How to Escape the Crowds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

tree of life
Credit: Matthew Cooper -

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest of the four Disney Parks in Walt Disney World and is also home to some of the most incredible and immersive details found on the property.

Credit: Disney

The Disney Park is massive in size but features stunning details that help to showcase the beauty of nature and the important message of conservation. Every single corner of the Park brings unique experiences to life. Still, many Guests tend to be so focused on enjoying the attractions and restaurants that they often overlook some beautiful areas that are relaxing. These often off-the-beaten-path and serene spots throughout the Park offer Guests the chance to pause, enjoy the beauty around them, and relax for a few moments. Any of these spots are worth visiting on a day spent in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The Oasis – One of the most overlooked areas in all of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the beautiful Oasis that Guests pass through as they first enter the Park. Guests typically move through this relaxing area quickly in order to get further into the Park and to attractions and more, and often pass through it quickly on the way out as well. Those who take the time to slow down and truly explore the Oasis will be rewarded with quiet corners, animal habitats, lush greenery, and several spots to sit. With beautiful and serene background music and the opportunity to just sit and take it all in, the Oasis is a spot that should not be overlooked.

Discovery Island Trails – Once through the Oasis and onto Discovery Island, Guests can finally see the massive Tree of Life and admire it from a distance. Unfortunately, this is as close to the Tree of Life as many Guests get, but those who venture closer can check out the Discovery Island Trails for a wonderful experience. The self-guided trails offer Guests the chance to walk through the roots of the Park icon and enjoy the intricately carved animals up close. The trails also offer the chance to venture through caves, past waterfalls, and near animal habitats that offer plenty of great spots to relax and take in the atmosphere from simply.

Credit: Disney

Across from Avatar Flight of Passage – The entire Valley of Mo’ara in Pandora – The World of Avatar is a stunning example of how Imagineers can take a fictional world and bring it to life in beautiful detail. Every corner of the area is amazing to take in, but Guests who go straight across from the entrance to Avatar Flight of Passage can find a small bridge with water flowing beneath it. From this vantage, they can take in the entire span of the mystical floating mountains, otherworldly vegetation and creatures, and all of the other Guests exploring.

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Tamu Tamu Refreshments Courtyard – The village of Harmbe in the Africa section of the Park has an immense level of detail found everywhere, from the pavement to the architecture that helps bring the town’s history and culture to life. Tamu Tamu Refreshments can be found on one corner of the village and serves up quick service grab-and-go items. There is a small courtyard behind the ordering counter with comfortable seating that is often shaded throughout the day. This often-overlooked spot is a great location to stop and enjoy a snack in Harambe.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail – Also found in Harambe is the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, whose entrance is located near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris. The self-guided walking trail brings Guests through beautiful pathways filled with vegetation and various animal habitats that make them forget as though they are in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are plenty of spots to stop and relax on scenic benches, but the most charming is towards the end of the trail in the gorilla habitat, where Guests can watch the animals relax and play on grassy hills.

Maharajah Jungle Trek – A second self-guided walking tour in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be found in the Asia section of the Park and offers Guests the chance to enter into the Anandapur Royal Forest. The Maharajah Jungle Trek brings Guests on winding pathways and through charming buildings where animals, including bats and any different species of birds, reside. The highlight of the trek is the Asian Tiger habitat, where Guests can wander through beautifully themed crumbling castle ruins and observe the tigers playing on grassy hills and in a flowing fountain.

Rivers of Light Arena – While Rivers of Light has been retired from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is still a massive open-air arena with plenty of seating that is open for Guests throughout each day in the Park. Guests who wander inside are treated to stunning views of the Tree of Life in the distance across the water as well as areas of Asia and Africa. With such a large area to spread out in, Guests can enjoy a quiet spot in the sun while taking in the views as well as sipping on a beverage and snack from the nearby Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks.

Restaurantosaurus Porch – Dinoland in Disney’s Animal Kingdom tends to be rather loud and busy thanks to Chester and Hester’s Din-O-Rama. Still, there are certainly some quiet and enjoyable spots that Guests can visit to relax. Restaurantosaurus is a quick-service eatery in the area with extensive seating inside. However, those who travel around the side of the building from the main entrance can find a quiet spot. Facing Dinosaur is an outdoor porch and patio that feature seating off the beaten path where Guests can enjoy the ambiance while dining on a meal from the restaurant.

Patio Behind Flame Tree Barbecue – While there are many locations to relax in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the most beautiful view can be found from one particular spot on Discovery Island. Just behind the quick service Flame Tree Barbecue is a massive outdoor dining area that features several different levels of patios that are both covered and uncovered. Guests who move all the way to the far end of the area can dine on the lowermost patio, which is nestled right along the shores of the water. From there, a spectacular view of Expedition Everest and other areas of the Park can be enjoyed while simply relaxing, stopping for a few minutes.

Credit: Disney Dining

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.