A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions

by Shannon Albert · 63 comments · Like the Facebook page

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.com

(Article last updated: August 4, 2014)

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comI think Animal Kingdom is a hugely underrated park.

It’s a beautiful place with interesting things to see, impeccable theming and some fantastic attractions.

Here’s a guide to every single attraction to help you decide what to do when you visit.

A quick overview

Animal Kingdom is the largest of all of the theme parks in terms of acres but has the least amount of attractions. The park icon is a the big man-made tree called The Tree of Life.

As the park’s name implies, there are lots of live animal attractions here, but there are some good non-animal attractions as well (including the 2 best live shows in all of Disney World).

Animal Kingdom closes earlier than any of the other parks and many people consider it a half-day park.

Let’s take a look at each section of Animal Kingdom and what attractions are located there.

The Oasis

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comThe Oasis is usually just an area you walk by to get to the rest of the park but it is its own section listed on the park maps.

Animal Kingdom Cast Members often let visitors into this section before the park opens which gives it some much-needed attention that it wouldn’t get otherwise.

There are shaded trails, little streams and some interesting animals like an anteater, barking deer and wallaby.


Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Only if you have extra time and/or want to see as many animals as possible.

Discovery Island

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comBetter known as “that area where the big tree is,” this section has a couple of attractions for guests to explore.

You might also take the time to check out the tree which has 103,000 leaves and each and every one was attached by hand (!).

In 2012, nets were erected over the walkways in this area due to tree limbs falling from The Tree of Life so the view of the tree is somewhat obstructed from some spots.

The attractions in Discovery Island are:

It’s Tough to be a Bug

FP+ available?
Yes

Height req.:
None

This 3D show is inside of the Tree of Life and features characters from “A Bug’s Life.” As you’re looking at The Tree of Life from the front of the park, the entrance for this show is located just to the right side, near the paths that you’d take to DinoLand, U.S.A.

Many families are drawn to this attraction because it’s cool to be able to go inside the tree and the characters are from a kid-friendly movie, but I have to warn you that little ones scream at this show. It’s dark and there are scary parts that freak kids out, leaving everybody to sit in a theater with inconsolable tots.

Suitable for: Big kids and adults
Recommended? It’s not a must-see, but it’s a fun time-filler and a nice break from the heat.


Discovery Island Trails

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

These trails go all around Discovery Island (hence the name, right?) and you have a chance to see Galapagos tortoises, African crested porcupines, lemurs and tamarins.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Only if you have extra time and/or want to see as many animals as possible.

Africa and Rafiki’s Planet Watch

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comThis section is primarily known for being home to the Safaris ride, but the area is really well-themed and features some interesting African items that you can purchase, including several African beers that are fun to try.

It’s also a good area to watch live entertainment. In the afternoon and evening, there’s a “street band” that performs and in the morning and early afternoon, live drummers appear for several shows.

The attractions in this section are:


Festival of the Lion King

FP+ available?
Yes

Height req.:
None

This big, fun, Broadway-style show lasts for 30 minutes and is 1 of the best shows at Disney World. There is lots of music, dancing, stilt walkers and acrobats, featuring music and stories from The Lion King.

Suitable for: Everybody
Recommended? Absolutely
Tips: Check show times to see when it’s scheduled, show up 15-20 minutes beforehand, try to sit near the front of a section but a row or two back so you can see over the front row which is usually reserved for handicapped guests.


Kilimanjaro Safaris

FP+ available?
Yes

Height req.:
None

This attraction includes visitors riding in safari vehicles that are driven by guides who really do drive (no tracks) and they are very knowledgeable about the animals. As you go, the drivers give you lots of info based on what you see along the ride and sometimes have to stop to wait for animals to clear the path.

Suitable for: Everybody
Recommended? Definitely
Tips: Visit first thing in the morning after the park opens. Not only does the line get really long really fast but the animals do seem to be out more in the morning. The earlier you arrive at Animal Kingdom, the easier it will be to get on this ride without a wait (we once arrived at 8:45 and ended up waiting in this line for about 45 minutes but arriving to Animal Kingdom at 8:15-8:30 allows for a shorter wait).


Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

This walking tour allows you to see birds, fish, gorillas and hippos.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Not a must-see unless you’re trying to see lots of animals


Wildlife Express Train

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

This train departs every 5-7 minutes (though lines to board the train can be lengthy) to take people to visit the Rafiki’s Planet Watch section.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? No, unless the fairly lengthy time it takes is worth it to see some of the attractions described below. It sometimes takes 1.5 hours round trip so be aware of that before you board.


Habitat Habit!

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

Outdoor trails in the Rafiki’s Planet Watch section where you can see cotton-top tamarins.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? No, unless animals are a focus


Conservation Station

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

This is a behind-the-scenes look at the care provided for the animals in the park. What you will see will vary depending on what’s going on that day but could include watching surgeons operate on animals, experts presenting various wildlife and veterinarians who are available to answer questions.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Only if your interest in seeing the animals being cared for is strong enough to justify the time it takes to get there and back.
Tips: This section opens 30 minutes after the rest of the park does. If operations are going to be performed that day, they are usually performed in the morning.


Affection Section

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

A petting zoo area with animals like goats, sheep, donkeys, cows and pigs.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? No, unless you really want to see the animals here

Asia

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comAhh, my most favorite themed area is in Asia, especially around Expedition Everest.

The theming here isn’t focused on a particular country but includes inspiration from Nepal, India, Thailand and Indonesia.

There’s been speculation that an animal-themed version of World of Color (a show which currently only lives in the California Adventure theme park) will be brought to the lagoon in this area in the near future.

A few different attractions are in this section including:


Flights of Wonder

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

An educational bird show that’s outside but covered and out of the sun. Don’t expect animals to do any special tricks here. Although it’s structured in an entertaining way, the focus is on educating people about animals, not having the birds perform silly stunts.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Good time-filler, not necessarily a must-see
Tips: Don’t be late to this show because they have to close up the area so the birds don’t fly out and you won’t be able to get in after it starts. Arrive about 10-15 minutes before the show begins. Morning visits will be more comfortable to avoid the hot afternoon temps.


Maharajah Jungle Trek

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

A walking path through “ruins” that allows you to see tigers, Komodo dragons, giant fruit bats and other exotic animals.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Not a must-see but a good time-filler for animal lovers


Kali River Rapids

FP+ available?
Yes

Height req.:
38″

A river raft ride that has a very high chance of soaking you.

I really love this ride but many people really dislike it. Watch the video below to see if you think it’s something you’ll want to do during your trip.

Suitable for: Anybody who doesn’t mind getting wet
Recommended? Yes, unless you hate being wet (have I mentioned that it gets you wet yet?)
Tips: Wear a poncho


Expedition Everest

FP+ available?
Yes

Height req.:
44″

Expedition Everest is a fantastic roller coaster (my favorite ride at Disney World, in fact).

It starts off like a pretty normal coaster and then stops and goes backward.

Suitable for: Coaster lovers. Although many kindergarten and 1st graders will be tall enough to ride, I’ve seen many get off of it bawling because it was way too intense for them.
Recommended? Yes!
Tips: Make use of FastPasses if you don’t ride it first thing when the park opens. There is also a single rider option which would help people ride if they don’t have a FastPass.

DinoLand U.S.A.

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comThis area has a carnival feel to it that’s heavily themed around dinosaurs, right down to the primitive plants that grow in this section.

The attractions in DinoLand include a huge mix of things: a play area, a terrifying ride, some carnival games and 1 of the best live shows in all of Disney World.



The Boneyard

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

This is a play structure that’s great for letting little ones run around and burn off some steam.

If you’re using Child Swap on a couple of nearby rides, this is a good place to entertain little ones while the older people in your group ride.

Suitable for: Young children
Recommended? Not a must-see but a great way to let cranky kids run around and not worry about being restrained in a stroller or standing in a line somewhere.
Tips: This area opens 30 minutes after the park does so don’t plan to stop by until then.


