8 Absolute Must-Do Attractions At Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

1. Tree of Life Awakenings

If you happen to be visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom when the sun goes down, be sure to stick around for the Tree of Life Awakenings. These short projection shows on the tree of life start every couple of minutes in the evening, and they really add some beauty and entertainment to Discovery Island. They can be the perfect end to a long day in the park or a fun precursor to your rush towards Pandora.


2. Flight of Passage

When a visit to Pandora: World of Avatar is on your agenda, you’ll want to hop in the (probably very long) line for Flight of Passage. This attraction allows you to take part in a Na’vi right of passage by flying on the back of a Banshee. The wait times can be intimidating but the attraction is totally worth it, especially if it’s your first time riding. To offset the long wait times, try your best to score a FastPass (which you will likely need to do well in advance of your trip), or get in line first thing in the morning or just before the park closes.

3. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Routinely praised as one of the best attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort is Kilimanjaro Safaris, located in Harambe Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For many guests, this attraction is as close as it gets to an authentic African safari. The ride showcases a variety of animals like lions, elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, hippos, and more, and the best part is that every ride is different. The sunset safaris especially offer an entirely different experience than the usual daytime safaris, and this is simply one attraction you do not want to miss.

4. Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Animal walking trail are the most overlooked attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (We know Disney guests typically aren’t interested in any additional unnecessary walking, but how can you visit Animal Kingdom without seeing some of the most unique animals?) Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is the most convenient of the trails as it picks up right by the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris. The highlight of this trail? You guessed it—gorillas! This is one species in Africa you won’t see on your safari, so be sure to take the scenic route through the exit and catch them on your way out.

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5. Festival of the Lion King

Before leaving Africa, be sure to leave some time to see Festival of the Lion King. This memorable musical attraction features Broadway-style vibes while bringing in some audience participation with classic songs and characters you know and love. You can skip the FastPass on this one because every seat in the house really is a great seat and you can often walk up just a couple of minutes before the show starts and still have a nice view of the show.

6. Expedition Everest

As far as thrill rides go, Expedition Everest is the place to be in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This rollercoaster brings guests face to face with the mythical yeti while plummeting down spectacular drops and riding both forward and backward. It’s a good decision to FastPass this one if you are able to as next to Pandora and Kilimanjaro  Safari this is one of the most popular FastPass options in the park. When waiting in line however, be sure to check out all of the details in the queue. The ride itself moves so fast, but the line brings guests through a yeti museum, and seeing all of the artifacts related to the yeti that have been collected is very interesting.

7. Maharajah Jungle Trek

Another animal walking trail you don’t want to miss can be found in Asia. Maharajah Jungle Trek is the only place in Disney’s Animal Kingdom (and in many zoos in general) where you can see Asian Tigers. Two cubs were just born in 2017, making the tiger breeding program in the park a success. Along the way, you will also be able to see fruit bats, Komodo Dragons, and an array of tropical birds.

8. Dinosaur

For a real blast in the past head to DinoLand U.S.A. and time travel back to the age of the dinosaurs. This family thrill ride comes with all the turns and bumps you’d come to expect from a non-rollercoaster thrill ride while also speeding through prehistoric landscapes and attempting to outrun fierce a fierce Carnotaurus or two. Unless you are visiting during a busier time of year, the standby line is generally not too long for Dinosaur, but a FastPass for this attraction doesn’t hurt to have.

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.