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Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Best and Worst Experiences

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened at Walt Disney World on Earth Day in 1998. Many changes have happened throughout the Park since opening day, with the biggest being the addition of Pandora.

With some areas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom being some of the best in Walt Disney World while others need an update, we will look at the best and worst of this Disney Park.

We hope this will help as you plan what attractions will be the best for your family during their day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Avatar Flight of Passage
Credit: Disney

Best: Avatar: Flight of Passage

If you have done any research about Walt Disney World, it is probably no surprise that Avatar: Flight of Passage is on our best list. Located in Pandora, Avatar Flight of Passage remains one of the best rides in all of Walt Disney World.

Guests are connected to their banshee and soar through the world of Pandora, taking in the breathtaking views that come to life before you.

This ride is unique as you genuinely feel like you are connected to the banshee as you feel it breathing beneath you. You dip and rise along with the banshee as you see all the different parts of Pandora. The ride plays to all of your senses, so you are entirely immersed in the experience.

This is a must-do ride each time we visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Credit: Disney Tips

Worst: Na’vi River Journey

Right next door to Avatar: Flight of Passage is one of the bigger disappointments in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This slow-moving boat ride takes Guests on a mystical journey through Pandora’s bioluminescent rainforest.

Although this ride is visually stunning, it lacks an overall storyline, leaving Guests questioning the ride’s purpose or goal.

Again, this is a good filler ride, but it isn’t one that we feel needs to be a must-experience, especially if you have older kids at your party.

Credit: Disney

Best: Kilimanjaro Safaris

This one-of-a-kind experience in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is like nothing we can experience anywhere else. As they ride on their open-air vehicle, Guests explore the 110 acres that make up the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

The reserve is home to around 34 species, such as lions, giraffes, zebras, elephants, and so much more. This 18-minute journey allows Guests to see unique wildlife up close and personal as their excellent Cast Member guides them through while sharing facts.

As this is a nature safari, animals have free roam, making every safari different. Guests will want to make sure they have their cameras ready to go to capture the magic.

We think Kilimanjaro Safari is definitely in the best category for attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Kali River Rapids
credit: Disney

Worst: Kali River Rapids

If you like being wet or drenched, you will like Kali River Rapids. We skipped this ride because we didn’t care to be drenched while in the Theme Park.

Waterfalls, a raging current, and rapids can all be experienced at this attraction. We feel like a lot more could be done with this storyline to help build interest.

Personally, even on hot days, we skip Kali River Rapids as we prefer to stay dry.

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom

Best: Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Head up into the icy Himalayan Mountains as you try to avoid the mythic Yeti. This intense roller coaster is one of the best in Walt Disney World.

Not only is the queue for this ride excellent with so many details, but the ride also has so many thrilling elements. A broken track awaits them at the top of the mountain, and they are sent backward into total darkness.

When you arrive in the cavern, watch out as the mythical tale of a Yeti living in the mountains might come true.

Put those sunglasses and Minnie Ears away, as Expedition Everest is one wild ride.

Tricera Top Spin
Photo Credit: Disney

Worst: TriceraTop Spin

This classic carnival-inspired ride takes Guests high up on a dinosaur as they fly around Dinoland. As this ride is precisely like Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Magic Carpets of Aladdin, we don’t feel it is a must-do in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

It is a fun ride for little ones as they can go up and down and back and forward, but that is all it does. With so many other experiences throughout the Park, this one is easily skipped.

Festival Of The Lion King
Photo Credit: Disney

Best: Festival of the Lion King

Our final pick for the best occasions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Festival of the Lion King. Performers bring a beautiful story to the audience through song and dance.

This Broadway-inspired show is filled with songs, puppetry, and performers who bring the beloved story of Lion King to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Classic songs such as “Hakuna Matata,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and “Circle of Life” are all performed during the show.

Don’t skip over this performance during your day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is breathtaking and moving.

Gorilla Exploration Trail
Credit: Disney

Others: A quick look

We aren’t going to dive deep into these other experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but we wanted to see where they would fit in our best and worst list.

Best: All the trails, Finding Nemo: The Big Blue, and Beyond

Worst: Dinosaur, Feathered Friends in Flight

That is our look at some of the best and worst experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Although there is a lot to enjoy in this Park, there are some experiences that we do skip each visit. Take time to dig into what each of them offers to determine better if they are a fit for your family.

Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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