Animal Kingdom was our favorite park the first time we went to Disney World. Our son was REALLY into animals at the time and he was so happy all day just looking around at all of the exhibits. I have to say my favorite part of Animal Kingdom is the environment that Disney created inside this park. You truly feel like you are in another part of the world.
Animal Kingdom is SO much more than a zoo!
A lot of people say that they don’t like zoos, so they wont like Animal Kingdom. Let me just say that Animal Kingdom is so much more than a zoo. We have been to a lot of zoos and Animal Kingdom really doesn’t feel like that at all. There are shows and attractions you don’t want to miss at Disney!
OASIS & DISCOVERY ISLAND
When you first walk in to Animal Kingdom you are in the Oasis (which is pretty much just a little circle with birds, fish, and other small animals). You have to keep walking to Discovery Island in order to get anywhere else in the park. Discovery Island is basically the central hub that connects all the other parts of the park. This is where the Tree of Life is!
Don’t miss out on the flame tree BBq!
Every time we go to Animal Kingdom we end up eating at the Flame Tree BBQ. It isn’t the BEST food in all of Disney World, but it’s good enough AND it’s a decent value for the price. We always leave stuffed, but since it’s only a quick service restaurant it doesn’t break the bank!
This area is dinosaur themed! I know… big surprise. We really don’t care for the attractions in this area. HOWEVER one of our MUST-DO areas is here… the BONEYARD!
The Boneyard is a playground where kids can just let loose and play. I think parents think “my kid’s at Disney World who needs a dumb playground?” but after all that waiting in line, and sitting around, and walking… trust me… kids need to PLAY! The best part about the playground? There is only ONE way to get out. If you lose sight of your child have someone stand by the exit so they can’t leave without you. Really cuts down on panic!
Some other attractions you will find:
- Finding Nemo – The Musical
- Primeval Whirl
- Triceratop Spin
Asia has awesome attractions, good food, and my favorite animals! This is where you will want to go if you want to see tigers, get wet, or see a Yeti! Yep… make sure you watch out for the Yeti on Expedition Everest!
Some attractions you will find:
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
- Kali River Rapids
- Expedition Everest
Grab some asian food to eat!
There is a table service & quick service Yak & Yeti restaurant where you can grab some Asian inspired dishes to eat in between thrill rides and all that walking! I really enjoyed the meal that I got when we went here, but my husband was disappointed in his meal. He felt like it wasn’t worth the price (and I do have to agree with that). But it IS Disney.
Africa is probably my favorite area in all of Animal Kingdom. I love the music, the architecture, and the ambiance! There are always street shows going on and the shops are so fun to look around in. Our favorite attractions AND character dining meal is here too!
Some attractions you will find:
- Kilimanjaro Safari
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Festival of the Lion King
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Wildlife Express Train
- Conservation Station
- Affection Section
One of our favorite character dining experiences is in Africa!
Do NOT miss dining with Safari Donald at the Tusker House Restaurant in Animal Kingdom! This is one of our favorite character buffets. We always book a late breakfast here (around 10:30am) and then we aren’t hungry again until much later in the day. This is DONALD’s character meal even though Mickey is usually there… make sure you remember that Donald is #1 here!
PANDORA – THE WORLD OF AVATAR
Pandora is really immersive. We went to Pandora the first time over the summer and it was a little overwhelming. There are still A LOT of people in this little section of the park (with only two attractions). However, the beauty and theme is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Ha. See what I did there?
Let me just say, we waited 2 1/2 hours for Avatar Flight of Passage and it was worth every back aching minute. The second time we went we rope dropped and that was a much better experience! That ride is AMAZING.
Get a Fast Pass or be prepared to wait for a long time for these rides:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
Wanna try some interesting avatar food?
Check out Pongu Pongu or Satu’li Canteen if you are feeling adventurous for an Avatar inspired beverage or food item. We got one of the bowls at Satu’li Canteen and it was so fresh and delicious! I’ve heard you really can’t go wrong!
NIGHT-TIME ATTRACTIONS AT ANIMAL KINGDOM
The Tree of Life Awakenings is something you don’t want to miss. The Tree of Life will “awaken” once it starts getting dark periodically with music and special effects. It really is magical!
The Rivers of Light is the newest night-time show at Animal Kingdom featured on the Discovery River. The spirit animals are there to guide you to become one with nature. There is a dinner package available for Rivers of Light and it is encouraged to get there early. Since this is new it is still very popular.
New things at Animal Kingdom!
UP! A Great Bird Adventure started in April 2018 in Asia at Animal Kingdom. This bird in flight show features the characters from Pixar’s UP! along with many amazing birds!
Party with Donald Duck at Donald’s Dino-Bash in Dinoland U.S.A. It’s a stage show where Donald finds out that his ancestors are dinosaurs! I’ve heard that Chip & Dale are also regular party animals.
I would love to hear your favorite places & things to do at Animal Kingdom. Am I missing something important? Comment below!
Make sure you check out my other Disney Quick Guides!
- Hollywood Studios Quick Guide
- Magic Kingdom Quick Guide
- EPCOT Quick Guide
- Disney World Resorts Quick Guide
- Lau Family Travels’ Walt Disney World Guide