Welcome to our guide to the top 37 things to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2024. This article provides a curated list of the park’s best attractions, shows, dining, walks, experiences, and more.

Our list includes crowd favorites, hidden gems, touring tips, practical advice, and answers to common questions. We also share firsthand perspectives from our family trips to provide a relatable perspective for both first-time and returning guests.

From thrilling rides to enchanting shows with Disney characters to intimate animal encounters, our guide will ensure you fully experience the best things to do at Animal Kingdom!

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1. Kilimanjaro Safaris (Animal Encounter)

Embark on an open-air safari through remarkably lifelike African habitats home to elephants, lions, giraffes, and more. Up-close and personal encounters with these majestic creatures make for an unforgettable experience. This is the quintessential Animal Kingdom attraction for all ages.

2. Expedition Everest (Thrill Ride)

Experience a Himalayan mountain roller-coaster adventure with a Yeti encounter. Expedition Everest is full of high-speed twists and turns, including a thrilling backwards section. My son Ben absolutely loves the fast-paced nature of this ride, but it’s too scary for my daughter Ava. In my opinion, it’s one of the best Animal Kingdom rides and one of the top roller coasters in Disney World.

3. Avatar Flight of Passage (Thrill Ride)

Avatar Flight of Passage is a thrilling 3D ride that simulates the sensation of flying on a Banshee over the stunning landscapes of Pandora. This must-do ride is perfect for fans of “Avatar” and offers breathtaking visuals and an exhilarating sensation of flight. However, it’s worth noting that there is a height requirement of 44 inches to ride.

4. Festival of the Lion King (Live Show)

This vibrant Broadway-style show features beloved songs and characters from “The Lion King.” Combining energetic dance, aerial acrobatics, and elaborate puppetry creates a lively production that delights all ages. It’s the perfect way to rest your feet while soaking in stunning performances. This is easily one of the best live shows in Disney World.

5. Na’vi River Journey (Boat Ride)

Drift through Pandora’s mystical, bioluminescent rainforest on this relaxing boat ride. The highlight is an impressively lifelike animatronic Na’vi shaman, showcasing Disney’s most advanced technology. It’s the perfect choice for those who want stunning scenery without being overwhelmed with thrills.

6. Dinosaur (Thrill Ride)

The entrance to the Dinosaur attraction at Animal Kingdom, with a large dinosaur out front

Take part in an intense, fast-paced rescue mission set in the age of dinosaurs. Encountering dynamic prehistoric creatures makes this dark thrill ride an adrenaline-filled adventure that everyone in my family loves.

7. Maharajah Jungle Trek (Walking Trail)

The entrance sign and archway for Maharajah Jungle Trek, one of the best things to do at Animal Kingdom.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek is a self-guided walking tour that showcases Asian wildlife, including tigers, birds, and bats. It is an educational and leisurely activity that offers a closer look at some of the park’s more exotic animals. My wife, Jaimie, always makes sure to include it on our Animal Kingdom itinerary.

8. It’s Tough to be a Bug! (3D Show)

The 3D show “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” is located inside the Tree of Life and is inspired by the movie “A Bug’s Life.” The show combines live effects with film to offer an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family.

9. Kali River Rapids (Water Ride)

Drift down an unpredictable river rafting adventure, plunging through rapids and gushing waterfalls. The guaranteed splashes make it a playful way to cool off on hot days. Getting wet, possibly soaked, is inevitable – and my kids love this aspect! Me, not so much!

10. Discovery Island Trails (Walking Path)

Take a leisurely walk around the Tree of Life, where you can get up-close views of its intricate animal carvings and smaller animal exhibits. These self-guided Discovery Island Trails are a great way to appreciate the park’s detailed theming and to spot some of Animal Kingdom’s hidden treasures.

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11. Behind the Scenes Tours (Experience)

Animal Kingdom offers special behind-the-scenes tours, like the “Caring for Giants” tour, where you can see elephant care up close. If you’re a foodie, the “Savor the Savanna” tour is a great option for you. This special tour combines an evening safari with delicious African-inspired foods paired with wine and beer. My wife and I enjoyed it as a unique date night experience.

12. Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! (Live Show)

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! is a delightful musical that retells the touching father-son relationship from the movie “Finding Nemo.” This 25-minute show features innovative puppetry and engaging performances. Kids of all ages will enjoy the combination of music and storytelling. Big kids will, too – it’s my favorite!

13. Flame Tree Barbecue (Dining)

This quick-service restaurant is one of our favorite spots in the park for a hearty meal. Flame Tree BBQ offers the best smoked barbecue fare at Disney World, and the outdoor seating area provides amazing views of the Discovery River. My wife Jaimie, who follows a primarily vegan diet, appreciates the plant-based options available here (but my favorite are the ribs).

14. TriceraTop Spin (Family Ride)

TriceraTop Spin is a gentle, dinosaur-themed spinner ride in DinoLand, U.S.A. It is one of the best Disney World rides for toddlers and is similar to the classic Dumbo ride but with a prehistoric twist. Our family loves this light-hearted experience, especially as a more relaxed alternative to intense attractions. My youngest daughter always requests it, especially after braving more thrilling rides.

15. Pandora – The World of Avatar… at Night (Experience)

Visiting Pandora at night is a must. The bioluminescent flora and ambient sounds create an otherworldly atmosphere that provides a tranquil reprieve from the daytime crowds. Many visitors consider the effect nightfall has on Pandora to be one of the best things to do at Animal Kingdom, and we agree.

16. Tusker House Restaurant (Dining)

Tusker House Restaurant is a family-friendly establishment with a diverse buffet with delicious global flavors. The restaurant is primarily known as one of the best Disney Character Dining options in all of Disney World, where you can meet Disney characters like Donald Duck, Minnie, and Mickey. We often recommend it to friends and family.

17. Rafiki’s Planet Watch (Interactive Area)

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is excellent for those interested in wildlife conservation and animal care. With interactive exhibits, veterinary care observations, and a petting zoo called the “Affection Section,” visitors can learn about Disney’s global wildlife protection efforts. The “Animation Experience” is also perfect for artistic children who want to learn how to draw Disney characters.

18. Wildlife Express Train (Transportation/Ride)

The Wildlife Express Train is a delightful and frequently overlooked method to see more of the park. It provides a relaxing 7-minute journey to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, where guests can learn about conservation efforts and animal care. The ride also provides a glimpse of remote areas of the park that visitors rarely see, such as the animals’ backstage habitats.

19. Feathered Friends in Flight! (Bird Show)

Feathered Friends in Flight is a 35-minute show that features birds displaying their natural behaviors and talents. This educational and entertaining experience offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of birds, which never cease to amaze with their intelligence and agility.

20. The Boneyard (Play Area)

The Boneyard is an outdoor playground themed around dinosaurs, where kids can dig for fossils and let off steam. Here, young explorers excavate enormous “dinosaur bones” and explore a colorful Jurassic landscape. Parents frequently take a break while their children play in this fantastic spot modeled after a dinosaur dig site. If you are traveling to Disney World with toddlers and children, this is a must-do activity.

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21. Yak & Yeti Restaurant (Dining)

Yak & Yeti Restaurant is a must-visit for those who crave delicious pan-Asian cuisine in a charming setting. My family and I love the diverse menu that caters to both adventurous and picky eaters. From crispy honey chicken to pan-Asian noodle bowls, the restaurant’s authentic multi-cultural dishes are a hit with us every time we visit.

22. Rainforest Café (Dining)

Rainforest Café is a one-of-a-kind restaurant that you won’t want to miss. When you step inside, you’ll be transported to a lush, tropical rainforest complete with lifelike animatronic animals and immersive theming. It’s a wild and exciting dining experience that’s conveniently located at the park’s entrance, so you can enjoy a delicious meal as you enter or exit the park.

23. Satu’li Canteen (Dining)

A protein bowl with frozen drink at Satu'li Canteen, one of the best Disney World restaurants

Satu’li Canteen is a one-of-a-kind dining experience in Pandora, and it also happens to be one of the best dining options for vegetarians and vegans. The restaurant’s customizable bowls offer a variety of delicious and healthy options that cater to different dietary requirements. Jaimie loves the food here so much that she even tries to make some of the dishes at home.

24. Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (Walking Trail)

Like Maharajah Jungle Trek, this forested trail offers insights into African habitats and wildlife like gorillas, hippos, and exotic birds. It’s a quieter, educational experience away from crowds that we love for its conservation messages.

25. Nomad Lounge (Bar and Lounge)

Looking for a quiet midday break? Look no further than the Nomad Lounge, offering uniquely themed cocktails and shareable small plates in a comfortable and ambient setting. It’s the perfect spot for adults to relax and unwind with a variety of exotic drinks and bites.

26. Wilderness Explorers (Interactive Experience)

School-age kids can engage in an interactive educational experience called Wilderness Explorers around the Animal Kingdom. In this activity, kids complete interactive challenges to earn wilderness badges. This is an excellent way for children to learn about nature while exploring the park. My children have previously participated in this activity and enjoy collecting as many badges as possible, although it does take away from time spent on the attractions.

27. Pizzafari (Dining)

Pizzafari is one of the best restaurants at Animal Kingdom and is known for having some of the best pizza and pasta in the park. So, if you’re looking for a quick and easy meal that will satisfy everyone in your group – even picky eaters like my daughter – Pizzafari is definitely worth a visit.

28. Conservation Station (Educational Attractions)

This learning center is dedicated to wildlife conservation and animal care. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at these topics through interactive exhibits and live talks with veterinarians. Conservation Station particularly appeals to my daughter, who is passionate about animals and conservation.

29. Character Greetings (Entertainment)

One of the most magical experiences at the park is the opportunity to meet and take photos with your favorite Disney characters. These meet-and-greets with Disney characters are located throughout the park and allow families to capture unforgettable moments with their little ones. Our favorite meet-and-greet locations in Animal Kingdom are Tusker House and Adventurers Outpost on Discovery Island.

30. Harambe Village Acrobats (Street Performance)

Witness the incredible athleticism and skill of the Harambe Village Acrobats. The performers combine dance and drumming in an awe-inspiring acrobatic performance that takes place throughout the day. We always make a point to watch this performance when we are in the Africa section of the park.

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31. Harambe Market (Dining)

Harambe Market is an open-air quick-service restaurant that serves African-inspired dishes. The lively atmosphere is perfect for a quick lunch. There is a wide range of flavors to choose from, including rice bowls, pitas, salads, and plant-based options.

32. Tiffins Restaurant (Fine Dining)

Tiffins is a Signature Dining experience that offers global cuisine and is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic dinner. Jamie and I had a memorable date night here, enjoying the exquisite flavors and elegant atmosphere. It’s better suited for couples, as there are other options that kids would enjoy more.

33. Dino-Sue (Exhibit)

A giant replica skeleton of a T-Rex

Meet Dino-Sue – the towering replica skeleton of the largest T-Rex ever unearthed. My dino-obsessed daughter is thrilled to pose beside the colossal carnivore and learn the incredible discovery story that brought this ancient beast to (after)life.

34. Fossil Fun Games (Carnival-style Games)

Fossil Fun Games in DinoLand U.S.A. offer carnival-style games with a prehistoric twist and a chance to win dino prizes. Kids can have fun testing their skills and trying their luck. Visiting added an extra element of excitement to our last visit.

35. Tamu Tamu Refreshments (Snack Stand)

Tamu Tamu Refreshments is a snack stand known for its mouth-watering desserts and snacks, including the iconic Dole Whip soft-serve dessert. It’s a perfect spot to take a break and refresh on a hot day. We always (and I mean always) make sure to stop by and indulge in its frozen fruit treats.

36. DiVine (Street Performance)

DiVine is a mesmerizing performer covered with vines and foliage. She camouflages so perfectly with her surroundings that it becomes quite challenging to spot her subtle movements as we walk on the wooded paths in the park. My children thoroughly enjoy the game of trying to find her as we stroll along the park. (Hint: Her usual afternoon spot is near the stroller rental area in The Oasis).

37. Photography Opportunities (Interactive Experience)

Animal Kingdom presents boundless beauty at every turn, from majestic landscapes to artful finishes. I often linger along quieter trails to fully capture the park’s striking details through my camera lens. And if you don’t have a camera, your phone’s camera will be sufficient.

