Try This Different Way To Plan a Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the luscious-green Disney Park, that offers beautiful scenery, exciting animal encounters, a variety of rides, and plenty of delicious food offerings. Often thought of as a half-day theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is perfect for a morning stroll before it gets too hot. It’s also a great part of the Walt Disney World Resort to visit late afternoon, providing Guests with the opportunity to enjoy their evening before retiring for an early night. Every day feels like Earth Day when you’re visiting the Walt Disney World theme park.

Are you looking to mix up your Disney’s Animal Kingdom itinerary? Just like we did with Magic Kingdom, we’ve put together a little game of this or that. It’s guaranteed to mix things up during your next Disney vacation!

The Rules

Whether you’re visiting during the day or for the evening, there’s plenty of choices to make whilst visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Whilst we planned the whole day for Magic Kingdom, we’re going to let you make the decisions that will best suit your visit. Choose the order that you decide on each category. There’s only a couple of things that we challenge you to do:

  • play without securing a Lightning Lane reservation or using Disney Genie+
  • don’t skip a different decision so you can choose both options from the same category!

Time for a splash: Na’vi River Journey or Kali River Rapids?

Will you opt for the gentle and mystical journey through Pandora’s bioluminescent rainforest? Listen to the sounds of Na’vi Shaman of Songs that build as you travel deeper into the forest, whilst enjoying the visually stunning environment. Or will you choose the thrilling whitewater adventure that Kali River Rapids offers? Prepare to get more than splash of water with this decision!


Credit: D23/WDW Magazine

Get ready for a scare: It’s Tough To Be A Bug! or DINOSAUR?

Would you rather travel back in time with the aim of rescuing a dinosaur, or head down into the roots of the Tree of Life and discover what it’s like to be a bug? Your decision may be influenced by the film you prefer: A Bug’s Life (1998) or Dinosaur (2000). Alternatively, choose between a ride or a theatre show. Either way, you’re guaranteed a bit of a scare!


Credit: YouTube


There’s two decisions to be made here, given the number of shows that are available for Guests to enjoy at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

  • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! or Festival of the Lion King

Which show holds your heart more? Would you rather join the ‘big, blue world’ with Nemo, Dory and friends? Or will you join a celebration of the pride lands with Simba and friends?

Finding Nemo the Musical and Festival of the Lion King

Credit: Disney

  • Feathered Friends in Flight! or The Animation Experience at Conservation Station

Head to the Anandapur Theatre in Asia and get a behind-the-scenes look at free-flying birds that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park home. We dare you to not duck as they swoop over your head during the show! Alternatively, take part in a Disney animation class, and learn how to sketch your own Disney character at Conservation Station. Which character will you draw?

Animation Experience

Credit: Disney

Time to see some animals

This is why you came to Disney’s Animal Kingdom right? There’s a fair few decisions to be made here, so let’s see what they are…

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – morning or evening?

What time of day is your favorite to take a safari through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve? Each time of the day brings about a new experience, so a Kilimanjaro Safari is guaranteed to be different every time!

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Credit: Disney

  • Maharajah Jungle Trek or Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail?

Are you hoping to see tigers or would you rather see the gorillas? Each of these experiences offers Guests the chance to see animals in beautiful surroundings that emulate their natural habitats. Whichever you choose, keep a look out for Cast Members who can answer any questions that you have. 

  • The Oasis Exhibits or Discovery Island Trail?

Let’s assume that you’ve passed by the Oasis Exhibits on your way into the Disney Park without stopping to see its residents. Will you take a little more time when passing through them to see what animals can be found in this lush and tropical paradise? Or will you stroll through the Tree of Life gardens and stop by the wildlife that occupy the beautiful landscape?

  • Affection Section or Animal Encounters: Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight?

If you’re looking for an up-close and personal experience, then the Affection Section at Rafiki’s Planet Watch is the perfect encounter for you. Alternatively, watch from a distance as the sky above the Tree of Life is filled with color. Learn more about the beautiful macaws that make an appearance at Discovery Island throughout the day.

Interactive Fun: Wilderness Explorers or Fossil Fun Games?

If you don’t mind spending a dollar, then why not test your skills and compete to win fun prizes in Dinoland U.S.A.? Alternatively, take advantage of the complimentary experience that is Wilderness Explorers. Can you collect all of the bags and become a Senior Wilderness Explorer?