Fossil Fun Games

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

Carnival games themed for this section.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Just as a time killer if you’re looking for something to do


Finding Nemo – The Musical

FP+ available?
Yes

Height req.:
None

A Broadway-style show featuring super talented performers who sing and control puppet-type versions of the characters.

Really great show and I feel like it keeps getting better.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Yes, unless you have young kids who aren’t into shows. I think everybody will like Festival of the Lion King because it’s so high energy and fun. This one is great for people who tend to enjoy musicals.
Tips: You’ll want to check the times guide for the show time and then show up about 15-20 minutes before a show begins. The best seats are in the top, middle section.


Primeval Whirl

FP+ available?
Yes

Height req.:
48″

A jerky, twisty, coaster type of ride.

I expected to love this ride because it looks similar to a ride at our local Six Flags but ended up really disliking it.

Suitable for: People who like to get whiplash
Recommended? No


TriceraTop Spin

FP+ available?
No

Height req.:
None

Dumbo but with dinosaurs.

Suitable for: Young kids
Recommended? No, unless you’re just trying to kill time with little ones


DINOSAUR

FP+ available?
Yes

Height req.:
40″

This ride takes you on a rough ride through history where you see lots of dinosaurs along the way.

I’ve never taken a ride photo on this ride where I wasn’t covering my face.

Suitable for: Bigger kids and adults
Recommended? Yes

Other attractions worth mentioning

There are a few other things that don’t fit neatly into the park areas listed above.

  • DiVine. DiVine is a vine-covered character portrayed by a performance artist named Priscilla Blight. She’s mesmerizing to watch. Check the daily times guide so you know when to look for her.

Touring Animal Kingdom

The new FastPass+ system is in place at Animal Kingdom and all guests (on-site and off-site) are now using it instead of the old paper FastPasses. Please see my Animal Kingdom FastPass+ guide for info on how to tour.

The map below is a bonus that people get when purchasing the eBook. It prints out on 1 piece of paper and indicates when to ride each ride, which attractions have FastPass+, the location of the FastPass+ kiosks and recommended dining.

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.com

Dining at Animal Kingdom

I have a dining guide below to help you decide on dining options at Animal Kingdom.

A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comThe pros and cons of all Animal Kingdom restaurants
There are a few great places to eat at Animal Kingdom, including a character dining location that’s a good option when others seem to be fully booked up months in advance.


A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comA guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comA guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.comA guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.com
A guide to all Animal Kingdom attractions from WDWPrepSchool.com
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Jay October 16, 2013 at 10:16 am

My family is planning on going to WDW in May of next year. I was wondering when at AK , what is best way to travel to the Hoop-De-Doo by 6:15. How much time is needed to get their from AK and are their any monorails to take to ease the burden?

Shannon Albert October 16, 2013 at 10:29 am

You’ll take a bus from Animal Kingdom to Ft Wilderness and then an internal bus to where Hoop-Dee-Doo is. Monorails are only near Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Be sure to read my info on how to navigate – http://wdwprepschool.com/how-to-navigate-with-disney-world-transportation/

Brooke Benn August 20, 2013 at 9:17 am

I love these guides – do you have one for the MK? I found it for the other 3 parks but not that one.

Shannon Albert August 20, 2013 at 10:55 am

MK guide hasn’t been written yet but it’s coming within the next two weeks.

Jay August 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

Anyone know how long the Nemo show is? I have heard 30 minutes from some, 45 minutes form others.

Mark July 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I love Animal Kingdom. This is a very thorough overview of it. Love the videos. What I miss the most are the PM Extra Magic Hours. We really loved Animal Kingdom in the dark. Great article!

Launa July 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

This is wonderful. Makes me so much more comfortable navigating this park and know what to focus on. Looking forward to the other 3 parks (first time going to Disney in Sept).

Kristen July 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Thank you for this wonderful in depth post. You are very talented in explaining and laying out information to make things so much easier on us first timers! Our first trip is coming up in December and I am hoping you do a park review for the other three parks as well! Thank you thank you!!!!

