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Let’s Spend the Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Together: A Touring Plan

Let’s take a trip together to Disney’s Animal Kingdom today! We will share our touring plan for Disney’s Animal Kingdom to help you plan a magical day during your Walt Disney World vacation. By sharing where to eat and how to experience all the rides, shows, and entertainment throughout the Park, you will be able to navigate Disney’s Animal Kingdom like a pro when you arrive.

Grab your Disney Park Bag, and get ready for a magical day together at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom Sign

Early Entry

When staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, we recommend taking advantage of early entry. This allows you to enter Disney Park thirty minutes before the opening time. For Disney’s Animal Kingdom, that can mean an early alarm.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom typically has a scheduled opening around 8:00, so early entry opens at 7:30 to Walt Disney World Resort Guests. If you want to take advantage of this time by being head of the crowd, you will want to be ready to tap in at least 30 minutes before early entry.

You can get ahead of the crowd by being there early, which can make a massive difference for the rest of the day.

Avatar Flight of Passage
Credit: Disney

Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the Disney Parks where we aren’t always sure Genie+ is needed. Because there are a lot of shows and entertainment, they don’t see long waits, overall, if you have a good touring plan, you probably won’t need Genie+.

If experiencing Avatar: Flight of Passage is important to you, we recommend purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane. Remember, this happens at 7:00 am, so be ready to go.

For Genie+, if you want to purchase it, the best use would be Kilimanjaro Safari for your first selection. This ride sees long waits throughout the day; since you have to wait on the animals sometimes, the ride is also long.

Credit: Disney Tips


As you arrive at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, your focus should be Pandora. This area of the Park gets bustling quickly. That is the best strategy if you can get ahead of the crowd and experience Avatar: Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey right away.

Avatar: Flight of Passage is a simulator that takes Guests through the beautiful land of Pandora on the back of a banshee. This ride is breathtaking. It does have a height requirement and can make some ill with motion sickness. Keep this in mind as you plan your morning.

Na’vi River Journey is a slow-moving boat ride the whole family can enjoy together. It takes Guests through the bioluminescent rainforest of Pandora. Since it is a slow-moving ride, the wait time climbs quickly throughout the morning and into the afternoon. Even though the ride is visually stunning, we don’t recommend spending longer than 30 minutes waiting in line for it.

Credit: Disney

Morning Continues

If you didn’t use Genie+ for Kilimanjaro Safari, we recommend heading there after visiting Pandora. This is an iconic ride that Guests cannot experience anywhere else without traveling to Africa. There is so much to see on this ride that it shouldn’t be missed. We also like the mornings as the animals (minus the sleepy lions) tend to be more active.

The following two significant rides you will find at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are Expedition Everest and Dinosaur. You can head to either after finishing your safari exploration. Both are about equal distance away and see lines build similarly. Expedition Everest does have a single-rider line that typically is very short in the mornings. This is a fantastic option if you are traveling with a group that can split up.

Remember, the Dinosaur is an intense ride for many. The combination of loud noises, darkness, and well-dinosaurs can significantly impact the younger crowd.

cinnamon roll
Credit: Disney

Snack Time

It is probably time for some delicious food in the morning. For breakfast, we like to enjoy a colossal cinnamon roll from Kuysafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery. This is the Starbucks location so you will find your favorite beverage and breakfast sandwiches here.

Festival of the Lion King
Credit: Disney

Show Time

Now that you have experienced most of the rides, it is time to enjoy the shows. Our first day’s show will be the Festival of the Lion King. Get ready to be blown away by this larger-than-life performance. It is truly a magical experience.

We recommend walking some outstanding trails as you wait for another show. There are three main trails that you can enjoy. Discovery Trail takes you up close to the Tree of Life. This is a fantastic way to see the unique details of the tree. Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail takes Guests to see the Gorillas. This self-guided tour allows you to spend as much or as little time as you want with the gorillas that make Disney’s Animal Kingdom home. Finally, enjoy the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Visit the beautiful tigers that roam and play here.

Sautil Canteen

Lunch Options

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is known for its excellent quick service locations. The three main options we enjoy are Flame Tree Barbecue, Satu’li Canteen, and Yak and Yeti. Remember, you will want to mobile order through the app to avoid long lines.

If you want an even more relaxing experience, consider taking some time to enjoy the Nomad Lounge. This is next door to Tiffin’s, the signature restaurant, and offers great drinks, apps, and views of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Gorilla Exploration Trail
Credit: Disney

More Fun

As you head into the afternoon, remember that Disney’s Animal Kingdom gets extremely hot. This is an excellent time to visit shows such as Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond. This adorable show will have you tearing up with beautiful songs and puppets.

If you are brave, you can also enjoy It’s Tough To Be A Bug. This 4D experience shows Guests how it feels to be a bug, but it gets a little intense when things go wrong.

As the day wraps up, you can enjoy more of the animals, visit Mickey and Minnie, check out the conservation station, or grab a drink and enjoy some of the live entertainment throughout the Park.


There aren’t a lot of sit-down meals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but Tiffin’s, Yak, and Yeti are robust options. If you feel adventurous, you could also head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to experience Boma or Sanna.


There isn’t a nighttime show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the safety of the animals, but if you remain in the Park after dark, make sure you enjoy Pandora and the Beacons of Magic on the Tree of Life.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a fantastic Park with so many unique experiences. We hope this will help you navigate it successfully during your next Walt Disney World vacation.

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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