The Animal Kingdom is filled with opportunities to experience nature and to see some remarkable creatures up close. With incentives like that, visiting this Disney park is a no-brainer; but when you’re surrounded by so many beautiful attractions and incredible exhibits, which ones should be your priorities? Let us help you; here are twelve “must-dos” for Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
12) DINOSAUR. If you’re not one to scare easily, then this ride is a lot of fun. If you are, then you’re probably going to be jumping in your seat–yet, even for the less courageous among us, this intense ride manages to be a hilarious experience! Aggressive prehistoric carnivores and chaotic twists through time can actually make for a lighthearted ride; who knew?
11) Maharajah Jungle Trek. Constant crowds can get a bit overwhelming, even at Walt Disney World, so head for this idyllic trail to find some peace and quiet in the Kingdom. There may be tigers, bats, and birds, but this “Jungle Trek” actually feels more like a relaxing jaunt through a forest than an exhibit! Take your time on this trail–and be sure to admire the incredible architecture of the ruins around you.
10) DeVine. As a camouflaged stilt-walker, DeVine is notoriously difficult to find, but her majesty and impressively infinitesimal movements result in a ‘character’ who is worth the extra effort! Keep an eye out for her in the treeline.
9) Rainforest Cafe. If you have some picky eaters in your family–but still want to dine in the Animal Kingdom–then this is the place to do it, especially if you’ve never been to a Rainforest Cafe before! Children and adults alike can enjoy the restaurant’s lively environment, as well as its convenient location near the Kingdom’s entrance. Just leave some extra room in your appetite for the Sparkling Volcano!
8) Oasis Exhibits. Every single trail in the Animal Kingdom features some different animals, making these Exhibits yet another automatic addition to the list. Prepare yourself to see some beautiful and underappreciated creatures–and to try to figure out the difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo!
7) Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. This roller coaster is often a favorite amongst visitors; its fast pace, awe-inspiring structure, and backwards motion all make for an exciting ride–one that many visitors crave again and again!
6) Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. This trail features a very unique mixture of animals, from hippos to meerkats, and–as its name would suggest–silver-backed gorillas. Gorillas are endangered, making them a must-see (and making this an excellent time to educate your children about the dangers that animals face in today’s world).
5) The Festival of the Lion King. While DINOSAUR might skew a bit on the scarier side for young children, there are some Disney opportunities that are genuinely popular with everyone. Exhibit A: The Festival of the Lion King. This show has all of the music and the characters that we love–combined with truly fantastic performers who will have you on your feet for an interactive, colorful, and decidedly festive experience!
4) Flights of Wonder. Want to get a crash course on birds? The Animal Kingdom is the place for you. This show is located in a beautiful ‘ancient ruin’ (with seats) and allows audience members to see–and, on occasion, get close to–birds who belong to a variety of species. Big, small, cute, frightening–there are birds galore in Flights of Wonder, and the handlers who educate us about their fine-feathered companions are almost as entertaining as the birds themselves!
3) Kilimanjaro Safaris. Ironically, the Animal Kingdom has so much to offer that some visitors might actually forget where the real focus should be: the animals. And where better to dive right into this Kingdom than on the savannah? Every single safari is different–and everyone in your traveling party will love the experience, too. After all, nature has most of the original crowd-pleasers.
2) Kali River Rapids. This ride is crazy, wet, and just chaotic enough to be a little thrilling for everyone! With gorgeous scenery–and some crucial reminders about logging’s destruction along the way–the Kali River Rapids serves as a very fun (and slightly zany) way to cool off.
1) Rivers of Light. Since this will be one of Disney’s new nighttime shows, it’s certainly going to be in demand when it opens. Everyone else will want to see it–and so should you. From the description detailed on Disney’s website (“a brilliant show” that has “breathtaking special effects”), Rivers of Light sounds like something that will be worth the time! Keep an eye out for the Tree of Life’s Awakenings–also new–and The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic, as well.
This park has an enormous variety of attractions, and the variety is only increasing as Disney expands its offerings; but really, if you leave with just a little bit more appreciation for nature, then you’ll have succeeded at the Animal Kingdom!
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