Christy July 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I literally love you so much for posting this!! I worked Merchandise in Dinoland USA on my college program, and I can’t tell you how many times people would be like, “is there anything to DO here?!” Are you kidding!? I love DAK and it breaks my heart that it’s usually people’s least favorite park! I almost cried watching the video of the Dinosaur ride because I miss riding it all the time! I literally have it memorized, guests always find it either funny or annoying how I recite it :P

Shannon Albert July 15, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Awwww….thanks for commenting! Glad you liked this post. I’m not even into zoos or animals that much and love AK. I’m happy to hopefully help other people see what it has to offer.

Annie July 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Our first day of our first ever trip is going to be in Animal Kingdom. Now, I am really excited about that!! Thanks again :)

Shannon Albert July 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm

It’s a good choice for people to do if they arrive to Disney World the first part of the day and want to fill the rest of their day with something. Post-parade Animal Kingdom is usually pretty manageable since many people leave by then.

Sally Andress July 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm

My husband and I also did the Wild African Trek 2 years ago when we made our first trip without kids. It is a behind the scenes excursion of the Safari. We were harnessed, walked through part of the ‘jungle’, crossed over 2 rope bridges over crocodiles, saw the hippos getting fed, rode in a special truck that stopped on the safari trail, had lunch on a platform on the savannah where we had a great view of the giraffes and elephants. It took about 3 or so hours. It was amazing and we will probably do it again some time. We have our second trip by ourselves planned to WDW this September. The guides took pictures and we all received a CD with the pictures. We were also able to choose where part of the proceeds ($185 per person,, I think, was the cost) went – large cats, general fund – I don’t remember all of the choices. You must be at least 16 years old and in decent physical condition. Maximum number of people in the group is 12.

Shannon Albert July 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm

We saw people doing this on our last trip and I said “I have to do that!” so thank you for taking the time to explain what it’s like. Will definitely look into it for a future trip.

Catherine Kenny August 5, 2013 at 10:42 pm

My husband and I went this past July. In addition to getting to “hang out” over the hippos and crocs, (this is probably what you saw from the safari) we did the rope bridge (leave it to Disney to leave out a bunch of the planks!) . The best part was the guided trip through the African plain, with no other vehicle behind us to worry about, we got to hang out for quite awhile when animals were spotted. And our guides were much better informed about the animals, and Disney’s care of them then the KS guides were. The pix the guides took were awesome, some of the best I’ve ever gotten from Disney photographers. You can bring your own camera, but you MUST be able to attach it to the vest securely, not just stick it into your pocket, no dropping things in with the hippos!

James July 12, 2013 at 9:06 pm

SUPER HELPFUL!
Though, I would be interested to see what your take would be on a half-day AK trip, as that is what many of us do. I would suggest hitting Kilimanjaro Safaris first, then get fast passes for Everest. How would you plan a half day at Animal Kingdom (Surely I am no thte only person who considers it a half-day park :) )

Shannon Albert July 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm

My touring plans basically are for half of a day. Unless you do all of the animal attractions, it’s easy to complete everything before the afternoon parade. You definitely have to get either Safaris or Expedition Everest FPs first. I might edit the touring plans to show Safaris first but either will work.

Sue July 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Hi Shannon!

We are not first time visitors, and I still LOVE your website…. I always learn a new tidbit. Here is my two cents worth…. Take the time to seek out Gi-Tar Dan in Camp Minnie Mickey area. We came across him by accident (like DiVine one time) and he just asks you a few quick questions and then makes up an awesome song right up on the spot! It sounds like it might be a little odd but it was honestly one of the coolest little hidden gems / magical moments that make Disney so awesome.

Anyway… Thanks for the info. Well done as usual!

Shannon Albert July 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Thanks for that tip, Sue. I’ve never run into him. Need to look for him next time.

Nina July 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Great in depth review of Animal Kingdom. I have a question; I dont know if you remember this, but about 10 years ago, they had an attraction where there was a real looking dinosaur, and the park staff pretended to take care of it bc it was dying. It wasnt a ride, more of a show, but it was outside. Do you remember the name of it? I hope that description was enough

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm

The only thing I can think of is Lucky the Dinosaur which was a walking animatronic dinosaur that appeared around 2005 but Lucky wasn’t dying though. Hmm.

