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Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom 101 – 10 Things You Should Know

Animal Kingdom is the newest and largest park on the Walt Disney World property. If you love animals and enjoy a diverse background, this is definitely the park to head over to on your next trip. There are so many things to see and do while you check this enormous park out, so here are ten things you should know for your next vacation!

10. Exquisite Shows

Some of the most dazzling shows are located in Disney World’s biggest park. Two of the most talked about shows are Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical. You will see your favorite characters come to life in both of these shows with jaw dropping costumes and great tunes to sing along to. They are stunning to say the least. In addition to these two favorites, there are other shows that are unique in culture and aren’t offered anywhere else on Disney property. Enjoy the drummers and street band in Africa and party along with them as you learn native movements of dance. Flights of Wonder is another show that immerses you in a display of exotic birds. Shows are a great way to enjoy entertainment while taking a break from the Florida sun, and I guarantee this is one ‘break’ you’ll enjoy!

9. Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!

Animal Kingdom is home to thousands of species of animals and you will be delighted to know that you can encounter them all on your next visit. Each land has an array of animals native to that continent or country. You will be able to learn about each one of them and take pictures that will be cherished for years to come. They are truly breathtaking creatures because many of them aren’t seen in person too often. Whether you’re enjoying them from a show, ride, or through a walk around the park, you will be delighted with how many you will actually encounter.

8. New Additions

There are so many new additions to Animal Kingdom and so many more to come. The most anticipated opening is Pandora – Land of Avatar, where guests are taken to the planet of Pandora and experience rides and attractions based on this multi-award winning film. In addition to this, the new Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular became the first ever evening show here! You can also enjoy two new parties in Discovery Island and at the Harambe marketplace that are sure to get you on your feet! Looking for something new to eat? Head over to Tiffins, a unique dining experience that is inspired by exploration and adventure!

7. Correlating Resort

Can’t get enough of Animal Kingdom? You may want to check out the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This deluxe resort offers stunning views of a savannah that is the home to giraffes, zebras, wart hogs, and so much more. The best part is that you can even enjoy this treat from the balcony of your hotel room! That’s right, each room facing the savannah has a balcony that allows guests to enjoy the animals right outside their room. The restaurants and pool and recreation are fabulous here as well. You will literally feel like you’ve ended up in the heart of Africa!

6. Rafiki’s Planet Watch

While everything at this park is unique, Rafiki’s Planet Watch is truly an exclusive experience. Hop on board the Wildlife Express train to encounter this awesome area where guests can learn all about animals and conservation. The Conservation Station here is my favorite area to check out because it is the home to many animal encounters, interactive exhibits, and is the host to the veterinary facility where there are glass windows for guests to be witnesses to a visit to the vet. Character meet and greets, wildlife paths, and even an open air petting zoo is waiting for you at this spectacular educational exhibit!

5. Nighttime Experiences

As mentioned previously, Animal Kingdom will be debuting their first nighttime spectacular, Rivers of Light. In addition to this, the tree of life will spring to life with a dazzling array of lights as soon as the sun goes down. This means that the park will be open for more hours so there is more time to not only enjoy these new nighttime experiences, but to enjoy all that the park has to offer under the stars!

4. Thrill Rides

Some of the best rides are located at Animal Kingdom. The most beloved one is Expedition Everest, the tallest rollercoaster on Disney property. There is also Dinosaur, where guests go back in prehistoric times, Kilamanjaro Safari, which allows you to get up close with some amazing wildlife, and Kali River Rapids, a raft ride where you will get soaked! These rides are so worth the wait, so be sure to head in there early!

3. Behind the Scenes

Did you know that you can actually take a behind the scenes tour at this park? How cool would it be to come face to face with some of your favorite wildlife animals? Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers an array of tours that you and your family would love! Choose from behind the scenes tours that are based on wildlife, or even take a trek on a 3-hour safari around the park. These tours will give you a closer look at the behind the scenes with the care given to these beautiful animals. I have taken one of the behind the scenes tours here, and I was truly blown away at everything that I learned about animals. It was a beautiful and informative experience that I will never forget. If you’re interested, you must call Disney to reserve an experience like this.



2. Dining

If you’re looking to try some really unique flavors, Animal Kingdom is the park for you. There are a slew of restaurants to indulge in whether you’re trying to be conservative with your money or splurge like there is no tomorrow. There are some really great American, Asian, and African flavors to try at the Tusker House (a fantastic buffet), Flame Tree Barbeque (a great place to munch on some ribs), Tiffins (which offers exquisite themed dining), and Yak and Yeti (which is the host of some really tasty Asian cuisine). These are just a few examples of the awesome dining experiences you can enjoy while visiting the park!

1. More Than Just a Half Day Park

Animal Kingdom has unfortunately received a half-day reputation since it opened back in 1998, but the truth is that it is much more than that. There have been so many additions to the park over the years for park guests to get more out of their day. In order to really capture and enjoy every single thing this park has to offer, you will want to plan to hang out here an entire day.

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

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About Natalie

Natalie is an elementary school teacher and a native Floridian who lives and breathes all things Disney. Her love for Disney started at the age of two during her first visit, and has continued to flourish into her adult life. She loves to share her Disney passion with her students and believes Disney is so special because there is no other place to forget about your worries and be a kid again, which is why she refuses to ‘grow up’.