Top Tips For Visiting Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom in Florida is a must-visit destination for families. With its diverse array of animals, thrilling rides, and immersive experiences, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this magical theme park. However, navigating Animal Kingdom can be overwhelming with so much to see and do.

I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy recent visits to this popular Disney World theme park with my young family. So, I’ve compiled a list of helpful top tips and Animal Kingdom hacks to help you make the most of your visit.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

1. Plan ahead

Animal Kingdom is a large park with many attractions, so it’s important to plan your day in advance. Be sure to check the park’s hours, show schedules, and ride wait times before you go. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure you don’t miss out on any must-see attractions. Also, don’t forget to find out all the details about Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. The days of Fast Pass are over and these are the methods to skip the queues for the majority of rides.

2. Use the My Disney Experience app

The My Disney Experience app is a valuable, complimentary app that can help you navigate Animal Kingdom with ease. You can use the app to check wait times for rides, make dining reservations, and even book a lightning lane for popular attractions. This will also help you save time and make the most of your day at the park.

Disney My Experience App

3. Arrive early

Animal Kingdom tends to get busier as the day goes on, so it’s best to arrive early to beat the crowds. This will give you a chance to experience popular attractions with shorter wait times. Plus, you can explore the park before it gets too crowded, hot, and humid particularly during the Summer months. You’ll also have more time to enjoy everything Animal Kingdom has to offer.

4. Do Disney Your Way

However, following on from tip 3, I’m a strong believer after multiple Disney trips in doing Disney your way. It’s very easy to get swept up in the hype of super early starts and crazy schedules! I couldn’t say it better than our Disney hotel shuttle bus driver who advised everyone to enjoy yourself, don’t exhaust yourself! Don’t panic if you aren’t first in line when Animal Kingdom opens or at rope drop for the big rides like Avatar Flight of Passage or Everest. Rope drop for any Disney newbies is being there at the very moment the rope drops at the entrance of the ride when it opens.

The best tip is plan your day to suit your family and if you want to avoid feeling the Disney pressure, I would suggest visiting Animal Kingdom over a couple of days rather than fitting it all in one day. This may be particularly helpful if you have very young children who may tire more easily.

5. Eat lunch at The Nomad Lounge

It’s essential during a busy day at any Disney Theme Park to take a break and trust me when I say one of the best places in Animal Kingdom for family chill and relax time is The Nomad Lounge for a number of reasons.

Nomad Lounge Menu

Let’s get started with the food. The menu offers in my opinion some of the best food in Walt Disney World! From chicken wings, BBQ ribs and Cuban inspired dishes to the amazing steamed rice poke bowls there’s plenty of choice. Nomad Lounge had smaller portions than what I’d experienced in other Disney restaurants and this makes it ideal for a lunch stop when perhaps a smaller meal is more tempting.

The kids menu is also excellent with mini sliders (burgers) and the classic chicken nuggets and fries combo-perfect for even the fussiest eater. I would have to agree that The Nomad Lounge Churros are some of the best I’ve tasted, so definitely leave some room for this sweet treat. My children had fun dipping their churros in a selection of sauces. Don’t forget the drinks too! Nomad Lounge is the place to try your first Disney cocktail and there’s plenty of cooling sodas full of refreshing ice for the younger members of your crew.

Restaurant Location and Disney Characters

The location of Nomad Lounge next to a river with lush greenery, plus huge comfy chairs and sofas is ideal for resting between the rides and attractions of Animal Kingdom but the real added bonus? Here’s an Animal Kingdom hack worth knowing. Don’t worry about queuing in a long line to meet all your favourite jungle Disney characters. Choose the outside seating at Nomad Lounge and you’ll get to see a whole host of Disney characters waving up at you as they regularly sail past on small boats!

5. Explore Pandora -The World of Avatar

One of the newest additions to Animal Kingdom, Pandora – The World of Avatar is a must-see for any visitor. From the breathtaking scenery to the thrilling rides, this land is a true immersive experience that transports you to the world of Pandora. Be sure to explore the bioluminescent forests, try out the thrilling Avatar Flight of Passage ride, and ride a boat on the Na’vi River Journey.

