Animal KingdomThe Parks

10 Things to Do First When You Get Into Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is so much more than a theme park.  There are so many amazing experiences that you will want to make sure that you can fit them all in.  If you are planning a visit to the park, then we have put together a list of the top ten things that you should do first when you get into Disney’s Animal Kingdom.


10 – Take a picture in front of the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life is the park icon for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  As you meander through the trails at the entrance to the park, you will walk right up to the Tree of Life for the perfect photo opportunity.  You can take your own selfie or have your picture taken by one of the Disney PhotoPass photographers.  You won’t want to miss this photo to commemorate your trip to the park.

9 – Pick up your Wilderness Explorer map.

Within Discovery Island, you will find a Wilderness Explorer station.  Here you can learn about what it means to be a Wilderness Explorer and pick up a map of all the Wilderness Explorer badge locations. Then you will earn badges as you complete your activities all around the park.  It is a fun experience that the whole family can participate in. You will want to grab your map first thing so that you don’t miss any of the spots along the way and have to backtrack.

8 – Explore the Discovery Island trails at the entrance.

Many guests breeze right pass the trails at the front of the park in order to get to the rides.  If you aren’t in a huge hurry, then walk a little slower and take in all of the sights. There are a variety of animals to see right there in the front and you will totally miss them if you rush on through.

7 – Head to Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Suppose you are there at Early Theme Park Entry (resort guests can enter thirty minutes before park opening) or park opening. In that case, we definitely recommend rushing over to Pandora – The World of Avatar.  The immersively themed land still holds long wait times for the newer attractions so is a good idea to try to get in line before the line is too long. If you get there early enough, you may be able to skip paying for the Individual Lightning Lane access for Flight of Passage because the wait time won’t be too bad during Early Theme Park Entry. Don’t forget to also visit the land at night so that you can see the bioluminescent land at night, too.

6 – Check out an early breakfast at Tusker House.

Try to book the earliest breakfast available at Tusker House.  The breakfast is delicious and you get to meet and greet with character favorites in their safari attire like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy.  Then you will be done with breakfast and ready to head to attractions ahead of other guests.


5 – Donate and get your conservation button.

When you enter the park you can check out the shops right at the entrance and donate to the conservation fund.  If you donate, you will be given a button that you can wear around the park all day and keep as a souvenir.  It is a great way to help conservation efforts and show off your button so that you encourage others to do the same.

4 – Pick up a park map and use Disney Genie for guidance.

If you aren’t familiar with the park, then you will want to pick up a park map so that you can plan out where you will be heading first to be efficient in how you move through the park. You can also find all of the information within My Disney Experience, so be sure to set up and link your account in advance so you can use the app and not have to carry a map around. Finally, we recommend using the complimentary Disney Genie planning tools such as a personalized itinerary creator with suggestions, forecasted wait times, and more. It’s a great starting point for planning out your day.

3 – Check out the single rider line at Everest.

If you don’t mind being separated from your party, then we recommend checking out the single rider line at Everest.  Early in the morning, you may even be able to ride the ride a couple of times in a short amount of time that way and then head to some of the other attractions in the park. This may be another way to skip paying for Individual Lightning Lane access.


2 – Check out the character meet and greet options.

Editor’s Note: At this time, up-close character greetings have returned in some locations; however, not all characters have returned to their original greeting locations. You’ll see characters come through on special cavalcades on the Discovery River throughout the day. Check the My Disney Experience app for up-to-date locations and times for characters. 

There are a variety of great character meet-and-greet options at the park, several of which you can only find at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Be sure to look within My Disney Experience to check the options for that and where to find them so that you can collect more character autographs and photos while you are there.

1 – Go on a Safari ride in Africa.            

If you aren’t rushing to get to Pandora – The World of Avatar, then we recommend that you head over to Kilimanjaro Safaris over in Africa.  We love the morning safari rides since we typically have better luck seeing even more animals before it gets as hot.  The line also gets extremely long, so it is usually better to check it out first instead of waiting until later in the day.

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.



Hi! I’m Kristin, and I am a wife and mother of 2 young boys (ages 5 and 2). I first fell in love with Disney when my mom took me when I was a child. After that I proceeded to go to WDW for my senior trip with my friends, and I completed a year in the Disney College Program (working in merchandise at Mickey’s of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). I shared my love of Disney with my now husband and sucked him in. We vacationed at Walt Disney World 2-3 times per year. We decided that what maked more sense was just moving to Orlando so that we could live the Disney life and be here for all of our favorite events and seasons every year. That is exactly what we did! Now we are at the parks a couple times a week and go for most events and major holidays. We can’t get enough and get to experience Disney in a whole different way.
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