Disney’s Animal Kingdom Touring Strategies

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a wild time filled with great attractions plenty of animal sightings. This is your complete guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park Touring Strategies.

When to Arrive

Disney's Animal Kingdom - Africa

Like the other parks at the Walt Disney World Resort, it is recommended to arrive early at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This park generally opens and closes earlier than the other Disney parks.

Guests who stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel have earlier access to the park. This means a 30-minute head start to the most popular attractions. In addition, arriving early often means great views of the animals in the park.

Plus, if you have a park hopper ticket and would like to hop to another park, arriving early gives you more time to get everything you want to do checked off your list before you leave.

Touring Plans

There are two Disney’s Animal Kingdom touring strategies included here. Each one can be modified based on your interests and what works best for your travel party.

Animal Kingdom with kids

Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Little Ones

While there are a few attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that have a height requirement, there is still plenty for young children to do throughout the day.

Here are some things to consider during your visit:

  • The animals throughout the park are often active first thing in the morning and later in the day. Don’t skip the walking trails throughout the park. Here, look for animals such as tigers, hippos, otters, and gorillas. There are even several baby animals to find! In addition, take the Wildlife Express train over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. The kids can explore the petting zoo and maybe even watch as animals get veterinary care inside the Conservation Station!
  • Characters at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are found floating along the Discovery River. Listen for a change in music and then be on the lookout for your favorite friends!
  • If you have children age 10 and under, be sure to stop by the Boneyard, located in DinoLand U.S.A. Here, kids can run around, explore rope bridges and climb through caves in this play area with a fun dinosaur theme.
  • Don’t forget to enjoy the shows at the park. Disney KiteTails is the newest addition found at the Discovery River amphitheater throughout the day. Stop by the Tree of Life for an up-close-and-personal view of some of the park’s feathered residents during Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight.
  • If you would like to experience an attraction and your child is not tall enough, see a cast member at the attraction entrance to do a Rider Swap.


To Download this touring plan, click here.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom 1-Day Touring Plan

This touring plan is designed for one day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s relatively easy to see everything in this park, especially if you get an early start.

To download this touring plan, click here.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • As previously mentioned – arrive early! Take advantage of the early park entry if you are staying at a participating resort hotel.
  • In the evenings, the Tree of Life awakens with a brief nighttime show, as a part of the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration. It starts at dusk and runs until park closing time.
  • Use the My Disney Experience app for mobile ordering. This will save you a lot of time, especially at busier meal times. Select the items you want to order, check out, and then once you are near the restaurant, press the button that says “Prepare My Order”.

Using Disney Genie+ with Touring Plans

Disney's Animal Kingdom touring plans

If you plan to purchase Disney Genie+ for your visit, make sure that you purchase it prior to 7:00 am. Almost all of the attractions here are included when you purchase Disney Genie+, including the shows. This will help you save time and explore other areas of the park such as Rafiki’s Planet Watch and the Discovery Island Trails.

It’s important to purchase Individual Lightning Lane attraction times at 7:00 am as well. This should be done first as the availability for these eight attractions tend to go quickly.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the park is set up like the wheel of a bicycle. The Tree of Life is found in the center – on Discovery Island – and the various lands are around it like spokes.  Since the animals are often the most active early in the day, it is recommended to start your day in Africa or Pandora.

Here are some additional tips to consider:
  • If the wait times are short when you arrive, consider taking advantage. You can then use Disney Genie+ to experience those attractions again later in the day.
  • If you would like to purchase Individual Lightning Lane attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, consider scheduling them for late morning or early afternoon.
  • Keep in mind that if you plan to park hop and use an Individual Lightning Lane attraction time, you should still schedule it starting at 7:00 am. This is especially the case if it is a very popular attraction (e.g. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance)

These Disney’s Animal Kingdom touring strategies are a great way to make sure that you consider all the amazing things to see and do at the park. Our friends at Key to the World Travel are also ready to help you make the most of your Disney days!



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