MV October 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

They are thinking of an attraction at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It was near the Jurassic Park ride.

Kaylene July 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Awesome guide to AK. This was the first park we visited on our first family trip. I was overwhelmed finding things and I could’ve used this :) We are returning in November and a re excited to see the parts of AK that we missed!

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

“Overwhelmed” is the most popular word that new people use when describing Disney World. I should’ve called this site “CureforWDWOverwhelm.com” or something. :)

Maggie Langevin July 12, 2013 at 10:59 am

I am planning a trip for 2014 and I read here that they are taking out camp Minnie-mickey. I originally wasn’t going to go to AK but extended the days if my trip and now we are going to spend a day here. One thing I was looking forward to for my daughter was to meet Pocohantas. That is one of her favorite movies. Do you know if they’ll have her somewhere else? or do they have her someone else? I haven’t seen much about her at all.

KennythePirate July 12, 2013 at 11:39 am

Camp Minnie Mickey will eventually close in order to be transformed into the Land of Avatar, but it won’t take place until the new theater for the Festival of the Lion King Show building is completed in Africa behind the Tusker House restaurant.

No one knows an exact time line at this point. I’m sure Pocahontas will be relocated somewhere, either the old character trails in Africa or near the new Festival theater. I’ll keep you guys informed as I hear more details.
KtP

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 11:42 am

Thanks, Kenny!

Maggie Langevin July 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Thank you very much!

Judy Burton July 12, 2013 at 10:33 am

Animal Kingdom is our favorite park. We are two adults, kids are grown. We go at least once a year and we love AK. Flame Tree Barbeque is our favorite counter service restaurant.. We head
for the Safari ride first and FP for another a bit later. The Lion King and Nemo the Musical are big musts (at least twice for Lion King). We also think that “Bug” is a must. Hubby rides Kali River Rapids as many time as he can get in.. for me twice is just fine (I am wet enough after 2)
We love the shade and coolness of AK. There are so many trees it appears cooler as well. Also enjoy Flights of Wonder. We also do Dinosaur, but it is VERY LOUD and scary, but a must-do.
We also do Expedition Everest once.. even for us “oldie” We are both 74. We try and do AK two days out of our six days at WDW.

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

Yea for somebody who is appreciate of Animal Kingdom, though it is rare to see anybody say it’s cooler. 98% of people feel it’s the hottest park I think. :)

Catherine Kenny August 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm

We took the Wild Animal Trek this past July and our guide told us that measurements prove AK is the warmest park.

Santiago July 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

Nice article (as always), I specially like the videos, although for adults maybe considered as a “spoiler”, for kids it’s the best way to prepare them for the ride, as a Disney Pro once told me ;)
Preparing a touring guide (for this or any other park) I am having a little trouble establishing how much time would the ride itself take, maybe you could add this info in the future.
I end up establishing half an hour for every ride, except Ellen’s Energy at EPCOT.
Keep up the good work

Bye

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 11:15 am

Hi, Santiago -
It’s funny that you said the videos are a spoiler because I thought about that but I figured people could choose whether or not to hit play or not. My anxious kids like being “spoiled” so they know what to expect.

You can count on averaging about 3 rides/hour if you make good use of FastPasses and don’t end up waiting in long lines. Hopefully the maps will be helpful to you since it says when to ride each ride.

Elizabeth Nevermann July 12, 2013 at 9:34 am

Animal Kingdom is not on my list of parks for September so I have not done any planning or research. You have done all the work for me, I will follow your plan if we do go. Thank you Shannon, I don’t know how I could have planned this trip of a life time without you.

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 11:09 am

You’re welcome! Thanks for taking the time to comment. When people say things like “trip of a lifetime,” I get kind of choked up because I know how much the trip means to your family and I’m happy to be a part of it.

