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11 Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom

There are so many amazing things to see and do at Animal Kingdom, and that list is growing as the park continues to change and grow. Even without all the exciting changes Animal Kingdom is a fantastic park with so much to offer guests. Here are 11 reasons why we love Animal Kingdom.





 

11 – Characters

Animal Kingdom is the place to meet a number of Disney characters that do not appear elsewhere for meet and greets.  Guests can meet Baloo and King Louie from The Jungle Book, Flik from A Bug’s Life, Pocahontas, Rafiki, Russel and Dug from Up and Tarzan. Giving guests the opportunity to meet these fun characters from newer and older Disney films is something we love about the experiences that are offered at Animal Kingdom.

10 – Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is a whole area of the park dedicated to conservation and protecting wildlife. Take a relaxing 7-minute ride aboard the Wildlife Express Train from the Africa area of the park, to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Once there, guests can visit Conservation Station, which features interactive games, as well as fun and educational exhibits. There is also the Affection Section, which is a petting zoo, and the Veterinary Treatment Room where guests can get a glimpse of how the animals are cared for at Animal Kingdom.

9 – The Trails

There are a number of trails for guests to explore at Animal Kingdom. The Discovery Island Trails take guests through the roots of the Tree of Life where you can get a close up look at the craftsmanship of the carvings. The Maharaja Jungle Trek is set in the jungles of Southeast Asia where guests can see tigers, fruit bats, and even temple ruins. The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is located in Africa, where animals are once again in abundance. There are gorillas, hippos and birds. The trails at Animal Kingdom allow guests to set their own pace and wander the paths peacefully surrounded by beautiful animals and greenery.

Gorilla Babies Play

8 – Flame Tree Barbecue

For finger-licking good BBQ head over to Flame Tree Barbecue. This quick-service counter restaurant serves up delicious ribs, chicken and pulled pork that are guaranteed to leave you happy and satisfied! Side dishes include their signature baked beans and jalapeno cornbread. They also offer quiet outdoor seating pavilions located near the water where you can see Everest off in the distance.

7 – Dinoland U.S.A

Not only does Animal Kingdom celebrate the creatures of today but also the beasts of the past, in Dinoland U.S.A. One of the most thrilling attractions is located here, Dinosaur, which takes guests aboard the Time Rover and back into time where they come face to face with the terrifying Carnotaurus. Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama is a retro themed midway area with snacks, games and the coaster Primeval Whirl. There is also a replica of the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found, Dino-Sue. Dinoland is full of fun and thrills, and is also a wonderful tribute, and reminder, to the creatures that once walked our planet.





 

6 – Harambe Market

This welcoming area of Animal Kingdom is a great spot to take a break in the park and recharge with a cold beverage or a bite to eat. The atmosphere and menus at the four walk-up windows are inspired by street foods in Africa. Harambe Market offers items that are not found elsewhere in Disney like the Milk Tart, Famous Sausages, which are like corn dogs only with a curried corn batter, and Karubi Ribs. The covered seating offers a retreat from the hot sun, so you can just sit back and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Harambe Market.

5 – Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King is a live action Broadway style show that pulls out all the stops. This show is a spectacle for the ears and eyes, with brightly colored costumes, acrobats, stilt walkers, aerial performers, massive floats, and familiar songs from The Lion King. What’s great about this show is that it’s not a re-telling of the story, but a celebration of the characters, songs and spirit of the film.

Festival of the Lion King-2

4 – Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is one of the most popular rides at Animal Kingdom. This attraction has it all, story, thrills, a beautiful view, and the legendary yeti. Imagineers have created a completely immersive attraction and experience, which starts as soon as you enter the queue. The queue takes guests through the courtyards at the base of the mountain, and through the Tibetan general store and then through the ‘museum’ that tells guest all about the folklore surrounding the yeti adding to the overall experience. Although the yeti in the mountain is operating in “B mode”, meaning he doesn’t have his full range of motion due to a crack in the concrete base he is standing on, he is still a massive and extremely impressive Audio-Animatronic creation making this attraction one of the best at Disney.

3 – The Tree of Life

The symbol of Animal Kingdom is the beautiful Tree of Life that celebrates all creatures in nature. Whether guests are admiring the tree from afar, or up close on the Discovery Island Trails, the tree is simply breathtaking. Guests can also enter the tree and watch It’s Tough to Be a Bug and see the amazing Audio-Animatronic Hopper. Soon, the tree will come alive at night with Nighttime Awakenings, which will highlight and bring the animals to life in the tree.

2- Pandora – The World of Avatar

The new land, the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is based on Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s record-breaking box-office hit, Avatar, which was released in 2009. The film was insanely popular, mostly due to Cameron’s amazing special effects. The movie is a science fiction film about humans attempting to colonize on a habitable moon called Pandora. While living on Pandora sounds like a great opportunity for this cast of humans, they are met with resistance from the local tribe of Na’vi. Animal Kingdom’s lush world of Pandora is set a generation after a great conflict, the Na’vi and humans are at peace, and the land is experiencing a rebirth. Pandora now welcomes Disney guests as eco-tourists. The land is an amazing spectacle of Disney Imagineering, creativity and story-telling. As you explore the vibrant terrain sprawling beneath mountains that appear to float in the sky, you’ll see waterfalls cascading down the mountainside into meandering streams and pools, and then you’ll discover two thrilling new expeditions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Grab a bite to eat at the quick-service restaurant, Satu’li Canteen or grab a drink and snack at Pongu Pongu. There are so many amazing things to explore. Visiting Pandora an absolute must-do on your trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

1 – The Animals

The main reason we love Animal Kingdom is because of the animals of course! Whether you’re walking over crocodiles on the Wild Africa Trek, seeing the lions and giraffes on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, or observing the animals on the trails or at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, the animals at the park are what make this park so unique and so loveable and keep us coming back for more!



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About Lauren Repei

Lauren lives in Hamilton Ontario, but dreams of one day moving to Orlando to be closer to the Magic Kingdom. In the meantime, she spends her days working for the family business as a barista and baker, being active in the independent theatre scene in Hamilton and working part-time as a professional personal assistant to a writer. Lauren’s most memorable Disney moment is by far when she became engaged in front of Cinderella’s Castle making it her best Disney vacation to date.