Disney’s Animal Kingdom: What You Must-Know

Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom

Disney parks are back up and running. That said, there have been some major changes in order to keep everyone safe during their time in the most magical place on earth. These changes include some social distancing measure you’d expect, but other changes may be a bit less expected. Therefore, if you plan to visit in the near future, it’s important that you take the time to educate yourself, lest you be caught by surprise on arrival day. In this article, we will discuss some of the bigger changes at Animal Kingdom park. This is the perfect article for anyone planning a trip to this Disney park, and should help you arrive fully prepared and ready to have an absolutely magical experience.


1. Reservation Required

First, it’s incredibly important to know that all of the Disney Theme Parks are requiring guests to make a reservation to enter. Animal Kingdom is no exception. Because space is limited, you will want to figure out when you plan to visit in advance, and grab your reservation as soon as possible. Without this, you will not be having an Animal Kingdom day, so this is perhaps the most important point in our article.

Tree Of Life - Animal Kingdom
Tree Of Life – Animal Kingdom

2. Masks Needed Indoors

The next thing you’ll want to know is that masks are required for guests 2 and older when in all indoor locations on Walt Disney World property and in attraction queues even if they are outside. This means that if you don’t already own one, you will need to go out and purchase a mask before your Animal Kingdom day. Actually, we recommend grabbing a few so you can change throughout the day if needed.

3. Entry Procedures

Going through the gate has changed as well. Bag check is quite different, as all bags are now put through a scanner, and only manually checked if something seems unusual. Guests no longer have to worry about temperature checks as those have been removed.


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4. Crowds Levels Are Fairly Low

When Walt Disney World first reopened in summer 2020, the crowd levels were very low. While Disney has recently increased capacity, and more and more guests are feeling comfortable traveling once again, the crowd levels are still fairly low compared to pre-pandemic days. This is especially apparent in Animal Kingdom, where crowds tend to be absorbed into the vast mess of the park.

5. Different Hours

Because crowd levels are so low, Disney has made the decision to cut their hours. In Animal Kingdom, this means sometimes closing time is 6pm. This makes perfect sense; after all, why keep a park open late into the evening when so few people are sticking around that long? However, it can be a bit disappointing for those who prefer evenings in the park.

6. No More FastPass

FastPass is typically a wonderful perk of Disney World. It allowed guests to skip some of the long lines by making a return time reservation for some rides. Unfortunately, this system has been put on hold for the time being, meaning everyone will be required to wait in the standby line.

7. Some Shows Are a No-Go

Shows of all kinds tend to draw a crowd—especially in Disney World, where you can count on the entertainment being top notch. Unfortunately, large crowds are not a great idea at the moment. Because of this, Disney has put a temporary hold on select shows. The good news is Disney recently reopened Festival of the Lion King… making this a popular entertainment spot at the park! Other favorites such as “Finding Nemo the Musical”, “UP! A Great Bird Adventure”, and the many street shows throughout the park have all closed up shop for the time being.

8. “Rivers of Light” is No More

Another Animal Kingdom performance you’ll no longer be able to see is “Rivers of Light”. The difference between his nighttime spectacular and the shows mentioned above is that this one will not be reopening. That’s right—after we all waited with such anticipation for it to open not all that long ago, this show is closed forever.

Rivers of Light

9. Primeval Whirl Closed

To add insult to injury, it seems we’ve also seen the end of a second Animal Kingdom attraction. It has been confirmed that Primeval Whirl will no longer be operating. Luckily this wasn’t one of our favorites anyway, but it’s always a bit sad to see an attraction go, even if we didn’t love it.

10. The Magic is Still There!

A lot of the points mentioned above may seem downright depressing. That said, we feel it’s important to note that while things have changed, there is still magic in the air in the Animal Kingdom, and an adventure in this park is as fun and exciting now as it’s even been!

About Chelsea

Chelsea is a lifelong Disney fanatic who lives and travels full time in an RV with her son and husband. Their family takes full advantage of their unique living situation by visiting Disney parks on both sides of the country as often as possible. In doing so, the Gonzales family gathers loads of great tips and info about the parks, which Chelsea is thrilled to share with readers here. Visit Chelsea's blog: Wonder Wherever We Wander! Here you’ll find a wealth of valuable information as well as a variety of reviews and resources to help you navigate the often uncharted territory of roadschooling.

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