Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is totally different from any of the other Disney Parks in Orlando. While there are a few fun rides to enjoy, the stars here are the animals themselves. We visited with our two kids aged 11 and 9 and found this park really easy to navigate around as it’s simply separated into six different sections.
Once you enter Animal Kingdom and walk through Discovery Island, you will come across the Tree of Life. Standing at 145 feet tall and with a base measuring 50 feet, this man-made tree contains over 300 carvings on its trunk. It’s worth taking a little bit of time to have a close up look at this pretty amazing feature. Located inside the Tree of Life is a 3D show – It’s Tough to be a Bug! This is definitely an experience worth taking the kids to, as they get to embark on a journey of life as a bug.
The highlight of the whole park is located here in Africa and that’s the Kilimanjaro Safaris. On this adventure you are guided through the savannahs of Africa where a vast array of wild animals roam free. It really is amazing to witness these animals in their natural habitat, especially for those that have never (and may never) get to experience the real beauty of Africa. The helpful guides on board explain a lot about the animals along the way as well.
Another highlight of Africa is the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. This self-guided walking trail takes you through the African forest, looking at various animals such as hippos, gorillas and zebras.
A not to be missed attraction at Animal Kingdom is the Festival of the Lion King. This 30 minute colourful spectacular includes acrobats, singing performers and animal floats. This performance kept our kids mesmerised for the entire time.
All throughout Africa are roving street performers as well as plenty of shops and eateries . Our boys also got taught the African game of Mancala which they absolutely loved!
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
From Africa you can also board the Wildlife Express train for the 7 minute trip to Rafiki’s Planet Watch which highlights the parks commitment to preservation and conservation of animals. Here you will find a petting zoo, conservation station and the Habitat Habit! exhibit.
Asia is a really interesting area which showcases countries such as Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Thailand. There is plenty of live entertainment and food venues as well as four main attractions.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is a rollercoaster ride the kids will love.
Flights of Wonder is a 25 minute bird show which was not only entertaining, but educational as well.
Kali River Rapids is a white water raft ride where you will get wet – quite possibly drenched!
Maharajah Jungle Trek is another walk through animal encounter where you can witness Asian tigers, gibbons, water buffalo, birds and bats.
The kids will love this area of Animal Kingdom. The main ride, DINOSAUR was closed for refurbishment while we were visiting, but it looks pretty good. Other rides include, Primeval Whirl and TriceraTop Spin.
Right in the heart of Dinoland is the Fossil Fun Games area which is home to carnival style games where the kids can try to win prizes.
Another attraction that we highly recommend in Dinoland U.S.A. is Finding Nemo – The Musical. Based on the movie this 40 minute show is a mix of human performers and puppetry. It really is worth watching and our kids just loved it!
This is the smallest area here at Animal Kingdom. Its main attraction is the is the tropical forest exhibit – The Oasis Exhibits. There is also a Rainforest Cafe which has an entrance and exit to the park.
When doing fast-pass planning prior to arrival at Animal Kingdom we would suggest using them for Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids and DINOSAUR. As DINOSAUR was closed when we visited we used our for Expedition Everest. It is worth noting that Expedition Everest does have a single rider lane so it is always easy to avoid the queues if you are prepared to use it.
While some people will say you don’t need a full day at Animal Kingdom, if you plan on seeing all the shows we would recommend planning a full day here. If you love animals, you will want to take your time and not rush through all the exhibits. There is also a lot of roving entertainment that makes the time fly by as you wander through the park. Disney’s Animal Kingdom really is a place that the kids will enjoy and a must do when visiting Orlando.