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A Guide to the Best Rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

A day touring the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a lot of fun. Though, you must be prepared to avoid long lines and avoid some stress. So, find out how to navigate the park to have a great experience.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Those who love nature will love this park because of its theme. Above all, the living animals exhibit is the main feature of it. On the other hand, the world of Avatar offers guests an outstanding experience.

Animal Kingdom is the youngest out of the four parks, the opening was in 1998. Also, it is the largest with 500 acres. Its location, at the very back of the Resort, was chosen to protect the animals. In order to preserve their welfare, plastic items are prohibited.

Seven different areas hold amazing attractions for all ages. Each one of them have their own best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

See below the zones’ names:

  • Africa;
  • Oasis;
  • Discovery Island;
  • Asia;
  • Pandora – The World of Avatar;
  • DinoLand U.S.A.;
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Africa and the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The entrance to this land is the fictional village of Harambe which means “come together” in Swahili. Certainly you’ll get to see animals in this area, since the attractions are:

A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King is another reason to visit the land. Despite not being one of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s a must-see.

Oasis

It is a land and the main entrance of the park at the same time. So, it is more like a path to the points of interest. However it has one attraction: The Oasis Exhibits.

Discovery Island

This land is home for the Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom’s main icon. In fact, it has its own fictional legend. The story tells of an ant that planted a seed and made a wish for a tree that would provide shelter to all the animals. See the attractions of this area below:

  • Adventurers Outpost Meet and Greet;
  • Discovery Island Trails;
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!;
  • Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight;
  • The Tree of Life.

Asia has one of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

First park’s expansion, Asia hosts four attractions, including two thrill rides. As soon as you enter the Kingdom of Anandapur, you’ll notice the architecture and showcasing animals from the continent. Currently, the points of interest includes one of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, they are:

  • Expedition Everest;
  • Feathered Friends in Flight!;
  • Kali River Rapids;
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek.

Pandora – The World of Avatar and the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Certainly you will not want to skip this one, even if you’re not a big Avatar fan. This land is based on James Cameron’s movie. Therefore, the elements such as the floating mountains are all over. There are two main attractions:

  • Na’vi River Journey;
  • Avatar: Flight of Passage.

DinoLand U.S.A.

A dinosaurs’ land that also has its own backstory. DinoLand U.S.A. counts with animatronics and fossil replicas scattered throughout the land. See which are the attractions:

  • Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama;
  • Dinosaur;
  • Cretaceous Trail;
  • Dino-Sue;
  • The Boneyard Playground;
  • Finding Nemo: The Musical;
  • Donald’s Dino Bash!;
  • TriceraTop Spin;
  • Fossil Fun Games.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Wildlife Express Train takes the guests to this land. Even though it doesn’t host any of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it is a location with several educational attractions such as:

  • Affection Section;
  • Conservation Station;
  • Habitat Habit!;
  • Wildlife Express Train;
  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station.

The best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Whether you enjoy watching animals’ lives or not, this park has something for you. From the Avatar-themed ones til a safari experience. So find out which are the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Avatar: Flight of Passage

In this 3D simulator you will fly over the fictional planet of Pandora. Such an unique attraction is intensified by the individual ride vehicles. They mimic the sensation of flying so well that some may need a rest moment. 

The height requirement is 44” so it’s a good option for the whole family. As it is one of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it has long lines. Luckily, it is completely indoors and doesn’t get suspended according to the weather.

Expedition Everest

One of the most scary attractions is definitely not for kids. But the thrill-seekers will love it since it has fast turns and drops. At the end there’s a giant Yeti.

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Get on board an open sided vehicle and start an adventure. This is not an actual ride, but a safari attraction that lasts about 22 minutes. Still it is one of the best, as you get to see different species of animals.

Wait times at the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom may have longer lines on crowded days. So you’ll want to be prepared and arrive early to the park.

But if you can’t avoid them, be aware that the waits can be over an hour. Especially for the Avatar: Flight of Passage ride.

On the other hand, other attractions have less waits. Then take into account the time you may spend at the lines.

Other attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Further than the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there’s much to see and experience. The following attractions are proof of it, so see what each one is all about.

Na’vi River Journey

A secondary part of the world of Avatar. This boat ride is not as thrilling as one of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But it is still worth some time in the queue because of the visual impact.

Celebration of Festival of the Lion King

This 30 minutes long Broadway-style show is full of magic. Not only the costume design but also the scenario have vivid colors. Certainly is a must-so, especially if you’re a movies’ fan.

Finding Nemo: The Musical

It is a human and puppet theatrical show that tells the Finding Nemo story. In other words, a shorter version to the movie, but as a musical stage show. It doesn’t mean at all that it is not good.

