Top Tips Before You Go To The Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a unique park, so having a little bit of extra knowledge before you step foot in the huge wilderness will make things more enjoyable.


Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

When you look at a park map of the Animal Kingdom, there are a few distinctly ‘Disney’ features. Firstly, the Tree of Life is the ‘Weenie’ (or ‘Park Icon’) and is in the center (or the ‘Hub’) of the park. From the Hub, you can get to the other lands for extra adventures. If you ever get lost, just go towards the Tree of Life and you’ll be fine.


Kilimanjaro Safari and the Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

There are a few options for tours, including the VIP Tour, Wild Africa Trek, and Backstage Tales. All have their own place in your itinerary, depending on your level of interest, budget and time allotment. Tours within the Walt Disney World are hidden gems and can add incredible value to your vacation!

Article Continues Below


Rainforest Cafe Entrance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Most folks just walk to the main entrance and dread the lines…but did you know there’s a secret entrance? All you have to do it go through the gift shop at the Rainforest Cafe and you’ll come to a set of turnstiles. Not only do you get the opportunity to shop for some crocodile tees, but you can also avoid some lines.


Single Rider Line at Expedition Everest
Single Rider Line at Expedition Everest (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

Expedition Everest has a Single Rider Line, which is not only the home of some cool Himalayan artifacts but also allows you to keep your time at a premium by beating the standby line!

Related Article – Single Rider Lines 


The weather in the Animal Kingdom ranges from 5-10 degrees hotter than any other park due to the abundance of trees, which helps with adding humidity. This means that you should always be hydrated.

Bring an empty water bottle with you and stop at as many quick service locations as possible to fill up. You can also grab free ice water from Starbucks, although you’ll usually have to stand in the line with everyone else (but at least it’s air conditioned;))

Related Article – How to get Free Water at Disney

Article Continues Below


Satu’li Canteen (Photo: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

Quick Service and Table Service options are scattered throughout the park in the various lands. Keep in mind that some of the best dining options are just a short bus ride away.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of our favorite spots for quality experiences, without the stress of lineups. Inside the park, however, doing your research is important due to the style of food that your party enjoys.

Related Article – Ranking Animal Kingdom Dining


Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

The attractions in the Animal Kingdom aren’t the main reason why you go to the park, which is a huge contrast than Hollywood Studios or even the Magic Kingdom. It’s one of the only parks where you can go the entire day exploring and taking in the atmosphere! That being said, the experiences that are there are worth planning around.

Kilimanjaro Safari’s, Expedition Everest and Dinosaur are at the top, with Kali River Rapids and the Festival of the Lion King following right behind. Plus with Pandora: The World of Avatar now open…you’re in for a treat!

Article Continues Below


Did you ever see the original marketing for the Animal Kingdom on Youtube? Well, it focused on how this theme park is so much more than a typical trip to your local wildlife park. In fact, they coined the term “Nahtazu” (sound it out…you’ll get it).

The Animal Kingdom is so much more than a zoo. Not only will you get to see animals in their native habitat, but there are learning opportunities galore. Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Flights of Wonder all come from the evolution of the original theme.


Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

Numbers are great, the Tree of Life stands 145 feet tall and over 300 detailed animal carvings throughout the structure. The main reason why the Tree of Life is so iconic is the background story and how it’s used today.

The root system is actually home to ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug,’ a hidden gem with 4D interactions with 3D technology. It’s also home to a nighttime spectacular called “Tree of Life Awakenings, which involves mapping technology bringing the tree to life every 10 minutes from dusk to park close.

Remember to have fun and explore the details in one of the best parks that Disney’s Imagineers have constructed! Share us your ideas at @StepsToMagic

Dustin Fuhs
I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality!

Related articles

Top 15 “Must Know” Insider Tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Each year, the Magic Kingdom plays host to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party which delights guests with holiday offerings that bring a smile to anyone who loves to see snow on Main Street USA!

10 Secret Things in Disney World You Didn’t Know Existed

Want to unlock the hidden mysteries of Disney World? Our in-depth guide reveals 10 secret attractions and experiences for the ultimate Disney adventure.

Problems in Walt Disney World that Nobody Expects

Discover the Top 10 unexpected challenges you might face at Walt Disney World, from ride shutdowns to out-of-stock merchandise.

20 Unbeatable Ways to Experience an Adult-Only Disney World Trip

Having an adult-only vacation in Disney World is more than hanging out at the pool.

Things to Avoid at Disney World if You’re Scared of Heights

Looking at experiences at Walt Disney World that can be troublesome for someone who is afraid of heights.

Fun Facts about Disney Springs

A bustling metropolis of shopping, dining and entertainment locations, Disney Springs is the exciting re-imagination of Downtown Disney. It consists of four neighborhoods: The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and Town Center.

Fun Facts about Disney’s Monorail System

There is nothing more iconic than arriving at the Transportation and Ticket Center bright and early...and getting a...

Fun Things to Collect in Disney World

From free to not-so-free, my goal is to look at the things that I've bought that have evolved from a single purchase into a collection. These may be a single item to remember a specific event or a more general thing that you are able to buy online to add to a rotating item of fashion.

Top Ten Disney Advance Dining Reservations to get ASAP

Discover the essential Disney advance dining reservations for an awesome Walt Disney World experience.

Top 10 Hilarious Jungle Cruise Puns

Embark on a pun-filled adventure! Discover the top 10 Jungle Cruise puns that will make you laugh, groan, and fall in love with Disney humor.

10 Things We Will Never Do Again at Disney World

Learn from our mistakes! Uncover the 10 things we vow never to do again at Disney World for a smoother, happier vacation experience.

Things That We Wish We Bought at Disney World

Shop smarter, not harder! Read about the items we regret not purchasing at Disney World to make your next trip's shopping spree guilt-free.