Disney Animal Kingdom Top 10
Animal Kingdom is the most nontraditional of the Walt Disney World resort parks. Currently, Animal Kingdom mixes part theme park and part zoo with the Disney touch for story-telling and high quality shows. One of most important things to consider about touring Animal Kingdom is to slow down. This park is not dominated by the rides. What makes it special are the details. Adults and children alike will enjoy slowly meandering through the park. Our Disney Animal Kingdom Top 10 points out what we consider to be highlights. Animal Kingdom is a one day park and can be covered easily in a day.
Animal Kingdom has until now been a daytime only park. With hours extending into the evening now, it will be even easier to experience everything that the park has to offer. Avatar Land opens in 2017 and despite most of us giving collective yawns, its upcoming rides hold promise, and more is almost always better.
1. Enjoy the Animals
While Disney has insisted that Animal Kingdom is not a zoo, some of it is, and it is a very nice zoo. The Oasis (directly upon entering the park), Safari Village trails (around the Tree of Life), Pangani Forest exploration trails (in Africa), and Maharaja Jungle trek (in Asia) wind through habitats of the animals on display. Cast members, often from the same region of the world as the animals, do a wonderful job instructing and guiding you. The trails are rarely crowded and are usually well shaded. Take your time. Enjoy.
2. Become a Wilderness Explorer
Kids of all ages can become Wilderness Explorers, just like Russel from Pixar’s best movie Up! Near the entrance before entering Discovery Island, join, and get your booklet of tasks to be performed to earn “badges.” This is a wonderful way to tour the park. It brings attention to details that you might otherwise miss. It is both fun and educational. Get a badge (sticker) for each task completed.
3. Kilimanjaro Safari
In Africa awaits a wonderful safari ride through the Harambe Wildlife Preserve where you leave for a “week long” safari through the jungle and savannas of east Africa encountering wildlife in their natural setting on the way. Lions, giraffe, zebras, cheetahs and more await. The guides are excellent and the settings are breath-taking. Now there are night-time safaris! I have yet to do this and cannot wait.
4. Watch the Tam Tam Drummers
Several times per day on the streets of Harambe village in Africa, the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe perform. This traditional, African music and dance team put on quite a show. Harambe village has such amazing detail that you feel like you are in equatorial Africa. The Tam Tam Drummers complete the picture. Check your times guide so as not to miss them.
5. Festival of the Lion King
The Festival of the Lion King in Africa is a musical, acrobatic, dance, stunt extravaganza bringing to life characters from the Lion King. This show is different than any other at Walt Disney World with the focus on acrobatics. Check your times guide to make sure not to miss this Disney Animal Kingdom Top 10 attraction.
6. Dine in Harambe Village
The Africa and Asia portions of Animal Kingdom have some of the best theming in any Disney park. Each has the feel of a World Showcase pavilion at Epcot, except much larger and with animals and attractions. Just like at Epcot, I recommend that make dining a portion of your visit. I prefer the food in Harambe Village Africa to the Asian section as African food is less accessible where I live. Tusker House is the table service option. My favorite dish in all of Animal Kingdom and possibly Walt Disney World is Tikka Masala Chicken at the Harambe Market. The food and atmosphere are wonderful. Be adventurous and try something new.
7. Flights of Wonder
Moving into Asia from Africa, one of the first things that you encounter is Flights of Wonder. Do not pass this attraction. It is a hidden gem. As with anything Disney, you enter a story with this attraction in the abandoned palace of Anandapor that is now inhabited by birds and other creatures. Check the times guide or the sign in the front for show times.
8. Expedition Everest
Animal Kingdom’s roller coaster, Expedition Everest definitely deserves a spot on the Disney Animal Kingdom Must Do List. This train ride through the Himalayas has it all: some of the best theming with real and imagined artifacts, a wonderful story, an exciting ride with unexpected twists, and the Yeti. If you like roller coasters, you will love Expedition Everest.
9. Finding Nemo the Musical
Between Asia and Dinoland, officially in Dinoland, lies the theater for Finding Nemo the Musical. This is in my opinion the best Disney musical presentation at any Walt Disney World or Disneyland resort. It is better than many of the Disney Cruise Line musicals, too. A musical retelling of Finding Nemo in the manner of The Lion King Musical, your whole family will get caught up in the spectacular show.
10. Rivers of Light Nighttime Experience
Animal Kingdom will extend its hours into the evening this fall with Rivers of Light being the main event to end the day. I have not seen this yet, but Disney knows how to put on light shows! If the new water/light show (The World of Color) at California Adventure is any indication, then Rivers of Light (said to be similar to World of Color) will be something special and definitely earn a spot on the Disney Animal Kingdom Top 10 List.
I hope you have enjoyed the Disney Animal Kingdom Top 10 list. Do you agree? Let me know what I got right and what I got wrong.