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Disneyworld Animal Kingdom A Complete Beginners Guide.
Here is a Beginners Guide to Animal Kingdom Disney World, this is a truly amazing park and is fun for any ages.
- Why Animal Kingdom is my favorite park on Disney property.
- Fun Fact – Animal Kingdom opened the doors on Earth Day 22nd April 1988.
- Animal Kingdom is a cross between a zoo and a theme park.
- Seven Themed areas of Animal Kingdom.
- Animal Kingdom Dining
- Tips, Tricks, and Must-Dos.
Why Animal Kingdom is my Favorite Park
Animal Kingdom – is one of my favorite places on the whole Disney property in WDW (Walt Disney World) its an amazing place – I love seeing all the animals
It’s a cross between a theme park and a zoo – it hosts lots of traditional attractions as well as having 300 species of animals, it’s the largest of all theme parks it covers a whopping 580 acres. Animal Kingdom is to the western edge of the resort and is kind of isolated from the other parks so the fireworks don’t disturb the animals. Hence why this park closes earlier and doesn’t host any fireworks. This park also doesn’t allow any guests to wear stickers, or allow any plastic straws, lids, and balloons.
It has some amazing shows, rides, and restaurants.
Let me chat with you about my favorite park…
Animal Kingdom Opens its Doors
- Animal Kingdom opens its doors on World Earth Day 22nd April 1988
- It was the fourth theme park to open
- The park spans 580 acres (the largest of all Disney Parks)
- It houses approx 2000 animals representing 300 species.
- The Tree Of Life stands approx 145ft. It was engineered from an oil platform and has 325 cravings.
The Dedication plaque as you enter Animal Kingdom
Welcome to a kingdom of animals… real, ancient, and imagined: a kingdom ruled by lions, dinosaurs, and dragons; a kingdom of balance, harmony, and survival; a kingdom we enter to share in the wonder, gaze at the beauty, thrill at the drama and learn.
Michael D. Eisner, April 22, 1998
Tree of Life
The most visual icon of the whole of the park is the Tree of Life – It truly is breathtaking this artificial tree stands an amazing 145 ft tall or 44 meters and 50 ft wide or 15 meters. It stands over 14 stories tall and has over 300 hand-carved animals on its trunk. This tree stands tall and proud on Discovery Island. This really is a great photo opportunity place.
The Seven Wonders of Animal Kingdom
- Oasis (the entrance)
- Discovery Island (The hub of the park)
- Pandora – The World of Avatar (Newest Addition)
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- DinoLand USA
OASIS as you enter Animal Kingdom here you will find Rain Forrest Cafe some bathrooms, camera supplies & souvenirs along with the place to pick up your park maps & timetables.
Discovery Island – Is like the main hub of Animal Kingdom. At the back of Discovery Island here stands the awesome Tree of Life. Here you can become a Wilderness Explorer if you want to accept the challenge & earn badges as you go around the park. It’s tough to be a bug is also here – this is a 3D film inspired by “It’s Tough to be a Bug” bear in mind that if you aren’t stuck on creepy-crawly moments may be best to avoid them, also in the dark. You will also find the majority of the restaurants & and some souvenir shops.
From here you can go to any of the areas in Animal Kingdom – planning really is key. It’s best to have your FP (Fast Passes ) booked in advance and a guide of where you need to go.
Let’s head to Pandora first,
Pandora – The World Of Avatar – This is the newest addition to Animal Kingdom – opening on 27th May 2017. This really is amazing & a must-see – Avatar Flight of Passage is truly breathtaking and an amazing ride – A FP is recommended however, I know how hard they are to get – so be prepared to queue.
Avatar Flight of Passage is a 3D ride on the back of a banshee. You do have to be 44″ to ride this, so if you are going with younger children just bear this in mind!
You also have the Na’vi River Ride which is a slow boat ride around the Rain Forrest – now I wouldn’t worry too much if I couldn’t ride this however FOP – I would queue for and I have queued for it – it really is that good.
