Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a magical park where you can see live animals, enjoy fantastic shows, and experience exciting rides and attractions. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is different from the other 3 Walt Disney World parks for many reasons, not just for it’s wild side. Read below to find out about 10 defining moments you can only have at Animal Kingdom.
10. Safari in Africa: Take a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari tour. This tour takes you through the savannah that is over 110 acres big, making this one ride bigger than the entire Magic Kingdom Park! One of the best things about this safari is that the animals are mostly roaming about the savannah. As you ride through you never know what animal you may see and what they may be doing. The ride takes you on a bumpy road that was purposefully designed after the roads you would be on during an actual safari in Africa. In addition to getting up and close and personal with the animals, you also will get a beautiful view of the savannah that was modeled after the Serengeti. There are tall acacia trees (actually these are live oaks cropped to look like the acacia trees of Africa), grasses and hills that make you really feel like you are in Africa. Make sure to keep your eyes out for some very clever hidden Mickeys!
9. See the Tree of Life: The Tree of Life is the breathtaking centerpiece of park. This masterpiece has over 300 carvings of animals on it, and it took 18 months to create. The tree is 145 tall and 160 feet wide. It’s not a real tree; it was actually sculpted on an oil-rig so it could withstand possible hurricanes if needed. One could really spend a lot of time exploring the tree from every angle. If you want to get up close and personal we would suggest taking part in the “It’s Tough To Be A Bug” attraction located inside the root system of the tree of life.
8. Enjoy exotic cuisine: There are several great restaurants and self-service places to eat throughout the whole Animal Kingdom. You can enjoy African influenced meals at the Tusker House Restaurant in Africa or try some classic American food at Restaurantosauras in DinoLand USA. One of our personal favorites is the Yak and Yeti located in Asia. There you can dine on Asian inspired dishes in a Nepalese style restaurant. Wherever you chose to eat at Animal Kingdom, we would highly recommend reservations. The sit down restaurants can get quite busy, especially ones like the Yak and Yeti and Rainforest Café so plan ahead!
7. See live shows! There are two live shows that are definitely worth the wait (or Fast Pass) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:The Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical. The Festival of the Lion King is a 30-minute show that brings your right into the pride lands. This energetic live show has some of your favorite Lion King songs, characters, and acrobats. Enjoy this show in a stadium style seat in a round theater. This is a spectacle you do not want to miss! One of the other unique live shows at Animal Kingdom is Finding Nemo: The Musical. This 40-minute show uses elaborate puppeteers, larger than life sea creature puppets of our favorite undersea friends and original songs to help bring one of our favorite stories to life! This is a show that can only been seen at Animal Kingdom, we would strongly recommend a Fast Pass or getting in line early for this popular show.
6. Get chased by dinosaur: One of my personal favorites, Dinosaur is a fun, fast paced, slightly scary ride back into the time of the dinosaurs. You, your family and friends can ride in a time rover to head back to the age of the dinosaurs. This ride is so much fun. It is very dark, there are loud noises and yes, a big dinosaur does chase you! This ride is highly recommended for anyone who loves to have an adrenaline rush and to learn a little about dinosaurs along the way.
5. Meet Sue: In the area of Animal Kingdom called DinoLand USA you can meet Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex. Who is Sue and why is she important? Sue is the most complete T-rex skeleton humans have ever found. The real fossil was found in 1990 in South Dakota. While the real Sue is on display at the Field Museum in Chicago, you can see an exact replica of her at Animal Kingdom.
4. Ride to the top of Mount Everest and see a yeti: Ever wondered what it would be like to ride to the top of Mount Everest? You can experience this at Animal Kingdom. Everest is a fast paced fun roller coaster where you may encounter a Yeti. This is a very popular attraction so we recommend a Fast Pass for this ride. If you want to learn more about this ride read our article here.
3. See conservation in action: Animal Kingdom actually opened on Earth day in 1998. While it is part of the Disney parks, it is also an accredited zoo and research facility. One interesting research project was with research with the elephants; Disney staff discovered two new sounds never before heard in elephants. The park is also celebrated for its conservation efforts. Eight endangered rhinos have been born there over the years. You will also not find any plastic straws, lids, cups or balloons to protect the animals that call this park home. Disney established the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund in 1995 and has given over six million dollars to conservation projects that happen all over the world.
2. Touch animals: In addition to observing all the amazing animals at Animal Kingdom there is a section where you can get hands on with them too! Located inside Rafiki’s Planet Watch you can find the Affection Section. It is the only area in park where you can have the traditional “petting zoo” experience. The Affection Section is home to goats, sheep, donkeys, llamas, pigs and more for you and your family to interact with. Brushes are available to help keepers groom the animals, and you may also pet the animals with your bare hands. This is a wonderful section of the park that is rarely crowded. Conveniently, there is a hand washing station before you leave to head back to the train to leave Rafiki’s Planet Watch and head back to the main park.
1. See amazing wildlife: In addition to being a theme park with rides, dining, live shows and more Animal Kingdom is also an AZA accredited habitat for over250 species. AZA is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and only accredits the facilities that meet guidelines and protocols. Animal Kingdom is home to over 1,000 animals. You can find the majestic African lion, elephants, crocodiles, gorillas, monkeys, birds and many other animals throughout the park. Take time to Most animals are either found in the Africa or Asia sections of the park; but don’t be fooled, many of the animal habitats are almost camouflaged in some sections so make sure you take the time to really explore the wild side of this Disney Park!
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