Jambo! There is nothing like a day of animal watching and attraction hopping in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
From screaming down Mount Everest at Expedition Everest to searching for gorillas on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, and from exploring the Maharajah Jungle Trek to singing under the sea with Nemo and Friends, there are so many incredible things to explore at Animal Kingdom Park. This Disney Park is truly so unique and a great fit for animal lovers and thrill-seekers alike. After years of hitting this Disney Park on every vacation, I have a few tips and tricks to share. These are things I always do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Make a Beeline to Kilimanjaro Safaris
Even after years of visiting Animal Kingdom, I never miss a chance to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guests that have experienced this incredible ride have likely heard the Cast Member guides mention that no two safaris are alike, and that is so true. How active and visible the animals are depends entirely on the day and time you visit.
I am a huge fan of starting the day off with a ride on this attraction. Arrive prior to the park’s opening and make a beeline to Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Africa section of the park as soon as it opens. Though nothing is certain, my family has had better luck with animal sightings early in the day than in the Florida heat as the day progresses. It seems that like park Guests, some animals tend to hide away in the shade in the heat of the day. Riding Kilimanjaro Safaris first means you will hopefully see more animals out and about, and you’ll slash your wait time for this key ride considerably.
Snack on Roasted Corn
Just a short walk away from Kilimanjaro Safaris you will find the next thing I always do (well, always eat) during a day at Animal Kingdom. I have sung the praises of this savory snack on this site many times before because it’s actually just that good. Located in Harambe at the Harambe Fruit Market, you will find one of the simplest and most delicious Walt Disney World Resort snacks–roasted corn.
The toasty and savory scent that wafts out over Harambe is so enticing most Guests have a hard time bypassing this snack. You can enjoy a cob of gilled corn with or without delicious African spices for only $5.29. I always tell friends to try this snack early in the day, just in case they decide to have a second serving later in the day. This roasted corn is also one of the cheapest snacks at Walt Disney World.
Scream Down Expedition Everest
On April 7, 2006, Disney added another mountain to the Disney Parks family. That’s right, I’m talking about Expedition Everest. This intense and fun ride is one of my all-time favorites and is an attraction I never miss during a day at Animal Kingdom. This attraction tells the story of the Yeti of Mount Everest and takes brave Guests on the ride of their lives, up the mountain to test their luck with this terrifying and mythical creature.
I always ride Exhibition Everest during a day at the Animal Kingdom because this is a fun coaster with an excellent ride queues and storyline. I love admiring all the mountain climbing equipment and cultural artifacts that line the walls and queue corners. As weird as this might sound, Expedition Everest absolutely is one of my favorite Disney ride queues. A day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is incomplete without a ride on this magical Disney mountain.
Sing Along With Nemo
Reviews will often mention Festival of the Lion King as a not to be missed show at Animal Kingdom. While I agree that it’s incredible, I am a bigger fan of Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond! show inside the park at Theatre in the Wild. I Love to “Go With the Flow” and am all about exploring that “Big Blue World” so seeing this show is a no-brainer.
I’ve always had a soft spot for this little clownfish and always enjoy seeing the story of Finding Nemo come to life, and live on stage. I always make time to enjoy this show during a day at Animal Kingdom. Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond! is located at DinoLand U.S.A. so you can easily sandwich this show between visits to rides like Dinosaur and a visit to one of my favorite nearby quick-service eateries, Flame Tree Barbeque.
Drink a Night Blossom
If you are looking for a cold, refreshing drink in Animal Kingdom, you cannot miss a visit to Pongu Pongu in Pandora – The World of Avatar. Located in this magical section of the Park near the Na’vi River Journey attraction underneath the beautiful floating mountains, you will find this drink and snack stand.
There are several delicious beverage options on the menu but my choice is the Night Blossom. In fact, I never miss drinking a Night Blossom during a trip to Animal Kingdom. This frozen drink has such a unique taste that is a blend of apple and desert pear limeade topped with flavorful and fun popping boba beads. On top of being delicious, this drink really does look like something straight out of the movies.
Night Blossoms ring in at $6.29 each. Adult Guests looking to amp up their Night Blossom can add alcohol to the drink. The Rum Blossom rings in at $14 and is composed of a traditional Night Blossom mixed with Superior Rum.
Pro Tip: If you are looking to eat a delicious quick-service meal in this part of the park, head to Satu’li Canteen for fresh and delicious protein and grain bowls for lunch or dinner.
Ride Flight of Passage
Not only my favorite Animal Kingdom ride, but one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World Resort, is Flight of Passage in Pandora – The World of Avatar. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have likely heard rave reviews about this attraction. You may have even seen clips of it on Walt Disney World Resort commercials. Flight of Passage takes Guests through a winding and immersive ride queue before orienting them to fly on the back of mountain banshees on an eco-tourism adventure with Pandora conservation company, Alpha Centauri Expeditions.
Using words like amazing, breathtaking, and magical seem like such cliches but this ride really is all of that, and more. Guests get to experience stunning otherworldly views swooping down over floating mountains and winging through the bioluminescent forest on the back of a breathing mountain banshee. You will smell the foliage of Pandora and feel the spray of jumping sea creatures on this ride, it’s all so incredibly real. I never ever miss a ride on Flight of Passage during a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom truly is a theme park like no other. Animal Kingdom is full of incredible experiences and attractions that help Guests learn about nature and conservation while having a fun day in the Park. These are the things I always do in Animal Kingdom but the list may look different for your family.
Remember to hop on the My Disney Experience App to search show times, and check maps of animal trails and viewing areas. If you are in the planning stages of your Disney vacation consider checking our booking and packing articles as you begin your Disney adventure.