Inside of Pandora The World of Avatar – You have two places to eat – great if you are on the Dining Plan and a shop you walk through on your exit of FOP
Africa – Now before Pandora came Africa was my favorite part of Animal Kingdom – now I would say it’s a tied first. The theming is outstanding. Here you will find Kilimanjaro Safari, Gorilla Falls, and the amazing Lion King show. Kilimanjaro Safari really is good & if you get a great Cast Member it really can be that extraordinary magical experience. This is great to ride just before dusk.
There are several great places in Africa to eat.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch – Here we can work out how we can save the planet, here we can learn all about conservation.
Asia- This area is set in the fictional kingdom of Anandapur. Again the theming is brilliant and centered around animal conservation. There are several big attractions to be found here in Asia – Kali River Rapids, Expedition of Everest, UP – A Great Bird Adventure & Maharajah Jungle Trek.
On the Banks of Discovery River, Rivers of Light the nigh time show situated between Asia & DinoLand USA.
DinoLand USA – is based around Dinosaurs – with a funfair twist.
As you enter DinoLand USA you will come across The Boneyard This is like a giant playground where you can dig fossils. You can also play funfair type games – or if you prefer you can ride Primeval Whirl, TriceraTop Spin & Dinosaur.
In DinoLand USA there are several places where you can grab a bite to eat – before heading off to watch Finding Nemo. This is an amazing puppet show, Finding Nemo some 40 min or so. Check out the timetable for shows when you enter the park. As you really don’t want to miss this and it is a great time to take a break from the Floridan heat in the air-conditioned auditorium.
Meeting Characters at Animal Kingdom.
Meeting Characters is possibly not your number one priority when visiting Animal Kingdom – however, there are several characters that you will meet at Animal Kingdom that you won’t meet at other parks.
- Russel and Dug
- Scrooge McDuck.
Make sure that you have the My Disney Experience App on your phone so you can check the location of your favorite character.
Also, there is a Character Dining Experience at Tusker House, found in Africa. Donald’s Safari offers breakfast, lunch & dinner and is a buffet-style dining option.
Animal Kingdom Dining Options.
There are several dining options at Animal Kingdom.
There are 4 table service options.
- Tusker House – Character Dining option found in Africa.
- Rainforest Cafe – Found at the front of the park this restaurant can be accessed from both inside and outside of the park.
- Yak & Yeti – An Asian themed restaurant
- Tiffins – Found adjacent to the Nomad Lounge.
I would strongly recommend that you secure an ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) as they do fill up.
All restaurants at Animal Kingdom cater for food allergies and intolerances – speak to a Cast Member.
Along with the above table service restaurants, there are some excellent quick-service restaurants to eat at.
- Eight Spoon Cafe
- Flame Tree Barbecue
- Isle of Java (coffees & pastries)
- Creature Comforts (Starbucks)
- Pongu Pongu
- Satu’li Canteen
- Harambe Fruit Market
- Harambe Market
- Tamu Tamu Refreshments (Dole Whip)
- Dawa Bar (Cocktails)
- Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery
- Monbasa Market Place
- Zuri Sweet Shop
- Mr. Kamal’s
- Warung Outpost (Margaritas, Beers)
- Drinkwallah Hosted by Coca- Cola
- Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes
- Anandpur Ice Cream Truck
- Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks
- Dino Bites Snacks
- Trilo Bites
- Dino Diner
So as you can see, plenty of places to eat.
Entertainment At Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom has some amazing Entertainment – whilst it doesn’t have a parade it does have some excellent shows.
Street Entertainment – We fell upon an amazing Street Entertainment – African Bands to an amazing drum ceremony in Pandora.
There are 3 fantastic stage shows
- Finding Nemo – The musical
- Festival of the Lion King
- Up! A Great Bird Adventure
Shows, like everything in Animal Kingdom, are very popular so if you haven’t a fast pass for these shows I would suggest you turn up early.
Rivers of Light – This show is extremely popular.
Top Tips for Must Do’s
Here are my MUST DO’S
- Look at a map and plan before
- Book all FastPasses and know where you are heading in advance.
- Book ADR’S (Advanced Dining Reservations.)
- Take a look here at my Complete Ride List.