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Flame Tree Barbecue (Photo Credit: Disney)

Tips & Tricks to Enjoy the Best Day Ever at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998 and has been amazing guests ever since with amazing attractions, dining, shopping, and entertainment. Over the years, the park has grown and expanded with the addition of new lands including Pandora – The World of Avatar as well as new attractions and experiences that guests love to enjoy. With so much to do and see in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests might not know where to start when making a plan to see as much as possible. From using time management skills to experience more in one day to prioritizing certain dining locations, there are certain tips and tricks to make the most of a day spent in the park. Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure that guests have the best day ever at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

  

1. Arrive Early In The Morning

The best way to ensure that a day in a Disney Park is as enjoyable as possible is by arriving first thing in the morning when the park officially opens. This is especially true for Disney’s Animal Kingdom as the park is nearly entirely outside, which can be hard when temperatures and humidity are high. By arriving first thing in the morning, guests can enjoy the cooler hours of the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom while also ensuring that they have plenty of time to see everything that they want to experience throughout the day.

2. Avoid Pandora – The World of Avatar In The Morning

When Disney’s Animal Kingdom first opens for the day, the majority of guests immediately head for Pandora – The World of Avatar to enjoy the very popular attractions Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage. While these attractions and the entire land are amazing, guests are better off heading elsewhere in the park first thing in the morning to avoid the rush of the crowds. This way guests can enjoy other popular attractions with lower wait times and opt to enjoy Pandora – The World of Avatar later in the day after the initial rush has calmed down.

Avatar: Flight of Passage

3. Enjoy Festival of the Lion King

One of the most popular experiences in all of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a live show that brings the beloved music and characters from The Lion King to the stage. Festival of the Lion King is an ensemble performance that runs several times throughout the day in the Harambe Theater in the Africa area of the park. Guests can enjoy a vibrant environment complimented by fire dancers, acrobats, floats with characters, and other performers who sing and dance to popular music from the film. Festival of the Lion King is an unforgettable performance that guests simply have to enjoy on any day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

 

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4. Eat On The Patio At Flame Tree Barbecue

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has plenty of great locations to enjoy a meal at, but one quick service location pairs delicious food with an unbeatable view. Flame Tree Barbecue is located on Discovery Island and serves up mouthwatering barbecue options for lunch and dinner each day. Guests can enjoy menu options such as Ribs, Chicken, and Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Pulled Pork in an outdoor seating area with plenty of table options. While the seating area is great, guests who continue to walk through the tables to the farthest patio area are rewarded with beautiful views of the water with Expedition Everest looming in the distance. The combination of delicious barbecue and beautiful views is one that can’t be beat at Flame Tree Barbecue.

Flame Tree

5. Enjoy Drinks At Nomad Lounge

One of the most relaxing locations in Disney’s Animal Kingdom combines great views with wonderful cocktails and small bites. Nomad Lounge is located near the bridge that connects Discovery Island and Pandora – The World of Avatar and is connected to Tiffins Restaurant. The lounge features indoor seating as well as an outdoor deck that offers great people watching views along with glimpses of the waterway down below. Guests who stop by Nomad Lounge can enjoy small bites such as Sweet Corn Soup, Chicken Manchurian Nomad Bowl, and Churros which pair perfectly with specialty cocktails including Annapurna Zing, Hightower Rocks, Night Monkey, and Snow Leopard Salvation.

6. Don’t Skip The Treks

Two experiences that are often overlooked in Disney’s Animal Kingdom are absolute must dos for those guests looking to make the most out of their time in the park. The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail can be found near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris and is a self-guided walking tour that features beautiful habitats including the sweeping hills where multiple gorillas frolic and play. Guests should also head to the Asia area of the park near Kali River Rapids and explore the Maharajah Jungle Trek which features beautiful temple ruins where Asian tigers live as well as several other animal habitats.

7. Explore Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Another generally underrated area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Rafiki’s Planet Watch that can only be reached via the Wildlife Express Train located by the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris. The train brings guests to the unique location where they can enjoy various experiences that help them learn more about animals and the environment. In addition to the Affection Section where guests can pet animals such as goats, there is also the Conservation Station where guests can observe veterinary procedures, experts prepare food for the animals in the park, and different habitats of amphibians and reptiles.

8. Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris Later

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most popular attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but one of the best times to enjoy it is later in the day. Since the animals in the attraction are able to move about freely and as they please, they tend to be quieter in the late mornings and afternoons as the temperatures are higher and the sun is stronger. Guests who are hoping to see a lot of animal activity on their safari are best off waiting until the late afternoon when temperatures begin to decrease and dinner is often being served.

9. Eat Dinner At Yak & Yeti Restaurant

A great way to bring a day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to a close is by enjoying a table service dinner at Yak & Yeti Restaurant in the Asia area of the park. The restaurant serves up pan-Asian cuisine throughout two floors decorated with artifacts from throughout Asia. Open for lunch and dinner each day, guests who dine at Yak & Yeti Restaurant can enjoy menu options such as Pork Egg Rolls, Ahi Tuna Nachos, Lo Mein Shrimp, Miso Salmon, Sweet & Sour Chicken, and Soy Herb Glazed Rib Eye. With an extensive menu, delicious specialty cocktails, and an amazing environment, dinner at Yak & Yeti Restaurant is the perfect end to a great day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first visited Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of the trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning about the history and small details of the parks, enjoying a Lapu Lapu, and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York teaching preschool and spending her time counting down the days to her next trip.