The Ultimate Checklist: 9 Things You Must Do At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

9. Dinosaur

Located in Dinoland USA, Dinosaur transports guests back to the Cretaceous period to help the eclectic paleontologist, Dr. Seeker, bring back an Iguanodon to the present. This high speed, bumpy, thrill ride brings guests face to face with all kinds of dinosaurs, and will (hopefully) get everyone and the Iguanodon back to the present before the meteor, that may have been the cause of the dinosaurs’ extinction, hits Earth. For younger guests, who might not be ready to get up close and personal with dinosaurs just yet, consider looking into other parts of Dinoland. At Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama, younger guests can enjoy riding Triceratops Spin, or playing the Fossil Fun Games, and the Boneyard, one of the best playgrounds at Walt Disney World, is located in Dinoland as well.


8. Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Expedition Everest is no ordinary rollercoaster, and it’s a definite must-do for any visit to Animal Kingdom. The intense level of detail that went into expertly designing this attraction can be seen before guests even enter the queue, just by strolling through the village leading up to the attraction itself. Once in the queue, guests are treated to a quick visit through the Yeti Museum, where they can learn all about the myths and legends surrounding this unique creature. Once on the attraction, guests ride both forwards and backwards after experiencing the rarely seen Yeti.

7. Finding Nemo The Musical

Finding Nemo: the Musical, located right between Asia and Dinoland USA, is rather unique in that it is a live musical based on a movie that actually has no music. As a result, all of the songs featured in Finding Nemo: the Musical are original to this performance. It’s quite possible that the idea of adding music to a story that was entirely void of music might actually cause some guests to consider skipping this show, however I actually think that the original songs work really well. And the set design and skills of the performers are some of the best at Walt Disney World.

6. Kilimanjaro Safaris

If you’re not actually visiting Africa anytime soon, but you are visiting Walt Disney World, you’re in luck! You can still go on an African safari without even leaving the state of Florida. For many guests, Kilimanjaro Safaris are the closest they’ll ever come to an authentic African safari, and thankfully this experience is actually extremely accurate all of the different areas you would see in Africa, including breathtaking views of the savannah.

5. 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.


4. Festival of the Lion King

If you haven’t seen Festival of the Lion King—aka the highest rated show at Walt Disney World, you are truly missing out. This show combines the classic Disney movie with a live production that is worthy of being on Broadway. In addition to being able to see your favorite characters from the film, this performance also includes excellent dance routine, acrobatics, singing, and flame effects. This show is also performed multiple times a day, giving you plenty of opportunity to see it on your next visit to the park.

3. Maharajah Jungle Trek

Similar to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, the Maharajah Jungle Trek is extremely overlooked by guests visiting Animal Kingdom. This animal viewing trail, located in Asia, allows guests to see some of the most exotic animals in the park, including kimono dragons, bats, and tigers. This trail also includes a walk through an aviary, where guests can see some of the most unique birds in the world.

2. Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids has a couple of things that really make it a standout attraction in my book. The amount of detail in the ride’s queue is incredible, and it really helps the time go by when you have to wait a long time during the hot summer months. The other great thing about Kali River Rapids is the important message that it conveys to guests about conservation. The burning trees seen from the end of the ride represent the destruction of the rainforest—which helps to promote Animal Kingdom’s overall message of conservation and the importance of saving the environment.

1. 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, stop back by Pandora – World of Avatar to see this beautiful land glow at night!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."