Disney’s Animal Kingdom 101: A Complete Guide

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort celebrating wildlife, conservation, and more. This is your complete guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While many may feel that it is “just a big zoo”, this theme park has so much to offer and is always worth a visit!

Like the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is like the wheel of a bicycle. The Tree of Life can be found in the middle, known as Discovery Island. Around it, you will find each of the “lands” in the park – DinoLand U.S.A., Pandora – The World of Avatar, Africa, Asia, and Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Attractions/Rides

Disney's Animal Kingdom 101 - Complete Guide

**Please note, as the Walt Disney World Resort continues with a phased reopening, not all attractions/rides or shows may be available. This list will be updated as needed.

There are several great rides and attractions throughout the park. This is a great place for thrill-seekers! Plus, there are many opportunities to find different types of wildlife from all over the world.

  • DINOSAUR
  • TriceraTop Spin
  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Wildlife Express Train
  • Affection Section
  • Conservation Station
  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • Kali River Rapids
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!

Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom

In addition to the rides and attractions listed above, you will also find a few shows and other entertainment throughout the park. Some of these experiences have been modified at this time.

  • Animal Encounters: Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight
  • A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King
  • Feathered Friends in Flight
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Entertainment – Right now, there are modified character interactions along the Discovery River as your favorite friends float along. Try to spot Mickey and Minnie, Donald, Goofy and friends, and more! In addition, be on the lookout for the Discovery Island Drummers.
Disney's Animal Kingdom 101 - A Complete Guide

Photo Source: Disney

Dining

Disney's Animal Kingdom - A Complete Guide

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you will find many different dining options. Whether you have a picky or adventurous palate, there is something here for you! Plus, you will find a great character dining experience at the Tusker House!

  • Dawa Bar
  • Harambe Fruit Market (Quick Service)
  • Harambe Market (Quick Service)
  • Mahindi (Quick Service)
  • Tamu Tamu Refreshments (Quick Service)
  • Tusker House Restaurant (Table Service)
  • Anandapur Ice Cream Truck (Quick Service)
  • Drinkwallah (Quick Service)
  • Thirsty River Bar (Quick Service)
  • Trek Snacks (Quick Service)
  • Warung Outpost (Quick Service)
  • Yak & Yeti™ Local Food Cafes (Quick Service)

  • Yak & Yeti™ Restaurant (Table Service)
  • Dino-Bite Snacks (Quick Service)
  • Dino Diner (Quick Service)
  • Restaurantosaurus (Quick Service)
  • Trilo-Bites (Quick Service)
  • Creature Comforts (Starbucks) (Quick Service)
  • Eight Spoon Cafe (Quick Service)
  • Flame Tree Barbecue (Quick Service)
  • Isle of Java (Quick Service)
  • Nomad Lounge (Quick Service)
  • Pizzafari (Quick Service)
  • The Smiling Crocodile (Quick Service)
  • Terra Treats (Quick Service)
  • Tiffins Restaurant (Table Service)
  • Pongu Pongu (Quick Service)
  • Satu’li Canteen (Quick Service
  • Rainforest Cafe® (Table Service) – located outside of the park, at the entrance

Shopping

There are plenty of opportunities to find the perfect souvenir at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For example, you can find your very own banshee in Pandora or a stuffed animal friend from the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Don’t forget all the things celebrating the mouse himself!

  • Africa Hub Cart
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris Cart
  • Mariya’s Souvenirs
  • Mombasa Marketplace
  • Ziwani Traders
  • Zuri’s Sweets Shop
  • Mandala Gifts
  • Serka Zong Bazaar
  • Yak & Yeti™ Bhaktapur Market
  • Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures
  • The Dino Institute Shop
  • Dino-Rama Cart
  • Theater in the Wild Cart
  • Discovery Trading Company
  • Island Mercantile
  • Riverside Depot
  • Garden Gate Gifts
  • Windtraders
  • Out of the Wild

Animals, Hidden Gems, and More

Disney's Animal Kingdom 101 - Complete Guide

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is such a beautiful park. It has a great vibe with so much to look at it! Personally, I could stare at the Tree of Life and the animal carvings forever!

In addition to the rides, attractions, and shows at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you will also find plenty of animals! There are walking trails throughout the park where you will find animals including tigers, red pandas, hippos, gorillas, and more.

Then, it’s worth the train ride on the Wildlife Express to visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here, you can visit the Affection Section petting zoo and see some of the animal inspiration for some of your favorite Disney movies! Then, head inside to the Conservation Station. You can learn about how the animals are cared for in the park and maybe even watch as the veterinary staff examines the animals in the procedure room!

After that, I suggest stopping by the Animation Experience to learn how to draw some of your favorite Disney characters. The character drawing changes at each session throughout the day. The animator gives step-by-step instructions on how to draw each one, making this a family-friendly experience.

The Wilderness Explorers is a great activity for kids to do as they explore the park. Although designed for ages 7-12 years, this can be modified for all ages and the cast members are great about incorporating all ages into the fun! Just stop by the booth on Discovery Island and grab your explorer’s guide. Then, look for Wilderness guides throughout the park to earn your badges!

Starting on October 1, 2021, there will be a new show featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “Disney KiteTails” will come alive several times throughout the day at the Discovery Island Amphitheater. In addition, check out the Tree of Life as it comes to life at night with enchanted fireflies and the magic of nature!

In conclusion, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is so much more than “just a big zoo”. With thrills and animals of all kinds, you don’t want to miss this theme park! This complete guide gave an overview of everything that this park has to offer. Hopefully, you will take a look for yourself on your next visit! I’d love to hear about your favorites!

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