How Do the Animals Stay Cool During Hot Summers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

It is no secret that summers in Central Florida can be brutal with heat and humidity making it difficult for us humans to spend full days out in Disney Parks. With so many animals in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and around other areas of the Resort, you may be wondering how they are able to stay cool, too.

Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President of Disney’s Animals, Science & Environment team just took to Instagram to share a look at some backstage tricks Cast Members use to help animals stay comfortable during the hot summer months:


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From animal-friendly popsicles to piles of ice to munch on and roll in, Disney’s team has thought of everything when it comes to keeping the park’s animal residents cool and comfortable.

You may even spot some of these techniques during your next stroll through one of the animal walking trails at this Disney Park or while riding Kilimanjaro Safaris. The rhinos for instance can often be spotted cooling themselves off when they are warm by taking a dip in the mud! These mud baths are quite refreshing for rhinos, and the mud helps their skin from warming right back up in the sun.

Rhinos, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Lots of animals around the park can also be spotted going for a quick dip in some nearby water to cool off. The tigers on Maharajah Jungle Trek have their own wading pool that Guests can see from the lookout point, and nearby you may also come across some of the water buffalo going for a dip in some refreshing water or mud.

Elephants are also known to cool themselves off by going for a quick “swim,” as well as the Galapagos Tortoises, which move much slower (on land and in water) and are on view around the Discovery Island Trails.

Water Buffalo, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Of course, some animals do prefer to hang out away from Guest view when it is a really hot day at the park, especially if the more hidden areas of their habitats tend to be more shaded.

To ensure you see as many animals as possible during your summer trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we have a few tips:

Start your day early. Park Hopping does begin at 2:00 p.m. but you will often see more animals if you arrive earlier in the morning. Many animals are nocturnal, or are simply more active when it is cooler, so your best chances of seeing them all are in the morning when they are still active from the night before and the day’s heat has not yet set in.

Gorillas on Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Credit: Dr. Mark Penning

Ride Kilimanjaro Safari more than once. Every ride on this attraction can be different as you never know which animals you might see. Another tip? Hop in line during or after it rains. As the rain momentarily cools everything down you might see different animals out and about.

Don’t miss the animals on Discovery Island and the Oasis Exhibits. With elephants in Africa and Tigers in Asia, it is so easy to run right through the Oasis and Discovery Island, but there are plenty of animals to see here that you do not want to miss. From anteaters to kangaroos, some of the most interesting animals at Walt Disney World live toward the front of the park, so be sure to stop by for a quick “hello!”

While visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom, be sure to stay cool yourself, stay hydrated, and enjoy!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."