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My 10 Favorite Things About Animal Kingdom At Walt Disney World

10. Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids is the best ride for when you’re visiting Animal Kingdom during the hot summer months and you desperately need to cool off. While this ride is fun and refreshing, I generally tend to make this the last stop of the day, because even if you’ll dry quickly with the sun out it’s still kind of uncomfortable to walk around being completely soaked. One of the things I love most about this ride is the conservation message it invokes. While many guests just view this attraction as a quick way to cool off, it actually has a strong conservation message about saving the earth’s forests from destruction.

9. New Technology Souvenirs

Pandora – The World of Avatar is the newest land located in Animal Kingdom theme park. Not only does this new land boast two awesome rides and a beautiful setting known at Valley of Mo’ara, but they have some the most unique and high tech souvenirs on property. Visit Windtraders to create your own Avatar Action Figure! Your image will be taken and transformed into an Avatar Action Figure you can take home with you. Plus, you can also purchase a robotic Banshee (flying dragon-like figure) that will interact with you. Perch it on your shoulder and show it off to your friends and family. Pretty awesome stuff that will provide a memorable souvenir to take home.

8. Food

In addition to character meet and greets, Animal Kingdom also has some of the best food in Disney. A couple of my favorite quick service restaurants are located in this park—Flame Tree Barbeque, Satu’li Canteen, and Yak and Yeti Local Foods Counter. For table service restaurants, I’d recommend Yak and Yeti or Tusker House, and if you’re looking to relax at a bar while visiting the park definitely be sure to head over to the Dawa Bar located right outside Tusker House in Africa.

7. Finding Nemo: the Musical

Finding Nemo: the Musical is one of my favorite shows at Walt Disney World. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, as I wasn’t sure how a musical that was based on a non-musical film would work. To my surprise, it worked perfectly! The original songs are fun and enjoyable and the puppetry skills of the cast are amazing. This show has quickly become a must-do for me during every Disney vacation I take.

6. Animal Kingdom Evening Hours

You don’t want to skip out early from Animal Kingdom! Now coming to life at night, guest have the opportunity to enjoy an amphitheater style show called Rivers of Light where nature is celebrated in an incredibly beautiful way! The Tree of Life Awakenings is a perfect way to cap off the evening with its projections and music lighting up the iconic Animal Kingdom symbol. And finally, the perfect evening experience is a visit to Pandora – World of Avatar to see this beautiful land glow at night! Truly remarkable.

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5. Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King has consistently been ranked as the number one show at Walt Disney World. This show is the closest you’ll get to a Broadway play while on a Disney vacation, and it combines so many elements that add up to an exciting performance like, singing, dancing, acrobatics, characters, and excellent costuming and set design. And this is one show that the whole family is sure to enjoy, and is easily suitable for all ages.

4. Dinosaur

Dinosaur is one of my favorite attractions in Animal Kingdom, and is definitely worth riding on each visit to the park. This high speed journey in the dark puts you back in time to help Dr. Seeker bring back an Iguanodon, a dinosaur he believes will help scientists better understand the past. This expedition might bring you a bit too close to the meteor shower that is believed to have brought an end to the dinosaurs, but Dr. Seeker would say that it’s worth the risk. This ride also features what is in my opinion one of the coolest (and extremely underrated) dinosaurs—the carnotaurus.

3. Pandora – The World of Avatar

Pandora – The World of Avatar is the newest land in the Animal Kingdom theme park. Here you will find two extremely popular attractions known as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. You can expect a thrilling ride on Avatar Flight of Passage as you climb aboard a Banshee (dragon-like creature) and ride through the beautiful World of Avatar. The Na’vi River Journey is a perfect family-friendly attraction as guests boat down river and see just how beautiful the Na’vi tribe’s rainforest is with bioluminescence lighting and the latest animatronics. Outside of these two attractions, the land is almost like an attraction itself with stunning beauty and ability to interact with guests… especially as it glows at night!

2. Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is a thrilling train ride rollercoaster that brings you face to face with the Yeti. Not only is this ride elaborately detailed and interesting in that even though it is a thrill ride it is able to still do an excellent job of immersing you into the story, but it also has a very sophisticated ride system that goes forwards and backwards. The only real downside I see to Expedition Everest is that as one of the more thrilling attractions in the park, it might not be for everyone in your family.

1. Kilimanjaro Safari

Kilimanjaro Safari is my favorite thing about Animal Kingdom. This attraction is so immersive in bringing you along on an authentic African safari. One of the things that I hate about going to zoos, is seeing animals behind glass, or in environments that seem to be nothing like their natural habitats. Kilimanjaro Safari does away with all of these issues, and allows guests to see animals like lions, hippos, elephants, and giraffes, all in a very natural environment.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.