Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998 (which means the park is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year!). And we’ve been having a WILD time ever since in this uniquely beautiful park!
Your first steps into Disney’s Animal Kingdom begin with winding paths through the Oasis Trails that ultimately lead to Discovery Island and the reveal of the park’s icon: the stunning Tree of Life, a 145-foot sculpture with over 300 animals represented in the intricate carvings.
A trek around the park reveals lush greenery and rich experiences based in the history, culture, and beauty of Africa and Asia, just waiting to be explored. And Pandora, the park’s newest land, transports guests into The World of Avatar as they step into the Valley of Mo’ara.
WELCOME to DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM!
Of course, the stars of the park are the ANIMALS that call Animal Kingdom “home!”
From the park’s signature attraction, Kilimajaro Safaris, to trails like the Majarajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trails, you’re bound to spot several animal friends along the way!
On your Animal Kingdom adventure, you may see African Elephants and Lions, Gorillas and Gibbons Monkeys, Hippos, Giraffes, and much more.
That “much more” may include Cotton-Top Tamarins, Rhinos, Tigers, Zebras, Okapi, and Meerkats… and that’s just to name a few!
And that’s what makes Disney’s Animal Kingdom such a unique and special place. You can truly have a difference experience with each and every visit.
JAMBO! Welcome to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
And we haven’t even talked about all the RIDES yet… 😉
After your stroll along the Oasis Trails from the park’s entrance, your adventure begins on Discovery Island.
Here is the list of Discovery Island attractions:
- Discovery Island Trails
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!* — Disney Genie+ option
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost — Disney Genie+ option
*NEWS: Zootopia will be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom! The It’s Tough to be a Bug! attraction will be closing its doors to be rethemed into the upcoming show which is tucked into a theater under the Tree of Life.
Animal Kingdom’s Africa welcomes you into Harambe Village! It’s best known in the park as being home to Kilimanjaro Safaris – an 18-minute MUST-DO safari ride on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve which offers one of the best experiences in the park to see the animals!
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trails also provides a walking path to see gorillas and more animal friends. And Festival of the Lion King highlights the most popular musical numbers from the beloved Disney film combined with live dancing, music performances, and amazing puppetry.
Here is the list of Africa attractions:
- Festival of The Lion King — Disney Genie+ option
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Kilimanjaro Safaris* — Disney Genie+ option
- Wildlife Express Train (to Conservation Station)
*Be aware that Kilimanjaro Safaris often closes earlier than other attractions around the park. The day’s closing time will posted at the entrance to the Africa section of the park coming from Discovery Island and Pandora. You will also find times posted on Information Boards around the park, and can keep an eye on the Disney World schedule on the My Disney Experience app.
Animal Kingdom’s Asia is truly stunning. In addition to beautiful landscaping and colorful details, it also offers great opportunities to see the park’s animals up close with the Majarajah Jungle Trek and the live show, Feathered Friends in Flight!
Expedition Everest is Animal Kingdom’s roller coaster for all the thrill seekers in your group. And you can cool off on Kali River Rapids on a hot day (but be warned: you WILL get soaked!).
Here is the list of Asia attractions:
- Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain — Disney Genie+ option
- Finding Nemo — The Big Blue… and Beyond! — Disney Genie+ option
- Kali River Rapids — Disney Genie+ option
- Majarajah Jungle Trek
- Feathered Friends in Flight — Disney Genie+ option
Pandora — The World of AVATAR
Pandora – based, of course, on the movie AVATAR – brings guests into the Valley of Mo’ara with its flora, fauna, and floating mountains. Along with a gorgeous and immersive setting, the land also brought two more attractions to Animal Kingdom when it opened in 2017.
Na’vi River Journey is a peaceful boat ride through a bioluminescent rainforest. And Avatar Flight of Passage is a 3D ride where guests take a flight on the back of a banshee. This incredible and unique experience has been (rightfully) so successful that it remains one the most popular attractions in all of Disney World!
Here is the list of Pandora — The World of Avatar attractions:
- Avatar Flight of Passage — Individual Attraction Lightning Lane Selection option
- Na’vi River Journey — Disney Genie+ option
This street carnival smack-dab in the middle of Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland, U.S.A. is… well, it’s like nothing else in Disney World, that’s for sure!
