Are you ready for some midweek magic?
Today I’m taking a journey over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is the biggest and newest park in the WDW family and is a celebration of all things environment, conservation, and culture.
If you’re staying on WDW property during your trip make sure to utilize the early morning Extra Magic hours here! It is best enjoyed early when the animals are out and it’s not quite as hot as it would be in the afternoon sun. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to Expedition Everest (a personal favorite!), the Tree of Life, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Pandora – The Land of Avatar, one of WDW’s newest and most popular additions!
Similar to the other three WDW parks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is divided into six distinctive lands throughout the park.
Like all other WDW parks, Oasis is the entry point of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Once you are through the main gates, you’ll find yourself in the Oasis, an area filled with lush, tropical pathways and waterways. Wildlife is found throughout the park and here you could potentially see giant anteaters, exotic boar, barking deer, wallaby, spoonbills, butterflies, zebras, or birds as you make your way into the park!
Attraction Highlight: The Oasis Exhibits
Dining Highlight: Rainforest Cafe ($$), Safari Bar ($$)
After exploring the Oasis, you’ll make your way across a bridge and find yourself on Discovery Island. This central area of the park is home to the iconic Tree of Life and also provides a bridge to each other distinctive land. You’ll find the Wilderness Explorers Headquarters here as well, an opportunity for younger members of your Disney crew to complete challenges and earn badges around the park.
Attraction Highlights: It’s Tough to be a Bug!, Tree of Life
Dining Highlights: Eight Spoon Cafe ($), Isle of Java ($), Nomad Lounge ($), Pizzafari ($), Terra Treats ($), Tiffins Restaurant ($$$)
Character Meet and Greets: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Russell and Dug, Timon
Pandora – The World of Avatar
Located off Discovery Island, Pandora is the newest addition to Animal Kingdom. You’ll find yourself immersed in the magical land of Pandora and the details here are incredible. Pandora is home to Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, however, both of these rides are incredibly popular. I recommend using one of your Fastpass+ reservations for one of these, and, if you have access to Extra Magic hours, rope drop the other!
Attraction Highlights: Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey
Dining Highlights: Pongu Pongu ($), Satu’li Canteen ($)
You can find your way to Africa over a bridge from Discovery Island or down a pathway that connects this land from Pandora. Set in the village of Harambe, Africa is home to many animal exhibits and perhaps the most well known, Kilimanjaro Safaris. This area of the park also celebrates the Lion King, a show you should be sure not to miss while here!
Attraction Highlights: Festival of the Lion King, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Kilimanjaro Safaris
Dining Highlights: Dawa Bar ($), Harambe Fruit Market ($), Harambe Market ($), Tamu Tamu Refreshments ($), Tusker House Restaurant ($$$)
Insider Tip: If you are a Dole Whip fanatic, be sure to stop at Tamu Tamu for one in the midst of a hot day!
Make your way to Asia over a bridge from Discovery Island or down a short walking path from Africa or DinoLand, USA. Off in the distance, you’ll notice the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas which provide home to Expedition Everest, a major attraction for this part of the park. Kali River Rapids is also located in Asia, a wonderful ride if you’re here during a very hot day. Make your way to Maharajah Jungle Trek to see more wildlife, including tigers!
Attraction Highlights: Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Maharajah Jungle Trek, UP! A Great Bird Adventure
Dining Highlights: Caravan Road ($), Drinkwallah ($), Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks ($), Warung Outpost ($), Yak and Yeti ($) ($$)
Insider Tip: If you don’t want to get wet, do not ride Kali River Rapids. Every time I have gone on this ride, I’ve been soaked for the rest of the day!
DinoLand, USA is home to, you guessed it, dinosaurs and other prehistoric life. Dinosaur is the most popular attraction in this part of the park, which is a very dark thrill ride that is not for the faint of heart. On a lighter note, you can also find fossils of dinosaurs, including Dino-Sue, a reproduction of the most complete T-Rex fossil ever found.
Attraction Highlights: Dinosaur, Dino-Sue, Finding Nemo – The Musical, Primeval Whirl, TriceraTop Spin
Dining Highlights: Dino-Bite Snacks ($), Dino Diner (#)
Character Meet and Greets: Chip and Dale, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto
Insider Tip: Don’t be fooled by your Disney crew begging you to go on it, Dinosaur is a very jumpy ride. I rode this for the first time when I was 18…with my eyes closed.
What is your favorite part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
As always, if you want help planning your trip, I specialize in creating a completely custom dream Disney vacation just for you! Whether you’re about to book or just starting the planning process, send me an email or check out my services here.