On the brink of completing a massive expansion, the myth of this park not being a full day experience can finally be put to rest. Animal Kingdom has so much to offer regardless of your age. Veteran Disney guests as well as rookies should take full advantage of what the park has to offer.
Unfortunately, most guests get caught up in some of the Disney minutia that can add hours or even multiple hours on your day. We’re here to fill you in on a few secrets to make your day at Animal Kingdom as productive and carefree as possible.
10. Treat it as a Full Day Park – With the Pandora opening right around the corner, crowds at Animal Kingdom will be in full force. Make your trek into the park knowing that you most likely will be waiting at some point for your favorite attraction. Take your time while going through the Oasis Exhibit, Pangani Forest and Discovery Island Trails.
9. Have a Plan of Attack – Do you want to experience the thrill rides first? Are seeing the animals up close high on the priority list? Does the sensation of Kali River Rapids cooling you off sound the most appealing? There is no right or wrong answer. My advice is to head into not just this park, but each of the Disney parks with some sort of idea of what you want to do first.
8. Fast-Pass – Whether it is sixty days while staying on property or thirty days if not, my Fast-Passes are booked far in advance. Having said that, use them in an order that logistically makes sense. Starting in Dino Land and having another Fast-Pass for Kilimanjaro Safaris five minutes after doesn’t make much sense. Grab a map of the park online and figure out which attractions you want to see, and plan them accordingly.
7. Rafiki’s Planet Watch – I’ll be honest my first few trips to Animal Kingdom, I didn’t know this existed. Take the train, which leaves every 5-7 minutes from “Africa” and see some of the most exotic animals and insects on the planet. This is also a great opportunity to take a load off if you’ve been on your feet all day. You can also meet Rafiki himself if you are lucky.
6. Think Fast… Again – As soon as you board your attraction and have your Fast-Pass scanned in, you’re eligible to book another. Feel free to check the availability of an attraction you missed or one you want to experience again immediately following your check in!
5. Arrive Early – Animal Kingdom has one of the most memorable park openings with birds flying around in unison. I recommend walking to the far RIGHT HAND SIDE of the entrance and working your way back to Dino Land, and attacking the park from right to left. You’ll be able to ride some of the most popular attractions two or three times without waiting more than 5-10 minutes!
4. Safari in the Morning – If you’re an early riser, I would recommend making your safari Fast-Pass for first thing in the morning. In recent trips, I’ve noticed animals being a bit more active and visible during the morning hours. This could be purely coincidental, but we’ve gotten some great photos!
3. Bugs and Lions = Air Conditioning – Watching shows like It’s Tough to be a Bug and Festival of the Lion King are not only entertaining, but they are a great spot to cool down. You’ll be sitting for a minimum of twenty minutes while watching some of your favorite Disney calendars in a cool climate controlled environment.
2. Affection Section for Little Animals – Nothing puts a smile on your little one’s face then petting live animals for the first time. These rare, well trained animals will create a memorable experience for your kids. Most have found this calms them down from the “Disney High” most kids get.
1. Kali River Rapids to Close – Raise your hand if you like walking around with water logged shoes, socks and clothes? I highly recommend using your final Fast-Pass or making Kali River Rapids your last attraction of the day. This is a great way to end a memorable day and cool off with the refreshing waters of the Chakranadi River.
As always, there is no right or wrong way to do Disney or any of its parks. The “mistakes” above may be some of your favorite things to do. Perhaps you can’t stand sitting inside watching a show or enjoy waiting in lines, as it is part of the experience. That is what makes Disney so great, is that it whatever you want it to be. The suggestions above are here for anyone that needs a little guidance and perhaps a little “order” to an already chaotic game plan. Regardless of your plan of attack, Animal Kingdom is a park where adventure awaits each and every guest.