There’s a lot to love at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom! Here in the land of dinosaurs, bioluminescent Pandora, and of course animals from all over the world, adults and kids alike can easily spend days exploring. One of the most beautiful areas in the whole park is Asia, where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the Himalayas. From must-eats to rides to entertainment, here are a few of our favorite things found in Asia at Animal Kingdom.
Wait a minute – did that vine just move?! Don’t worry, you’re not seeing things! Chances are you’ve just stumbled upon one of the best street performers in all of Walt Disney World: DiVine. She’s a stilt walker who’s covered in green paint and foliage, so that she disappears against the lush plants and trees of the Animal Kingdom, until she moves and startles guests standing right beside her. DiVine performs at various places around the park, including the walkway between Asia and Africa. She performs for 20 minutes at a time, and you can stay and watch for as long as you want.
2. Fried Wontons
Yak and Yeti is one of our favorite restaurants anywhere in Walt Disney World, and one of the reasons is this tantalizing treat. These wontons are a nice, light dessert comprised of fried wontons filled with cream cheese, then skewered with pineapple chunks and served with vanilla ice cream and honey-vanilla sauce. Whether you eat it as a main, appetizer or dessert, it’s a must-eat when in Animal Kingdom’s Asia!
3. Expedition Everest
Towering over this part of the park, you can hardly miss Expedition Everest’s tall mountain peak when you’re in Animal Kingdom. This wonderfully themed thrill ride takes you into the Himalayas to encounter the legendary Yeti, who tears up the tracks ahead of you. You’ll hurtle backwards through the mountains to escape his clutches. If you’re prone to motion sickness or don’t like heights, you can always explore the ride’s delightful gift shop, and even bring home your very own Yeti.
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4. Kali River Rapids
For a gentler ride experience in Animal Kingdom’s Asia, wander through an ancient temple before hopping on board a massive round raft to bob along the Chakranadi River. Your journey will be punctuated by waterfalls, geysers, and splash-worthy hills, so be prepared to get wet! Before or after your river experience, make sure you check out the elephant sprayers on the bridge that overlooks the ride – they’re operated by passers-by, so you can feel free to take aim and try to drench the riders below!
5. UP! A Great Bird Adventure
An updated version of the former Flights of Wonder show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure is a perfect chance to see all of your favorite feathered friends in action! This version of the show is hosted by characters from the Disney movie UP!: Dug the dog and Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell. Throughout the show you’ll meet fantastic birds from all across the globe as they perform right above your head.
6. Maharajah Jungle Trek
You’ll love all the animals you’ll see while walking along the Maharajah Jungle Trek! This path through the jungles of southeast Asia will take you to meet tigers, gibbons, a Komodo dragon, deer, water buffalo, an aviary full of exotic birds, and our favorite, Malayan flying foxes – one of the largest bat species in the world! The theming here is just phenomenal – keep your eyes peeled for royal ruins and waterfalls, and feel free to chat with cast members to find out about all of your favorite animals and efforts to protect them.
7. Cinnamon-Glazed Nuts
If you haven’t tried the Cinnamon-Glazed Almonds or Pecans at Walt Disney World, you’re missing out on one of the best snacks on property! We first discovered these beauties at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and we were immediately hooked. They’re sweet and buttery, with a hint of cinnamon, and they’re utterly addictive. Delicious when they’re warm and freshly made, these tasty treats also taste great cooled down, which means you can bring them back to your resort (or home with you!). You can find them throughout the park, including at Drinkwallah in Asia.
8. Prayer Flags
When you’re walking through Animal Kingdom’s Asia, you’ll notice tattered prayer flags blowing in the breeze above you. Disney Imagineers transplanted this custom from the Himalayan region, where prayer flags similar to these hang across mountain passes and the tops of buildings. Traditionally, they’re inscribed with messages for compassion, wisdom, peace and strength, and when the wind slowly fades them, it’s thought that the good wishes are distributed throughout the universe.
9. Cast Iron Teapot
What could be better than a souvenir from Asia? When you’re ready for some shopping, head to the Yak & Yeti Bhaktapur Market, where you’ll find all sorts of fun Asian, and Asian-inspired, merchandise. We love the ornate cast iron teapots (you’ll recognize them if you’ve ordered tea at Yak & Yeti Restaurant), but there’s a world of products to discover here!
10. Rivers of Light
This long-awaited evening show at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is a lovely way to end your day. It celebrates the colorful world of nature, and it features a combination of boats, lasers, fountains, water screens, music, fire and live performers. One thing you won’t find is fireworks, because it would disturb the parks’ animals, so this show is perfect for very young guests who might be scared by loud fireworks.