Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest park in Walt Disney World, and many guests opt to spend more time there visiting the various animal habitats and exhibits. Home to classic attractions such as Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest, new attractions like Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, and home to the Tree of Life, Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers so much for guests to experience that it is important to utilize time wisely in order to see it all. Let’s take a look at some tips for getting the most out of your day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
1. Extra Magic Hours
Guests who stay on property at a Walt Disney World Resort are eligible to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours. These special times vary by day and are usually posted near the front desk of each resort or on the My Disney Experience App. Extra Magic Hours can occur both in the morning and at night and offer guests the opportunity to experience some of their favorite attractions with lower wait times. Generally one park will have morning Extra Magic Hours and open one hour early for resort guests and a different park will have evening Extra Magic Hours and remain open for up to three hours after regular closing for resort guests. Utilizing Extra Magic Hours is a great way to visit the park with less crowds and to experience certain attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom that normally have long wait times otherwise. It also offers up the opportunity to experience more in Disney’s Animal Kingdom after dark which is a great time to explore.
2. First… Pandora – The World of Avatar
Pandora – The World of Avatar is the newest land in the Animal Kingdom theme park. This is exactly why you’ll want to head to this part of the park as soon as you arrive in the morning – due to huge crowds! Here you will find two extremely popular attractions known as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. You can expect a thrilling ride on Avatar Flight of Passage as you climb aboard a Banshee (dragon-like creature) and ride through the beautiful World of Avatar. The Na’vi River Journey is a perfect family-friendly attraction as guests boat down river and see just how beautiful the Na’vi tribe’s rainforest is with bioluminescence lighting and the latest animatronics. Unfortunately, you can only FastPass ONE of these two attractions. We recommend you FastPass one and head to the other the moment the park opens. Outside of these two attractions, the land is almost like an attraction itself with stunning beauty and ability to interact with guests… especially as it glows at night! Expect large crowds to be flocking to this area for quite some time.
3. Early Morning or Evening Safaris
One of the signature attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Kilimanjaro Safaris which takes guests on a safari through the grasslands of Africa and offers beautiful glimpses at animals such as giraffes and lions. The best times of day to experience a safari are the early mornings and late evenings as the temperature is not as high and the animals are more comfortable and more likely to be active. I recommend heading to Kilimanjaro Safaris after Pandora, before lunch if possible.
4. Utilize FastPass+
There is no better way to save time that would otherwise be spent waiting on attraction queues than by booking FastPass+ reservations. Guests are allowed to book three a day, and can book them up to sixty days in advanced if staying at a Disney Resort or thirty days ahead of time is staying elsewhere. FastPasses can also be booked and edited on the My Disney App while in the parks. As mentioned above, Tier One at Animal Kingdom has Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Select one of the two. The rest of the attractions are on Tier Two. Good FastPass options to snag here are Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids as they tend to have the longest wait times throughout the day.
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5. Check Show Times
Some of the biggest attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom are shows that offer up Broadway caliber performances. The Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical, and Rivers of Light can seat hundreds of guests at a time, but only occur specific times throughout the day and evening. Since these are fantastic shows that shouldn’t be missed, guests should make sure to grab a times guide on their way into the park and check the show times throughout the day to plan around.
6. Use Mobile Ordering If Possible
Satu’li Canteen is the newest counter service hot spot in Pandora – The World of Avatar. The theming is a long ago an RDA (Resources Development Administration) mess hall that has now been decked out with a colorful array of Na’vi (Pandora natives) art and cultural items. You’ll find a great menu for lunch and dinner. The best part however is that Satu’li Canteen was the birthplace of the mobile ordering. Order and pay for your food from the MyDisneyExperience app and pick up your food when you arrive. It’s awesome and available at a few other locations at Animal Kingdom and other theme parks, as well as Disney Springs.
7. Take Advantage of Evening Hours
You don’t want to skip out early from Animal Kingdom! Now coming to life at night, guest have the opportunity to enjoy an amphitheater style show called Rivers of Light where nature is celebrated in an incredibly beautiful way! And who’s ready to dance? The Hakuna Matata Dance Time Party is a fun event to dance with colorfully costumed dancers, characters and musicians. 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, the perfect evening experience is a visit to Pandora – World of Avatar to see this beautiful land glow at night! Truly remarkable.
From delicious meals to doing some simple planning like booking FastPasses and consulting times guides and Extra Magic Hour schedules, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your time exploring Disney’s Animal Kingdom.