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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Animal Kingdom - Getting your Bearings

Updated: Jan 31

Get the lay of the land in this virtual tour of Animal Kingdom. We'll give a quick overview of each of the areas around the park and point out some highlights to keep an eye out for.



You’ll get the theming and overall feel of the Animal Kingdom as soon as you walk through the turnstiles and find yourself in the Oasis. You can’t actually see much from the get go, but the plant life is very tropical feeling and the sense of mystery and adventure is present as you start off walking down a path to who knows where. As you wander down the paths keep your eyes peeled because you’ll start spying animals right away.

Discovery Island

The mystery of the Oasis opens onto a bridge from which the wonder of the Animal Kingdom kicks in as you catch your first view of the Tree of Life, this park’s main icon. At 145 ft tall this impressive tree has over 300 animals carved into the trunk, branches, and roots. Everytime you look at it you’ll discover some new and impressive animal. Around the base of the tree are walking trails where you can get a close up view of some of the carvings and see some other fun real life animals playing away.

Also on Discovery Island you’ll find the main shopping for the park, a number of dining and snacking options, including the Starbucks location at Creature Comforts and the signature dining location at Tiffins Restaurant. Situated under the Tree of Life is the 3D show it’s Tough to be a Bug! to the right as you are heading toward Asia is the Adventurers Outpost where you can meet Mickey and Minnie in their safari gear ready to explore.

Much like the main hub at the Magic Kingdom, where Cinderella Castle is located, Discovery Island serves as a central point in the park. From here you can branch off to any of the different lands.

At night there is a light show on the tree

Pandora - The World of Avatar

Take your adventure to a whole different planet in Pandora - The World of Avatar. If you keep left from Discovery Island you’ll eventually cross a bridge over Discovery River and find that the landscaping and flora have drastically changed. You are now on Pandora, complete with floating mountains, bioluminescent plant life, and out of this world attractions. The Pandora area is home to one of the most popular attractions at the parks: Avatar Flight of Passage. During this unforgettable and lifelike experience, you will find yourself flying on the back of one of the mountain banshees. Na’vi River Journey is the other attraction in this area, where you will get to experience the world of Avatar come to life at night.

Speaking of Pandora at night, this is a really cool area of the park to see at night. That bioluminescent plant life we mentioned before, shines at night (literally). Now we are aware it’s Disney magic that is shining and not real bioluminescence, it really is amazing to see at night.

At the far end of Pandora you’ll find a great dining option in Satu’li Canteen and Avatar themed merchandise at Windtraders. From there you can either backtrack to Discovery Island or take a more direct, and typically empty, path on to Africa.


The Africa area of the park is jam packed with things to see, do, eat, and experience. The main attraction here is Kilimanjaro Safaris, where you will hop on a truck that will take you out into the savannah to see some incredible animals. If you are still craving to see more animals once you exit the safari ride you can head over the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail where you can see way more than just gorillas, though there is an excellent viewing area where you can see the gorillas up close. If you are looking to take in a show we recommend Festival of the Lion King, where you can experience the Lion King story in a whole new way while keeping all the classic songs everyone knows and loves. Hop on the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch for a great way to escape the crowds and get some unique behind the scenes look at the way they care for the animals.


Journey into the shadow of the forbidden mountain as you enter Asia. As you walk toward the mountain you’ll pass by Feathered Friends in Flight!, an outdoor show featuring lots of birds, Yak and Yeti restaurant, where there is excellent food, and then have an option to hook a left or continue straight. If you take the path to the left, you will find Kali River Rapids, a great ride as long as you are ready to get soaked, and the Maharajah Jungle Trek where you can see a komodo dragon, giant fruit bats, and tigers (oh my). If you continue straight you will eventually find yourself in a section reminiscent of Nepal, with ornamental flags hanging over the walk and, of course, the giant mountain looming over everything. This is where you will find Expedition Everest, an exciting roller coaster through the heart of the mountain, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the mythical yeti.

DinoLand U.S.A.

Channel your inner paleontologist as you make your way into DinoLand U.S.A. You can reach this area either by keeping right from Discovery Island or by crossing over the bridge past Expedition Everest. This area is undergoing some changes at the moment and so tends to be less crowded. DINOSAUR is a great attraction here where you will inevitably go on a bumpy misadventure in search of an Iguanodon.

Another nice attraction to check out while you are over here is the Find Nemo Musical show. If you are looking to enjoy the lower crowd levels for a bit longer you can also find a quick service dining location over here, Restaurantosaurus, and a couple more low key attractions including TriceraTop Spin and the Fossil Fun Games.

Park Overview

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