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10 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Animal Kingdom

By Caitlin Corsello

Of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World, the largest invites guests to step into nature and celebrate the beauty of the environment and the importance of preserving it. Disney’s Animal Kingdom allows guests to travel to exotic places from around the world and through time to appreciate the beauty and inhabitants of the planet and how important they are. Guests who spend time in the park can enter into the Forbidden Mountain, travel back to the time of the dinosaurs, go on an African safari, relive the story of The Lion King, and conquer some adventurous rapids. With so many amazing experiences to be had in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests will want to make the most of each moment in the park in order to see it all. By following a few tips, guests will be able to get the most out of their time in the park and will have an amazing time. Here are ten tips for getting the most out of Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

10. Rope Drop –

One of the best ways to kick off a day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is arriving for rope drop first thing in the morning. This entails arriving at the park before it officially opens and waiting at the gate. Guests who arrive for rope drop are treated to a welcome speech telling them all about the adventures that are waiting for them inside the park. Once the gates officially open, guests who arrived for rope drop are some of the first people inside the park and are treated to few crowds, low wait times, and empty walkways.

9. Kilimanjaro Safaris First –

After entering into Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests should immediately head for the Africa section of the park in the back left hand corner. There they should wait on the standby line for Kilimanjaro Safaris which invites guests to embark on a two week African safari inside the Harambe Reserve. Along the way guests can spot animals like giraffes, zebras, lions, and cheetahs and have amazing encounters they can’t find anywhere else. By visiting Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing in the morning, guests can enjoy low wait times and very active animals thanks to lower temperatures and breakfast being served on the reserve!

8. Single Rider Expedition Everest –

Several attractions throughout Walt Disney World feature a line option which is sure to save a lot of time for guests. Single Rider lines allow guests to enjoy the same experiences on attractions but with a much lower wait time than normal so long as they don’t mind being split up when riding. Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom features a Single Rider line which guests can take advantage of when riding the attraction which brings guests deep into the Forbidden Mountain for a close encounter with the Yeti.

7. FastPass Kali River Rapids –

A thrilling attraction in the Asia section of the park invites guests to get soaking wet while barreling down the Chakranadi River. Kali River Rapids has guests board a family style raft and brave the wild rapids and illegal deforestation occurring along the river. Since the attraction is very popular with guests, the wait times tend to be high on crowded days in the park so guests should be sure to book FastPasses for the experience to save time that would have otherwise been spent waiting in line.

6. FastPass Dinosaur –

Another popular attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Dinosaur in the Dinoland area of the park. The thrilling attraction invites guests into the Dino Institute where the technology to travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs has been discovered. Guests soon find themselves on a daring adventure dangerously close to a massive asteroid impact. Since Dinosaur is very popular with guests, the wait times tend to be high making it a great attraction to use a FastPass for to save some time.

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5. Eat At Yak & Yeti Restaurant –

There are several amazing places to enjoy a meal in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but one of the best options is the Yak & Yeti Restaurant in the Asia area of the park. The restaurant is covered in authentic South Asian art, décor, and artifacts which were said to be gathered by the family who runs the establishment. Guests who visit Yak & Yeti Restaurant for lunch or dinner can dine on options like Sweet and Sour Chicken or Pork, Tempura Shrimp, or Teriyaki Mahi Mahi.

4. Wildlife Express Train –

An underrated experience that many guests overlook while enjoying time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Wildlife Express Train which runs from Harambe in Africa to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. The train offers unique behind the scenes glimpses of backstage areas including where some of the animals are housed.

3. Explore The Trails –

There are two self-guided walking tours in Disney’s Animal Kingdom which should also not be missed. The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail brings guests into lush jungle areas filled with beautiful animals like meerkats and gorillas. The Maharajah Jungle Trek brings guests deep into the Royal Anandapur Forest to wander through palace ruins and see animals like bats and Asian tigers.

2. See The Shows –

While there are many amazing live shows throughout Walt Disney World, two of the best are found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Festival of the Lion King is housed in the Harambe Theater and retells the classic tale from the film through fire dancing, song, dance, acrobatics, aerial ballet, and plenty of familiar faces. Over in Dinoland, the Theater in the Wild is home to Finding Nemo- The Musical which uses larger than life puppets to bring the story of the classic Pixar film Finding Nemo to life. Both shows run several times each day and guests should consult a times guide for show times.

1. Eat At Flame Tree Barbecue –

Guests who are looking for a quick service dining option while enjoying the park should visit Discovery Island and stop by Flame Tree Barbecue. The location serves up mouthwatering barbecue options including a Pulled Pork Sandwich, Ribs and Chicken Combo, and Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich. After ordering, guests can enjoy their meals on a back patio which looks across the river to a wonderful view of Expedition Everest. Enjoying a meal or snack at Flame Tree Barbecue is an absolute must do while spending time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

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.