Working on figuring out when to schedule a visit to Animal Kingdom into your next Disney World trip?
Here’s everything you need to know about Animal Kingdom Park Hours to help get you started.
Animal Kingdom Park Hours by Month
Disney releases park hours about 75 days in advance. In the past, that used to be around 180 days in advance but just like many other things, the release schedule has changed, too.
We keep track and update them every week on our Monthly Crowd Calendars.
If you are within that 75-day window, when you click on the month below you will see the current Animal Kingdom park hours, plus other important information like refurbishments and entertainment schedules.
Note: If you want to see historical information outside that 75-day window, you can navigate to a previous month or even a previous year to get an idea of what to expect.
When compared to the other 3 parks, Animal Kingdom typically closes the earliest, sometimes as early as 5 pm. During the summer months (or other busy times of the year), it isn’t uncommon for that closing to be pushed back to at least 7 pm and even later.
As for park opening, 8 or 9 am is what we see most often, however, during busy times of the year it is fairly typical for that to be moved to 7 am.
Tip: Rope Drop touring here (which just means being at a park when they start letting people in) is especially effective when the parks open at 7 or 8 am, so use the early openings to your advantage by getting to Animal Kingdom ahead of people that are slower to arrive.
Animal Kingdom will be open for the longest hours over the holidays. If you are traveling during that time make sure you keep your eye on the park hours.
Take a look at the park hours for the other parks:
Frequently Asked Questions
How often are the Animal Kingdom park hours updated?
When Disney first publishes their park hours, they tend to be kind of “generic” and there won’t be much nuance to them.
However, park hour updates are based on demand. The busier the parks are projected to be, the higher the likelihood that Disney will extend the hours.
Of course, the reverse of that is also true. Although not nearly as common as seeing the hours extended, it isn’t totally unheard of for Disney to cut back on hours, too.
Disney issues updates for park hours on a fairly regular basis, sometimes as often as once per week. However, not every park (or even every day of the week or year) will see hours updated each time.
Historically, Animal Kingdom tends to have its hours updated less than Magic Kingdom (which typically sees the most updates). However, updates do still happen.
The bottom line? Check those hours regularly.
Updates are more likely the closer you get to your trip
Since Disney updates park hours based upon projected attendance, the closer you get to your trip the more data they will have to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to make any changes (or not).
That’s why if the park hours are going to be updated for your trip, it is more likely to happen closer to your travel dates.
It is also why we recommend you check your park hours daily while on vacation! You don’t want to show up to a park only to discover it opened before you expected it to.
When does Animal Kingdom let people in?
Long-time Disney visitors know that there is the “official” opening time for a park and then there is the time Disney typically starts letting guests inside, which can be up to 30 minutes (or even more) before the official opening time.
Disney has put a formal stamp on this unofficial opening time by allowing onsite resort guests to always have access to the parks 30 minutes before non-Disney Resort guests. This access for on-site guests is called Early Theme Park Entry and we have more info on that below.
If you want to be there for Rope Drop at Animal Kingdom, we recommend arriving to the front of the park no later than 30-45 minutes before the official opening time.
That means, if you are taking the bus to Animal Kingdom you’ll need to be down to the bus stop 90 minutes before the official opening time. That should put you on the first or second bus of the day (and make your morning go that much more smoothly).
If you are driving to Animal Kingdom, plan to arrive to the Animal Kingdom parking plaza around 1 hour before the official opening time.
What about Early Theme Park Entry?
Disney has retired Extra Magic Hours but in their place they have implemented a new system called Early Theme Park Entry.
This benefit allows Disney Resort guests (as well as guests from other select hotels) the opportunity to enter any of the 4 theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom) 30 minutes before non-Disney Resort guests.
If you qualify for this benefit, we highly recommend that you take advantage of the extra time to get ahead of the regular park crowds and head to Pandora to ride either Flight of Passage or Na’vi River Journey first.
For more information, check out our Guide to Early Theme Park Entry at Disney World.
What attractions will be open during Early Theme Park Entry?
During Early Theme Park Entry, not every attraction will be operating. Here is the list of the attractions that will be open (note: attractions labeled with an * are our best choices for Early Theme Park Entry):
- *Avatar Flight of Passage (44″ height requirement)
- DINOSAUR (40″ height requirement)
- Expedition Everest (44″ height requirement)
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
- *Na’vi River Journey
- TriceraTop Spin
Attractions that never open at park opening
There are a few things that never (or at least very rarely) open up with the rest of Animal Kingdom.
If you are interested in any of these, make sure you check the operating schedule inside of My Disney Experience:
Shows & characters:
- Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond (debuting in 2022)
- Feathered Friends in Flight
- Disney KiteTails
- Character flotillas
- Some animal exhibits (depends on the time of year opening time)
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
- The Animation Experience
- Wilderness Explorer booths
- Affection Section
- Conservation Station
- Fossil Fun games
- The Boneyard
What About Animal Kingdom After Hours?
In the past, Animal Kingdom had a cool, specially ticketed event called Disney After Hours.
It was pricey, but it was a good option for people on short trips that wanted to fit in some quality Animal Kingdom time.
However, at this time those events have been suspended and Disney hasn’t indicated whether or not they will return.
Disney World now also has Extended Evening Theme Park Hours for Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resort hotel guests to spend 2 extra hours past closing in select parks. These are not available at Animal Kingdom.