Guests continue to skip Animal Kingdom as they await the opening of Pandora and the Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom. Since this is the case, guests who do go to the park can experience some really great things. Here are 6 things that no one tells you about visiting Animal Kingdom!
6 – Rides and FastPasses– there are not a lot of rides at Animal Kingdom. Because of this, guests can generally get their FastPasses for the popular rides and then not have more than a 20 minute wait at the other attractions. When I visit the Animal Kingdom, I will always get a FastPass for Dinosaur and Expedition Everest. Then, with my third FastPass, I choose between Kali River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris – that usually depends on what the weather is like and whether I think I’ll need to cool off during the day!
5 – Unique Character Interactions – one of the things I enjoy most about Animal Kingdom is the characters that call the park home. In addition to the Fab Five, guests can meet and greet with Pocahontas, Tarzan, Baloo and Louie (of Jungle Book fame), and Rafiki, to name a few. Both Pocahontas and Tarzan are face characters, so guests can talk and interact with them. Be sure to check your Times Guide when you get to the park to make sure you’re not missing out on the fun!
4 – Table Service Dining – there is not much to speak of when considering this subject at Animal Kingdom. Currently, there are three sit-down restaurants: Tusker House, Yak and Yeti, and Rainforest Café. However, if you’re looking for a quality dining experience and none of the in-park options are available, consider making the short trip (by car or bus) to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Once there, you can choose from wonderful selections at Boma, Sanaa, or Jiko. Of the three, my favorite is Boma!
3 – Don’t Overlook Counter Service Options – if you’re not leaving the park, do not overlook the counter service options! I have the most fun at Animal Kingdom just snacking! You can find the jalapeño-cheese stuffed pretzel here, as well as other non-traditional snacks at the smaller kiosks. If you need something slightly more substantial, head over to the newly opened Harambe Market betweetn Asia and Africa. This new area features a lot of great and tasty options to try like a karubi rib and a curry-spiced corn dog! Yum!
2 – There Are a Lot of Shows – Animal Kingdom is home to many different entertainment experiences that your family should definitely take advantage of! You can join Nemo and friends in Finding Nemo: The Musical (it is also the BEST place to get out of the sun and cool off on hot days)! You can travel to the savannah of Africa at the Festival of the Lion King (make sure you’re ready to be a little silly, especially if you’re seated in the warthog section). My personal favorite is the often-overlooked Flights of Wonder. Here, guests learn about different birds and how humans are impacting their native environments and what you can do to help protect these wonderful animals. Guests are asked to participate in the show – I haven’t gotten picked yet, but it looks like a lot of fun!
1 – Make It a Full-Day Park – Animal Kingdom is usually only open from 9 AM – 5 PM, so many guests will go quickly in the morning and then leave shortly after lunch. This leaves Animal Kingdom less busy in the afternoon. Make sure you stick around and explore some of the other great things that Animal Kingdom has to offer like some very cool merchandise locations or the two animal walking trails – the Maharajah Jungle Trek or the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. You may even be able to ride some of the rides again with very short wait times!
Many changes are on their way to Animal Kingdom, so you might not have a lot of time left to enjoy Animal Kingdom the way it is now. Pandora is supposed to be open in 2017 and the new nighttime show, “Rivers of Light” is slated to open in early 2016. Along with this, Disney has announced nighttime safari rides, too. Take some time on your next trip to see and explore Animal Kingdom!
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