We Need to Talk About Animal Kingdom. You Should Skip It in 2023.

Skip Animal Kingdom in 2023

The only constant is change. No matter how much Disney fans complain about loving all the “older” stuff, we always want something new every time we go. That’s the odd irony of being a Disney fan; we love the classics but need change.

Just look around Walt Disney World. There is change everywhere. Magic Kingdom has the new Tron Lightcycle/Run opening next month. Hollywood Studios has a new BBQ joint coming soon, and EPCOT is practically entirely new. You got a new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster, Moana’s Journey of Water, and a redesign of the entire front half of the Park.

But something is missing here. What about Animal Kingdom? Sure, Animal Kingdom is in the process of getting an upgrade, with DinoLand USA leaving and being replaced with a Moana/Zootopia land. But that’s in the distant future.

disney's animal kingdom entrance

The entrance to Disney’s Animal Kingdom/Courtesy of Disney

So, I’m here to tell you that if you plan a trip to Walt Disney World in 2023, you should skip Animal Kingdom. I know, I know. I’ve already gotten flack for even mentioning the idea, but hear me out on this one. For those of us who are Disney fans, and I’m going to go ahead and assume you are if you’re reading this article, our moments in the Parks are precision.

If you’re someone like me who does not live close to Walt Disney World, you maybe get five to seven days a year at the Happiest Place on Earth. I realize I don’t want to spend one of those days at Animal Kingdom. I’m not saying I’ll never go back there, but at least this year, I’ll skip it.

The knock on Animal Kingdom has always been it’s a half-day Park. So to alleviate that situation, Disney added Expedition Everest and Pandora: The World of Avatar. Both of these are great; I cannot deny that. But, and there’s always a but, Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, and Expedition Everest do not make a Park.

Skip Animal Kingdom in 2023

Credit: TK Bosacki/ Disney Fanatic

Plus, what’s left after I use Disney Genie on those rides? There are only so many times you can ride Kilimanjaro Safari or Kali River Rapids.

I’ve been on those rides dozens of times. They’re great, but are they worth spending an entire day at Animal Kingdom when I will likely only ride once? Not really. Not when I can spend my time at another Park that will have more for me.

But what about the food? Animal Kingdom has Flame Tree BBQ, easily one of my favorite restaurants in Walt Disney World. This is true, but now, I can get my BBQ fix at Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Toy Story Land, and Hollywood Studios has way more to offer.

Animal Kingdom has always been an issue. It’s easily the least attended of the four Theme Parks in Walt Disney World. It trails EPCOT in attendance in 2022 by around 600,000 Guests, which was in 2022 when most of EPCOT was under construction. And we haven’t even talked about its size. Animal Kingdom is massive, larger than the other three Parks combined. And if you’re not staying at one of the Animal Kingdom Resorts, it’s a hike to get there.

Skip Animal Kingdom in 2023

But what Animal Kingdom is lacking for me is the nostalgia. It wasn’t there when I was young, so I don’t have that feeling of youth when I walk in there. Maybe that’s why I feel like it can be skipped, but there’s nothing Disney can do to fix that. That’s a me thing.

Can all of these issues be fixed? Of course. Disney has people much smarter than me working for them who know all this and are working out a way to improve the Park.

Will Animal Kingdom have great rides in the future that you’ll have to go check out? Of Course. Will I tell you to ride them back there as soon as possible? Absolutely. But for now, at least, your time can be better spent at one of the other Parks.

I’m sorry. I know this hurt some of you, but it’s just the way it is, for now.

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

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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