Get the most out of your visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with these top Animal Kingdom tips and tricks. Planning a day at Animal Kingdom park takes on a different form when comparing your planning to the other theme parks such as Magic Kingdom.
Since the Summer of 2016, the park has been staying open through the evening to showcase the Tree of Life Awakening, and the opportunity to see the Kilimanjaro Safari at dusk.
2017 also saw the introduction of Pandora land, based around the popular film Avatar. The addition to Animal Kingdom brings two new rides, Flight of Passage and Navi River Journey, additional food choices and amazing scenery.
What Can You Expect To See At Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom park is the biggest of the Disney theme parks at around 500 acres. The Kilimanjaro Safari itself is the size of the Magic Kingdom which is a mind blowing piece of information to get your head around when you have spent hours and days walking around the Magic Kingdom.
The park is home to a wide variety of animals, and honestly you could spend all day being distracted by the huge variety on offer. My main tip would be to decide what you want to spend the day doing at Animal Kingdom.
It is viable to see animals, go on rides and soak up the sights but you will have to be disciplined if you want to take in some shows as well.
I found Animal Kingdom park to be the hottest of the parks during our holiday. I thought this was because we visited on a hotter day, however I have since found out that due to the foliage in the park, Animal Kingdom can appear hotter and more humid to the other parks. This is a great excuse to cool down on some of the rides.
Kilimanjaro Safaris At Animal Kingdom
Going on a Safari trip is not something I would have expected when we booked our holiday to Disney World. Nestled in the far corner of Africa in Animal Kingdom is the Kilimanjaro Safaris which at over 100 acres in size.
Before arriving, this is one experience we were advised to use our Fast Pass on, as the wait times can be long during peak times despite the fact there are 42 vehicles going at any one time and 32 people in each vehicle. The queue is in the shade with fans, which at least offers some respite on a hot day.
When Is The Best Time To Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris?
A lot of people I have spoken to recommend the best time to ride Kilimanjaro Safari is first thing in the morning. Personally when we went on the safari at 2pm we saw lots of activity from the animals.
A good time may be to ride first thing in the morning, or around dusk to experience different animals in their habitat.
As with any safari experience, a guarantee of seeing any animals isn’t an option. My top tip would be to avoid the hottest part of the day as the animals will take shelter and not be out in the open so much.
If you do decide to start your day with the Safari, then you will be at the back of the park. In this instance, I would recommend working your way slowly towards the front of the park.
What Animals Can You See?
There are a variety of different animals to hopefully spot during your safari ride. You may be lucky enough to spot antelopes, cheetahs, crocodiles, elephants, flamingos, gazelles, giraffes, hippopotamuses, lions, okapis, ostriches, warthogs, wildebeest and zebras.
Tips For Great Kilimanjaro Safari Experiences
If you board the tram as a family or group, then you will likely sit in a row to yourselves. I have always found you get better views of the animals by sitting on the left but this could be luck.
The whole experience lasts for around twenty minutes, and whilst the tram wont stop for photos, it drives slowly enough that you will be able to get plenty of shots.
Don’t forget to look out of your camera lens as well to take in the amazing environment around you.
Where To Eat In Animal Kingdom
If you’re wondering where to eat in Animal Kingdom and looking for a character meal, then I can recommend Tusker House restaurant (based in Africa close to the Kilimanjaro Safaris). You can meet Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Mickey in their safari gear at a buffet style meal.
There are some great restaurants in Animal Kingdom, including Yak and Yeti, Rainforest Cafe and more. One of the biggest tips for Animal Kingdom I can give you is to check out the amazing snack credit items you can purchase from quick service locations.
Loaded fries anyone? Big enough for a meal but will only cost you a snack credit on the Disney Dining plan. Loaded fries can be purchased from Flame Tree Barbecue in Discovery Island.
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Animal Kingdom Shows
Something I wasn’t expecting was the quality of the shows. We caught one of the best Disney shows, The Festival of the Lion King (also based in Africa) whilst there was a storm outside. The theatre seats hundreds of guests and is a great place to go to avoid a storm or the afternoon heat.
I highly recommend a visit to the show which lasts around 30 minutes. I have seen the Lion King in London’s West End, and I was equally impressed with Disney’s version.
Characters In Animal Kingdom
There are plenty of character meet and greet opportunities within the park should you choose to seek these out such as Baloo and Louie between Africa and Asia (as you walk between the Harambe theatre watching Festival of the Lion King towards Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest).
Chip and Dale can be found outside Rafiki’s Planet watch just past Africa, Pochahontis on the Discovery Island Trails (between Africa and Oasis near the entrance of the park), as well as other opportunities to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
What To Fastpass In Animal Kingdom
I definitely recommend the following for your Fast Pass options
- Kali River Rapids (this is one of my favourite Animal Kingdom rides. Just don’t wear white shorts like I did, although I did dry out quickly).
- Expedition Everest which is the biggest roller coaster in Disney World in terms of height at 61 metres tall. (one of the best rides at Animal Kingdom)
- Festival of The Lion King (If you want priority seating nearer the front)
- Kilimanjaro Safaris (although the line does move quickly as each truck takes a lot of guests)
- Flight Of Passage is definitely one of Animal Kingdom’s most popular rides. The long wait times haven’t decreased since the new area was opened in 2017.
- Navi River Journey is the other new ride in Pandora, however given the choice I would opt for Flight Of Passage.
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Photo Opportunities in Animal Kingdom
There are some amazing photo opportunities in Animal Kingdom with great background scenery that you won’t find anywhere else. Of course there is a the great photo opportunity that is in front of the Tree of Life.
There is also a great photo backdrop on the bridge in front of Expedition Everest. I highly recommend taking these opportunities for once in a lifetime photos.
Magic shots are great in Animal Kingdom if you have the Memory Maker option in your package. Ask the photo pass photographers if they have magic shots and you may find butterflies, balloons, stitch coming out of the ground and more in Animal Kingdom.
You may also like to read – Tips for visiting Magic Kingdom
Animal Kingdom isn’t a park to visit to meet princesses and see all the sparkle and glitter that comes with Disney Magic, but it’s really a park not to be missed for plenty of history, culture and amazing sights.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my Animal Kingdom tips and tricks. Enjoy your visit.