Step into a brightly colored and whimsical fair of carnival games and rides with over-the-top roadside-stop flair! (You can check out a TON of hidden details tucked into DinoLand U.S.A. here!)
NEWS: During the 2023 Destination D23 event, Disney announced that DinoLand U.S.A. will be CLOSING to make way for new lands in that area. Specifically, the area will be updated to become The Tropical Americas, which will feature attractions and details from Encanto and Indiana Jones! Find out more HERE!
Here is the list of DinoLand, U.S.A. attractions:
- DINOSAUR — Disney Genie+ option
- Fossil Fun Games
- TriceraTop Spin
- The Boneyard
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
A train ride on the Wildlife Express from Harambe Village in Africa brings guests to Rafiki’s Planet Watch featuring Conservation Station!
Here is the list of Rafiki’s Planet Watch attractions:
- Affection Section Petting Zoo
- The Animation Experience at Conservation Station — Disney Genie+ option
- Conservation Station
Disney’s Animal Kingdom truly offers some of the most unique and flavorful food in Disney World!
Animal Kingdom Table Service Restaurants
Table Service — or sit-down — restaurants provide a relaxing (and air-conditioned) break during a busy park day!
Animal Kingdom Counter Service Restaurants
If your priority is riding ALL. THE. RIDES. in Animal Kingdom, you may find that a quick meal at a Counter Service restaurant will fit your needs.
- Creature Comforts — Starbucks
- Flame Tree Barbecue
- Harambe Market
- Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery
- Satu’li Canteen
- Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes
Animal Kingdom Bars & Lounges
Animal Kingdom boasts some of the most relaxing lounges of any park in Disney World with the Dawa Bar and Nomad Lounge, along with several spots to cool off with a cocktail.
Animal Kingdom Kiosks and Snack Stops
There’s no shortage of snacks in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, from classics like popcorn and ice cream to quick bites featuring globally inspired cuisine!
- Anandapur Ice Cream Truck
- Caravan Road
- Dino-Bite Snacks
- Eight Spoon Cafe
- Harambe Fruit Market
- Isle of Java
- Mr. Kamal’s
- Pongu Pongu
- Royal Anandapur Tea Company
- The Smiling Crocodile
- Tamu Tamu Refreshments
- Terra Treats
- Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks
- Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages
Discovery Island and Discovery River
Once an hour, beautiful Macaws gather in front of the Tree of Life in Winged Encounters — The Kingdom Takes Flight! You won’t want to miss it when these colorful creatures fly directly overhead!
Winged Encounters typically takes place on the quarter after every hour from 9:15AM – 3:15PM. But check your My Disney Experience app or the Information Boards posted around the park to be certain.
Join in a Discovery Island Street Party with the music, dancing, and energy of the Caribbean-influenced Viva Gaia Street Band!
The Viva Gaia Street Band performs seasonally, so check your My Disney Experience app or the Information Boards posted around the park for appearances.
And though technically you may see — and hear! — them floating by just about anywhere in the park where you can see Discovery River, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the Discovery Island Drummers performing from a Flotilla!
In fact, Flotillas featuring Disney Pals set sail on Discovery River throughout the day.
You may see beloved characters from The Lion King or Pocahontas.
And be on the lookout for the “Adventure Flotilla” featuring either Launchpad McQuack and Scrooge McDuck from Disney’s DuckTales, or Russell and Dug from Pixar’s UP!
In the evenings, the Tree of Life Awakenings set a magical scene after the sun sets.
Stunning projections set to memorable music (including Disney tunes) bring the Tree of Life to life as stories inspired by our animal friends are presented in an unforgettable display. Showtimes are unlisted and when the sun sets late in the day over the summer months, Awakenings may not show at all. But when they do take place, Awakenings occur approximately every 10 minutes after dark and through park closing.
Festival of the Lion King is Animal Kingdom’s Broadway-style production of the beloved Disney film, The Lion King!
Presented in the Harambe Theater, guests enjoy live performances of the movie’s signature songs, spectacular costumes and puppets, dancing, and even acrobatics to share Simba’s story in a truly memorable way.
