Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is no more than a glorified zoo, right? Wrong! This incredible park may have started from humbler beginnings, but now it’s one of the hottest spots in Orlando. Nowhere else can guests traverse the exotic terrains of both Africa and Asia. Nowhere else can guests conquer the foreboding Mount Everest and see a Broadway-level musical in the next hour.
Formerly considered a half-day park, the Animal Kingdom is worth at least a day (if not more) in your itinerary. Understanding that Disney trips are often jam-packed, we have devised a one-day itinerary that will help you and your family see the best of the best. It’s hard to get to everything, but even if you take a handful of our recommendations, a magical day is guaranteed!
Start your perfect day with the most important meal of the day. A character breakfast at the Tusker House is a must-do. Noted as one of the best buffets on property, the bazaar-themed restaurant has both American and African-inspired cuisine. In between visits to the food stations, Mickey and his friends will greet you in safari gear. Once you’re fueled up, you can take advantage of already being in the park.
Check your My Disney Experience app to see how long the wait time is for Flight of Passage. (Early morning can be a golden time slot for attractions.) If it’s too long, head over to the Kilimanjaro Safari in Africa. The animals are most active in the morning, so this is the ideal time to see lions, tigers, and bears.
As you get closer to lunchtime, your strategy will shift. The Animal Kingdom is home to many amazing shows and attractions. This means you’ll have to plan your schedule carefully because the park is very large and spread out. Luckily, two of the best rides are also near the best shows. The Festival of the Lion King show is right around the corner from Kilimanjaro Safari! This musical revue features the famed Lion King soundtrack and is performed by dancers, musicians, acrobats, fire jugglers, and puppeteers.
Be warned though, this show often plays to a packed house, so you’ll either need to book a FastPass+ or get in line early. On the other side of the park near Dinoland, U.S.A., you’ll find the Theater in the Wild. This spacious, air-conditioned venue houses Finding Nemo – The Musical. This delightful gem presents an abridged version of Finding Nemo through original songs and life-sized puppets.
After wiping away happy tears from this show, head over to the thrilling ride, Dinosaur. This terrifying dark ride will transport you to a prehistoric age of prehistoric monsters. Finally, when it’s time for lunch, consider dining at either Flametree Barbecue or the Satu’li Canteen for smoked meats and rice bowls. (Because who says that only sit-down restaurants have amazing food?)