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Guide to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is the most recent of the four Disney World parks and the largest Disney theme park in the world. With a park this large, you are going to find several rides and attractions you are going to want to experience. Use this guide to Animal Kingdom Park to help you navigate.

Courtesy Disney

History of Animal Kingdom

Opened in 1998, Animal Kingdom is the fourth theme park built in Disney World.

Its creation was inspired by Walt Disney’s passion for animals and his vision to raise awareness about conservation efforts.

Safari Elephants

The park spans over 580 acres and is home to over 1,700 animals from 300 different species.

Guide to Animal Kingdom (Maps, Tips and More)

What sets this park out from the rest of Disney World is that it has a focus on animal habitats and conservation efforts.

Animal Kingdom is more than just a glorified “zoo” or “animal park”.

While you will find many different types of animals and animal habitats to explore, there are also rides and attractions to keep the entire family entertained. 

Animal Kingdom Map
Map of Animal Kingdom

Map of Animal Kingdom

To help you navigate, it will help you to understand the park layout.

The iconic Tree of Life sits in the center of Discovery Island. and the lands of Africa, Asia, Pandora- The World of Avatar, and DinoLand U.S.A. surround it. 

Each different land has various rides & attractions for guests to enjoy.

Tree of Life Facts

Discovery Island

Discovery Island serves as the centerpiece of Animal Kingdom and is located at the park’s central hub.

Tree of Life Animal

This area features the Tree of Life, which features over 300 different animals carved into its trunk, roots, and branches.

Around the base of the tree are walking trails with various animal exhibits. There is even a waterfall.

One of the most popular attractions on Discovery Island is “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” – a 3D movie experience that shrinks visitors down to the size of bugs and shows what life is like for them.

Elephants on Safari in Animal Kingdom

Africa

Africa is another section of Animal Kingdom that offers guests a taste of the continent’s rich culture and wildlife.

Harambe Drummers

In this part of the park, you might hear the tam tam drummers of Harambe or witness a thrilling acrobatic performance taking place on the street.

Lion King Show in Animal Kingdom
Courtesy Disney

The highlight of this section is the Kilimanjaro Safaris, but visitors can also enjoy live shows like Festival of the Lion King, meet characters from Disney’s “The Lion King” & walk through the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.

Conservation Station

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

In order to get to this part of Animal Kingdom, you will need to board the Wildlife Express Train in Africa for the 7-minute train ride to a remote area of the park.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is dedicated to conservation and education.

Here, guests can learn about animal habitats, participate in activities such as drawing classes and animal care sessions, and even meet some of the animals up close.

Pandora Floating Mountains

Pandora – The World of Avatar 

Pandora-The World of Avatar celebrates the magic of nature where guests can walk among the floating mountains during the day and explore the glowing fauna and flora after dark.

Disney Flight of Passage

There are two rides located in this part of Animal Kingdom and they are some of the most popular: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey.

Asia Signage in Animal Kingdom

Asia 

As its name suggests, this section of Animal Kingdom is themed after various Asian countries such as India, Nepal, and Thailand.

Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom

Visitors can enjoy the most thrilling rides of the park like Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain and Kali River Rapids.

Tiger in Animal Kingdom

Asia also features animal exhibits like Maharajah Jungle Trek, where visitors can see animals such as Bengal Tigers, Komodo dragons, and Water Buffalos.

Animal Kingdom Dinosaur Ride

DinoLand U.S.A.

Dinoland U.S.A. is a tribute to the extinct creatures that once roamed the earth.

This area features numerous dinosaur-themed attractions such as Dinosaur – a thrilling ride that takes visitors on a journey back in time to save an Iguanodon from extinction.

Dinorama features carnival games and fair rides the entire family will enjoy.

Young visitors can also enjoy The Boneyard – an interactive play area for children to dig, climb, and explore.

Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes
Courtesy Disney

Restaurants in Animal Kingdom

If you’re looking for a quick meal on the go or a sit-down table service experience, there are plenty of options to choose from in Animal Kingdom.

Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe is the quick-service version of Yak & Yeti. It has pan-Asian meals that are tasty and filling.

Flame Tree BBQ

Those looking for a meal of BBQ ribs and chicken should check out Flame Tree Barbecue. Guests can easily share these big plates of food.

Restaurantosaurus offers classic American fare such as burgers and fries.

At Harambe Market, you’ll find a variety of African-inspired dishes that are sure to delight your taste buds.

Satu'li
Courtesy Disney

If you are a foodie and enjoy a unique dining experience, be sure to try Satu’li Canteen in Pandora, World of Avatar.

Roast Beef at Satu-li

You will find steamed Bao Buns and a selection of create-your-own bowls filled with freshly sliced marinated meat over a bed of lettuce, sweet potato hash or rice.

When it comes to table-service dining, there are a few options at Animal Kingdom.

Tusker House Restaurant

Tusker House Restaurant is a popular choice among visitors as it offers an all-you-can-eat buffet with African-inspired dishes.

If you’re in the mood for some Asian cuisine, head to Yak & Yeti Restaurant for their delicious stir-fry and noodle dishes.

Inside Tiffins

Tiffins is a fine dining restaurant that offers a unique blend of African, Asian and South American flavors.

With its upscale atmosphere and delectable dishes, Tiffins is the perfect spot for a special occasion or a romantic dinner.

Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom

Rain Forest Cafe is another popular choice among families, offering a fun and immersive dining experience with its jungle-themed decor and delicious menu.

All these restaurants have a great atmosphere and offer a break from the hustle and bustle of the park.

Zuri Sweets

Those wanting to snack their way through Animal Kingdom should visit Zuri’s Sweets.

Zuri's Sweets: Sugar Cookies

This shop has a wonderful array of baked goods with an animal flair.

Animal Kingdom Park Tips

To make the most of your time in Animal Kingdom Park, you are going to want to make sure you plan your day.

Pandora Valley of Mo'ara

I suggest getting to Animal Kingdom when it opens (if not before) and heading straight over to Pandora, World of Avatar where it tends to get busiest. 

Courtesy Disney

The most popular ride is Flight of Passage and if you aren’t able to get in the Lightning Lane for it, you will want to line up early.  

You should also know that Animal Kingdom tends to be one of the hottest parks in Disney World. 

The thick layer of trees shields any breeze that might cool you off and seems to make the heat coming off the dark pavement near unbearable in the summer. 

Make sure that you bring a refillable water bottle and a misting fan.

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Rechargeable Misting Fan
Generate a cool wind and refreshing mist at the same time to help keep you comfortable in hot temperatures

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When it comes to getting the best price for your Animal Kingdom Tickets, you are going to want to do your research.

Get Away Today WDW

While you can go through the Disney World site to get tickets, you will find that you can get a better price through Get Away Today.

Disney World Animal Kingdom offers a unique experience for guests of all ages, combining thrilling attractions with educational insights on wildlife conservation. It is a must-visit destination for any Disney fan or animal lover.

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