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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Animal Kingdom - Attractions

Updated: Apr 22

Learn about the different attractions that Animal Kingdom has to offer. This will help you be better informed when selecting which rides and shows will be most exciting to you and your family. Make sure to check out closing and refurbishment list here before you go.


 

Discovery Island



It’s Tough to be a Bug!

Situated under the Tree of Life on Discovery Island, It’s Tough to be a Bug! is a 3D with 4D immersive effects and animatronic figures that shrinks you to the size of well a bug so you can learn all about how hard it is to be such a very small creature. This is a humourous, family friendly show, but it can be intense for littles as they feel bugs poking them from under their seat and encounter a tarantula who send quills flying at the audience. If there is any wait for this show it is generally just until the previous 8 minute show ends.


Wilderness Explorers

If you’ve ever watched the movie Up, then you know about Wilderness Explorers. Russell, the little kid who inadvertently joins Carl on his adventure, is a Wilderness Explorer looking to earn his “Assisting the Elderly” Wilderness Badge when you meet him in the movie. Like Russell, you can earn Wilderness Badges throughout Animal Kingdom park. To do this you’ll visit the Wilderness Explorers Headquarters, located at the end of the bridge as you enter Discovery Island. There you will receive your handbook and earn your very first badge (though you can get the handbook at many of the stations besides the headquarters). As you go about your day, you’ll encounter Wilderness Explorer cast members stationed all throughout the park (keep an eye out for the Wilderness Explorer symbol). At different stations you will get to learn about a specific topic, like fossils, recycling, or endangered species, and receive a badge. This is a great little educational scavenger hunt like activity that both kids and adults can get into as you tour around Animal Kingdom.


Pandora - The World of Avatar



Na’vi River Journey

Take a slow boat ride into the bioluminescent wilds of Pandora on Na’vi River Journey. This is a great family friendly attraction that is both beautiful and very cool. Opposite Avatar Flight of Passage, this ride can feel a bit run of the mill but it’s a great alternative for those who cannot ride the headline Pandora attraction. The line for this ride can get long so we recommend snagging a Genie+ for it early in the day.


Avatar Flight of Passage

Currently the most popular ride in all of Animal Kingdom is Avatar Flight of Passage, and for good reason. On this attraction you will get your very over avatar and get to ride on the back of your very own banshee. The simulated feel of flying on the back of the banshee is incredible, and the views you will get while flying over Pandora are mesmerizing. There are some people whose motion sickness can get triggered by this ride, so if you get motion sick be prepared for that possibility. The wait time for this ride is often very long, so we recommend either heading their first thing in the morning, and being prepared to still wait a bit, or grabbing the individual lightning lane for it.




Africa


Festival of the Lion King


Over on the left side of Africa, as you are entering that area from Discovery Island, you will find Festival of the Lion King. This is an upbeat and enjoyable show that highlights all the amazing songs from the movie with live stage performances. The show is 30 minutes long, so in addition to being great fun, it is a nice way to take a break from the crowds and heat. The seating is bleacher style, situated on all 4 sides of the stage area, but you get a great view no matter where you end up. The MDE app has the show times listed, typically shows start on the hour. During crowded times, we recommend getting to the show about 15 minutes prior to the start of the show as this one does fill up during peak attendance. Otherwise you can typically grab a seat at the back shortly before the show is set to start.


Kilimanjaro Safaris



Ever wanted to go on a safari out into the African savannah to search for elephants, giraffes, and other animals up close? Here is your chance to do just that, plus you are pretty much guaranteed to see lots of animals without too much search required. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a roughly 22 minute adventure out into the “wilds of Africa” with a driver and guide who will tell you all about the animals you see on your journey. Plus, this is a great family friendly ride that everyone can join in on. This is a very popular ride so we recommend either trying to ride it in the early morning, when the animals are also conveniently more active because they are being fed and it’s not as hot yet, or with a Genie+ reservation.




Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail



Located right off the exit for Kilimanjaro Safaris is the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. This is a fun trail to check out lots of different animals like hippos, meerkat, zebras, and of course gorillas. This is a self guided walking path, so you can go at your own pace and take in the animals to your heart's content (or zoom through and barely see any if you have an impatient 3 year old in tow).





Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Take a break from the crowds by hopping on the train over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Even when the park is super crowded this area is generally pretty calm. Over at Rafiki’s Planet Watch you’ll find the Conservation Station, where you can get a behind the scenes look as real life vets care for the real life animals from around the park. Then you can pop over to the Affection Section where young and old alike can actually interact with and pet some furry friends like sheeps, goats, llamas, and donkeys among others. Finally there is the Animation Experience where you can learn how to draw Disney and Pixar characters, and take a class where you will get the chance to create your very own work of art featuring Simba, Zazu, Pumbaa, or Timon from Disney’s The Lion King. All in all, Rafiki’s Planet Watch is an often overlooked gem at the Animal Kingdom with unique experiences and fun activities for the whole family.




