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A One Day Plan: The Must-Do Attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Guests who visit Walt Disney World love to spend time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, losing themselves in nature and exotic worlds. The park celebrates the beauty and importance of our planet and aims to teach guests about conservation and preservation in fun and entertaining ways. Guests who spend time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can travel back in time, come face to face with beautiful animals, go on an African safari, conquer intense river rafting, and become honorary bugs. With so many amazing experiences to be had in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it is impossible to experience it all in one day. Guests who follow a simple plan for one day in the park can definitely experience plenty of must-do attractions without running out of time. Here is a one day plan to see the most must-do attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Click here for our guide to visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom during the phased reopening and what you need to know.





 

1 – Pandora – The World of Avatar

Guests who want to make the most of their day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom should arrive immediately when the park opens and head straight to Animal Kingdom’s newest land, Pandora – The World of Avatar. The 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 an excellent 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 a fantastic 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. Then you’ll discover two thrilling 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.

2 – Kilimanjaro Safaris

The Africa section of the park is home to the village of Harambe. There guests can enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris, which brings guests on a two-week safari through the Harambe Reserve, where they can enjoy up-close encounters with animals like elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, and lions. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must-do experience in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and guests should make it a priority to visit the attraction in the morning or late evening when there are few crowds, low wait times, and low temperatures which generally result in the animals being more active.

3 – Kali River Rapids

A thrilling adventure that is guaranteed to leave guests soaking wet can be found in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Kali River Rapids is a must-do attraction that brings guests on a white knuckle rafting tour down the Chakranadi River. While the journey starts out peacefully, guests soon experience firsthand the devastation of illegal logging and deforestation. Since Kali River Rapids is incredibly popular in the hot months with guests who are looking to cool off in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests should opt to book a FastPass for the experience to avoid a long wait on the standby line.

4 – Expedition Everest

Also found in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is an attraction that brings guests deep inside the Forbidden Mountain. Expedition Everest begins as a quiet tea train tour in the foothills of the mountains but soon turns dangerous as guests find themselves deep inside the mountain, desperately trying to escape the clutches of the Yeti. Expedition Everest is very popular amongst guests in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and tends to have long wait times on busy days in the park. Guests who want to enjoy the attraction while not spending a lot of time waiting on line should opt to use the Single Rider line, which offers the same experience with a usually shorter wait time so long as guests don’t mind being split up at the loading area.





 

5 – Dinosaur

Dinoland in Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings all things prehistoric to life thanks to the nearby Dino Institute. Guests can enter into the facility where the technology to travel back to the time of the dinosaurs has been perfected. Dinosaur is supposed to bring guests to a quiet prehistoric time but turns into a thrilling adventure when guests find themselves very close to a massive asteroid impact. With darkness, scary dinosaurs, and sudden twists and turns, Dinosaur is an exciting must-do attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Even with Dinosaur’s popularity, the wait time tends to be fairly reasonable, usually, so save your FastPass for another experience.

6 – Maharajah Jungle Trek

In addition to the thrilling attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are also some experiences that take guests into the heart of nature and allow them to explore the beauty of foliage and animals. The Maharajah Jungle Trek can be found near Kali River Rapids and invites guests to embark on a self-guided walking tour through lush temple ruins and beautiful details. Along the way, guests can encounter animals like Fruit Bats, Gibbons, and Asian Tigers. Since the Maharajah Jungle Trek is a little off the beaten path, it tends to be quiet and very enjoyable for guests on a day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Tiger at M Trek

7 – Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Like the Maharajah Jungle Trek, there is another self-guided walking tour found near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris. The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail features lush forest scenes, beautiful waterfalls, and quiet areas for guests to enjoy. Along the way, guests can encounter meerkats and other animals before reaching a massive gorilla habitat with rolling hills and gushing waterfalls. With beautiful views and quiet areas, the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is a must-do attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Gorilla-2

8 – Festival of the Lion King

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the Festival of the Lion King is not operating. Unfortunately, the Festival of the Lion King cast are among the cast members who have been laid off. Disney retains the rights to call them back. We hope and expect at some point in the future when conditions permit they will be called back and the entertainment that is critical to making the parks magical will return. If you feel that the entertainment staff are a big part of making the magic happen, we encourage you to let Disney know how important the entertainers are to your experience.

One live show in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is so amazing that it cannot be missed on a day there. The Festival of the Lion King is housed in the Harambe Theater near Kilimanjaro Safaris and brings the story of the classic Disney animated film The Lion King to life with aerial ballet, acrobatics, fire dancing, song, and familiar characters. Guests absolutely love singing along to classic music from the movie and seeing the story told in a whole new way. The Festival of the Lion King is extremely popular with guests in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so guests who want to enjoy the show should consult a times guide for showtimes and arrive at least a half-hour early at the theater to ensure a seat inside.



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About Caitlin Corsello

Caitlin Corsello is a huge fan of Walt Disney World and has been visiting yearly since she was an infant. With many trips under her belt, she loves to take her time in the parks and discover lots of small details and secrets in between attractions. When not learning about the history of Walt Disney World, Caitlin loves to eat and drink at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, sip on a Lapu Lapu at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and stroll through the streets of Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. In between trips, Caitlin resides in New York working as a Teaching Assistant in a Pre-K classroom.