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10 Ways To Survive A Crowded Day At Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World is home to four wonderful theme parks which each feature their own unique themes, stories, attractions, entertainment, dining, and shopping. Of the four theme parks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the newest and largest and allows guests to tap into their wild sides and experience the beauty and adventure of nature. Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998 and celebrates the beauty of nature and the environment while aiming to teach guests about the importance of preserving it. Guests who spend time in the park can go rafting on intense rapids, come face to face with a Yeti, travel back in time, go on an African safari, and even travel to Pandora. With so much to enjoy in the park, it is very popular with guests and often can be very crowded. Guests who visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom on a crowded day can make the most of their time by following a few tips and tricks designed to save time and frustration. From early and late hours to checking out some underrated experiences, there are plenty of ways to make the most of busy days. Here are ten ways to survive a crowded day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.


1. Arrive for Rope Drop

The best way to start off a crowded day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is by arriving for rope drop. This entails getting to the park before it opens and waiting to be let inside. Guests who wait can typically enjoy a welcome speech that tells them about the adventures waiting inside the park. Once Disney’s Animal Kingdom is officially open for the day, guests who arrived for rope drop are some of the first inside where they can enjoy low wait times, few crowds, and quiet pathways.

2. Na’vi River Journey First

The Pandora section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings the fictional world of Avatar to life through beautiful floating mountains and a rich Na’vi culture. The area is home to two attractions, both of which are extremely popular with guests and tend to have very lengthy wait times on busy days in the park. Guests who want to make the most of their time should plan on heading straight to the Na’vi River Journey to enjoy the experience with lower than normal wait times. Once on board the attraction, guests can enjoy a serene trip through a bioluminescent forest and come face to face with a very realistic Avatar.

3. FastPass Avatar Flight of Passage

The other attraction found in the Pandora section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a thrilling adventure on the back of a banshee. Avatar Flight of Passage brings guests on an experience like no other in Walt Disney World where they enjoy a Na’vi rite of passage. Since the attraction is very popular with guests, it can easily have wait times of several hours on busy days in the parks. Guests who want to enjoy the experience without losing a ton of time spent waiting in line should plan on booking a FastPass for it.


4. FastPass Kilimanjaro Safaris

One of the most classic experiences in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be found in the village of Harambe in the Africa section of the park. Kilimanjaro Safaris invites guests to embark on a two week safari through the Harambe Reserve where they can come face to face with animals like hippos, giraffes, rhinos, elephants, lions, cheetahs, flamingos, and wild dogs. Since the animals are free roaming, guests love to enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris many times as each experience is sure to be unique. Due to this, the attraction often has a long wait time making a FastPass the best way to enjoy it.

5. Single Rider Expedition Everest

The Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to a thrilling attraction that brings guests deep into the Forbidden Mountain. Expedition Everest begins as a serene tour through the foothills of the mountains but takes an adventurous turn when guests are forced deep into the mountain after stumbling upon a piece of broken track. Guests whip through caverns and come face to face with the Yeti on this thrilling experience. Guests who want to enjoy Expedition Everest without the lengthy wait times should opt to use the Single Rider line which offers the same experience with a typically much lower wait time so long as guests don’t mind being split up at the loading platform.

6. FastPass Dinosaur

Another thrilling experience in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be found in the Dinoland section of the park. Dinosaur brings guests into the Dino Institute where the technology to travel back in time has been perfected. Guests find themselves on a thrilling adventure dangerously close to the impact of a giant asteroid on a mission to save one particular dinosaur. Since Dinosaur is packed with thrills, it is very popular with guests and often has long wait times. Guests who want to enjoy the experience without waiting on a long line should opt to book a FastPass.

7. Arrive Early for Stage Shows

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to two amazing stage shows which bring Pixar and Disney animated films to life. The Harambe Theater in the Africa section of the park is home to the Festival of the Lion King which brings the story of The Lion King to life. Guests can enjoy fire dancing, aerial ballet, acrobatics, and favorite characters and music. Across the park in Dinoland, the Theater in the Wild is home to Finding Nemo – The Musical which brings the Pixar classing Finding Nemo to life. Guests can enjoy the story of Nemo’s adventure through larger than life puppets, original music, and beloved characters. Since both of these stage shows are very popular with guests in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, those who want to enjoy the experiences should opt on getting to the theaters early to ensure that they have seats!

8. Eat at Yak & Yeti Restaurant

A great way to avoid crowds and relax for a little while is by stopping to enjoy a meal in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While there are several full service dining locations throughout the park, there is one in the Asia section that is too good to miss. The Yak & Yeti Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and serves up Asian inspired cuisine like Pork Egg Rolls, Dragon Roll, Lo Mein Shrimp, Crispy Honey Chicken, Seared Miso Salmon, Kalbi Steak and Coconut Shrimp, and Teriyaki Chicken. With such delicious options, the Yak & Yeti Restaurant is often busy and guests who want to dine there should book Advanced Dining Reservations.

9. Enjoy the Walking Trails

There are two other experiences in Disney’s Animal Kingdom which offer guests the chance to escape the crowds and enjoy quiet pathways at their own pace. The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail can be found right near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris and is a self-guided walking trail that guests can enjoy. While wandering the path, guests can check out animals like meerkat, Grevy’s zebra, and gorillas. A second self-guided walking path can be found in the Asia section of the park and brings guests through beautiful temple ruins. The Maharajah Jungle Trek features many different animals for guest to enjoy including water buffalo, many different species of birds, and Asian tigers.

10. Experience the Evening Entertainment

You don’t want to skip out early from Animal Kingdom! Guest have the opportunity to enjoy an amphitheater style show called Rivers of Light where nature is celebrated in an incredibly beautiful way. The Tree of Life Awakenings is a perfect way to cap off the evening with its projections and music lighting up the iconic Animal Kingdom symbol. And finally, stop back by Pandora – World of Avatar to see this beautiful land glow at night!

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.