6. Be prepared for It's Tough To Be a Bug Show

Located near The Tree Of Life, on the surface this looks like a stereotypical young children’s show at Disney. The 3D film and live show is inspired by the fun Disney and Pixar movie A Bug’s Life and features lots of cute bug characters. However, a word of warning if you choose to enjoy the It’s Tough to Be a Bug experience. There are a few moments which may take you by surprise and might be scary for very young Disney fans.

One word scary fog! Without giving too much away there’s a part of the show which involves being blasted by a very strong, windy fog that took my breath away! A tip and Animal Kingdom hack I’ve discovered since that’s worth knowing is to sit at the sides of the theatre. This means the fog experience won’t be as intense. This is useful to know if you feel this might be a bit frightening for any family or friends.

7. Take a train ride to Rafiki's Planet Watch

This attraction is easily missed and is a real hidden gem at Animal Kingdom, but it’s a must do especially if you have younger children. Did you know there’s even a petting zoo at Animal Kingdom? You’ll find it right here at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. As anyone who has visited Disney World will tell you, there’s a difference between just tired and Disney tired! So, the train ride meandering through Animal Kingdom is a lovely way to see areas of the theme park you may not usually see and rest tired feet along the way.

Once you’ve arrived you can enjoy a lovely animal experience spending time in the petting zoo, grooming the goats and sheep. There are baskets with brushes to help you, Then,head inside to be amazed at the reptile area. Here you can see a variety of lizards, snakes and spiders. Be warned some are huge! There are interesting facts about all the creatures and information about what it takes to care for them which my children found fascinating. Although, it took my young son some convincing that no we weren’t taking one of the lizards home as a pet!

Animal Kingdom Safari

8. Take the Kilimanjaro Safari early

To maximise animal viewing time it’s best to take the safari early as this time of day will give you the best chance of seeing the most animals and animal activity on your jeep ride. Crowd levels tend be a little lower then too, so you might get lucky and find a shorter queue time. The safari tour guides are animal experts and will take you on an informative journey seeing different animal habitats. This is an amazing experience seeing lions, zebras, giraffes and rhinos up close and is must do in my opinion for any visitor to Animal Kingdom.

9. Explore the Wildlife Trails

Some of the best animal viewing locations are during the many wildlife trails at Animal Kingdom theme park. I really enjoyed walking through Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Discovery Island Trails.

10. Don't miss the shows

Animal Kingdom offers a variety of live shows and entertainment that should not be missed. Be sure to check the show schedules and plan your day around them. From the Festival of the Lion King to Finding Nemo – The Musical, these shows offer a unique and entertaining experience that adds to the magic of Animal Kingdom.

11. Experience the thrill rides

Feeling brave? Animal Kingdom is home to some exciting rides and attractions that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping! From the high-speed Expedition Everest roller coaster to the thrilling Kali River Rapids water ride, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the ride height restrictions before getting in line to ensure that everyone in your group can participate.

Disney Animal Kingdom

12. Immerse yourself in the theming

Animal Kingdom is designed to transport visitors to different parts of the world, from the African savannah to the Asian rainforest. Take the time to browse the gift shops and appreciate the little details, stalls and theming of each area. It’s worth chatting with cast members who will share more about the cultures and traditions represented in the park.

13. Stay hydrated and take breaks

Finally, Florida can get very hot and humid, especially during the summer months. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout your visit to Animal Kingdom to stay hydrated and energised. You can bring a refillable water bottle with you or purchase one at the park.

Take plenty of breaks. With so much to see and do, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to take breaks. Be sure to take breaks throughout the day to rest, recharge, and avoid burnout. There are plenty of shaded areas, benches, and indoor attractions where you can relax and take a break from the sun. Did you know there’s even a Animal Kingdom Starbucks? Perfect for a caffeine hit to keep you going!

Animal Kingdom sign

Animal Kingdom in Florida is a fantastic park and visiting can be a magical time and unforgettable experience for all the family! I hope these top tips have been helpful when planning your Animal Kingdom itinerary. Are you interested in even more theme park tips? Then, you might like My Disney Land Paris Planning Essentials, Top 20 Theme Parks for Families in Europe and Blackpool Tallest Rollercoaster.

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