Have You Made These Rookie Mistakes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

As fun as a trip to a Disney Park is, it does take some planning to do Disney right. Proper planning will help you have the best possible Disney World day. Let’s take an adventure to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Have you made these rookie mistakes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

African Painted Dogs at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Not Arriving at Park Opening

Arriving at the “rope drop” at Animal Kingdom is a great way to beat the heat, hop on attractions while wait times are shorter, and see more animals active around morning feeding. Arriving at Park opening to experience Avatar Flight of Passage, Kilimanjaro Safari, and Expedition Everest without an extensive wait time is a great way to free up more of your Park day to see other high-traffic attractions.

Harambe Market

Credit: Disney

Even better, if you arrive early to enjoy attractions in the morning, you can repeat those you enjoy most, later in the day. If you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort, visit Animal Kingdom during extra magic hours. You can enjoy shorter wait times and a cooler Park before it opens to the general public and the temperature climbs.

Forgetting Heat Protection

minnie and mickey animal kingdom

Credit: Disney

Animal Kingdom Park has a reputation for being a really hot theme Park. The size of the Park, steamy pavement and dense foliage seem to trap the heat. Do not brave Animal Kingdom without sunscreen, hats, comfy shoes, and lightweight clothing. Cooling towels and personal fans are nice extras you can snag for a low price before your vacation. Bringing along refillable water bottles is a must for rehydration during the day.

Opting Not to Rent a Stroller

This large Park requires Guests to cover a lot of ground. In addition to the sheer size of the Park, many animal-viewing attractions are walking attractions. Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail are fun self-paced activities at Animal Kingdom Park. The great news is that Guests can explore these spots at their own pace.


Credit: Disney

The bad news is it means extra steps for little ones. This large Park can get exhausting for small children. Kids on the cusp of no longer needing a Park stroller may still enjoy the day more from the comfort of a stroller. Look at the Disney website to check out stroller sizes and rental costs to decide whether you should rent a stroller. Remember, happier kids make for a happier vacation.

Forgetting to Research

Animal Kingdom Boat Cavalcade

Animal Kingdom Boat Cavalcade

Doing a bit of research before hitting any Disney Park is a must-do. Your Disney World vacation dollars will go further when you know how to sequence attractions and which rides are priorities for your travel group. Not to mention, familiarizing yourself with Park maps and attractions will reduce unnecessary backtracking and save you precious steps. By doing some research, you’ll be able to navigate quicker, utilize shortcuts and understand the height requirements and details of attractions.


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Going In Without a Plan

Making a rough outline of your day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with the group before hitting the Disney buses is always a good idea. You can leave plenty of room for spontaneity and fun while eliminating unnecessary walking that may happen when the group wanders between attractions. Don’t forget to plan the Disney snacks and shows you want to see! Pongu Pongu in PandoraThe World of Avatar and shows like Festival of The Lion King are highlights for many Guests.

Sticking to Only Rides or Shows


Credit: Disney

Deciding only to visit Animal Kingdom to see only the animals, or specifically the thrill rides, shows, etc., is the Park plan for some families. I would advise you to explore the entire Park to enjoy shows, animals, rides, and educational attractions. Take the time to slow down to take photos, hang out and learn. The pace of Animal Kingdom is a bit different from EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios, so give yourself time to enjoy all the Park’s hidden gems.


Credit: Disney Tips

Rushing Past Delicious Dining

If you think of EPCOT World Showcase when I mention fantastic dining in a Disney Park, you are not alone. But don’t rush to the Animal Kingdom attractions so quickly that you miss out on the Disney experience that is Animal Kingdom food. Quick service dining options like Satu’li CanteemnFlame Tree Barbecue, Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes, and Pizzafari are yummy.


Credit: DisneyDining

Table service dining opportunities like Rainforest Café (the largest Rainforest Café restaurant in the world), Yak and Yeti Restaurant, and Tiffins are the perfect backdrop to a delicious evening. Remember to research table service dining spots well before your Disney trip to secure an advanced dining reservation for your restaurant of choice.

Not Asking Questions

Learning is fun, and so much learning happens in this Disney Park. Make the most of your theme Park visit and Park ticket by asking questions. Cast Members in Animal Kingdom love speaking with Guests to answer questions about animals, conservation, and the Park.

Magic of Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Walk-through attractions like Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail are staffed with Cast Members to answer questions and educate Guests. The Wilderness Explorers program allows kids to learn, explore the Park, and interact with Cast Members as they earn wilderness badges, just like everyone’s favorite Wilderness Explorer, Russell from the Disney Pixar film, Up! You’ll leave your Walt Disney World vacation with even more knowledge about animals and conservation.

Skipping Character Meets

DinoBash Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Consulting a show times guide sheet or the Disney Parks app will confirm some pretty incredible character meet opportunities in Animal Kingdom. Do not make the mistake of passing by these fun and often hard-to-find characters. The crew from The Jungle BookUp! characters, and The Lion King gang are just a few characters waiting to meet your family in the Park. Schedule in time to meet these Disney favorites during your Park day at Animal Kingdom.


Take our advice, so you don’t make these rookie mistakes at Animal Kingdom Park on your Walt Disney World vacation.

About Katie Chapman

Hey There! I am a Georgia native with a passion for writing, traveling, cooking, decorating, pugs and of course all things Disney. Growing up in South Georgia just a few hours from Walt Disney World made for a magical childhood. Some of my best memories were made on Main Street U.S.A. with my sister watching SpectroMagic nighttime parade or beside my grandparents, parents and extended family at Chef Mickey’s celebrating on a family vacation. Epcot was my favorite park from a young age and I credit it with my interest in and love for international travel. As a kid I loved meeting characters and watching films around World Showcase and could spend hours exploring each of the countries in Epcot. These days, my husband and I get away to explore a new country whenever we can and even incorporate trips to The Disney Store and Disney Parks around the world in our travels. One of our travel goals is to visit every Disney Park in the world. I love writing about Disney restaurants, park tips, Disney outfit inspiration and Disney history. Pocahontas is my favorite Disney Princess (90s kid here!) but Mr. Toad is my spirit animal. When I’m not at Disney I’m reading about park history, watching Disney documentaries and shopping vintage Disney merch for park outfits. I never pass up a reservation to Ohana, an empty seat on Living with the Land or a Violet Sake.