by Brittany DiCologero
9. DO Arrive early
While I do suggest arriving early to every Disney park, this tip is especially important when visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a rather unique reason. Typically you want to arrive early just to make sure you can hit some of the popular attractions before the crowds get too heavy, however at Animal Kingdom this is extra important because the animals are most active in the morning, so this is also the best time of day to see them. Another reason why this is extra important for this park, is because it generally closes earlier than the other parks, so if you arrive in the middle of the day rather than the morning, you will not have as much time to enjoy everything the park has to offer. Even as the park does have increasingly later hours, many of the animal attractions will still close early, so it’s best to arrive in the morning for a day in Animal Kingdom.
8. DON’T focus on rides alone
I always recommend taking in everything the parks have to offer, including shows, street performers, dining, and more, in addition to the rides. While it is a theme park, and it’s completely understandable that you’ll want to rush around from ride to ride, that really is not the best way to experience Animal Kingdom. Some of the best attractions are shows, or animal walking trails, which leads me to my next point.
7. DO see the animals!
I am often surprised to learn how many guests visit Animal Kingdom and completely skip over seeing most of the animals in the park! Not many guests miss Kilimanjaro Safari, however so many do miss Flights of Wonder, and the animal walking trails like Maharajah Jungle Trek among others, and of course, Rafiki’s Planet Watch. While visiting any of these other attractions does take time away from the rides, it is definitely important to see all that the park has to offer, and if you’re visiting a park called Animal Kingdom, this most definitely includes seeing the animals.
6. DON’T feed the animals.
It’s great that you’ve decided to take my advice on tip #7, however a more important issue regarding the animals is that you do not feed them. Animal Kingdom takes a lot of precautions to make sure that the animals are able to avoid materials that guests have that can cause them harm, hence why there are cardboard straws and no lids for the cups in Animal Kingdom. This also means that guests need to do their parts to keep the animals safe as well, and the biggest way guests can help to keep them safe is by not feeding them. It is tempting to sneak a fry here and there when a crane is walking around your table in an outdoor seating area, but please refrain from feeding any of the wildlife you come across in the park.
5. DO visit Dinoland USA
In addition to skipping the animal walking trails, some guests skip Dinoland USA because they feel it is too cheesy, and the carnival area called Chester and Hester’s Dinorama is simply not up to Disney standards. While the area might outwardly seem out of place, it is actually some of the most interesting storytelling that Imagineers have come up with in any of the parks. If you don’t understand the story of this part of the park and want to learn more, just ask any of the cast members working there and they’ll be happy to fill you in.
4. DON’T miss the character meet and greets
Another part of the overall park experience that can sometimes be pushed aside in order to save time is visiting character meet and greets. Compared to the other parks, Animal Kingdom has some of the most unique character meet and greet experiences around, and they’re definitely a great place to stop and hang out with some old friends. Included in Animal Kingdom’s character meet and greets are Dug and Russel, Mickey and Minnie, Pocahontas, Baloo and Louie, and more.
3. DO try the food.
Animal Kingdom has some of the best, and most unique options for snacks and meals out of all the Disney theme parks, especially with the recent expansion of Harambe. If you’re tired of the usual dining options around the parks, be sure to grab a meal at any of the various locations in the African marketplace, or Yak and Yeti, and even Flame Tree Barbecue if you’re in the mood for ribs.
2. DON’T leave when it rains
You may be tempted to leave the park when a rainstorm hits, because so much of the park is outdoors, however it is really not worth doing so. In general, Florida rain storms do not last all that long, and by the time you leave and go somewhere else the rain will have cleared up. Instead, focus on indoor attractions like the shows or rides like Dinosaur, and be sure to carry a poncho or umbrella with you.
1. DO stay hydrated
One very important safety tip for any of the parks, but especially Animal Kingdom, is to stay hydrated. This is particularly important for Animal Kingdom because many of the plants give off heat, making this the hottest park. It’s easy to forget to drink enough water while you’re on vacation, especially if you are tired of paying for bottles over and over. Instead, ask for free cups of tap water from quick service locations, and be sure to drink frequently throughout the day to avoid dehydration.