Animal Kingdom is currently under extensive renovation and additions. Avatar Land is scheduled to open in 2017. Discovery River is under renovation and expansion for a new night show that is opening at the park. A new section of Africa is scheduled to open very soon allowing an additional passageway to Asia. While there is a lot to look forward to, there is much to appreciate about the park in its current form. Here is our list of our top ten hidden gems at Animal Kingdom!
10 – Dawa Bar – located under the awning at Tusker House, this bar serves a variety of drinks and offers protection from the sun (or rain)! The service is always very quick at this location. Be sure to try either the Tusker Lager or the Safari Amber – both are sure to cool you down on a hot day!
9 – Maharajah Jungle Trek – this walking tour located across from Kali River Rapids, features a variety of animals from Asia including tigers, bats, and even a Komodo dragon. When experiencing this tour, be sure to allow yourself ample time to meander through the walkways and take time to appreciate the surroundings. Much like Kilimanjaro Safaris, the earlier you get there, the greater likelihood you will have to see the animals active.
8 – Character Meet and Greets – Animal Kingdom is home to some very rare character interactions. Be sure to check your Times Guide upon entering the park to see what characters are available each day. Recently, Pocahontas was available near the Discovery Island Trails. Baloo and King Louie from the Jungle Book are always around just across from Flights of Wonder.
7 – Flights of Wonder – join Guano Joe in this fascinating look at a variety of birds. The theatre is well-covered from the sun and offers a great opportunity to sit down and relax. This show is quickly becoming a must-do for my family on every trip to the Animal Kingdom. The Upcountry kiosk right near the entrance also serves a wonderful selection of drinks and food (including my personal favorite, Mickey pretzels)!
6 – Primeval Whirl – this carnival-esque ride in DinoLand, U.S.A. is often overlooked for DinoLand’s premiere attraction, DINOSAUR. It rarely has a wait much longer than 20 minutes. The ride is somewhat intense, as it spins riders around while navigating the track, but if you can endure the entire ride, you’ll definitely be leaving with smiles on your face.
5 – special entertainment – walking through all the lands of Animal Kingdom, there are a variety of different entertainers. DJs, dancers, dance parties, and musicians abound throughout the park. It is easy to walk past these entertainers, but take some time to stop and enjoy them!
4 – Yak and Yeti – this restaurant features two locations for you to enjoy their delicious Asian inspired food. There is a table service option if you have more time to spare, or a counter-service option located right next door. Both are delicious and certainly worth taking some time to enjoy!
3 – Discovery Island Trails – these trails surround the Tree of Life and offer you the opportunity to discover animals who call Animal Kingdom home. It also offers wonderful views of the Tree of Life and allows you to explore the magnificent animal carvings in the roots of the Tree of Life.
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2 – It’s Tough to Be a Bug! – I ignored this attraction for a full year before trying it for the first time when it was raining on my last trip. I am so upset that I did! This attraction is very similar to Mickey’s Philharmagic at Magic Kingdom and Muppetvision 3D at Hollywood Studios. It is a truly immersive experience that is definitely worth the wait!!
1 – Festival of the Lion King – recently re-opened in a new theatre in Africa, the Festival of the Lion King features singing, dancing, and acrobatic monkeys! Be sure to check out one of the many showings each day. My family has made this a must-do since it re-opened in the new theatre.
With renovations ongoing at Animal Kingdom, there are sure to be many, many more hidden gems coming to the park in the coming years. What is your favorite hidden gem at Animal Kingdom?
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