First Things We Do When Arriving at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safari
Credit: Disney

Visiting Animal Kingdom is almost a mystical experience.  Guests are invited to discover animals in various areas of the park, travel to a faraway land by visiting Pandora: The World of Avatar, and also to learn about beasts of the past in the DinoLand section of the park.   There are so many options for what to do first when you visit Animal Kingdom, but here is our list of the top eight things to do on your next trip!


1. Flight of Passage

One of the newest attractions in Animal Kingdom can be found in the Pandora area of the park.   Flight of Passage takes guests on an exhilarating journey aboard the back of a banshee.  The innovating ride system straps guests into to make sure they feel every aspect of the experience — guests can even feel the banshee breathing as the fly around Pandora an offer stunning views and scents of this immersive world.  The ride is extremely popular, so the shortest wait times are usually right at rope drop!

Flight of Passage
Flight of Passage

2. Kilimanjaro Safaris

The crowd favorite attraction in Animal Kingdom is found at the back of the Africa section of the park.  Guests are taken on a guided tour through the African wilderness to learn about a bevy of animals that popular the safari.  We love being able to see the giraffes up close, as well as watch the hippos swim through their pools.  Every ride is completely different which makes this attraction one of our favorites.  The animals tend to be more active in the morning, so get there before it gets too hot!

Kilimanjaro Safari
Credit: Disney

3. Nature Trails

Both Africa and Asia have walk-through trails for guests to walk along and experience the animals of those continents in a more relaxed setting and spending as much time as they like learning about animals and taking pictures.  In Africa, guests will find the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail as they disembark from Kilimanjaro Safaris.  In Asia, the entrance the Maharajah Jungle Trek can be found just past the entrance to Kali River Rapids.


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4. Tree of Life

In addition to the nature trails in other areas of the park Animal Kingdom has other nature trails burrowed around the Tree of Life.   Guests will be able to take their time to look into various animal habitats, as well as get up close and unique views of the carving on the Tree of Life.  This can be an experience that easily overlooked as you crisscross the park in search of more thrilling attractions, but we are confident that you’ll enjoy the experience if you take the time to check it out!

Animal Kingdom

5. Smell the Scents

One of our favorite things about visiting Animal Kingdom early in the morning is walking past Flame Tree BBQ and smelling the sweet and smoky scents of the food being prepared for the day.   The same is true as the popcorn carts and snack stands are brought to life each morning.  These scenes definitely work to transport the guest to other places (it also seems to give our appetite a gigantic kick, too)!

Falme Tree BBQ
Flame Tree (Credit: Disney)

6. Dinosaur

A reliable favorite that is also prone to larger crowds, DINOSAUR is located in DinoLand and transports guests back in time on a search for an elusive dinosaur.  The ride is thrilling as guests speed around corners, duck underneath trees, and avoid an incoming meteor shower all while learning about various dinosaurs.  Guests will love checking out their onboard ride photo in their My Disney Experience account after the ride, as well as checking out the post-ride shop for some goodies!


7. Expedition Everest

Another amazing attraction at Animal Kingdom!  This rollercoaster offers a lot of thrills — guests (near the front of the coaster) are given an amazing view of the rest of property before the train falls backwards and guests are propelled through the darkened interior of the mountain.  After a huge plunge down a hill, guests encounter the elusive Yeti inside of the mountain before returning back to the station.  We love the intricate theming of the ride as we stand in the queue, but also as we travel through the attraction.

Expedition Everest

8. Shop

Animal Kingdom is home to some unique merchandise and we are always certain to stop into each and every location during a visit since the merchandise can be very specific and unlikely to be found elsewhere.  The shops on Discovery Island are particularly good, but some of the craft shops in Africa offer great finds and the carts throughout Asia are constantly being re-stocked with what could be a perfect souvenir!

Animal Kingdom offers a variety of options for guests, so no matter what you choose to do first, you’ll be guaranteed to have a great time!  What do you do first when visiting Animal Kingdom?

About Tyler

Tyler is a lawyer living in South Florida who visits Disney World at least once a month. He enjoys re-living classic Disney experiences and discovering new things about the parks when he visits. Friends and family always ask him to plan their trip for maximum Disney magic!

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