While Animal Kingdom is very focused on the animals, there are still some absolutely fantastic rides and attractions here. As you enter the park and head across the bridge to discovery island, if you head off to left, you’ll see Pizzafari on your left, keep going and you’ll see restrooms, then Creature Comforts (Starbucks) and find the First Aid and Baby Care Center.
Our absolute favorite thing here is Kilamanjaro Safari. It’s just incredible to see this many animals up close and the guides always have tons of great information on them. Get your camera ready and enjoy the ride!
My favorite roller coaster is here too, Expedition Everest. The queue here is basically a walk through museum of artifacts and legends from the areas around the base of Mt. Everest. This ride also has a single rider Queue you can hop in if you don’t mind being by yourself or separate from you party. This is typically a much shorter wait than standby. Despite having no inversions, this is a surprisingly intense roller coaster, a must do for any thrill seekers.
Dinosaur is a deceptive ride. Most of the dinoland area seems designed mostly for the younger visitors of the park, but Dinosaur is a fast paced ride mostly in the dark with some reasonable jump scares, so think twice before bringing a little on on here, but overall it’s a very fun ride, and the queue here has some pretty neat fossils and exhibits as well.
What many would consider the best ride in Disney World is here in the Pandora area, Flight of Passage. It’s a breathtaking flight simulator ride. That description doesn’t do it justice, but I don’t know how else to describe it without giving away too much. Even though it’s over 2 years old, the demand for this ride is still sky high with wait times usually sitting around 3 hours and pushing closer to 5 hours on busier days. If you can luck out and find a last minute fastpass, grab it, otherwise your best bet is to hit it first thing in the morning. Pandora also has a beautiful dark boat ride, N’avi River Journey. Our family usually grabs a fastpass for this one since we can all enjoy it together. If you’re a fan of Disney Imagineering, river journey also has one of the most advanced audio animatronics in the parks.
The remaining rides are all fun, but nothing I would consider must do’s (unless your kid is like mine, and have to do anything involving dinosaurs. Triceratops Twirl is another spinning ride like The Magic Carpets or Dumbo from Magic Kingdom and Primevil Whirl is just a wild mouse coaster and other than the theming, not unique to Disney world (and it has one of the highest height restrictions in all of Disney World).
Animal Kingdom is definitely and “experience” based park with some incredible shows and walk through exhibits, like the zoo of your dreams. But it’s also just a great place to soak in the details. Pandora is amazing to me every time I go. From the way the land looks and sounds like another planet to pondering the engineering that went in to making the floating mountains, I could spend a lot of time just soaking in. This park is probably our overall family favorite. The Discovery island trails around the tree life are always fun with a few good animals to see and getting you up close to the animal sculptures that make up the trunk of the Tree of Life.
For both an amazing performance and a place to rest your feet, check out The Festival of The Lion King. Great music, acrobatics, and a fun theater in the round experience. Finding Nemo – The musical is a longer show, but the puppets are amazing as well as the music. If you can get there in time to get closer seats it will probably help keep easily distracted little ones more engaged as the characters move around in the front of the crowd seating.
One of the absolute best places for kids is here. Our daughter asks about it all the time, and it’s The Boneyard in Dinoland U.S.A. A combo playground and dig pit, it’s the perfect place to let you kid loose for a little bit. Lots of stuff to climb, slides, and a pebble pit to dig for a woolly mammoth. It’s a one way in one way out restricted area, but with as many levels as it is, it can still be easy to lose track of your kid, just a heads up.
It’s Tough to Be a Bug is a fun 4-D experience, and the theater is inside the Tree of Life. Be ready for one “scary” moment with some spiders though. And since it’s inside the Tree of Life it’s another great chance to get up close and see some of the hundreds of animals that make up the trunk of the Tree of Life.
Some of the best attractions are the walk through animal attractions though like the Maharaja Jungle Trek or the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Both of these offer gorgeous animal attractions with Cast Members standing by to answer questions. Maharaja jungle trail feels like walking through ancient ruins taken over by animals.
Be on the lookout for performances or dance parties in each area of the park. You’ll find traditional music, Bollywood style dancing, animal perfomances, dance parties, and wandering characters. There’s a little bit of everything! And during the holidays you’ll find some fun animal puppets of cold weather creatures wandering around and interacting with guests on Discovery Island in front of the Tree of Life which I think little ones would love.
There’s so much good food here I don’t even know where to begin, so I guess we’ll just start in the middle and work our way around. Flame Tree Barbecue is right here on Discovery Island and is a great counter service option (get that mobile order ready).
From here we’ll head down and around clockwise starting in Pandora. Our favorite counter service in all of Disney World is here, Satu’li Canteen. It’s a great fresh option of build your own bowls, steamed bun cheeseburgers for the kids, and some really fun desserts. I love the chocolate dome cake, but I think they have a really good Peppermint dome during the holidays. (Fun fact, our friend Evan is a pastry chef in animal kingdom, so if you’re eating a dessert here, she probably had something to do with it!)
Heading around towards Africa brings you to another chance to grab a Dole Whip at Tamu Tamu Refreshments, and here you can also get one with Coconut or Spiced Rum added to it! If you’re hear early heading to the Safari, Kusafiri coffee shop & bakery has a quick and delicious egg and cheese biscuit so you don’t get hangry! And there’s also a pretzel cart here that has Curry Spiced Grilled Street Corn which is a great little snack!
Continuing our journey around to Asia you’ll pass a few small carts worth checking, Mr. Kamal’s usually has some sort of seasoned fries that I love (but they don’t have the exact ones anymore) and a humus plate. And Caravan road which has a ginger slaw dog!
Yak and Yeti has a mango pie (or a mini version at the counter service window) and along the waters edge is Anadapur Tea Company where you can grab a tea or coffee slushy and relax next to the water with views of the Tree of Life. On the bridge back towards the tree if life is 8 Spoons Cafe which has fantastic baked Mac N Cheese.
We haven’t had as much to eat in Dinoland so not much to recommend here. Dino Bites has a much loved Peppermint Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich and Trilo Bites has Buffalo Chicken Chips.