Welcome to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the newest addition to the four breathtaking Florida parks, where nature meets magic.
Boasting an extraordinary 580 acre area, the park is home to numerous animal species, as well as the original Mickey Mouse crew. With an astounding 12 million visitors a year, it’s no wonder Animal Kingdom has become a must-see destination since first opening its gates in 1998.
All Animal Kingdom Rides and Attractions
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Wild Africa Trek
- Festival of the Lion King
- Wildlife Express Train
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Discovery Island Trails
- The Tree of Life
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Affection Section
- Conservation Station
- Habitat Habit!
- Wildlife Express Train
- Expedition Everest
- Kali River Rapids
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
- Feathered Friends in Flight!
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!
- The Boneyard
- Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama
- TriceraTop Spin
Pandora – The World of Avatar
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
But with so much to explore, where do you even begin?
Fear not, because we’ve got you covered. In this article, we break down the park’s six themed areas and over 41 rides and attractions, so you can navigate the wonderland with ease.
Plus, we’ve even thrown in some insider tips to ensure you make the most out of your visit to Animal Kingdom. Let’s go wild!
1. Avatar Flight of Passage: Fly A Banshee in Pandora
Opening in late May of 2017, the World of Avatar has arguably become the most spectacular addition to the Animal Kingdom. The park features two Avatar themed rides, Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, but trust us when we say the former is the real showstopper.
Described as a mix between EPCOT’s Soarin’ and Hollywood Studios’ Star Tours, Flight of Passage is a virtual ride that gives you the experience of riding on a banshee. We know, it doesn’t sound very thrilling, but it’s nothing like anything you’ve ever experienced before. The full immersion is unique, using 3D and simulation technology to make you forget you’re even on a ride.
In fact, it’s even better than you might think. The experience is amplified for each rider as they have their own banshee that they ride like a bike. Though, if you’re claustrophobic or have children that easily panic, you may want to give them an idea of what to expect as they’re restrained from the back.
But let’s be honest, the long wait is definitely worth it. If you’re still on the fence, there’s a test banshee available outside the attraction line that you can ride to see if it’s your thing before committing to a long wait time.
Just make sure you’re prepared for two pre-shows during your wait. One of them matches you up with the virtual banshee you’re about to ride and the other explains the backstory of Pandora itself. With the incredible atmosphere, it can feel a bit draggy, but take the time to soak it in.
Once you’ve got your 3D glasses and are strapped into your own banshee, you’re transported into a new world. Unlike Soarin’, Flight of Passage takes you on a multi-layered ride that’s impossible to experience without riding it. So don’t miss out and make this your top choice for your Lightning Lane. If that’s not possible, the long wait is worth it(wait times can be up to three hours), trust us!
2. Expedition Everest
Named one of the most underrated coasters in Disney World, Expedition Everest is an experience that’s never dull! Despite being relatively new (opening its doors in 2006), you can ride it time and time again, and it will always have something unique to offer.
Expect a waiting engagement that immerses you into the artifact-filled Himalayan surroundings with many yeti sightings. The temperature inside is pretty chilly, perfect to cool you down from a tropical paradise outside. However, keep your adrenaline levels rising as peak turns approach. You can feel the suspense and thrill right in your gut while the coaster travels upwards, reaching a dead-end track with a yeti shadow overhead and a quick backward drop. Hold on to your seats for the exhilarating 20 seconds of a speedy descent down the mountain!
What’s more? If smooth motion is your thing, Expedition Everest definitely ticks the box. It’s a ride packed with both suspense and thrill that’s also smooth enough for a random ride.
Travel like a pro: Don’t forget to get on the ride at night if you can! The coaster lies within a beautifully lit mountain that’s a centerpiece of the park. At night, it takes the experience to a whole new level—a significant chunk of the coaster is outside of the mountain, so the nighttime view is a particular experience by itself.
3. Kilimanjaro Safaris
Get ready to explore one of the most iconic attractions in the park – the Animal Kingdom Safari! This ride was partially designed by Walt Disney himself and is bigger than the entire Magic Kingdom Park. But, truth be told, the line can get pretty long. Don’t worry though, if you get hungry or thirsty, there’s a booth midway to keep you fueled and hydrated.
Once you’re on board the open-air vehicle, prepare to be amazed. The 110 acre space known as the Harambe Wildlife Reserve is home to 34 living species, including elephants, lions, giraffes, Cheetahs, crocodiles, hyenas, and zebras. Of course, we can’t forget about hippos, baboons, rhinos, and more!
It’s a bumpy ride, so be sure to grab a Lightning Lane to save time and avoid the queue. Plus, it’s a family-friendly ride suitable for all ages and heights. Your knowledgeable tour guide will take you on an 18 minute relaxing journey through the animals’ habitats, stopping for photo ops along the way.
Don’t forget to look up and spot each animal in the pictures above your head. This informative and witty ride is not to be missed!
Tucked away in the back of DinoLand U.S.A., the DINOSAUR ride is not for the faint-hearted. Often forgotten for its lack of Disney relevance, it’s still a thrill ride that’s sure to entertain anyone who dares to take the journey.
The ride is recommended for the fun-loving kids, teens, and adults out there who don’t mind loud noises, flashing lights, and unexpected dinosaurs roaring in their face! But don’t worry; the ride attendants won’t let you ride if you don’t meet the 40″ height requirement, so it’s not too scary.
Before boarding your time rover vehicle, you are filtered into a room with TV’s to give you an idea of what to expect. First up – a paleontologist on a secret mission to bring a 3.5-ton Iguanodon into the present time! But to do so, it has to happen before a meteor shower hits.
The time rover travels through dark, pre-meteor shower forests, taking riders up close and personal with different dinosaurs in search of the target Iguanodon. It’s a wild ride with small drops and other surprises that make it both dark and scary, as Disney puts it!
If you’re feeling brave and want to find out if you make it out safe before the meteor hits, you’ve got to ride DINOSAUR for yourself!
5. Na’vi River Journey
Don’t let the negative reviews fool you – the Na’vi River Journey is a must-see ride! While not a heart-pumping thriller, this mystical river ride transports you through a bio-luminescent rainforest filled with mind-blowing sounds and effects that you won’t find anywhere else.
And let me tell you – night time is the right time for this experience. The way the lights and colors illuminate everything around you is absolutely otherworldly. Disney Imagineering knocked it out of the park with their impressive design.
But don’t get too starry-eyed quite yet – the wait to board this journey can be over an hour long! My advice? Go for the Lightning Lane option and save yourself some time.
So, as much as we love a good thrill ride, the Na’vi River Journey is all about the visual experience. Keep that in mind, and you’re sure to love it.
What the heck is a Lightning Lane and Genie+?
Genie+ and Lightning Lane are new services being offered by Disney Parks. Genie+ provides guests with access to the park’s attractions, while Lightning Lane lets them skip lines for an additional cost. Read our official Genie+ & Lightning Lane Guide!