I love Animal Kingdom. I could easily spend every day there for a full week and never get bored. That said, I rarely have that opportunity, and some people only have the opportunity to visit one time on any given trip. Because time is so limited for so many when they visit Disney, I often have people ask me what I would do if I only had one day to visit. This is a pretty difficult question to answer, and the answers may vary slightly depending on who you ask. However, if I had to come up with an answer for what I would do if I only had one day in Animal Kingdom, this would be it.
1. Visit Pandora
First and foremost, I would make a point of visiting Pandora – World of Avatar. This is the newest land in Animal Kingdom, and it is absolutely amazing. The two rides housed in this land—Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey—are both incredible, and the nighttime views the land offers are gorgeous. If you can, visit during daylight hours first and come back at night in order to see everything.
2. Climb Mount Everest
Expedition Everest is a crowd pleaser for a reason. This awesome roller coaster takes riders up the forbidden Mount Everest and right through the cave of the legendary Yeti. Thrill seekers must ride this one. Don’t want to wait in line? Try the single rider line. Your party will be split, but it saves tons of time.
3. Feast on Barbecue
A quick-service restaurant normally wouldn’t make it on my “must-do” list. I do make a few exceptions though, and one of those is Flame Tree Barbecue. This is hands down one of the best quick-service joints on Disney property. Try ordering one of the combo meals and sharing with another person so you can try a bit of everything.
4. Catch a Show
Animal Kingdom hosts the two best shows in any Disney park. “Festival of the Lion King” is an awesome, circus-like variety show that includes tumblers, amazing dancing, and even some performing with fire. Meanwhile, “Finding Nemo the Musical” is a superb, Broadway-quality stage show that is sure to captivate anyone who chooses to join the audience. Catch both if you can—but if not, be sure to see at least one.
5. Encounter Dinosaurs
DinoLand U.S.A. mostly features attractions for younger children. That said, the ride titled Dinosaur is another story entirely. This wild dark ride takes guests on a time-travel journey to the age of the dinosaurs where they meet a styracosaurus, a raptor, and many others. Just be sure to watch out for the carnotaurus!
6. Meet Disney Friends
Every single park offers opportunities to meet favorite Disney characters. That said, Animal Kingdom has some of the very best meet-and-greets out there. Tusker House, for instance, offers a delicious meal as well as one of the very best character meals out there. For those who are looking for Disney friends without the meal, there are also traditional meet-and-greets with some pretty hard-to-find characters such as Pocahontas, Russell, Dug and Kevin from UP, and Mickey and Minnie in their safari gear.
7. Become a Wilderness Explorer
For kids, nothing is more fun than being thrown into the action of one of their favorite movies. The Wilderness Explorer program at Animal Kingdom does just that while also teaching kids amazing skills and facts about the world around them. To become a Wilderness Explorer, just visit one of the many Explorer stations around the park. The leader there will provide a book filled with information on each badge and where to find other stations. When you visit a station, simply follow the instructions or listen to the lesson being taught and you will earn a sticker badge to put into your book.
8. Go on a Safari
Of course, no trip to Animal Kingdom is complete without seeing animals. You can see lots of animals by walking one of the trails located in Africa, Asia, or Discovery Island, and I highly recommend doing this if you have plenty of time to spend. That said, walking the trails is time-consuming and not great for those who are very limited on time. Therefore, if I only had one day to spend in Animal Kingdom, I would skip the trails and hop on Kilimanjaro Safaris instead. This ride will take you through several different habits and allow you to see many different kinds of animals in one fell swoop.
These are my top 8 things to do in Animal Kingdom. I hope you can fit them all into your day at this amazing park!