Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom opened April 22, 1998 and is the newest of the four Walt Disney World theme parks. Featuring a large collection of live animals in recreated habitats, this Animal Kingdom also celebrates Disney's animal and nature-themed IP, including "The Lion King," Pixar's "Finding Nemo," and James Cameron's "Avatar," which Disney now owns through its acquisition of Fox. You can learn much, much more about the park's animals and animal care in the Disney+ series, Magic of Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Our recommendations below come from our annual survey of Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers. Locations with star ratings ranked especially highly among our readers. Click here to subscribe to our free, twice-weekly email of theme park news and to participate in the next ranking survey.

Certain locations may not be available due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Rides

Top Recommendations

  1. Flight of Passage ★ ★ ★
    A breath-taking "Avatar"-themed flying theater ride in Pandora - The World of Avatar. Height requirement: 44 inches
    Read Robert Niles' review of Flight of Passage
  2. Expedition Everest ★ ★ ★
    Vekoma roller coaster in Asia. Height requirement: 44 inches
  3. Kilimanjaro Safaris
    Narrated driving tour of the park's live animal habitat, located in Africa
  4. Na'vi River Journey
    Indoor boat ride in Pandora - The World of Avatar

Other notable attractions include the Dinosaur motion-base dark ride and TriceraTop Spin in Dinoland USA; Kali River Rapids in Asia; and the Wildlife Express Train to Conservation Station in Rafiki's Planet Watch.

Additional animal habitats include Asia's Maharajah Jungle Trek, Africa's Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, and the Discovery Island Trails.

Shows

Top Recommendations

  • Finding Nemo - The Musical ★ ★ ★
    Live musical playing just outside Dinoland USA [Closed indefinitely]
  • Festival of the Lion King ★ ★ ★
    Live musical playing in Africa [Closed indefinitely]

Other shows include It's Tough to Be a Bug!, a 4D theater show under the Tree of Life on Discovery Island; Up! A Great Bird Adventure in Asia, and The Animation Experience at the Conservation Station.

Dining

Top recommendations

  1. Tiffins ★ ★ ★
    Table service restaurant, featuring indigenous art and Imagineering memorabilia, located just outside Pandora on Discovery Island
  2. Satu'li Canteen
    Counter service dining in Pandora - The World of Avatar
  3. Yak & Yeti Restaurant
    Table service dining in Asia [Operated by Landry's]
  4. Flame Tree Barbecue
    Counter service on Discovery Island
  5. Nomad Lounge
    Bar inside Tiffins

Map

Disney's Animal Kingdom is part of the sprawling Walt Disney World Resort, located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida – about 25 miles from Orlando International Airport.

Strategy

You must reserve the day you want to visit in advance using the Disney Park Pass Reservation system. Once you have your dates reserved, you can start making restaurant reservations up to 60 days in advance of your visit. As for ride reservations, Walt Disney World's Fastpass+ system has been suspended due to the pandemic and the need for additional physical distancing in queues.

Flight of Passage is the tough "get" here, so either do it first thing in the morning or last thing before the park closes. If you do Pandora first, then head over to Kilimanjaro Safaris, followed by the rest of the park at your discretion.

Want to talk more about Disney's Animal Kingdom visiting strategies? Start a discussion in our Walt Disney World Forum.

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