Asia


Feathered Friends in Flight


At different times (usually in the morning hours) you may see birds flying overhead to the Tree of Life before taking off again and returning the way they came. These birds have been specifically trained to perform this trick by Disney Cast Members. If you think that’s really cool, or just like birds, then you should head over to the Feathered Friends in Flight show which features, you guessed it, birds. During this 35 minute show bird specialists will bring out a range of different feathered friends, share information about them and have them fly around the theater and perform tricks. If you struggle with the idea of a bird flying directly over your head, this show might not be for you, but otherwise it’s a good and educational family friendly show. Check your MDE app for times and you can typically arrive 5-10 minutes before the start of the next show and grab seating.


Maharajah Jungle Trek


If you head straight past where you would turn into the queue for Kali River Rapids you’ll find the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Here you will wind your way through ancient asian ruins to find elusive animals like the komodo dragon, malayan flying fox (essentially a giant bat so be prepared), over 50 different species of birds, and the majestic Asian tiger. This is a self guided walking path, so you can go at your own pace and take in the animals to your heart’s content (and bypass the bird enclosures or flying fox viewing if those feel like a bit much for you). Quick side note, there are multiple places to view the tigers from, and multiple enclosures. We’ve had the best luck at the first and second viewing areas to the left of the path, but you can sometimes find them further down the path on the right side.



Kali River Rapids

If you are hanging out at the Animal Kingdom on a hot day and want to cool down (and don’t mind getting really wet), head over to Kali River Rapids. This is a fun, often bumpy, water based attraction that will have you spinning down hills and around corners while water sloshes around you (and when we mean sloshes we really mean lots, and lots of water will be coming over the sides into your ride vehicle and onto you…you have been warned). We recommend doing this ride fully prepared to get soaking wet (even rain ponchos will not keep you dry). But it’s a lot of fun and a great way to get a break from the heat in the summer! The line typically isn’t too long, so either check wait times in the MDE app before heading over or grab a Genie+ comeback time after you have already booked the other popular attractions.



Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

If you are looking for a thrill ride, look no further than Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. You can see the mountain looming from almost everywhere in the park, but you’ll need to follow the map to the back corner of Asia to find your way to the base - and not so coincidentally the entrance to the queue. Starting in the queue you will get a sense of the mysterious legend behind the mythical yeti of the mountain. Once you board the train you will begin your ascent into the mountain, ignoring warnings of the yeti...and well, I’ll let you guess what happens next. It’s one of our favorite roller coasters in all of Disney World and definitely worth a ride for the thrill junky at heart. This is a very popular ride at Animal Kingdom but it does take a while for the crowd to meander that far into the park, so it’s a great ride to rope drop if you are not heading to Pandora. It’s also a great ride to grab a Genie+ reservation for if you are not heading that way first thing. Plus, bonus, it has a single rider line which is generally not more than 5-10 minutes long which is a great option if you are okay riding by yourself.



DinoLand U.S.A.


The Boneyard

The Boneyard is a great interactive play area for littles to run around in and get their wiggles out. If you need an activity for a young kid to do while waiting for others in your party to ride something, or if the adults just need a break but their kid is feeling squirrely, this is a nice place to check out that often isn’t too crowded.



Fossil Fun Games

Ever been to a classic carnival where there are lots of, well carnival games? That’s essentially what you will find in this area, pay to play dinosaur themed carnival games in the heart of DinoLand U.S.A. If you have youngish kids it can be a fun break from running around the park as the games are often pretty empty. We don’t recommend sticking around this area for too long though, as there are lots of “free” things to do that are more unique to Animal Kingdom than playing a carnival game.



Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!

Like the Finding Nemo movie but with songs! This live stage show will take you through the story of Nemo, his Dad Marlin, and their friend Dory with incredible puppets and fun staging. Plus, as an added bonus, there are all new songs added just for this stage production. Songs like “in the big blue world, we’re ready to goooo”, “we swim toogetheer”, “go with the flow-o-o-o-o-o-o” (pardon our singing voices). This 25 minute show is great fun for the whole family and is a great way to escape the heat and crowds at Animal Kingdom for a bit. If you are looking for front and center type of seating then you’ll want to head over to the theater early. However, we often just stroll up 5-10 minutes before the start of the show and get seated without any waiting. Check your MDE app for show times during your visit.


TriceraTop Spin

If your kid (or you) are a fan of the Dumbo ride in the Magic Kingdom, then TriceraTop Spin in DinoLand U.S.A. is a good option. It’s essentially the same ride, except instead of flying with Dumbo you are riding your own little triceratops, who can fly (don’t question it, just enjoy the Disney magic that makes it so). The line for this ride is generally super short, so it’s a good filler with littles, especially if you are waiting on family members riding DINOSAUR.

DINOSAUR

Looking for a smooth jaunt aboard a Time Rover to the early Cretaceous Period…do not come here. It seems like every time we visit, our trip gets re-routed so we go to the very end of the Cretaceous Period to rescue an Iguanodon seconds before the giant astroid impacts the earth…interesting huh? As you may imagine this trip is a bumpy one, filled with twists and turns in the dark and a Carnotaurus that seems intent on jumping out to scare (and eat) you. If you like thrill rides and lots of jump scares, this attraction is for you. Typically at the start of the day and end of the day the line for this ride is pretty short. If you have purchased

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