Walt Disney World Florida 

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom is the newest of all the Walt Disney World theme parks. And what a theme park it is! Sure, there are rides, shows and a parade, but Animal Kingdom is more than just that.

It's an adventure!

Animal Kingdom is also a big park...as in there is a lot of walking. Before you start your adventure, please make sure you have comfortable shoes (trust me on this one). Oh, and if you like, you can view more Animal Kingdom pictures.

Tree of Life, Animal KingdomSo come on along and let's discover it together.

Animal Kingdom Attractions

There are five basic kinds of attractions at Disney's Animal Kingdom:

  • "Mild But Wild" Thrill Rides
  • Fun for the Little Kids
  • Animal Encounters
  • Big Thrills
  • Others

Let's see what attractions fit into what categories.

Mild But Wild Thrill Rides are fast enough so people with bad backs or hearts, or women who are pregnant, are advised not to get on. That being said, they aren't scary, but can be a bit bumpy or fast at times. Examples of Mild But Wild attractions include:

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris -- be prepared for a somewhat bumpy ride, as you will be on dirt roads. Try for early in the day when the animals are a little more active.
  • Primeval Whirl
  • Kali Rapids -- you will get wet, so if you have a camera, make sure you have something to protect it.
  • It's Tough to be a Bug -- I didn't get to enjoy it on my last trip, but I have heard many rave reviews on this attraction!

Silverback Gorilla, Animal KingdomFun for the Little Kids are just what they imply -- fun for toddlers up though the first few grades at school. Who knows, you may enjoy them too! (After all, aren't we all kids at heart?) Examples of Fun for Little Kids attractions include:

  • Dino-Sue
  • Fossil Fun Games
  • Kids Discovery Clubs
  • The Boneyard
  • TriceraTop Spin
  • Wildlife Express Train
 

Animal Encounters are your chance to get closer to the real reason for the Animal Kingdom park. It's also a way to have fun while learning something new! Examples of Animal Encounter attractions include:

  • Affection Section
  • Conservation Station
  • Discovery Island Trails
  • Habitat Habit
  • Maharaja Jungle Trek
  • Pangani Forest Exploration Trail -- nice walk, but I don't know that I would do it on a hot summer afternoon (the animal odors can get, ahem, intense).
  • The Oasis Exhibits

Expedition Everest, Animal KingdomBig Thrills are exciting and fast and a bit wild! Examples of Big Thrills attractions include:

  • Dinosaur -- don't get on this one if you have a bad back -- there is a whole lot of shaking going on during the ride. It's also almost completely in the dark.
  • Expedition Everest -- this is the newest attraction at Animal Kingdom, and it is most definitely wild!

Others are too good to miss, but don't quite fall into one of the above categories. Examples of Other attractions include

  • Cretaceous Trail
  • The Tree of Life -- you just have to get up close and see it -- the animals are truely amazing!

Places to Eat in Disney's Animal Kingdom

As they sometimes say on TV -- "Ya gotta eat!" When your tummy rumbles, you have a choice of quick-service food stands, a sit-down restaurant and character dining. Here's what to expect

Quick Service: Burgers, fries, sandwiches, pizza and pastries are the specialties. The names of the quick service restaurants are:

  • Tusker House Restaurant and Bakery
  • Restaurantosaurus
  • Pizzafari
  • Kusafiri Coffee Shop
  • Flame Tree Barbeque

Sit Down / Specialty: It's a combination store, restaurant and attraction rolled up in one. The Sit down / specialty restaurant is:

  • Rainforest Cafe, Animal KingdomRainforest Cafe -- take a look at the right sidebar at the top of the page if the wait for a table is really long and you are really hungry.

Character Dining: Breakfast is the time when the Disney characters come out to dine. They appear at:

  • Restaurantosaurus

Disney's Animal Kingdom Special Tours

For those who dare (and who reserve early enough) there are some special tours available :

    • Backstage Safari
    • Customized VIP Tours
    • Wild by Design

     

Animal Kingdom Entertainment

In between the rides, food and tours, there is still more to see at Disney's Animal Kingdom! Here are some of the entertainment options:

    • Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade (see parade times)
    • Flights of Wonder
    • Festival of the Lion King
    • Pocahontas and her Forest Friends

 

Trip Tips...

Here's a secret to seeing Mickey's Jammin' Jungle parade in comfort. About an hour to 45 minutes before the parade starts, wander over to Dawa Bar in Africa. Get yourself a nice little table near the front and have something to drink (bottled water, soda or cocktails). When the parade starts, you'll be in a great position to view it. And better yet -- the parade loops back around and ends near you too!

Do you carry a purse, bag, camera case or backpack? You won't be able to get into the park until that bag/backpack/etc. is searched. So, the less you can get by with, the faster the search.

To help keep you comfortable on your Animal Kingdom trip, please remember to bring sunglasses, sunscreen (or wear a long-sleeved shirt) and perhaps a hat of some sort. The Florida sun is pretty strong, especially in the summer. And I'll say it again -- wear comfortable shoes -- you will be doing a lot of walking.

Keep drinking fluids -- by the time you get thirsty, you're already a little dehydrated.

To forget about the rest of the world for awhile! Enjoy your wonderful day at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Top of Disney's Animal Kingdom page.

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Have a Great Disney Vacation!

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The Secret to Eating at the Rainforest Cafe

Want to eat at the Rainforest Cafe but the wait is really long? Even if you have a reservation, this is one restaurant that always seems to have a line...a long line!

If you don't want to wait, mosey on over to the bar area. There are tables available, and the same food is served there as in the main part of the restaurant (which you can clearly see). And the bar stools are really cool -- they look like legs from different animals.

When I've been there, at least at lunctime, the "bar" was pretty much just people eating. So don't be shy about eating here!

And the wait time is great -- we've been able to walk right in every time.



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