Enjoy the music of Kora Tinga Tinga as you stroll through the village.
More musical entertainment is presented by the high-energy Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe!
And it’s always SUPER FUN to see the thrilling Harambe Village Acrobats!
Check your My Disney Experience app or the Information Boards posted around the park for performance times.
Swotu Wayä — the Pandora Drummers — perform a traditional Na’vi Drum Ceremony in The World of AVATAR! (Temporarily Unavailable)
And if you just so happen to see a massive (10-foot tall) Exo-Carrier Utility Suit, you can learn about Pandora fauna and conservation efforts from a Pandora Ranger!
Check your My Disney Experience app or the Information Boards posted around the park for performance times.
“Just keep swimming” to DinoLand, U.S.A. to see Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!
Live performers, colorful puppets, and the memorable music and story of Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, this is a CAN’T MISS production in Animal Kingdom!
Check your My Disney Experience app or Information Boards posted in the park for performance times for this 25-minute show.
Get ready to HUG MICKEY and MINNIE!
Keep in mind that Disney friends can show up anywhere in Animal Kingdom. However, there are a few locations dedicated to Character Meet-and-Greets where you can be certain to meet your favorites! Check My Disney Experience and the Information Boards posted around the park for characters and their appearance times.
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals — featuring Mickey and Minnie — at Adventurers Outpost — Disney Genie+ option
- Pocahontas (on occasion — check My Disney Experience for appearances)
Donald Duck is celebrating the fact that some of his ancestors were actually dinosaurs with Donald’s Dino-Bash!
This fun character experience also features friends such as Daisy Duck.
And Chip ‘n’ Dale are a HUGE hit in their special Dino-Bash Dinosaur costumes!
Goofy may also make appearances!
Guests may also spot Kevin from Up roaming around DinoLand from time to time!
There is no telling when DiVine, a character experience truly unique to Animal Kingdom, may make her presence known…
You see, DiVine is camouflaged to blend in with her surroundings (which may be anywhere in the park), but when and if you do spot her, she is sure to make an unforgettable impression!
Donald and pals (often including Mickey, Goofy, and Daisy) host Donald’s Safari for an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet of African fare and American favorites for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner!
“The wilderness must be EXPLORED!” YOU can become a Wilderness Explorer through fun and educational activities that bring you all throughout the park!
Earn up to 25 adventure badges for your Wilderness Explorers handbook through nature-themed challenges in this free adventure. Stop by the Wilderness Explorer Headquarters (on the bridge as you enter the park from the Oasis Trails) or Wilderness Explorer Troop Leader stops in Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, Dinoland U.S.A., or Pandora to pick up a handbook. (This activity is specifically geared towards preschoolers and kids, but anyone can participate!)
A NEW service made its debut within the My Disney Experience app for Disney World on October 19, 2021. Disney Genie provides on-the-go planning tools and customized itineraries to help guests maximize their park time in the parks!
The standard Disney Genie — which includes features like dining tips, recommendations for when to head to your next attractions, and enhancements to the Disability Access Service — is a complimentary service.
There are also optional add-ons available for a fee. TWO different options are available, and they allow guests to bypass the standby lines for attractions and instead enter the Lightning Lane. The Disney Genie+ base-price option — starting at $15* per person, per day — allows guests to select the next available time to arrive at an attraction and enter that attraction’s Lightning Lane at over 50 attractions across the four Disney World theme parks. (*Prices vary by date and by park, and Lightning Lane access is subject to availability.)
And another paid option is available for DIFFERENT — and more in-demand — attractions. Disney’s Individual Lightning Lane Attraction Selection service (pay-per-ride) is how guests pay a fee to utilize the Lightning Lane for an individual attraction.
There is a LOT to learn about this service, and you can find ALL the info you need HERE.
Special Events and Tours
Additional opportunities to enhance your time in Animal Kingdom include specialty tours featuring the park’s animals or VIP access to the park’s attractions.
Click on any of the experiences below to learn more!
Private Photo Session
Are you ready to learn MORE about Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Check out our DFB YouTube Video below for more Animal Kingdom fun!