Credit: Disney Parks

Enjoy some music

There’s plenty of musical performances that take place around Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, that help to provide the perfect atmosphere for the land that you are exploring. Which ones will you decide to stop by?

  • Viva Gaia Street Band! or Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe?

Join a Caribbean street party at Discovery Island that is hosted by the Viva Gaia Street Band! Alternatively, enjoy the rhythms and beat of the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe in Africa.

  • Kora Tinga Tinga or Chakranadi?

Will you enjoy Indian melodies played on the sitar by Chakranadi, as you are passing through Asia, or watch a magical Kora Tinga Tinga play 21 strings on the African harp in Africa?


Credit: Disney Parks

Characters: Adventures Outpost or Donald’s Dino-Bash?

Your favorite Disney character may dictate which character experience you choose here. If Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are your favorites, then be sure to stop by Adventurers Outpost. Alternatively, stop by Donald’s Dino-Bash in Dinoland U.S.A. and see Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Chip ’n Dale, and Pluto don brightly colored costumes. 

Keep an eye out when passing the Discovery River throughout your time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Call it a freebie to see characters passing by on their Flotilla’s!


Credit: Disney Parks

A slow ride: TriceraTop Spin or Wildlife Express Train?

Call this a time for a sit down! Do you want to fly high in your very own dinosaur in Dinoland U.S.A.? Or would you prefer to take a relaxing train journey on the Wildlife Express Train? It’s your chance to see some of the animal houses backstage.


Credit: Flickr/Disney Parks

Top Attraction: Avatar Flight of Passage or Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain?

One of these attractions is likely to have a much longer line than the other, but both offer a unique experience before reaching the front of the line. We’re glad to experience both lines occasionally, without the use of Disney Genie+. Will you choose to embark on a breathtaking 3D adventure, or become an Expedition Everest Team Member and take a train ride through the Himalayan Peaks before escaping a Yeti?


Credit: WDW Magazine/Disney Parks


There are several options to choose from when it comes to food and drink, during your time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Select the categories that are right for you and your party.

  • Character Dining or Signature Dining: Tusker House or Tiffins?

Will you enjoy a buffet experience at Tusker House, whilst being joined by Mickey Mouse and friends in their safari gear? Or do you prefer a relaxing dining experience at Tiffins, that offers  a menu inspired by exploration and adventure?


Credit: Disney Tips

  • Themed: Rainforest Cafe or Yak & Yeti?

Dine in a tropical rainforest and enjoy American-style dishes, or tuck into a pan-Asian feast in a restaurant that is decorated with Southeast Asian artifacts. 

  • Quick-Service: Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes or Satu’li Canteen?

Will you choose to feast on Asian fare in Asia, or indulge in the culture of the Na’vi, enjoying your dishes in the heart of Pandora?

  • Snack: Anandapur Ice Cream Truck or Harambe Fruit Market?

Stop by the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck for a soft-serve waffle cone, or visit the Harambe Fruit Market and order a Mickey Pretzel, or our personal favorite; a grilled corn on the cob with African spices. 

  • Beverage: Pongu Pongu or Thirsty River Bar?

How will you choose to quench your thirst? Pongu Pongu serves up Na’vi-inspired drinks that are like you’ve never experienced before. Meanwhile, the Thirsty River Bar is the place to get refreshing frozen beverages and other speciality drinks and beers. 

  • Coffee: Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery or Creature Comforts?

If you’re in need of a Starbucks, you’ll want to pay a visit to Creature Comforts. Otherwise, pick up a Joffrey’s from the Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery.


You can’t visit a Disney Park without browsing the merchandise available to purchase from the stores.

In terms of more unique merchandise that can only be found in the Disney Park, will you shop for African-inspired souvenirs at the Mombasa Marketplace? Or will you browse the Yak & Yeti Bhaktapur Market for Asian-inspired treasures?

Which store will you end up making a Disney-attraction purchase from: Serka Zong Bazarre when exiting Expedition Everest; The Dino Institute Shop when exiting DINOSAUR; or Windtraders when exiting Pandora – Flight of Passage?

On your way out of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will you visit the Discovery Trading Company, to your left, or Island Mercantile to your right? 

You’ve done it! You’ve completed your different Disney experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, whilst making lots of decisions! Will you repeat your day in the same way next time? Or will you do the complete opposite next time, and have a contrasting experience?

About Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!