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5 Free Things To Take Advantage Of In Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Taking a Disney vacation in Lake Buena Vista is undoubtedly a costly undertaking. Therefore, it’s excellent news that The Walt Disney Company offers free things to Guests when visiting Walt Disney World. While some free stuff is available in a Disney Resort hotel, there are also free things in the Disney Parks.

Suppose you will soon be a Guest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House or Kidani Village, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, or Disney’s All-Stars Resorts. You are only a short bus ride from Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Similarly, Guests of other Walt Disney World Resort hotels are also a bus ride from the Disney Park, despite the journey being a little longer.

Winged Encounters, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: V Mills

Next time you plan to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, enjoy the following complimentary items in the Disney Park. You won’t need a Disney Genie Lightning Lane reservation to enjoy them!

Wilderness Explorers

Throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll find Wilderness Explorers stations. The Disney experience is free to Guests of all ages. You can follow in the footsteps of Russell from Up (2009) and earn adventure badges for your Wilderness Explorer book. There are over 25 adventure badges to collect. You can collect the badges as a group or individually. Don’t worry if you don’t manage to collect them all in one day. You may wish to collect them throughout your Disney vacation, visiting different Wilderness Explorer stations whenever you are in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Include visits to the stations during your Animal Kingdom itinerary.

Wilderness Explorers Headquarters, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: V Mills

You can begin your Wilderness Explorer adventure at any station in the Disney Park. However, we recommend starting it on Discovery Island. On your way into Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Wilderness Explorer Headquarters is located on the bridge across the Discovery River to Discovery Island after passing through the Oasis. Here, you can pick up your handbook. Alternatively, handbooks can be collected from a Wilderness Explorer Troop Leader at one of the following locations:

Animation Class

Several animation classes are held around the Walt Disney World Resort. While some classes require an additional fee, like those at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, you can learn to draw a favorite Disney character for free at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Animation Experience at Conservation Station begins at 10 a.m. and runs every 45 minutes until 4:45 p.m. daily. Catch the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, then enter the Conservation Station to find the complimentary Disney experience.

The Animation Experience is a 25-minute class led by a Disney animator. They will guide you through drawing a popular Disney character. You’ll collect a lap desk, paper, and pencil on your way in before finding a seat. Large screens help you follow the Disney animator and draw your own version of an animal-inspired Disney character. Who will you learn how to draw?

The Animation Experience, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: V Mills

Animal Information

Many Cast Members at Disney’s Animal Kingdom work closely with the animals that call the Disney Park home. Therefore, you have the opportunity to find out more information about the animals you get to see. Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, and the Maharajah Jungle Trek are places to interact with Cast Members. Additionally, watching Feathered Friends in Flight and Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight allows you to learn more about many different bird species. Throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom, some plaques detail information about animals you can see. These are particularly useful when an animal encounter doesn’t have a Cast Member nearby. One example is the plaques by the Gibbons that you’ll find between Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.

Maharajah Jungle Trek, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: V Mills

Drinks Refills

Did you know you can take advantage of free drinks refills at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora World of Avatar? While most quick-service restaurants in the Disney Parks do not offer the service, a select few do. When dining at Satu’li Canteen, near Avatar Flight of Passage, order a fountain beverage as part of your dining experience. You will be provided with a cup when collecting your food order. Once you have your cup, help yourself to your choice of beverage from the drinks machine. You can then refill your drink throughout your time in the Disney restaurant. Top tip – save money by only ordering one fountain beverage that can be shared with the rest of your party. You can enjoy the refills while saving money.

Satu'li Canteen, Pandora
Credit: D23

Iced Water

Iced water is complimentary to all Guests of the Walt Disney World Resort. You just need to know to ask for it. You can get cups of iced water in any quick-service restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you are placing an order, simply order your food and proceed to the collection point. At the collection point, ask for the cups of iced water you and your family need. However, if you aren’t placing a quick-service order, just proceed to the collection counter, and ask a Cast Member who is free for cups of iced water. Staying hydrated in the Disney theme park is easy without purchasing bottled water.

You can also get iced water from some quick-service kiosks in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can tell which booths give iced water by their menu. If you can purchase fountain drinks from there, you can get cups of iced water. The same is true in every Disney Park in Lake Buena Vista.

Iced Water, Disney Parks
Credit: V Mills

If you are a Walt Disney World Resort hotel Guest with a refillable mug, you can fill your mug with iced water. Doing so avoids you having to carry round disposable cups. While you can’t refill your refillable mug for free in the Disney Parks, it’s still useful throughout the day.

There are also free things available in every Disney Park. Find out about the freebies in Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT here.

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!

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