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10 Tips, Tricks, and Secrets for Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

1. The animals are more active in the morning

If seeing the animals is a priority (which it should be, it’s Animal Kingdom after all!) be sure to get to the park early. Most of the animals tend to be more active in the morning than during any other part of the day, so your best safari rides and experiences on the walking trails can often be right after the park opens. Don’t have time to get to the park early? Try visiting after it rains. The rain cools off the park allowing more of the animals to cool off and do so in view of guests.

 

2. Animal Kingdom is the hottest park

This may sound like an odd secret, but it’s totally true! Animal Kingdom has more plant life than any of the other Disney theme parks, and many of these plants actually give off heat. So while you may be able to find more shaded areas in the park, the temperature will actually be higher than it would be at the other parks. Be sure to dress cool and drink plenty of water!

3. It’s not all about the rides

When you think theme parks you tend to think rides, but Animal Kingdom is really so much more than that. This park features animal encounters you may not find anywhere else, alongside some of the best streetmosphere entertainment, restaurants, and even shops you’ll find anywhere at the Walt Disney World Resort. Rides are cool, but don’t make them your only priority while visiting this park.

4. Plan in advance to get on Flight of Passage without a long wait

Flight of Passage is still the most popular attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and while the ‘newness’ of Pandora has started to wear off the lines for this attraction are not getting any shorter. Thankfully, there are a couple of ways to offset your wait here if you can be a bit strategic about it. Securing a FastPass is often easier said than done, so if this doesn’t work you can always get in line just before the park opens or just before the park closes. The line may seem really long, but without the FastPass line being open it should move quick!

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5. Don’t miss the shows

Some of the best shows at the Walt Disney World Resort are in Animal Kingdom. Whether you’re looking for a 3D show (It’s Tough to be a Bug), a quality musical (Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo: The Musical), or even something more educational (Up! A Great Bird Adventure) there really is a show for everyone in this park. Rivers of Light even offers a nighttime spectacular and the Tree of Life Awakenings can be the perfect end to a day exploring the park.

6. Visit the park at night

Animal Kingdom takes on a whole different feel at night that should definitely not be missed. From the bioluminescent atmosphere of Pandora to the special sunset safaris at Kilimanjaro Safaris, there are multiple experiences that are entirely different when done at night. Moreover, the park tends to be less crowded in the evening (Pandora excluded).

7. Become a Wilderness Explorer

Animal Kingdom offers guests so many ways to learn more about animals and the world around them, but one of the best ways to do this is through the Wilderness Explorer program. You can pick up a booklet to get started right when you enter Discovery Island, and then you’ll be able to follow the program around the park where you’ll complete small challenges, learn about animals, and interact with cast members from Asia, Africa, and Pandora to become a Wilderness Explorer.

8. Take in all the details

While visiting Animal Kingdom, be sure to slow it down and take the time to enjoy all of the details. The design of the park is truly spectacular and it really is all of the details that make the experience so immersive. Each section of the park is intricately designed around their set themes, and the immersion is really extraordinary.

9. Stop for lunch or dinner

In recent years, Animal Kingdom has really begun to rival Epcot for the fan favorite choice of which park has the best food. Epcot may have more options, but Animal Kingdom also has plenty of different items to choose from with everything from quick service burgers to signature dining at Tiffins. You can even find some of the best in-park drinks in Africa over at the Dawa Bar.

10. Support the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund

Want to do something meaningful during your visit to the park? Make a donation to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund– doing so can be as easy as donating your change when you make a purchase. You can help at any merchandise or quick service dining location in the park, and in addition to covering all overheard costs for the program, Disney even matches every contribution made!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.