Catherine Kenny August 5, 2013 at 10:27 pm

You know, I planned my “trip of a lifetime” to WDW in 2009. People who know me were shocked I had never been. But there was so much to do, so much to learn, so much to plan, that it all seemed so daunting! Finally I decided that I had to “just do it”. As it turns out, it was so much easier than I thought ( and so much fun!!! ) that I ended up going in 2012 and 2013! 2014 is back to my first love Disneyland, and then a return to WDW in 2015.

Tonya July 12, 2013 at 9:22 am

LOVE, the detailed information about the park. This will be our family 1st trip in Dec. I’m learning sooo much from your site. All the information is great, what can be skipped & detail of each area. It would be AWESOME if you could do something like the for each park for us 1st timers. ;-)
Keep the great post coming ……..Can’t wait to hear more on FASTPASS+

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 11:07 am

You’re exactly the type of person I’m hoping to help so I’m glad that you’re finding the info useful. This post took me so long that I’m afraid of doing the others now. Maybe if I start the Magic Kingdom one now, it’ll be up before your December trip. ;)

Tonya July 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Thank you for all your time you put into your website. Your time is appreciated very much. And by the way, Magic Kingdom by Dec would be AMAZING!!!! ;-)

Konda July 12, 2013 at 8:56 am

Question about places to eat. We are doing the RainForest cafe for lunch for sure, the kids will love that, I have been there. However dinner was iffy, I made reservations at Yak and Yaki, not sure how that is going to go over with the kids, but was wondering if anyone had tried it and if it is not a good place if you suggest eating outside the park, or somewhere else.

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 11:05 am

Animal Kingdom is 1 of the rare places where anywhere you choose to eat is good. You can’t really go wrong.

James July 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I would strongly suggest ditching the rainforest cafe and doing the BBQ place in AK. Of ALL The counter services in WDW, it is the best in my opinion. And you get a lot for your money. Rainforest cafe is -okay- for the kids… I guess… due to the decor (but all of AK is decorated awesomely, so why sit in a restaurant and see the decor? And to me, the food is, maybe like a really good Applebees.
Just my 2 cents!

Drea July 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Yak and Yeti is one of my favorite places in all of Disney to eat. The food is excellent and if you have questions about unfamiliar flavors (and possibly not liking them) the staff is totally willing to make adjustments for you :-) I’m a non-adventous eater (my husband says I have the eating habits of a very stubborn 6yr old!) and I’ve always loved my meal there.

Catherine Kenny August 5, 2013 at 10:22 pm

After visiting the park, I find RF cafe very dull. The animals rarely move and the “big” scene doesn’t happen that often ( when we were last there just once every 30 minutes ) Food was ok. Flame BBQ is the place to eat though.. Very good BBQ and although there is no inside seating, you can walk down to the water and not feed all the birds there and see a great view of EE. Yak and Yeti is good, but I really like Tusker House.

Konda July 12, 2013 at 8:45 am

Thanks, great post. We decided to do AK the first day since we will be driving in the night before. We wanted to make it an early evening. I am thrilled to see all the stuff there is to do. I have a 4 and 7 year old so I will heed to some of your warning, though I don’t “think” they would scare very easily. I will make sure we see The Loin King for sure. We are going in Jan. so not sure about the water ride, depends on the temps, but I will pick up some ponchos before the trip. This really helps me plan my first day.

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 11:04 am

The Loin King is a totally different type of show from The Lion King I think. ;)

Amy July 12, 2013 at 8:43 am

What a great piece, full of excellent information.
I see that The Lion King is one of your must sees while at AK. We have seen The Lion King (the broadway play) 5 times. Is this show anything like that? Wondering if it is something we should plan to see or not.
My 6 year is dying to ride EE now that we watched the video. I told her your recommendation, but she said..I won’t cry! We will see, I guess!

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 8:45 am

We’ve also seen the Broadway version of The Lion King and the two are not alike, other than sharing the same music and basic stories. The setup of Festival of the Lion King is really different and “in the round” where people are seated all around the main stage area. Definitely see it!

Amy July 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Excellent, thank you! It is on our list. We will be there next month.

