One of the only negatives about Disney World is the fact that it’s impossible to see and do everything in one trip. Luckily, you definitely don’t have to do it all to have an awesome time. In fact, you can just pick and choose a few highlights and still have the best trip ever!
For those of you who are taking shorter trips, this is great news. After all, everyone wants to have a good time while in Disney World, and some of us just don’t have time for extended vacations.
Our advice for those in this situation? Plan well.Any of the four main parks can be done in one day with a bit of planning, and we are happy to help with that planning.
Today we’re going to focus on a one-day plan for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There once was a time when seeing this park in a single day was not a problem at all. However, with recent additions, it has become a tad more difficult. Here’s what we recommend doing.
1. Pick a Day
First you’ll need to choose a day to visit.Pick a day with the longest hours and do your best to choose one that includes Extra Magic Hours. The more park time you can get in your one day, the better.
2. Reserve a Hotel Room
You will want to stay onsitefor sure. This will allow you to use Extra Magic Hours, book FastPasses a full 60 days out, and get to and from the parks quickly and easily. If your main focus is Animal Kingdom, you will want to consider Animal Kingdom Lodge.However, any of the Disney hotels will be just fine.
3. Make Dining Reservations
Restaurant reservations can be made 180 days out. At this point, we recommend sitting down with a computer and grabbing a lunchtime reservation at Tusker House.You’ll be eating quick-service for dinner, so don’t worry about getting a second reservation for that.
4. Snag Some FastPasses
The next step is making FastPass reservations.As mentioned before, this can be done 60 days before your trip. We recommend getting the following passes:
- Flight of Passage (morning)
- Kilimanjaro Safaris (late morning)
- Dinosaur (early afternoon)
5. Start Early in Pandora
Pandora is the newest land in Disney World and is beyond incredible. For this reason, it gets pretty crowded pretty quickly. Getting an early start and arriving at the gate 30–45 minutes before openingwill help you avoid those crowds.
When the rope drops, head straight to Pandora and get in line for Na’vi River Journey. After you’ve ridden that, explore the area a bit (look for the cool plants and animals living throughout) and then use your pass for Avatar Flight of Passage.
6. Do Africa
With Pandora finished, it’s time to head to Africa.Here, you’ll want to see “Festival of the Lion King” and ride Kilimanjaro Safaris using your FastPass. Don’t miss either of these experiences, as both are absolutely fantastic. If you have time to kill before lunch, you may also want to check out the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.
7. Have an Early Lunch
Before leaving Africa, head to an early lunch (using that reservation you made) at Tusker House.Here you can dine with favorite Disney friends, giving you an opportunity to do some meet-and-greets without waiting in any lines.
8. See Dinoland U.S.A.
After lunch, it may seem most logical to check out Asia. However, we recommend skipping this area for the time being and heading to Dinoland U.S.A.instead.
First, catch a showing of “Finding Nemo the Musical”, then use your Dinosaur FastPass. If you have young kids, you may also want to check out The Boneyard. The other Dinoland attractions aren’t as great and can easily be skipped.
9. Take a Break
At this point in the afternoon you may feel yourself dragging a bit. Your best bet is to head back to your hotel, cool off, and rest up so you can finish the night out strong.
10. Come Back for Dinner
After your rest, head back to the park for more.On your way in, check out the animals in the Oasis and then grab dinner at Flame Tree Barbecue in order to fuel up for a great evening.
11. Check Out Asia
When your belly is full, head over to Asia.Here you will definitely want to hop on Expedition Everest. If the line for this one is on the longer side, hop in the single rider line. The single rider wait is rarely more than 5 minutes, saving you a ton of time.
You may also want to hop on Kali River Rapids at this point—just be aware that you will almost certainly come off the ride completely soaked.
Another thing to enjoy in this area is the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
12. Enjoy the Nighttime Show
To close out the night, you will definitely want to catch the “Rivers of Light” show.In order to get a seat, it’s important to arrive a full 45 minutes before the show. We recommend taking snacks and drinks and making sure your phone is well charged for the wait.
13. Look at the Tree
On your way out, be sure to glance at the Tree of Life.The tree comes to life several times a night, presenting an incredible projection show. If you can catch it on your way out, it certainly is a good way to end the day.
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