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How to Spend the Whole Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Many Guests think that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a half-day Park. They might plan to spend the morning in the Park but then head out in the afternoon to enjoy their Resort or another Disney Park.

We want to share why you can enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom the whole day. From great rides to excellent shows and fantastic food, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has much to offer Guests.

Let’s look at how we would spend the whole day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This is a breakdown of how we would spend our day at this amazing, unique Disney Park.

Start by being aware that Disney’s Animal Kingdom typically opens the earliest out of all Disney Parks. It also closes earlier than other Parks. Because of this, you will want to get to the Park early to make the most of your time.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Pandora
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Pandora

Morning Plans: Pandora

We would head to Pandora for the morning when starting the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here we would ensure we enjoy Avatar: Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. These are the two rides found on Pandora.

Avatar: Flight of Passage has Guests flying on the back of a banshee as they enjoy the beauty of Pandora. The whole family can enjoy the Na’vi River Journey together. This slow boat ride takes Guests through the bioluminescent rainforest of Pandora.

Because this area is so popular, we highly recommend visiting Pandora early in the day to avoid crowds.

Credit: Disney

Mid-Morning: Animals

After visiting Pandora, head on over to ride Kilimanjaro Safari. The morning is a great time to see the animals. Animals are more active in the morning before it gets hot out on the savanna. Kilimanjaro Safari takes Guests on a ride through the savanna full of unique animals.

After enjoying the safari, consider getting something to eat. We love having a Mickey-shaped cinnamon roll at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery. This is a great spot to grab food before visiting more animals.

You can choose to enjoy a walk around Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, where the family of gorillas hang out and are full of energy. We also enjoy seeing the tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek. These are fun, slow walk-through experiences that Guests can enjoy at their own pace. As the crowds start to build, this is an excellent option.

Flame Tree Barbecue
Credit: Disney

Before Lunch

We recommend getting to two other rides before lunchtime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom if they are essential to you. Those two rides would be Expedition Everest and Dinosaur. These are two intense thrill rides that Guests might want to experience if they are traveling with teens or adults that are looking for some excitement.

Lunch Time

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has many fantastic food places for mealtime. For lunch, we like to enjoy one of the quick service locations. Our top options are Flame Tree Barbecue, Sat’uli Canteen, or Yak and Yeti.

Each of these quick service locations over new, unique options that provide an excellent option for lunches. We enjoy sitting outside when it isn’t hot, watching the people, and enjoying beautiful sights.

Festival of the Lion King
Credit: Disney

Show Time

Once the afternoon comes around, Disney’s Animal Kingdom gets extremely hot. This is a great time to enjoy some of the top shows. We love the Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Big Blue and Beyond. Both of these shows include incredible music with highly talented performers.

We also enjoy taking time to enjoy the live entertainment around the Park. Grabbing something to eat and drink and just walking around is a great time.

Nomad Lounge
Photo Credit: Disney


Another great way to spend the afternoon at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is to head to Nomad Lounge. This is one of the best lounges at Walt Disney World. Guests can enjoy some fantastic drinks and small plates from Tiffin’s kitchen.

The outdoor seating is calming and a great escape from the busy Park crowds.

Tusker House, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney


Like with lunch, there are many great dining options for supper. Tiffin’s is the signature dining experience in the Park if you are looking for a sit-down meal. Enjoy flavors from Africa as you join a classy meal you can’t believe is found in a theme Park.

For a fun meal, consider dining at Tusker House. This is a character meal where Guests can visit with Donald and other friends while enjoying a buffet full of options.

Finally, we like Yak and Yeti Restaurants as well. This is a well-themed location that offers excellent Asian cuisine.

There are excellent options for a good meal while at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.


Even though Disney’s Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a nighttime show, the overall feel of the Park is impressive at night. Take time to walk around Pandora as it comes to life with the bioluminescent lights.

Take time to see the Tree of Life Awakes. This show lights up the magnificent Tree of Life with breathtaking colors.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is not always the top Park for Guests when heading to Walt Disney World. We hope that this breakdown of how we would spend our day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is a good combination of rides, shows, great food, and fantastic entertainment. That is what this amazing Disney Park has to offer.

We hope you consider a whole day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom the next time you head to Walt Disney World. It is full of adventure for the entire 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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