With all the recent excitement about the newest land at Animal Kingdom, Pandora – The World of Avatar, we can’t help but think of all the experiences that guests may be missing while visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Check out these 10 experiences we feel are worth a try!
1) Character meet and greets
Compared to some of the other parks at Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom has some of the most unique meet and greets. There are a few characters who guests can meet in Animal Kingdom that are not usually around for meet and greets anywhere else. Among others, some of the most popular Animal Kingdom meet and greets include Pocahontas, Russell from Up!, and Jungle Book characters like Baloo and King Louie. In addition to the more unique characters found in this park, guests can also meet Mickey and Minnie in their safari gear, as well as Goofy, Pluto, and Donald in themed outfits in Dinoland USA.
2) Cretaceous Trail
One of the most overlooked parts of Animal Kingdom is Dinoland USA, and within Dinoland the most overlooked area is more than likely the Cretaceous Trail. To a guest who isn’t looking closely at their surroundings, the area might look like ordinary Florida plant life, however a closer look reveals that these plants were specifically placed in Dinoland because they are the closest we have to plants that would have been around with the dinosaurs. You might even hear some dinosaurs off in the distance too!
3) Visit the Bars
A few years ago, I would have put the Dawa Bar, located by Tusker House in Africa as one of the best bars in Walt Disney World. Recently however, smaller bars have sprung up all around Animal Kingdom, each featuring unique drinks themed to each area of the park. While Epcot will always be known as the best Disney park for a drink, since guests can drink around the world, Animal Kingdom is truly stepping up in this area too.
4) Flights of Wonder
Flights of Wonder is one of the most underrated attractions at Walt Disney World. This show, located in Animal Kingdom’s Asia, features a wide variety of bird species including Ravens, vultures, and even a bald eagle. The show is filled with humor, excitement, and an important message regarding conservation, and how we can all do our part to help save the environment.
5) Animal Walking Trails
I am always surprised to learn how many guests visit Animal Kingdom and do not seem to spend a lot of time actually seeing the animals. Many guests do experience the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction, however fewer guests walk the trail at the end of it, or at other locations within the park to see even more animals. Next time you exit Kilimanjaro Safari, be sure to walk through the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to see even more animals that you would not have seen on the attraction. There are other animal trails in the park too, including the Maharajah Jungle Trek, and the Oasis Exhibits. Be sure to pick up an animal guide when you grab your map and times guide on your way into the park!
6) Try different food
With Harambe Marketplace in place, Animal Kingdom boasts a variety of dining options that stray away from the usual burgers and hot dogs. To try something a little bit more adventurous, sample some of the options in Harambe, or plan on having a table service meal at Tusker House, Yak and Yeti, or Tiffins. Your taste buds will thank you for trying something you won’t be able to have in the other Disney parks.
7) Visit Animal Kingdom Lodge
While I would not say that visiting an Epcot or Magic Kingdom area resort is something that necessarily comes with going to the park, I do feel as though Animal Kingdom Lodge truly is an extension of the park. As a non-resort guest, you are still welcome to walk around the resort, dine in the restaurants and visit the shop. Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of my favorite resorts, as there is so much much to look at in the lobby in terms of artifacts and the building’s architecture itself, as well as amazing restaurants and various animal viewing areas around the resort.
Animal Kingdom is probably not the first place in Walt Disney World that comes to mind when you think of shopping, however it is actually one of my favorite places to shop. The merchandise sold in Animal Kingdom is unique compared to the other parks, and some of the items, primarily in Asia and Africa, are authentic to those parts of the world. Similarly to Epcot’s World Showcase, where guests can purchase items they will likely not find anywhere else without visiting those specific countries, Animal Kingdom offers an authentic and one of a kind shopping experience for guests.
9) Late night hours
Late hours at Animal Kingdom are spectacular! Tree of Life Awakenings and Rivers of Light are among Animal Kingdom favorites. Seeing the park lit up at night is beautiful, and it makes for a unique experience on rides such as Expedition Everest for instance. Plus, Pandora – The World of Avatar is exceptional at night to explore with it’s glowing bioluminescent lights.
10) Wilderness Explorers
This experience is often overlooked by adults who are visiting the parks without kids. While the Wilderness Explorers program is geared more for children than adults, it is still a fun experience to go around the park completing the different activities to collect badges. The smaller experiences like this one are all too often passed by for rides and shows instead, however the Wilderness Explorers program is truly excellent, and should be experienced at least once.