Note regarding some attractions/experiences listed here:

Disney has announced several future updates to Animal Kingdom, but has not necessarily announced any specific closure dates or reopening dates for the affected attractions and experiences. These include:

  • Changing It’s Tough To Be a Bug to a Zootopia-inspired 3D attraction
  • Turning the entire Dinoland, U.S.A. area into a land themed to the tropical Americas — including new attractions

Be sure to check for updates as your trip approaches.

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Tips for Visiting Animal Kingdom

Here are some of my family’s tips based on our experiences at the park:

Early Arrival: We aim to arrive at the park before it opens. This gives us a chance to enjoy popular attractions with minimal wait times before the park fills up.

Stay Hydrated and Cool: Florida’s heat can be intense. We always carry refillable water bottles and occasionally use cooling towels, an invaluable tip.

Explore the Trails: Don’t just rush from ride to ride. The walking trails, like Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, are beautifully themed and offer a more relaxed experience.

Enjoy the Shows: Stage shows provide entertainment but also a much-needed break in air-conditioned comfort. These have been lifesavers for us, especially around midday when the heat peaks.

Utilize the Disney Apps: Strategically select your rides with the My Disney Experience app and Disney Genie. You can navigate the parks more efficiently and spend less time in lines. We also purchase Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane passes for the most crowded attractions.

Plan for Rain: Florida weather can be unpredictable. We always pack ponchos and have found rain can be a good time to visit indoor attractions or enjoy a meal, as many guests tend to leave the park. Bonus Rainy Day Tip: A cool, rainy morning is the perfect time to visit Animal Kingdom. The animals on the safari and nature trails may be especially active on these days!

Dining Reservations: For table service restaurants, make reservations in advance. We’ve missed out on some dining experiences by not booking early.

Stay for the Nighttime Experiences: Animal Kingdom transforms at night. The Tree of Life Awakenings and the bioluminescence in Pandora are must-sees.

Take Breaks and Observe: Sometimes, the best moments come from simply taking a break and soaking in the atmosphere. We’ve had some of our best family talks while enjoying an ice cream or coffee, just watching the world go by.

Early Arrival: We always aim to arrive before the park opens. This has allowed us to enjoy popular attractions with minimal wait times. My family also enjoys the early morning light in the park, which is particularly magical. And the animal are most active earlier in the day, before the Florida heat sets in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Animal Kingdom

What’s the best age for kids to visit Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom is great for all ages, but kids aged 6 to 12 might enjoy it most. My kids were fascinated by the live animal exhibits at age 6, and the thrill rides are more suitable for kids over 44 inches tall.

Is it possible to see everything at Animal Kingdom in one day?

It would be challenging. If you want to try, picking a day with a later closing time — then arriving early and staying late — will help. You should also prioritize your attractions and use Disney’s apps and add-ons efficiently.

Is the food at Animal Kingdom suitable for special diets?

Absolutely! My wife, who follows a mostly vegan diet, has found plenty of delicious options, particularly at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora.

Are there any must-see shows?

“Festival of the Lion King” and “Finding Nemo – The Musical” are fantastic. We’ve seen “Festival of the Lion King” multiple times – it’s a family favorite for its vibrant energy and stunning performances.

What are the best photo spots in Animal Kingdom?

The Tree of Life is iconic, and Pandora’s floating mountains provide a stunning backdrop. We have a cherished family photo in front of the Expedition Everest mountain.

Are there any hidden gems in the park?

Yes! The animal trails like Maharajah Jungle Trek are often overlooked but are beautiful and relaxing. My daughter loves the up-close encounters with exotic animals there.

Any tips for first-time visitors?

Take the time to explore beyond the popular rides. The beauty of Animal Kingdom is in its details – from the street performances to the intricate theming. And don’t miss the nighttime experiences; they’re truly magical.

If I have more questions about Animal Kingdom, who do I contact?

Contact a Disney travel agent if you have more questions about Animal Kingdom. A vacation planner can help you plan the perfect Disney trip and ensure you don’t miss any hidden gems. They can also recommend the best times to visit the park and the best attractions for your family. Contact our recommended Disney travel agency, The Vacationeer.

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