Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World

As you can guess Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World is all about the animals. You’ll find various different species in all kinds of locations at Animal Kingdom. 

The Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Walking into the Animal Kingdom is quite different to Epcot, for a start there’s lots more trees!

Once through the entrance you should pick up a park map and a times guide which they keep on stands just inside the entrance. There's two paths that take you into the park but don’t worry they both lead to the same place that has a wonderful view of the Tree of Life.

Lots of people linger there, taking photos and looking at the tree so you may find you’re slowed down a little here. If you’re wanting to take a photo of the Tree of Life later in the afternoon is better, there’s less people hanging around so less chance you’ll end up with a stranger in your photo!

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the first rides I wanted to mention. You take a very bumpy 22-minute ride in what looks like a large bus (see below) through the African Savannah. On this trip you’ll see giraffes, elephants, lions and lots more, including a wonderful view of their savannah.

The Kilimanjaro Safaris Truck

Be sure to have your camera ready, you can get some wonderful photos of these beautiful animals, but be warned - you’ll have to have a steady hand because the trip will not be steady! Kilimanjaro Safaris gets busy, not all the time but occasionally so I would recommend booking Fastpass+ for this one, especially if you have limited time.

Such a beautiful animal. It can be found on the Safari

Another place you can see some amazing animals is Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, a walk through a tropical forest. Gorillas, hippos and exotic birds are amongst the animals you’ll see and this is another great way to get some fantastic photos.

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is a self-guided walking tour, you take it at your own pace and can spend as much time as you like viewing the animals. There isn’t a queue and I don’t know that we’ve ever had a problem viewing the animals, you may have to wait for the viewing area to clear a little but most people will let the little ones through so they can see the animals.

Maharaja Jungle Trek is another walking tour and this one is my personal favourite. You get to see bats, a Komodo Dragon and my favourite animal, the tiger. Sometimes the tigers come so close to the windows that you could almost touch them (if it weren’t for the really thick glass!). I love this walk and it will amaze the kids when they get to see animals they wouldn’t see at a zoo in the UK.

Like at Epcot, Disney have introduced new entertainment for the children. The kids get to be Wilderness Explorers, get given an information booklet filled with questions and details about animals and on their way around the park can collect badges (stickers).

Taking their books to marked places around the park they will be asked questions or given tasks and once completed they’ll be given the sticker for the corresponding task. There are 31 stickers to collect, but here’s a tip - don’t try and do it all in one day, you can always visit another day and continue your collecting.

There are two very different shows to see at Animal Kingdom and they both have showtimes throughout the day. Check out the times guide to find out when they start.

Festival of the Lion King is a 30 minute show with music from the film ‘The Lion King’, dancing and acrobatics. You even get to join in! This is a great show and gives you a half-hour sit down, believe me you’ll need it.

The second show is a MUST see.

Finding Nemo - The Musical kind of tells you what to expect from the name, that is if you have seen the movie. If not - shame on you! Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the surprise but this show is amazing and everyone should see it when visiting Animal Kingdom.

Isn't he amazing?

There are lots of other rides to check out too and a couple of our favourites were Kali River Rapids, a raft ride through rapids. This ride does get busy so Fastpass+ is a must, unless you’re arriving first thing and heading straight for it with no pauses for anything else.

You will get wet on this ride and may even get ABSOLUTELY SOAKED. It depends where you sit in the raft and who you’re riding with but if you don’t want to get wet I recommend you give this one a miss. I have to admit that I loved this ride, as did my kids. Getting soaked is quite refreshing in the Florida heat and keeps you cool for a while afterwards.

To ride on Kali River Rapids you have to be at least 38” or 97cm, my four year old loved this ride and every time we went to Animal Kingdom he wanted to go on it.

Expedition Everest - from
across the lake.

Thrill seekers will enjoy Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, a roller-coaster that takes you on a wild ride through the middle of the mountain.

This is not one for the faint hearted, I’ve been on it once and I’ll never be riding again but if you like coasters you’ll like this.

Expedition Everest is my eldest son’s favourite ride, he’s nine and loves it. Anyone below 44” or 112cm cannot ride, my four-year-old was not happy about this at all and did a lot of complaining about not being able to go it!

Fear not though, there are smaller rides for the younger ones at Dinoland U.S.A where you’ll find the TriceraTop Spin, a friendly fly with the dinosaurs.

I could go on and on about the rides in this place, there are so many, but I won’t, the rest is up to you. Be aware that the majority of attractions at Animal Kingdom are outdoors and keeping yourself and your children hydrated throughout the day is important. If you’re looking for a great place to eat at the end of your day I recommend Rainforest Cafe, located just outside the entrance to Animal Kingdom. The kids will love being amongst the animals while they eat and the food is great.

Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a daily fireworks show for obvious reasons but instead they have Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade which goes through the park every day at 3.45pm. You’ll get to see Mickey Mouse and all his friends as they take their trip along the paths of the Animal Kingdom, be sure to watch your children’s faces - it is priceless.

Donald Duck - it will melt your heart.

With so much to do at this park I feel like I’m leaving too much out, like I said I could go on and on. Hope this helps you out if you’re planning on visiting Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World.