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Planning Your Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom: A Sample Itinerary

Welcome to Disney's Animal Kingdom

Welcome to Disney's Animal Kingdom! This park is the largest of all of the Walt Disney World theme parks and is known for its focus on nature and wildlife. Here, you can explore different themed lands such as Pandora - The World of Avatar, Asia, Africa, and Dinoland U.S.A. Disney's Animal Kingdom offers a unique blend of attractions, shows, and encounters with animals from around the world. Whether you're a thrill-seeker or looking for a more relaxed day, this park has something for everyone. Plan your trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom with our sample itinerary below.

A dinosaur in the middle of greenery
Dinosaur (Disney)

Must-See Attractions and Shows

When visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom, make sure not to miss the iconic attractions and captivating shows scattered throughout the park. These are the gems that bring the park to life, from the thrilling Avatar Flight of Passage to the mesmerizing Festival of the Lion King show. Don't forget to include the Kilimanjaro Safaris for a close encounter with exotic wildlife and the enchanting Na'vi River Journey for a magical boat ride through the bioluminescent forests of Pandora. Plan your day around these must-see experiences to make your visit truly unforgettable.

A valley with trees and floating rocks
Avatar Flight of Passage (Disney)

Dining Options in Disney Animal Kingdom

When you visit Disney Animal Kingdom, you'll find a variety of dining options to suit all tastes and preferences. From quick-service restaurants like Satu'li Canteen and Flame Tree Barbecue to table-service experiences at Tiffins and Yak & Yeti Restaurant, you can enjoy a range of dishes from around the world. Make sure to try the iconic Mickey-shaped snacks, such as the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar or the Mickey pretzel, which are favorites among visitors. Keep in mind that some dining locations can get busy during peak hours, so consider making reservations in advance to ensure a smooth dining experience.

Best Photo Opportunities

To get the best photos at Disney Animal Kingdom, make sure to take advantage of these photo spots:

  • Tree of Life: The iconic centerpiece of the park makes for a great backdrop.

  • Pandora - The World of Avatar: Immersive landscapes and floating mountains provide stunning photo opportunities.

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris: Capture wildlife up close and in natural habitats.

  • Rivers of Light: The nighttime show offers beautiful light displays perfect for photography.

A large green tree at night
Tree of Life: Awakenings (Disney)

Character Meet and Greets

Character meet and greets are an exciting opportunity to meet and take photos with your favorite Disney characters. These interactions are scattered throughout the park, so keep an eye out for signage or ask a cast member for the current schedule. Be prepared for queues, as popular characters may attract longer waits. Lightning Lane options are sometimes available to reduce your waiting time. Remember to bring your camera or smartphone for memorable snapshots with Mickey, Minnie, and many more beloved characters in their safari-themed outfits!

Wildlife Encounters

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, you get up-close encounters with various animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris. You can witness majestic lions, towering giraffes, and playful elephants roaming freely in their habitats. Bird-watchers can enjoy the Flights of Wonder show, showcasing stunning avian species. Explore the park's trails, such as Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, to marvel at exotic wildlife exhibits and learn about conservation efforts for endangered species.

Planning Your Day: Morning

Start your day early to make the most of your time at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Arriving before the park opens allows you to enjoy the attractions with shorter lines. Start by checking the park's opening hours for the day you plan to visit. Grab a map at the entrance to familiarize yourself with the layout. Priority should be given to popular rides like Avatar Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest before the lines grow longer.

Planning Your Day: Afternoon

You can tackle the afternoon at Disney's Animal Kingdom by grabbing a delicious meal at one of the park's many dining options. Consider dining at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora - The World of Avatar for a unique dining experience, or head to Flame Tree Barbecue for some delicious ribs and chicken. After refueling, continue your adventure with a visit to Expedition Everest for a thrilling roller coaster ride through the Forbidden Mountain. Don't forget to catch the Festival of the Lion King show for a vibrant and spectacular performance that the whole family will enjoy.

Planning Your Day: Evening

As the day transitions into evening at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the park takes on a whole new atmosphere. The Tree of Life awakens with stunning projections, and the sounds of nighttime entertainment fill the air. Here are some tips to make the most of your evening at Disney's Animal Kingdom:

  • Catch the Tree of Life Awakenings: This nighttime spectacular begins after darks and allows guests to see the Tree of Life visually come to life in front of them due to lighting and music, creating a mesmerizing experience.

  • Explore Pandora – The World of Avatar: This land transforms at night with bioluminescent plants and a mystical ambiance.

  • Enjoy a nighttime safari: Embark on a safari adventure after dark to see the animals in a different light.

  • Check showtimes: Make sure to check the schedule for evening entertainment and plan your evening accordingly.

  • Grab a bite to eat: There are plenty of dining options throughout the park to satisfy your hunger as you enjoy the evening festivities.

Sample Itinerary at Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • 8:00-9:00 AM - Arrive at Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • 8:00-11 AM Visit Pandora & Africa

    • Avatar Flight of Passage

    • Na'vi River Journey

    • Kilimanjaro Safari

  • 11:00-1:00 PM - Lunch at one of the following

    • Yak & Yeti

    • Flame Tree Barbecue

    • Harambe Market

  • 1:00 PM-2:00 PM - Expedition Everest

  • 2:00 PM -5:00 PM - More Attractions & Experiences

    • Dinosaur

    • The Festival of The Lion King

    • Kali River Rapids

    • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue...and Beyond!

  • 5:00 PM -6:00 PM - Dinner at Tiffin's

  • 6:00-8:00 PM -Visit Pandora, The Valley of Mo'ara at Night

  • 8:00 PM -End your visit

Tips for a Memorable Visit

To make your visit to Disney Animal Kingdom memorable, arrive early to avoid long lines and maximize your time in the park. To minimize wait times, utilize the Genie+ and Lightning Lane systems for popular attractions. Wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated throughout the day. Don't forget to take breaks and enjoy the various shows and exhibits to fully experience the park's magic.

Interested in more sample itineraries? View our collection below and get started with the Epcot sample itinerary.


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