden Mickeys to be found throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and taking the time to explore the Park to look for them is a great way to enjoy its beauty and spot some previously unseen details.
The final option that Guests can enjoy when the lines throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom are just too long is a beautiful lounge location on Discovery Island adjacent to Tiffins Restaurant. Nomad Lounge is a beautifully themed spot where Guests can enjoy a small and vibrant indoor lounge area or a large outdoor wrap-around porch that looks out at the Discovery River. The menu features an incredible array of specialty cocktails and small bites with bold international flavors, and Guests are sure to feel completely relaxed and far from the crowds while enjoying time at Nomad Lounge!