The best time to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom

A frequently asked question has to do with the best time to visit Walt Disney World. Due to pandemics everything has changed. For instance, school schedules, which have a major impact on how crowded the parks will be. But the virtual or hybrid classes swapped things.

Even if it is not a holiday, the park could be full of people. Other factors to consider are the events such as EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival. At the end, the best time to visit are still weekdays in low seasons, however with changes,

Boat cruisers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

If seeing characters is important to you, the boat cruisers are a good option. In order not to miss them, find out more below. 

Discovery River Character Cruise

The characters you may see are Timon and Rafiki or Pocahontas with John Smith or Meeko. In fact, it is a safe solution due to social distance to see them at this park.

Donald’s Dino Boat Bash!

Meet Chip and Dale in their Dinoland Bash outfits. Sometimes you may see Launchpad McQuack and Goofy instead of those characters. 

Mickey & Friends Flotilla

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see Mickey, Minnie and Pluto. If it comes to that moment,  it’s a really good opportunity to take some pictures.

Discovery Island Drummers

Professional musicians bring up some fun beats and atmosphere to the park. Despite being a non-character appearance, the Discovery Island Drummers have an Avatar theme.

Dining options

There are a lot of dining options at the park to enjoy a meal after touring the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here’s a selection with the 5 best restaurants.

Satu’li Canteen

This dining option is inside Pandora – The World of Avatar. So the guests enjoy an immersive experience, rather than just a meal. Then it feels like it is one more attraction in this land. The menu includes plant-based and allergies-friendly alternatives.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant

A pan-Asian cuisine table service, Yak & Yeti has a beautiful interior. As many attractions in Animal Kingdom it has a fictional backstory. Also it has a highly themed decoration according to it. The fans of Asian food will absolutely love it.

Tiffins

Despite the name being an Indian type of meal, it serves food from South America, India, and Africa. The cocktails and appetizers really stand out.

Flame Tree Barbecue

The outdoor seats provide the customers a great view of Discovery River. It is a typical smokehouse with alternatives ranging from pulled pork to all kinds of ribs recipes.

Tusker House

A safari-themed restaurant with African-inspired dishes and recently reopened. It has breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the menu is very friendly. It even includes homemade Macaroni Cheese.

Complimentary transport to enjoy the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

This park has the most limited options on complimentary transport. Though, it is not hard at all to get there, no matter where you’re at in Walt Disney World. The only service available to Magic Kingdom is the bus.

Tips on the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is a huge park so to navigate the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and more, you’ll need to do some research. Here are a few tips to ease your visit.

Get there before it opens or stay until late

Unless you want to ride every single attraction, a full day is not necessary. Therefore, in order to avoid the crowds, arrive early or stay until late.

Be aware of COVID-19 protocols

At the moment, face covering is mandatory to any individuals over 2 years old. Due to social distance some attractions may suffer a few changes as well. For that reason, keep yourself informed about the current protocols.

Head straight to Pandora – World of Avatar

Since the land has the longest queues in the whole Walt Disney World, do it first. That way, you will have some extra time later to enjoy the other best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

If you’re a fan of Avatar, stay after dark

To have a full experience, you might want to see the land at night. If you’re into James Cameron’s movie you’ll love to see the bioluminescent effect.

What to know about Disney’s Animal Kingdom reopening

It has been over a year since the reopening. However, those who did not visit the park after that may feel a bit confused. Here are a few things to know before visiting.

Limited Capacity

With social distance, the attractions may have a more limited capacity. In the same vein, the lines can be longer. In addition, the park itself can receive a lower number of people.

Suspended services

All monorail services are suspended in Walt Disney World. Also, the FastPass+ is not available currently.

Attractions closed

Likewise the other parks in the Resort, Magic Kingdom had some of the attractions closed. In this case, Primeval Whirl is not coming back.

Safety Guidelines

Maybe you’re used to it in other public spaces. But here the queue experiences are completely different. Since social distance is one of the most important protocols, it changed the lines completely.

Animals at the park

Seeing living animals is the greatest thing besides the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Despite many artificial features such as Tree of Life, the animals are real. Nearly 1,000 of 250 different species live there.

To preserve their welfare, there are no nighttime shows and the park closes earlier. In fact, it is accredited by the most important zoos association.

That way, they maintain actions on education, research, and conservation.

It is a valuable work, especially with the effort to have millions of guests per day. There are security barriers to protect them and the visitors. So it is an unmatched experience to see the different species.

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More Tips for Your Trip to Orlando

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