If you’re heading to Animal Kingdom and only plan on spending one day in the park it’s important to maximize your day. Our Animal Kingdom top 10 includes unique foods, cultural experiences, and wildlife. Adding these to your list means experiencing Animal Kingdom at its best. Get ready for fun rides, eclectic dining options, and the most entrancing shows. Here’s our list of Disney Must Do’s at Animal Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom Park and What To Do There
So, we’ve written before about Animal Kingdom. From the Why You Need to Visit Pandora at Night, to why we think you should book the Wild Africa Trek on your next vacation. With so many things to do at Animal Kingdom cross Africa, Asia, Pandora, and more, how could you possibly choose? Even the Animal Kingdom Snacks are Epic!
What Should I Not Miss at Animal Kingdom?
Be sure to check out our Animal Kingdom Bucket List so you can be sure not to miss a thing, and our Best Days to Visit Which Disney Park post for our top days to avoid crowds. Ok, let’s dive in. If you only get to do 10 things, these are the things that really make our Disney Vacations feel extra magical.
In no particular order, here are the things we most love about Animal Kingdom and why. If you’re looking to smash your experience into one day at this park, here are the Top 10 things at Animal Kingdom that most deserve your time. Get dining reservations as needed. The days of this being a half-day park are over. You can definitely spend a full day at Animal Kingdom. Here’s how.
Flight of Passage in Pandora
The best tactic for Flight of Passage has been to arrive before the park opens and wait at the gates. This rope drop at Animal Kingdom means you pretty much race to this ride as soon as you scan in and wait in line. And if there is any ride at Walt Disney World that warrants you waking up early, it’s this one. BUT, you can also just break the bank and get Lightning Lane passes for this ride as an alternative. Typical line waits throughout the day can be between 1.5- 3 hours, so go prepared!
Colossal Cinnamon Roll
This Cinnamon Roll is super shareable and available at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery. Almost the size of a dinner plate this cinnamon roll arrives warm, flavorful, slightly messy! But we love it. It’s the perfect treat that doubles as a breakfast and is better than most other cinnamon rolls across the parks. And has made our Best Snacks at Animal Kingdom list. Of course, you can share this treat, but why?
Ahhh, lunch at Pandora is such a treat! You can grab protein bowls that you build to your tastes, unique desserts, and refreshing drinks. This mess hall atmosphere is decorated with Pandora elements honoring nature and the Na’vi. We love that this is one of the healthier, budget-friendly restaurants at Animal Kingdom and that it hits the spot for lunch or dinner. Check out Satu’li Canteen on your next trip! This is definitely one of the Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants and totally worth the visit!
It’s easy to have the whole family or travel group pile into the safari truck and take to the savanna. This ride offers views of wildlife in their natural habitat. While a Lightning Lane pass isn’t necessary, this is a must-do ride. Aim for an early morning or try for meal times to get the lowest waits. And if you’re looking for a super luxurious safari book the Wild Africa Trek. Because you’ll get up close to some of the amazing animals you can only see from a distance here.
Festival of the Lion King
If you’re looking for a Broadway-quality show at Walt Disney World, look no further. The Festival of the Lion King can be found in Africa on the bridge to Pandora. Inside you’ll get to be part of a Lion King extravaganza. Complete with acrobatics, songs, and larger-than-life floats worthy of the jungle. This is Disney’s signature performance show! You won’t see performances like this anywhere else.
Yak and Yeti Restaurant
The Yak and Yeti Restaurant is known for its dim sum and rice, among other eclectic meals found in Asia and Africa. This restaurant is a staple in Animal Kingdom and the go-to for lunch or dinner. It’s budget and family-friendly and even has a kid’s menu. But if you’re looking for a more kid-focused meal, you can also try Tusker House. We don’t think the food warrants the cost, but it’s a nice meal with Mickey and Friends in Safari gear if that’s more your style.
Kali River Rapids
This group river rafting experience promises a few splashes and a fun ride downstream. Perfect for the whole family, we especially love this ride during hot weather. If rafting is your thing make sure to go prepared to wait in line or grab a lightning lane pass.
The most thrilling coaster at Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest brings you to the ends of the mountains, into Yeti territory, and pulls you back to civilization just in time! The line queue is filled with such interesting artifacts you won’t mind the wait in line, and we typically see a 35- 60 minute wait here. Of course, if you aim for mealtimes, you’ll see lower crowds. Be sure to take a look at the gift shop at the exit of the ride, it’s filled with Yeti merch and fair trade souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else.
Tree of Life Awakenings
One of the best parts of Animal Kingdom’s entertainment in the evening is seeing the Tree of Life Awakenings digital show. Projected onto the Tree of Life, this digital show features fun, frolicking creatures and a story set to music and lights. And during Holidays at Animal Kingdom it gets a seasonal overlay. A must-see.
Okay, guys, you knew this was coming! We LOVE Disney Games and when they’re FREE, we can’t resist! Wilderness Explorers is not only based on UP!, which was a hands-down fantastic movie but also gets you down and dirty with the Animals or Animal Kingdom! This little booklet filled with scavenger hunts and challenges may only include stickers and may be geared towards children, but it’s great for Disney Adults too! And if you’re homeschooling the kids, Wilderness Explorers is a super-comprehensive and easy way to add some citizen science education to your Disney day!
Animal Kingdom Top 10 Things to Do
No matter when you visit Animal Kingdom this year, be sure to check out our Top 10 Things to Do and see what you think! While there are definitely more than just these 10 things to do at Animal Kingdom, these are always a hit whether we’re traveling with friends or family.
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.