Animal Kingdom Tips! – Start with an itinerary.
An itinerary is a must have for any Disney park so you can make the BEST use of your time. Having an Animal Kingdom itinerary will allow you to prioritize the attractions and rides most important to you on your fantastic day at Disney!
Animal Kingdom Tips – Most Popular Rides
Fastpasses can be tough to get but try to get them on the TOP, most popular rides.
CLICK HERE for fast pass information in Disney 101
Avatar’s Flight of Passage – Get a Fastpass
Ride through the amazing land of Pandora on the back of a banshee. With 3D glasses and virtual technology, you will swear you really were on the back of a banshee!
Height Requirement: 44”
Kilimanjaro Safaris – Get a Fastpass
Take the 18 minute open air safari expedition through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve through the African savanna and see REAL, live animals.
Height Requirement: None
Expedition Everest – Get a Fastpass
Travel through the Himalayan mountains on a fast train to see for yourself if the legend of the Forbidden Mountain is true! This is a roller coaster that has some dark spots, big drops, and runs backwards through sections of the track to keep riders safe from the Yeti!
Height Requirement: 44”
Boat ride through the land of Pandora. Float through caves and experience plants that glow and fascinating creatures of the forest.
Height Requirement: 44”
Kali River Rapids
This water river raft ride involves lots of spinning and a few small drops. Be prepared to get WET.
Height Requirement: 38”
Travel back in time on this thrill ride to see the prehistoric world. There are loud dinosaur sounds and some dark spots. Not for the littles.
Height Requirement: 40”
This roller coaster type ride combines the small drops of a roller coaster with the spin of the teacup ride. Teens and tweens LOVE.
Height Requirement: 48”
Animal Kingdom Tips – Must see shows in Animal Kingdom:
Finding Nemo, the musical
This must ‘sea’ musical adventure is one for all ages. Enjoy the fun music and fantastic costumes. Disney has some of the best trained cast members in the world. You also have a chance to rest your feet and enjoy the nice air-conditioned theater during the show.
Festival of the Lion King Show
This 30 minute Broadway type show is bigger than life with color, music and puppets telling the age-old tale of Simba, the lion cub. Enjoy the fantastic show, air conditioning, and a chance to rest your feet.
There are other attractions and shows, but these are the must do’s in my opinion.
Animal Kingdom Tips – Always arrive early!
I always recommend arriving at least 30 minutes prior to park opening. If your little ones can handle it, 45 minutes is better. Arriving early allows you to be at the front of the line to enter the park, and make your way to your first attraction sooner.
We take our breakfast with us, and eat while we wait for the park to open. Bagel sandwiches, toast with peanut butter and Nutella, or granola bars are easy to pack and eat on the go and saves money, too! Grab some OJ and coffee at Starbucks, or pack it in your backpack and you’re set for the morning!
Animal Kingdom Tips – The BEST Animal Kingdom Itinerary
My PRO recommendation for the BEST Animal Kingdom Itinerary for teens/tweens:
Go to either Na’vi River , or Flight of Passage in Pandora- whichever one you don’t have a fastpass for is the one to do first thing. Arrive 30-45 minutes prior to park opening. This allows you to be at the front of the crowd. If you didn’t grab a time guide, or map from your hotel you can get one at the entrance to the park. Expedition Everest is next on the list. If the line is really short, you may want to ride it twice! Now head to Dinoland for Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl. If you enjoy getting wet – now is a good time for Kali River Rapids. My two boys love it but my hubby and I do not. We enjoy getting a snack while they ride. They are old enough to wait in line together and know the rules of being allowed a tiny bit of freedom in the parks. When they get off the ride, we have a snack waiting for them. And. . . they didn’t have to wait in another line for a snack.
CLICK HERE – For tips about allowing some time for Independent Exploring for Teens.
Now is a great time to hike the trails of the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Even though it’s called a trek, it doesn’t require any more hiking than a trip through your local zoo. I’ve done it in Converse sneakers and in sandals! It’s a paved path made to look like a trail. You see lots of animals and tons of foliage so it looks like you’re trekking through the jungle.
CLICK HERE– for tips on the BEST travel shoe to avoid sad, tired feet, real jungle trek or not, you do miles of walking at Walt Disney World.
Go on the Kilimanjaro Safari. Lunch! We love Yak and Yeti. It has food with an Asian/American theme. You can get lettuce chicken wraps, fried rice, Asian style barbecue ribs or a burger! They also have great cocktails. Mid-day in the summer – a mojito hits the spot! The margaritas are good, too! After lunch is a good time to take in one of the shows, either Festival of the Lion King, or Finding Nemo- the Musical.
We like Finding Nemo because it’s funny and provides a nice break with air conditioning during the middle of the day. The show lasts about 30 minutes so, it’s a perfect short break to cool off and rest tired feet.
We like The Festival of the Lion King even more than Finding Nemo. The performers and audience participation increase the engagement level for tween and teen boys. It’s action packed – a cross between a traditional circus and Cirque de Soleil. Again this show gives you about 30 minutes resting your feet while seated in the air conditioning. It’s also worth noting that the show changes. Parts of it are similar each time, but the acrobatic acts change,
The Wildlife Express will take you to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Conservation Station. We met Timon, Rafiki, and Chip & Dale. You don’t need another ticket to ride the Wildlife Express train as it’s included in the price of your Animal Kingdom entrance. Look for the hidden Mickey’s! We found a hidden Oswald shaved in a sheep’s fur.
Take the train back down the mountain. Enjoy the Exploration Trails and Gorilla Falls. After all that walking, you’ll be ready to take in another show. Now is a good time to catch the show you didn’t see earlier – Nemo, or Lion King. Tough to be a Bug is a cute show. It gets dark, has loud parts, and can be intense and scary for little guys. You know your child and if they would find it exciting or too scary. My youngest was 8 the first time he saw the show and he was ok with it. He really liked when the “bugs” ran through the seat.
Dinner time! There are multiple schools of thought on dining in Disney. My family enjoys one sit down meal a day. The other meals may be snackish in nature, or something from a walk up restaurant. If we have Yak and Yeti for lunch, that would be our sit down for the day. Dinner might be something from Flame Tree Barbecue.
You know your family and your dining preferences but don’t be afraid to check out something new and be adventurous, too! There are wonderful dining experiences in Animal Kingdom park, and at the Animal Kingdom resorts. Jiko, located at Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House, is an award-winning restaurant featuring African inspired entrees, and has one of the largest South African wine collection in all of North America!
We always make reservations for our one sit down meal per day. This ensures we have the meal of our choice, and we don’t spend time waiting for our name to be called for a table. It also ensures we slow down enough to eat one real meal a day.
The Awakening at the Tree of Life, and Rivers of Light are evening only events. Check the times guide to see when they are occurring.
There are great shows the cast members do throughout the day in the different lands. Drummers, dancers, and my favorite street performer on stilts – DiVine! We also enjoyed Flights of Wonder, the bird show. You know your family and the pace at which they are comfortable going. Rushing all day is never fun. Sometimes it’s better to use the Disney Experience app to do something with a shorter wait, even if it means a little more walking. And, I always keep extra entertainers in my backpack – just little things to keep the kiddos entertained while waiting in line. CLICK HERE for tips on essentials to include in your day pack for a Disney park.
I would love to hear about your Animal Kingdom favorite tips! Leave some in the comments section to share with others.