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Top Lies About Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998 and has been welcoming guests into its incredible and immersive experiences ever since. The park is home to unforgettable experiences that celebrate the environment, animal world, and more with important messages of conservation and preservation. While guests absolutely love to enjoy the beautiful savannas of Africa on Kilimanjaro Safaris, thrilling encounters with the Yeti on Expedition Everest, and the magical beauty of Pandora – The World of Avatar, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is still overlooked by many due to incorrect assumptions that have been established over the years. Here are the top ten lies about Disney’s Animal Kingdom that many guests tend to believe.

1. It’s A Half Day Park

One of the biggest lies about Disney’s Animal Kingdom that keeps many guests from visiting is the assumption that it is a half day park. This assumption started when the Disney Park first opened and there were admittedly not many attractions or experiences for guests to enjoy and they found themselves leaving after lunch time. While this might have been true in 1998, it is certainly no longer the case. With plenty of attractions, entertainment, dining, shopping, and unique experiences to enjoy, guests can certainly enjoy an entire day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and still come back for more. In addition, the park now offers plenty of nighttime experiences that are must dos including the bioluminescence of Pandora – The World of Avatar and sunset safaris on Kilimanjaro Safaris.

2. It’s Just A Zoo

It is easy to understand why many guests might think that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is simply a glorified zoo that focuses only on animals. Many guests originally believed this assumption and wondered why they would pay to visit a zoo in Walt Disney World when they could enjoy one at home. This led to the clever advertising campaign declaring the Disney Park was “nahtazu” to encourage guests to look closer and realize that there are plenty of experiences to enjoy outside of animal habitats and encounters.

3. It’s Too Hot

Compared to the other three Disney Parks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom features the most experiences outdoors which can definitely be hard to deal with in the summer months when the humidity and temperatures are very high. While there is certainly a lot of time spent outdoors, the Disney Park also features countless opportunities to head inside and enjoy air conditioning including restaurants, shopping locations, and more. While the outdoor temperatures might be high, there are plenty of ways to beat the heat in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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4. There Are No Thrills

It makes sense that many guests who assume that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is simply a zoo or a park that only is worthy of half a day might also assume that the experiences are aimed more towards guests of all ages are feature serene and quiet attractions. While there are certainly experiences that are great for guests of all ages such as the Na’vi River Journey, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and It’s Tough To Be A Bug, there are also plenty of big thrills to be enjoyed throughout the Disney Park. Thrill seekers will love soaring on the back of a banshee on Avatar Flight of Passage, traveling through time to prehistoric eras on Dinosaur, and rocketing through the Forbidden Mountain to escape the Yeti on Expedition Everest.

5. There Aren’t Enough Attractions

Compared to other Disney Parks such as the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom does have noticeably less attractions for guests to enjoy, however this is not a negative thing. While there are less attractions in general, there are plenty of self-guided walking tours, animal encounters and experiences, midway type games, and much more that guests can enjoy throughout each corner of the Disney Park that can easily fill an entire day!

Credit: Disney

6. Animals Are Treated Cruelly

One of the biggest misconceptions about Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the assumption that since the animals are seen on attractions and in experiences, the animals must be mistreated. This could not be further from the truth. Disney’s Animal Kingdom strives to be a safe and nourishing environment for all of its animal inhabitants through providing top level habitats, veterinary care, food, enrichment, and more to promote happy and healthy animals who thrive each day in the Disney Park. Disney’s Animal Kingdom also consistently focuses on conservation and protection of endangered species and the environment through various organizations and programs.

7. Nothing Great To Eat

Guests who view Disney’s Animal Kingdom as a half day park might also automatically assume that they won’t be eating there because they would rather travel elsewhere for a meal. Choosing to not dine in the Disney Park is a huge mistake as there are countless amazing dining options to enjoy including both quick and table service locations. Guests are sure to love the flavors of Southern Asia at the Yak & Yeti Restaurant, the worldly cuisine served at Tiffins Restaurant, the smoky and delicious barbecue at Flame Tree Barbecue, indulgent American cuisine at Restaurantosauraus, and more.

Tiffins (Photo: Disney)

8. No Quiet Spots For Adults

As with all of the Disney Parks, many guests assume that the pace has to be fast and frantic in order to see and enjoy it all, leaving little opportunity to enjoy a quiet or relaxing moment. This is far from the truth in Disney’s Animal Kingdom where the layout allows for many quiet corners and pathways for guests to enjoy where they can take in the beautiful atmosphere and theming. Guests looking to enjoy a relaxing bite and atmosphere can also sit down on the outdoor deck at Nomad Lounge to enjoy delicious cocktails and small bites while looking out over the river.

9. Pandora – The World of Avatar Is Too Crowded

The newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Pandora – The World of Avatar where guests can wander underneath the beautiful floating mountains of the Valley of Mo’ara and enjoy the popular attractions Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Since the new area is so incredibly popular, many guests might automatically assume that it is always too crowded to be enjoyable. This is definitely not the case as guests who plan properly can strategically visit the area early in the mornings or late at night to enjoy the beauty and attractions without the heavy midday crowds.

Avatar: Flight of Passage

10. There’s No Entertainment

During Walt Disney World’s phased reopening, entertainment has been cut in several areas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom including Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical. While we hope these experiences return soon, we are thrilled to have character experiences in unique ways! Look to the river ways to see characters cavalcade through on floats. You’ll spot characters such as Mickey, Pocahontas, and more! You’ll also be able to catch Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight and more animal encounter experiences.

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.