Animal Kingdom Theme Park Guide

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Why Your Family Shouldn’t Skip The Animal Kingdom Park

The Animal Kingdom theme park is a wild life park located at Walt Disney World. The park experienced growing pains in its early years, but this isn’t just a “glorified zoo.” The park has undergone several changes and expansions since it’s opening in 1998.


Should You Visit

Walt Disney World offers guests an abundance of things to do and see. Between the four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs and resort activities many guests find themselves pressed for time. For those who have a week or handful of days to see it all, it’s important to review all attractions and prioritize.

While the Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot are staples for many WDW guests, you shouldn’t cut the Animal Kingdom on your visit. If you haven’t been to the park recently, its worth a revisit. For first-timers it’s a must-see for several reasons.


E-Ticket Attractions

The Animal Kingdom is a great park for families with older children or children of varying ages. The park offers experiences for little ones, but also provides enough e-ticket attractions for adults to enjoy.

For thrill seekers, Expedition Everest is a must. Guests who rode the attraction when it first opened, will be pleasantly surprised by the updates. I rode the attraction shortly after it opened in 2006. It took us four hours to finally board the ride, and was one of the shortest rides I’ve ever been on. The wait was not worth it to say the least.

Luckily, imagineers went to work redesigning the experience, and have created a high-speed thrilling adventure. Expedition Everest gives guests the experience of what it’s like for those brave enough to attempt the summit. While in line guests can take in rich Nepalese and Tibetan culture, and learn about the mythical Yeti. The attraction is a coaster which takes guests up, down and through the recreated Everest. Be prepared to be scared by the massive Yeti, who sends you on a backwards ride after breaking a part the coaster’s tracks.

Besides Expedition Everest, adventurers will also enjoy the Kali River Rapids and Dinosaur. In the summer months guests should make sure to reserve a fast past for Kali River Rapids. It’s the best way to cool off at the park. While the lush landscape of the park provides a lot of shaded areas, it still gets very hot especially in the middle of the day. There’s nothing like the splash from a water ride to cool you off from the Florida heat. On this fast paced raft ride guests are taken through the heart of Asia along the Chakranadi River. Rough waters spin guests through the river and down some waterfalls. While some guests get wetter than others, don’t expect to leave this ride dry.

Fans of the Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom attraction at Disneyland Park will enjoy Dinosaur. The track and movement of the two rides are very similar. Guests board a jeep and take a bumpy ride through the prehistoric ages. Discover dinosaurs on your journey to finding an Iguanadon. Things get a little hectic as commits begin to hit Earth, and you’ll have to hurry to get back to 2016.

All three e-ticket attractions are available for Fast Pass distribution. Make sure to reserve these before your trip to avoid long wait times.


Family-Friendly Attractions

If roller coasters and water rides aren’t your thing, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions at The Animal Kingdom. Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most popular and well known attractions at the park. The ride introduces guests to the African wild-life that call the Animal Kingdom home. Animals you can expect to see on Kilimanjaro Safaris include giraffes, ostriches, lions, cheetahs and more.

Those who rode the ride in its early years will remember the encounter with “poachers.” The ride host asked guests to join him or her on a mission to find elephant poachers, and the baby elephant they had seized. This was one of my favorite aspects of the ride, but was removed in recent years because the park found that it scared some children. However, the overall experience has been improved, thanks to changes in reserve operations and the addition of more animals.

In Dinoland USA there are two additional rides for young children. The Primeval Whirl and Triceratop Spin are two rides your little ones will love. Both rides include a lot of spinning, so make sure not to eat right before or after going on the ride.

kilimanjaro safari ride animal kingdom

Animal Experiences

If you love animals this is obviously the park for you. There are several ways to encounter animals at the park. The Affection Section allows children to interact and cuddle with

  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Donkeys
  • Cows
  • Pigs

At the Conservation Station guests can explore a wildlife conservation center where they can encounter interactive exhibits and check out the veterinary facility. The Maharajah Jungle Trek is a self guided tour where you can see many animals that call Southeast Asia home including:

  • Tigers
  • Flying foxes
  • Komodo Dragons
  • And dozens of bird species

The Animal Kingdom park also offers a variety of shows and dining options. While you could spend a full day at the park, book fast passes and you could be done in a few hours leaving plenty of time to explore the rest of Walt Disney World.

Will you visit The Animal Kingdom on your next trip? Share your thoughts below.

Michelle McKinley is a journalist and digital marketer from Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Journalism degree from Pepperdine University, and has been writing for the web since 2003. She’s a life-long Disney fan who travels and writes about her experiences for fun.

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