Top Tips Before You Go To The Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Signage
Animal Kingdom Signage

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.

Here are the Top Planning Tips Before You Go to the Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Entrance – Photo by Steps to Magic

PARK LAYOUT

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.


TOURS

Wild Africa Trek
Wild Africa Trek – Photo by Steps to Magic

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!

Disney World Link for Wild Africa Trek



SECRET ENTRANCE

Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom
Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom – Photo by Steps to Magic

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.

Related Article – Secret Entrances at Disney


SINGLE RIDER LINE

Expedition Everest Single Rider Line
Expedition Everest Single Rider Line – Photo by Steps to Magic

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 


WATER FOUNTAINS

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



DINING

Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods at Satu'li Canteen
Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods at Satu’li Canteen – Photo by Steps to Magic

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


ATTRACTIONS

Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris – Photo by Steps to Magic

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!



CHARACTERS

Rare characters are abundant, so for fans of the meet and greet experiences…be happy!

Guests are able to regularly meet Pocahontas, Baloo, King Louie, Tarzan, Dug, Jiminy Cricket, The Fab 5, Goofy & Donald (in explorer outfits) and much more! Make sure you pick up a park guide to let you know about the times (and always show up 5-10 minutes before).

You’re also in the park that specializes in random character interactions, like meeting Kevin from UP! and DeVine.

Related Article – How to find Characters at Walt Disney World 



HISTORY

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

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

Top Tips Before You Go To The Animal Kingdom - #StepstoMagic
Top Tips Before You Go To The Animal Kingdom – #StepstoMagic

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!
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