The Animal Kingdom Attractions You Should Do Before Lunch

One of the most common question I receive as a Disney World insider is how to attack the attractions in Parks at Walt Disney World. When to visit for the shortest ride lines, or the coolest wait times is on minds of Guests visiting theme Parks. Today we will talk about the best way to approach the attractions and experiences in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

Red River Hog, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Credit: Disney

Animal Kingdom theme Park opened in 1998 and delivers the awesome animal views of a zoo along with the cultural rides and theming Guests love. Some of the most popular attractions in the Park are inspired by movies with a ecology or animal focus. From stage shows like Festival of the Lion King to Avatar-inspired rides like Avatar Flight of Passage, there is so much to do in this awesome Park. These are the Animal Kingdom attractions you should do before lunch.

Rope Drop Avatar Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage

Credit: Disney

Pandora – World of Avatar is a jaw dropping area of the Park that you will not want to miss. We are are putting Pandora rides first on your Animal Kingdom itinerary. Avatar Flight of Passage is the ride to end all rides. You’ll ride on the back of a mountain banshee over the floating mountains of Pandora and see breathtaking views that seem so real. As you can imagine, wait times climb quickly on this ride so riding it first is a great idea.

Kilimanjaro Safari

If you are not planning on riding Flight of Passage, dashing over to Kilimanjaro Safari directly after rope drop will allow you to hop on with minimal or no wait time. The cooler morning weather is sure to result in more animal sightings for the first few safaris of the day. In my experience, the first few safaris of the day see more animal activity due to morning feeding and nice weather.

elephant safari

Credit: Disney Tips

If you do opt to ride Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey in Pandora – World of Avatar first, I’d still recommend you head over to Harambe to ride Kilimanjaro Safari next. The ride queue for this awesome attraction gets really hot later in the day. After your ride, don’t forget to browse Harambe Market and buy an ear of roasted corn, it’s one of the best things to eat in this Disney Park.

Fuel Up at Kusafiri Coffee Shop

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After a ride on Kilimanjaro Safari get the caffeine fix at Kusafiri Coffee Shop, you need to see it all during your day at Disney. This shop boasts delicious coffees and teas as well as an array of baked goods. The frosted animal sugar cookies go perfectly with an iced or hot coffee. After all, you need to get fueled up for your next attraction!

Explore the Forbidden Mountain on Expedition Everest

Some of the best Animal Kingdom rides are thrill rides. You should brave Expedition Everest early in the morning when wait times are shorter. This ride is thrilling but the ride queue is equally cool. While waiting in line you’ll see climbing gear, maps, artifacts and animal information.


Credit: Disney Photo Snapper

Don’t forget to browse the gift shop on your way out, they have great Nepali-made products. Getting this must do ride out of the way in the morning will ensure you do not risk missing it due to afternoon showers or massive wait times. If you are ready for a morning snack, I love dropping by Yak & Yeti quick service dining for delicious Asian food.

Visit with Your Insect Friends

It’s Tough to Be a Bug is an adorable 3D show inside the tree of life.  You’ll have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the tree of life carvings as the ride queue winds around the roots and toward the theatre.


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♬ The Time Of Your Life (From “A Bug’s Life”) – Geek Music

Once inside, you can enjoy the jokes, antics and songs of ants, stink bugs, butterflies, grasshoppers and thousands of tiny insects. Save this air-conditioned attraction for closer to the afternoon to escape the heat.

Walk Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Gorillas on Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Credit: Dr. Mark Penning

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is a great attraction for Guests looking to get a little more animal exposure at Animal Kingdom. Guests view African wildlife closer at walk through exhibits that showcase hippos, reptiles, exotic birds, fish and of course, majestic gorillas. Walking through the trail earlier in the day will make for a much more comfortable viewing experience.

Explore Maharajah Jungle Trek

Maharajah Jungle Trek is a must-do for fans of big cats. This trail allows Guests to view incredible tigers up close as they interact with each other and enjoy their habitat.


Credit: Disney

Bats, birds and other creatures native to Asia are also on display for Guests to enjoy and learn about. Take the time to speak with Cast Members at the exhibits to ask questions and learn more about the species living in the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

Meet Disney Character Friends

Kevin UP

Credit: Disney

Animal Kingdom theme Park is the home to several groups of hard-to-find characters. The Jungle Book Gang, Russell and Dug from Up!, Timon and Rafiki are just a few of the characters that meet Guests at Animal Kingdom.  A full schedule of character meet times and locations is available on the My Disney Experience app and at the map guide stand at the front of the Park. There are numerous character meeting times in the morning so you can snag great photo memories with the gang before you are too hot and sweaty.

Experience Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King

Credit: Disney

It’s great to break up your rides and animal sightings between shows to enjoy some time off your feet in this large Disney Park. Festival of the Lion King is an incredible stage show that combines dance, music, acrobatics and a whole lot more to entertain Guests while celebrating with the classic gang from The Lion King. The circular theatre comes alive with music and dance as Guests sing along and children are selected to participate in the show.

Join Nemo and Friends for a Live Stage Show


Credit: Disney

A Walt Disney World Resort stage shows never disappoints. Both Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! shows rival Broadway productions with the talent, costuming and music showcased. Be wowed by costumes and songs as you watch expertly constructed puppet sea animals sing and swim across the stage as they search for Nemo.

Bonus Tip: Relax At A Nearby Resort

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

Credit: Disney

If you need a break from the Park and heat but don’t want to go far, consider a ride to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This deluxe resort has viewing platforms so you can enjoy watching animals like warthogs, ostriches, giraffes and zebras. You can relax with a glass of wine at Victoria Falls bar or have lunch at The Mara quick service restaurant.

beni and olivia

Credit: Disney

When you are ready to hit the Park again, head back to the bus stop and ride over to enjoy more shows, rides and Disney Park fun.

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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.