This might be a long article because Animal Kingdom is my favourite park at Walt Disney World. It’s also the biggest and does an amazing Honey Chicken and Rice dish, so there is plenty to talk about! Man I love the food here!
Animal Kingdom is over 500 acres so there is plenty to see and do. Animal Kingdom calls itself a zoological theme park so a lot of the attractions centre on animals.
Now, personally speaking (and this is just my opinion) I’m not massively keen on Zoo’s, I don’t like to see animals trapped in Chester or Blackpool that should be roaming the Serengeti. With that in mind I didn’t think I’d like Animal Kingdom but I was wrong. All the enclosures are huge and you really get a feeling that they are so well looked after. The best chance to see the animals is via the Kilimanjaro Safaris, worth getting Genie Plus for!. You can even upgrade further to a Wild Africa Trek, prices for this start from $289 per person.
For most people though, Kilimanjaro Safari will be perfect, take a tour around the Harambe Reserve with your driver/tour guide explaining all the animals you encounter. You can also take a walk through Gorilla Falls Forest Exploration Trail, this is quite frankly amazing. The clue as to what you will see is particularly in the name and what fantastic, beautiful creatures they are. It really feels like you are watching them (or are they watching you!) in their own environment.
Animal Kingdom Rides
Animal Kingdom is also the home of Expedition Everest which is right up there with the best rides in the whole of Walt Disney World. I won’t spoil it for you other than to say you need to be at least 42 inches to ride. The theming for the ride in the queue (and there will be a queue!) is amazing and the ride itself is a real thrill.
Animal Kingdom is home to Pandora. Pandora is a land within Animal Kingdom which is themed on the Avatar movies. Within this land are two rides Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage.
Na’vi River is a nice boat ride through the forest on Pandora, it is safe for young children and has no drops. It’s good fun but not worth a long queue.
Flight of Passage (FoP) is the one that in 2023 most people want to ride in Animal Kingdom. If you want to ride it without a huge queue get to the theme park before opening. Once the park opens head straight round to the left and follow the crowds, they are all heading to Flight of Passage.
FoP is such a brilliant ride. You actually don’t move as its a simulator. You are riding on the back of a giant Banshee. It takes you on an adventure around the planet of Pandora so hold on tight. It is well worth the wait. The whole theming of the ride is good fun too.
When you get off Flight of Passage, you’ll enter the gift shop (no surprise there) but just outside you can try some lovely quick service snacks. They do a drink called a Night Blossom. They do a non-alcoholic version which my daughter and I love to share. Its layers of apple and pear with limeade and topped with Boba Balls, a bit like a Bubble Tea over here in the UK.
Animal Kingdom shows
There are two amazing shows at the Animal Kingdom too, they both offer a chance to get out of the sun, stop walking and still down but they are really fun too.
Festival of the Lion King
This is such a cool show. It contains the best songs from the film sang live by some high-level performers. By the end, everyone is laughing and having a great time.
I’ve noticed that I’m saying ‘amazing’ a lot but to be honest I’ve got Disney blues just thinking about how AMAZING Animal Kingdom is!
Finding Nemo The Musical
This show is……. ok. I’m not as big a fan of it as I am with the Lion King show, however, my daughter totally loves it. I think maybe I’ve seen it too many times. It’s hard to think back to the first time I saw it. Don’t let me put you off though, as I say my wife and daughter would both say it’s AMAZING!!
Animal Kingdom Advice
Ok, you came for advice so here we go…
- Get there early. I can stress this enough, if you’re there early you’ll park closer and be able to move through the park freely for the first couple of hours, use this time to hit the rides and experiences that you really want to do.
- You can eat in Africa and Asia. I find that the food in Asia is much better. I think the honey chicken might be the nicest food I’ve ever tasted.
- They do amazing Ice Creams near the entrance to Expedition Everest. Look for the Indian ice cream van.
- Dinoland USA is in the Animal Kingdom and has a ride called Primeval Whirl. It’s like a Waltzer on stilts! (unfortunately, since I wrote this article in 2017, Primeval Whirl has closed for good.)
- There is a single rider line for Expedition Everest.
- It’s Tough to be a Bug is themed to attract small children but it’s a trap! It’s brilliant but quite intense for small children. At least 5 are carried out before the end crying in parents arms.
- Kali River Rapids – you will get wet. There is somewhere to hide your valuables but be warned, at least one person will be soaked when they get off!
- Look out for the Hippo!
Right! that’s it for today. Better get on with my proper job. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my article on Animal Kingdom Advice.
You can also check my Hollywood Studios Advice article.