My Top 3 Must Dos:
- Kilimanjaro Safari
- The Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo
Quick Service – The Tree of Life has good, unique food options such as 1/2 chicken meal, pulled pork and ribs. However, my daughter will not eat any of these options, so we most often go to Restaurantosauras in Dinoworld. It has chicken nuggets and refillable drinks, which are both must-haves for my family. Just beware, there are no straws in Animal Kingdom. The do that so trash doesn’t somehow harm the animals. They do have paper straws most places, but no lids, which can be hazardous.
Pizzafari very close to the entrance of the park and the Tree of Life is a great option if you like pizza.
Snacks – There are several stands with great snacks in AK. Our favorite is the soft-serve ice cream stand in Asia, close to Everest. It isn’t always easy to find soft serve ice cream in the parks and this is a great location to find it. In Africa there is a great little stand with fresh fruit and a little window with fancy pastries and desserts.
Sit Down – Honestly, we haven’t eaten a lot of sit down meals in Animal Kingdom but we have had lunch at Tusker House. It is a great buffet of traditional food as well as a samplings of African food. It is also a character dining location that will have a few random members of the Fab 5 and/or Daisy.
We really enjoyed our meal at Tusker House, especially the roast beef and salmon. Plus they had corn dogs and regular corn, which my kids loved. The chocolate chip cookies were pretty good too.
Pocahontas can only be found in Animal Kingdom. You can usually meet her in the morning to for pictures and autographs. When she’s around, she is located just behind the Tree of Life to the left. There are also times when characters from the Jungle Book can be found in Asia. Tarzan can be found along the trails surrounding the Tree of Life.
The Baby Centers in the parks are some of the best places for young children, yet few people know about them or use them. The Baby Center in AK is nice because it has a couple of private nursing rooms, not just one large nursing room like other parks.
There is also a single adult bathroom and very small kids’ play area with a TV and a gift store. There are several changing tables as well, but they are not as nice as the other Baby Center changing tables in the other parks, in my opinion.
In the other parks, the changing tables in the Baby Centers are very large and higher than normal. The changing tables in AK are just normal changing tables like you may have at home. However, it is still nice to come here to nurse and change diapers as opposed to a regular bathroom, because it gives everyone a nice A/C break, privacy and space. I HIGHLY recommend using Baby Centers as much as possible.
Animal Kingdom does not have a lot of rides, but there are a few important ones to point out.
The only ones worth a Fastpass+ are Kilimanjaro Safari and Everest. The others do not typically have long lines, so you can save your Fastpass+ for shows.
Kilimanjaro Safari is always best in the morning. It is not as hot, so more animals are out. We have also been there early enough that there wasn’t a line for the ride yet, so they let us stay on and go for another ride. It is never the same experience, since the animals are always moving. It takes about 30 minutes for the ride itself, so make sure to leave time for a short wait (even with a Fastpass+) and the ride. You are also allowed to keep your stroller for most of the wait time.
The stroller parking is right before the end of the queue, so don’t be confused if you see strollers in line.
Everest is one of the best roller coasters in all of the parks. You must be 44 inches tall to ride. It is best to get a FP+ (fastpass) or to ride at the end of the day before the park closes. We once got to ride it 4 times in a row as most people were leaving the park. This will change as AK stays open longer into the evening.
Kali River Rapids is a ride we never ride, although my husband wants to ride it, because we (I) do not like to get wet. You will certainly be wet after riding this wet river ride. It is currently closed for refurbishment.
Triceratop Spin is very similar to Dumbo and never has a wait. An easy ride for little kids.
Primeval Spin is kind of like a roller coaster because it is on tracks like a coaster and has small hills, but your car spins around as much as it goes up and down hills. This is not a good ride if you cannot spin in small circles (such as the teacups).
Dinosaur is a ride that is not popular in the Taylor family (the girls, anyhow). You sit in a large car with many other people as the ride moves along different scenes. It is dark and several times dinosaurs jump out to scare passengers. It is not one we ride often for this reason. But there are no hills or spins, so it is a simple ride.
The Boneyard is a fantastic play space for kids. It has slides, things to climb, rope bridges and tunnels with little waterfalls. My girls love to hang out here and run around. There is only one way in and one way out, so even though it looks like kids might be able to run out and get lost, they cannot. There are also nice water fountains inside the play area which are in the shade. They area good place to refill your water bottles. If parents need some time to sit still while the kids just run around, I highly recommend this area in Dinoland. This is located very close to DinoBites quick service.
The shows at AK are some of the best in all the parks. I highly recommend the Festival of the Lion King. Especially now that it is in a new space. Kids will be amazed at the costumes and aerobatics.
Finding Nemo is a great show as well. It is performed with a type of puppet, but you can clearly see the puppet-masters. After a short while you forget they are puppets. It is definitely worth a Fastpass to skip waiting in line. If you don’t have a Fastpass it is worth it to wait in line to get a good seat. It is nice to sit close to the front or middle of this show. Some of the puppets do come out to the middle of the audience during the show, so the middle of the theater isn’t a bad location, but the back would be a bad place to sit. There are also great bathrooms just outside the theater. The Nemo theater is just outside of Dinoland.
“It’s Tough to be a Bug” is a 3D film with a few characters that “pop up” in the theater. Because of the “pop ups” and the dark theater, it can be scary for little kids. It is a cute, fun show that is in the Tree of Life and is a nice A/C space to sit in to relax.
The real highlight of Animal Kingdom is the animals. We do not like to come to AK when it is very hot because so much of the park is outside, but it is a great park to come when the weather is a little more tolerable because of all the walking trails to see the animals. One of my absolute favorite places is the trail where the gorillas are. The habitat is so real that you can really get a sense of these animals in their natural environment. This can make it hard to spot them sometimes, but it is worth it.
An area we do not travel to often is Rafiki’s Plant Watch. You must take the Wildlife Express Train to this area of the park, but it is worth it if you have the time. Once you get there be sure to check out the mural and find all the “Hidden Mickeys.” It is my favorite place to search for Hidden Mickeys. There are tons of hands-on activities here to learn about animals and conservation/ Plus, you can enjoy the petting zoo, Affection Section. It is definitely worth it if you have the time.
I have to admit we have never done the Wilderness Explorers activity. We will have to check it out next time we visit AK and report back.