11 Rookie Mistakes People Make at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is definitely one of our favorite parks. There are so many fun attractions with a mix of great shows, rides and trails. If you haven’t been to the park before, then you definitely need to check out and learn from these 11 rookie mistakes:


11. Not arriving for park opening.

There are many guests who like to sleep in or just can’t find it in themselves to get up early while on vacation, but that would definitely be a mistake. The lines are shorter, the temperature is cooler and you get even more amazing pictures when you are there early as opposed to during the busiest parts of the day.

10. Not making dining reservations in advance.

There are only a limited number of table service restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Since the restaurants are quite popular, you will definitely want to have a dining reservation. Guests are able to start making dining reservations 180 days in advance of their vacation, so you should definitely make your own reservations as soon as possible so that you get the best times on the dates you will be there.

9. Skipping the walking trails.

There are various walking trails around Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You definitely want to be sure to check them all out. There are animals on the trails that you can only see by taking a stroll on them. If you want to see the tigers or gorillas (along with many other amazing animals), then you definitely need to visit their respective trails and see their amazing habitat within the park.


8. Not using the Single Rider Line at Expedition Everest.

The single rider line is amazing! If your crew doesn’t care about sitting together on the ride (or if you don’t have small kids that require an adult to ride with them) then you can take advantage of a much shorter line. Not only that, you can save a FastPass+ selection and use it on something else since you won’t need it for Expedition Everest.

7. Leaving early.

Animal Kingdom used to be known as a “half-day park”. That is definitely not true, especially now. The park has opened a nighttime show, Rivers of Light. The park has also started the Tree of Life Awakenings where the Tree of Life lights up. Pandora – The World of Avatar has also opened with bioluminescent effects in the evening time. You will definitely want to stay through the evening to check it all out.

6. Not making FastPass+ selections as early as possible.

Guests can being making FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance if they are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort or 30 days in advance if they are staying off property. You will definitely want to make them as early as possible that you can get the attractions that typically have the longest wait times like the safari or the new Pandora attractions that recently opened at the park. These time slots go quickly and you may miss out on them for FastPass+ selections if you wait too late or until you actually arrive to the park.

5. Using FastPass+ selections for shows.

The FastPass+ selections aren’t really needed for shows. You can usually get into shows at most of the different time slots and work them into your day. You can make better use of the FastPass+ selections for the rides instead and save yourself a ton of time. You always try to use them for rides first and then for a show if we have no other attraction we want to use it for.

4. Not participating in the Wilderness Explorers activities.

The Wilderness Explorers activities are a lot of fun and a great way to keep the kiddos entertained. Guests of all ages can earn their Wilderness Explorer “badges” at locations all over the park in order to complete their booklet. Throughout doing this they are engaged in each of the lands and also learn a lot about animals and conservation.

3. Overlooking all of the great character meet and greets.

You may only think the park is full of live animals, but there is also a ton of great character meet and greets, too. You can meet some characters that you can only find at this park, too, like characters from the Up, Lion King, and more. You will definitely want to have your autograph books ready for your trip.

2. Not purchasing Animal Kingdom specific souvenirs.

If there is something you see at Animal Kingdom and like, you may want to go ahead and buy it. There are a lot of souvenirs that may be at all of the different parks, but there is also a lot of park-specific merchandise. If you really love something that you see, you should probably play it on the safe side and go ahead and purchase it.

1. Not knowing about the straws and balloons.

When you are at Animal Kingdom, you will notice that there are no plastic straws served with drinks in the park. The straws that are available are biodegradable paper straws in order to help protect animals and environment. You will also notice that there are no balloons allowed in the park. If you show up with a balloon, you will have to check it in at the front of the park. This is to prevent harm to animals if balloons should escape and get into animal enclosures.

About Christy Caby

I am a diehard Disney fanatic! I fell in love with all things Disney from an early age and that only increased once I first visited Walt Disney World! It led me to complete a yearlong Disney College Program working at merchandise locations within Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Disney-MGM Studios at that time) and I worked for Disney Parks & Resorts Technology in Project/Program Management. Now I get to write about Disney and help others plan their magical vacations! Disney holds a special place in the hearts of my entire family as my husband proposed there, we honeymooned there, took trips while pregnant with each of my boys and have visited with them many, many times from 8 weeks old through now. One of my favorite memories from each trip is always the look on my kids’ faces the first time they see the castle. I’d love to help you plan your magical vacation! Request a free quote at or look for me on Facebook at Have a magical day!