Catherine Kenny August 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm

EE isn’t all that scary if she’s okay with the moving Yeti silhouette and the dark. However, the backwards acceleration is INTENSE. Wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what gets alot of smaller kids.

Janie July 12, 2013 at 8:32 am

We love AK! My six year old son rode Expedition Everest three times in a row- it was his favorite! I watched from the ground as he and his dad and sis took that big drop, and could see his grin all the way from there. Later, he laughed about the fact that were adults screaming, lol. He is a total daredevil, though. I could definitely recommend making sure a child LOVES rides like Space Mountain and BTMR before attempting EE. On our next trip, we are actually skipping EPCOT and DHS, and spending more time at MK and AK.

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 8:33 am

Wow, that is interesting that you’re skipping EPCOT and HS. That’s true AK love. :)

Jack July 12, 2013 at 8:30 am

We are not going to WDW until March but seeing the Animal Kingdom will be a no-brainer!!

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 8:34 am

Awesome! Since you know what to expect, I bet you’ll love it.

Curtis Traverse July 12, 2013 at 7:05 am

What an excellent post! We missed so much stuff when we did this park back in May that it makes me sad. I cannot wait to go back to AK again next time and spend a full day. For folks that don’t go to this park I think you are missing out on a beautiful place.

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 7:08 am

I’m spending a whole day just taking pics at AK on my next trip. It’s just so beautiful. Would love to have time to notice all of the details.

Afton Rio July 12, 2013 at 7:03 am

Thanks for this! Animal kingdom was definitely a half day park for us. Tusker house character breakfast was Great! And my Pocahontas fan was thrilled to meet her! Those were the two highlights for us OH and scaring my daughter for the rest of the trip on Expedition Everest oops! Haha

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 7:07 am

Ha! Seeee…EE is too scary for little kids. Maybe they should raise the height requirement. :)

Jillian July 12, 2013 at 7:01 am

Loved reading this!!! I agree, Animal Kingdom is a beautiful and hugely under rated park. We spent two days there on our last trip. I hate when people say AK (or DHS) is a half day park. If you do everything there is to offer, you will spend much more than a half day there. If you skip most the attractions, then any park can be a half day park :o)
I have 2 tips to share. The first regards lining up before the park opens. My husband and I were in line, quite a ways back, and we noticed a few turnstiles being used for people who had early reservations for Donald’s Safari Breakfast. I kept my eye on those turnstiles and sure enough, once the park officially opened, Cast Members were motioning for other guests to use those turnstiles. My husband and I scooted over and were able to get in much quicker than if we stayed in the line we were in.
My 2nd tip is in regards to Everest. At rope drop, cast members will usually make guests follow them, behind a rope, down to Everest. However, if you take a right at Dino Land, and fast walk/jog, you can make it to Everest before the huge crowd. We did this both mornings we were at AK and we were first in line both times!
I look forward to your other park guides!

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 7:05 am

Great tips, Jillian! Thanks for sharing.

Catherine Kenny August 5, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Another tip if you want to be first in line for a FP at EE. Instead of walking behind the rope that goes down the far right trail ( past Dinoland ) go on the path straight towards Asia ( off center right hand path) When they drop the barrier rope, you’ll be at the backside of the FP stations, and can enter from the rear.

If you do take the right most path be sure you are on the left side of the path by the second bridge, it’s a hard left into the FP station… Nothing worse than being beaten to the FP station by a guy with 20 tickets!!!

Cathy July 12, 2013 at 6:29 am

Great job describing Animal Kingdom…very helpful. Please consider updating before you begin on the next park. In your description, please add one line about how physically rough the ride is (for disabled/older riders). Then in the grey box, add wheelchair accessible, transfer or whatever. This addition would help a family with disabled members make the best decisions for planning their day. Thanks again.

Shannon Albert July 12, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hi, Cathy -
Every article I write is geared toward families with young children visiting for the first time because no one site can be all things to all people and that’s who I’ve chosen to focus on.

You might find the info at this site helpful: http://www.diz-abled.com/Park-Facts-updates.htm

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