What Nobody Tells You About Visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom

What to Know Visiting Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney/ Canva

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the best theme parks in the global Disney family. From its incredible attractions to the immersion level felt throughout its entirety, the quality of the potential experience is unrivaled, in my opinion, at the Walt Disney World Resort.

However, the experience you receive can vary greatly depending on how you approach the day.

minnie and mickey mouse in animal kingdom

Credit: Disney

Like climbing Mount Everest or undertaking any real-life expedition, a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a proper formula to deliver the best results possible. But these are rules that nobody usually shares.

These are not necessarily the best things to do, but rather a few Animal Kingdom tips for survival purposes. So, to break that cycle, here are the three most important things you need to know about visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom that nobody tells you.

1. Go Early and Straight to Pandora!

Floating Mountains, Pandora: The World of Avatar, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: TK Bosacki/ Disney Fanatic

With the combination of the popularity of the second movie Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), and the knowledge that it is arguably the best attraction in all of Central Florida, Avatar Flight of Passage is still drawing massive crowds to its queue, with each day continuing to push the Standby Wait Time close to 200 minutes.

For those of you staying on property, utilizing the Early Access–even if it is only 30 minutes–is a must!

avatar flight of passage

Credit: Disney

On my most recent visit since the publication of this article, early access to Animal Kingdom for Disney Resort hotel guests started at 7:30 a.m. I arrived at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at 7:28 a.m., crossing the bridge to Pandora: The World of Avatar around 7:45 a.m. The line for Avatar: Flight of Passage was already 70 minutes long.

Now, I firmly believe that this attraction is worth a wait up to two hours long, but nobody wants to spend such a big chunk of your day in line. So, go straight there, and get it over with. The line is not going to go down at all. Afterward, take in the Na’vi River Journey or Satu’li Canteen and save Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes for other parts of your Animal Kingdom Itinerary.

2. Do NOT Ride Kilimanjaro Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Kilimanjaro Safaris, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Disney

A Kilimanjaro Safari is a must-do experience without a doubt. But in matters of predictability, it is the exact opposite of its older sister, Jungle Cruise. Disney’s magical menagerie features real animals. They are more active at different times of the day than others.

One of the times you will see them least active is in the middle of the day. If it is the hottest time of day for you, it is also the case for the animals, so they will be doing what animals do to stay cool, such as stay huddled in the shade sleeping or doing whatever they need to do to resist wasting any energy.

lion kilimanjaro safaris animal kingdom

Credit: Disney

So, not only will it be tough to find animals in Instagram-worthy situations, but you will also be sitting in a packed, open-air jeep in the hot Florida sun with some smaller expedition team members that really should not be missing their 2:30 p.m. nap. It is a frustrating nightmare.

Save yourself the headache and embark on safari either in the morning or evening. The same rule applies to those taking the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

3. There Are No Fireworks at Animal Kingdom!

Beacons of Magic, Tree of Life, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Most people reading this article will probably already know this, but “for the people in the back” who are brand new to Walt Disney World, remember: there are no fireworks in Animal Kingdom.

Now, there are spectacular nighttime views to take in at Disney World’s youngest theme park, but unlike Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are no fireworks. This is out of respect for the scores of animals that live there full time.

Instead, there was a spectacular projection show on the Tree of Life, best viewed on Discovery Island, and all of the alien fauna at Pandora: The World of Avatar comes alive in phosphorescent splendor.

animal kingdom tree of life

Credit: Stephanie Klepacki, Unsplash

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the most authentic and immersive experiences available at the theme park capital of the world, and I hope all of those who go have the adventure of a lifetime; however they choose to go about their day.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

What’s your favorite thing about Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park? Let us know in the comments!

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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