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How to Get the Most Out of Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is full of adventures for kids of all ages. Some people overlook this park, thinking it’s just a big zoo. But it’s SO much more! Here are some tips to get the most out of your Animal Kingdom experience./p>

9. Show Times – A lot of the entertainment in Animal Kingdom is in the form of timed shows. This means you’ll need to do some pre-planning. Use your My Disney Experience app or pick up a Showtime Guide on your way into the park in order to highlight possible show times. You don’t want to find yourself caught in It’s Tough to Be a Bug (which has continuous show times) during the last showing of Festival of the Lion King./p>

8. Wilderness Explorers – If you’ve got kids, make SURE to take them to the Wilderness Explorer station right as you cross the bridge in view of the Tree. (It will look like the movie “Up”.) The cast members there will give each kid a book where they can collect sticker “badges” around the park as they learn cool animal facts. I cannot say enough good things about this program – it’s like an educational treasure hunt. So fun!/p>

7. Eat Adventurously – It’s no secret that eating in Disney Parks is not cheap. So instead of an $8 hotdog, why not try something new? Plan on being in either Africa (Tusker House has character dining) or in Asia (Yak and Yeti has both table and counter service) instead of in Dinoland around mealtimes. Each “continent” will also offer some American dishes for those in your party (ahem…kids) without adventurous palates./p>

6. Kilimanjaro Safaris – Do it TWICE – once in the morning and once in the evening. You’ll get a different experience both times, because different animals will be active depending on the time of day. If you don’t feel like using two FastPasses on this ride, I’d suggest making this your very first stop in the morning before the line gets congested, then getting a FastPass for an evening time (hint: make your evening ride a kiosk FastPass, not one of the three you reserve beforehand.)/p>

5. FastPasses – Speaking of FastPasses, use your initial 3 FastPasses on Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids (depending on the height of your party members, of course). I’d also say you could sub in a FastPass for meeting Minnie and Mickey if that’s higher on your priority list. The shows and Primeval Whirl tend to be more manageable in terms of crowds, unless you are traveling during peak seasons./p>

4. Merchandise – Animal Kingdom has merchandise and souvenirs unlike any other park in Walt Disney World. There are unique offerings from both Africa and Asia, as well as special safari-themed Disney gear that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s definitely worth a trip through the gift shops, especially if the magic of animal encounters has captured your heart. You can also get a special pin if you make a donation to conservation at the time of your purchase./p>

3. Characters – While in Animal Kingdom, you’ll have the opportunity to meet characters that you can’t meet in any other park. (And typically the lines are shorter too!) Watch your MDE app for meeting times with Dug and Russell, Pocahontas, Baloo and Louis, Rafiki, as well as Mickey Mouse and his gang. Also watch out for the little-known and unpublished Dinoland Dance Party where you may get to see (though not actually “meet”) other characters like Flik and Thumper./p>

2. Secret Entrance – Even if you don’t plan to eat at Rainforest Cafe (I don’t necessarily recommend it – it’s a chain that’s available in other places, after all) you may want to mosey through the gift shop where you’ll find another park entrance. It’s not very well known, so you may be able to bypass some crowds and get a leg-up on your first Safari ride. Also, the path connecting the restaurant to the park is off-the-beaten-path if you need a place for some down time (say, with a toddler or infant). There are some shady spots and a cute elephant that squirts water./p>

1. Tree of Life Paths – Look for unmarked paths on both sides of the Tree of Life. Not only will you get a great view of the Tree’s artistry, you can also use it as a sort of short-cut from one side of the park to the other. And as always, watch out for animals!/p>

Animal Kingdom is such a special place with so much to offer. And with several additions in the works, soon it will be even better than ever! Follow these tips to maximize your time…and enjoy the beauty and rhythm of arguably the only park that offers both excitement and serenity./p>

For more great tips on Animal Kingdom, consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

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– Our Ultimate Animal Kingdom Checklist – 13 Things You Can’t Miss