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Animal Kingdom help/suggestions

eb3257

Active Member
Hi Everyone,
My post title says it all. I need some help planning a day in the Animal Kingdom.

Some background, I've been to Animal Kingdom three times and each time only spent a half day there. I was last there in 2009. This time we are going with our five year old twins so that is why I want to have a tentative plan for the must-sees.

I remember riding Dinosaur, the Kali Rapids, the Safari rides, It's Tough to be a bug and admiring the Tree of Life but beyond that I do not remember seeing/doing other things.

What are your must-sees? Any suggestions for young kids? Right now I have fast passes for a safari ride, the Na'vi River Journey (I couldn't get Flight of Passage- bummed!) and Rivers of Light. Would you switch any of these?

Any shows or trails that you would recommend? I keep worrying that there isn't enough for us to fill the day there but the more I type it seems I've seen way less of the park than I realized. (We do not have park hoppers).

Dining recommendations?

Any help is appreciated!!! Sorry this post is so long:)
 

krause

Well-Known Member
Hi Everyone,
My post title says it all. I need some help planning a day in the Animal Kingdom.

Some background, I've been to Animal Kingdom three times and each time only spent a half day there. I was last there in 2009. This time we are going with our five year old twins so that is why I want to have a tentative plan for the must-sees.

I remember riding Dinosaur, the Kali Rapids, the Safari rides, It's Tough to be a bug and admiring the Tree of Life but beyond that I do not remember seeing/doing other things.

What are your must-sees? Any suggestions for young kids? Right now I have fast passes for a safari ride, the Na'vi River Journey (I couldn't get Flight of Passage- bummed!) and Rivers of Light. Would you switch any of these?

Any shows or trails that you would recommend? I keep worrying that there isn't enough for us to fill the day there but the more I type it seems I've seen way less of the park than I realized. (We do not have park hoppers).

Dining recommendations?

Any help is appreciated!!! Sorry this post is so long:)


I've never been with 5 year olds but we LOVE animal kingdom. There's Expedition Everest rollercoaster (not sure about the 5 year olds thrill ride level but adults could go in the single rider line). There's the Finding Nemo musical which is great (it's 40 minutes long so a bit of a time commitment but air conditioning!). There's the festival of the lion king show and the Flights of Wonder bird show which is always great. Then you can take the train to Rafiki Planet Watch which has an education type centre and a petting area with goats and sheep. It's a bit of an "escape" from the park because it's usually not that busy. There's 2 "treks" you can take to see loads of animals - Gorilla Falls in Africa and Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia.

For food, there's Tusker House if you want a character buffet (although it's quite expensive) and there's Yak and Yeti which has a table service restaurant but also a counter service restaurant right next door. There's the new Satu'li canteen in Pandora as well which is getting good reviews. There are multiple other quick service spots as well but those are our favourites.

For AK I think that you can choose to make it a half day or whole day park. There is definitely enough to do to make it a whole day if that's what you want to do :)
 
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NelleBelle

Well-Known Member
We, too, always could make AK a "whole day" (and we haven't even been since Pandora was added). We love just walking around the park with the incredible details the put into it. Of course, our 2 sons, who are now 13 and 11, have always gone when we've pulled them from school and have needed to do some school work, so we'd often find a nice table for a break and let them do a few assignments while we people-watched. But for your 2, there is the Dino-dig play area our boys loved when they were younger. We loved doing the safari ride at sunset--really cool to see some of the animals come out that normally are sleeping during the day. And of course, all the attractions the pp mentioned. If you do Festival of the Lion King, get in line early and try and sit as close to an aisle or front row as you can--my youngest son got picked to go up front to represent our section last year as well as be in part of the parade they have in the show. Was really exciting for him!
 
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Po'Rich

Well-Known Member
One must see is the Festival of the Lion King. We also enjoy some of the street entertainment, particularly Chakranadi and Burudika. I'd also recommend Flights of Wonder and the Winged Encounters. Last, make sure you stay long enough to see the Tree of Life Awakens. This is currently my favorite projection show.
 
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LAKid53

Official Member of the Girly Girl Fan Club
Premium Member
Everyone's suggestions are excellent.

My only concern is using a FP selection for an evening event. Once you've used your others on Navi and the Safari, you won't be able to book any more with that evening show. I wish WDW would do what DLR does for their evening fireworks/shows - FP for World of Color doesn't impact any FP selections.

