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10 Things You Must Know About Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Guests who are looking to have a one of a kind adventure definitely need to check out Disney’s Animal Kingdom when visiting Walt Disney World. The park opened in 1998 and aims to showcase the beauty of nature through gorgeous lands while also stressing the importance of conservation and preservation. Those who spend time in the park can enjoy amazing attractions, entertainment, shopping, and dining while embarking on an African safari, traveling back to the age of the dinosaurs, stepping into some of the most beloved Disney and Pixar animated films, discovering another planet, and coming face to face with a Yeti. With so much to see and enjoy in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it is no wonder that guests can easily become overwhelmed trying to do it all. In order to make the most out of any day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests can follow a few simple tips and tricks designed to help them save time and frustration. From making the best FastPass choices to experiencing certain things at specific times of day, there are ways that guests can make the most out of any day in the park. Here are ten things that guests must know about Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

 

1. Arrive For Rope Drop —

One of the best ways to make the most out of any day in a Disney Park is by arriving for rope drop. This entails getting to the park before it officially opens and waiting at designated points to be let further inside. Guests who arrive at Disney’s Animal Kingdom early will be let inside a half hour before opening and then will have to wait at different pathways throughout the park until the official opening. Those who arrive for rope drop are some of the first let inside certain areas of the park and are rewarded with fewer crowds and low wait times.

2. Na’vi River Journey First —

When arriving at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests should head straight to Pandora – The World of Avatar. This very popular area will seem very busy in the morning before rope drop, however the majority of guests will head toward Avatar – Flight of Passage. Therefore, guests should plan on heading instead to the Na’vi River Journey which entails a beautiful trip through a bioluminescent forest to seek out the Na’vi Shaman of Songs.

3. FastPass Avatar Flight of Passage —

Pandora – The World of Avatar is home to one of the most popular attractions in Walt Disney World that typically boasts wait times that stretch several hours. Avatar – Flight of Passage links guests to Avatars and allows them to experience the Na’vi rite of passage of flying on the back of a banshee. With amazing technology and thrills like no other attraction, guests definitely want to have a FastPass for Avatar Flight of Passage to save tons of time that would have otherwise been spent on the standby line.

 

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4. Kilimanjaro Safaris Early —

After enjoying Pandora – The World of Avatar, guests should head over to the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and enjoy the village of Harambe. There they can take a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris which brings them on a two week safari through the forests and savannahs of the Harambe Reserve. Kilimanjaro Safaris offers guests the chance to have up close encounters with animals like giraffes, lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, hippos, and more and since the animals are more active in the mornings when the temperatures are cooler, it is the ideal time to enjoy the adventure.

5. FastPass Kali River Rapids —

The Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom features a thrilling attraction that is sure to leave guests soaked. Kali River Rapids has guests board a family style raft and set off down the Chakranadi River where the beautiful jungle soon showcases the devastation left by illegal logging. With plenty of twists, turns, and drops alongside an important message of conservation, Kali River Rapids is an attraction that guests don’t want to miss. Since the experience is so popular with guests, it is a great choice for a FastPass.

6. Expedition Everest Single Rider Disney’s Animal Kingdom —

Also found in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a thrilling adventure that bring guests deep into the Forbidden Mountain. Expedition Everest has guests board trains for what begins as a serene loop around the foothills of the mountains. Soon guests find themselves high up in the peaks and faced with a bit of broken track. Expedition Everest brings guests on a whirlwind adventure as they desperately try to escape the fabled Yeti protecting the mountain. Expedition Everest tends to typically have lengthy wait times, so guests are smart to use the Single Rider queue which offers up the same experience with a typically much lower wait time so long as guests don’t mind being split up at the loading platform.

7. FastPass Dinosaur —

Another thrilling attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings guests back to prehistoric times. Dinosaur invites guests into the Dino Institute where the technology to travel back in time has been perfected. Guests soon find themselves on a thrilling mission to bring one particular dinosaur back with them before the massive asteroid impact. With thrilling moments in the dark and lots of bumps along the way, Dinosaur is a very popular attraction and a great FastPass option.

8. Enjoy the Live Shows —

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to two amazing live shows that brings favorite films to life. The Festival of the Lion King is performed in the Harambe Theater and retells the classic story of The Lion King. Guests can relive the favorite through beloved characters and music, audience participation, acrobatics, fire dancing, aerial ballet, and more. Dinoland is home to the Theater in the Wild which features Finding Nemo – The Musical. This live shows brings Nemo and friends to life through larger than life puppets, special effects, music, and more. Both live shows are unforgettable and should not be missed!

9. Stop For A Meal —

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to plenty of amazing dining options, including a few full service locations that guests definitely need to try. The Yak & Yeti Restaurant in the Asia section of the park features amazing cuisine and décor inspired by a family’s adventure through Southeast Asia. Guests who opt to dine at the location for lunch or dinner can enjoy options like Ahi Tuna Nachos, Teriyaki Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Seared Miso Salmon, and Kobe Beef Burger. With such delicious options and a wonderful atmosphere, Yak & Yeti Restaurant is a must try!

10. Don’t Miss Nighttime —

Once night falls, Disney’s Animal Kingdom comes to life with wonderful new experiences and entertainment. Guests should be sure to check out Pandora – The World of Avatar as the entire land becomes bioluminescent at night. Kilimanjaro Safaris offers a nighttime safari that showcases the beauty of the sun setting on the savanna as well as unique vantages of the animals after dark. The Tree of Life Awakenings are beautiful projections on the base of the tree that tells stories of the wonder of nature. Guests definitely need to enjoy a showing of Rivers of Light which shares the wonders of the natural world through special effects, floats, boats, and a wonderful score.

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.