There are several good counter service places to eat - Satu'li Canteen in Pandora, Flame Tree in Africa, the Yak and Yeti market in Asia, Harambee market in Africa.. And you can now order online using the Disney app for both Flame Tree and Satu'li. The app will either give you a time to pick up your meal or tell you to come back anytime. I used it for Satu'li. When I got near the restaurant, the app asked if I was ready to pick up. I think I waited maybe 5 minutes to get my food during a busy time - there's a separate line to pick up online orders.

Animal Kingdom is my favorite park - there's so much to do there beside the rides. And your kids will love the Lion King show. I try to see it every time I visit AK. Make sure to take the time to wander around Pandora. While not big, it's impressive
 
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Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
I'd suggest splitting up your day, with a big nap/swim break in the middle.

If it helps, here what my family's 2016 AK day itinerary looked like (with an evening return/Pandora added):
[rope drop arrival - park opening at 9am]
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (~15 min.)
- arrive by 9:45am for 10:00am Festival of the Lion King (*MUST-DO: best live show in all of WDW, in my opinion!)
- Tough to Be a Bug!
- Maharajah Jungle Trek (~20 min.)
- Kali River Rapids (11am FP+)
[LUNCH - Yak & Yeti counter service]
- Expedition Everest (12pm FP+)
- Triceratop Spin
- Dinosaur (if wait is not prohibitive - otherwise, come back to it in the evening)
[BREAK around 2pm - return to resort for naps and/or dinner at location of choice]
[return to park by 7pm]
Tour Pandora (FP+ for your choice of Flights of Passage or River Journey - do the other in standby during the hour before park closing)
See Rivers of Light

(This plan skips the Finding Nemo show, the bird show, Primeval Whirl, the Boneyard playground, the train/Rafiki's Planet Watch/Conservation Station, the Wilderness Explorers scavenger hunt, and other character meet-and-greets.)
 
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Tyaloo

Active Member
Also, you know your children better than anyone - so you can plan according to that too! My daughter had horrible experiences on Dinosaur, and It's tough to be a bug (she was 4) - like screaming and crying and it made her say NO to simple rides like Winnie the Pooh after that LOL. I should have known better (even It's Tough To Be A Bug has a warning on the outside, that it's frightening to young children - my daughter wasn't the only child that left crying).

There's no way my daughter would want to ride expedition everest (scary roller coaster for some kids - some love it!), kali river rapids is a hard "no" (she doesn't want to get soaked), primevil whirl - well, even I don't do that - I get a headache after riding it! We are also skipping Pandora as it looks dark and demonic and my daughter doesn't even want to see it (really no one in our family wants to see it, so that's an easy choice).

BUT - my daughter loves Wilderness Explorers, she'll be completing her book this year - plus festival of the lion king, the finding nemo show, kilimanjaro safaris, the boneyard and the dig site (kids can dig up dinosaur bones!) are HUGE hits with her! She has always loved those! The trails have wild animals on them, also a big hit!

All that to say, consider how adventurous your kids are, and pick the attractions/shows based on that - there is tons to do there! You know what they'd like best! There really is something for everyone :)
 
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eb3257

Active Member
Original Poster
Thank you all so much for your suggestions! I am making sure that we make Festival of Lion King a must for our AK day since everyone seems to love it. Have any of you seen Rivers of Light yet? I booked a fast pass so we would not need to wait in a long line and would be guaranteed a seat but the reviews seem mixed. We will not be doing Dinosaur since the kids would be scared and I plan on doing Everest in the single rider line so no fast passes for either of those. Our fast passes are Na'vi River Journey, the safari and Rivers of Light. Would you change anything?
 
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danheaton

Well-Known Member
There is definitely enough at DAK to cover a full day. Both of the main walking trails are amazing and worth the time. It took a while for DAK to grow on me, but I'm hooked on it now. I think your FPs are right, and if you want to Everest, it shouldn't be a huge line.

My big recommendation for DAK is to take your time. Do the big attractions, but also enjoy the ambiance. I usually think that part of it is overrated, but that's not true with this park. It's also really cool at night. I loved Rivers of Light, and while some reactions have been mixed, it really worked for me.

For dining, Tiffins is supposed to be amazing, but it's really pricey. The Yak and Yeti is better for a little less money. If you want to do counter service, Flame Tree Barbecue is a great option and has a cool outdoor seating area.
 
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