Nine Best Attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Over the years, The Walt Disney Company has determined that the average guest has a magic number. When you visit a Disney theme park, the company expects you to enjoy nine attractions during your day. The question is, “Which ones?” Here are the nine attractions to choose at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Avatar Flight of Passage
We might as well start with the big one. You’ll have a chance to book three FastPasses for your park visit. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, one of them HAS to be Avatar Flight of Passage, presuming that you can get it.
The prevailing opinion regarding this ride is that it’s not just the best at Animal Kingdom. It’s one of the greatest ever built and almost definitely in the top ten at Walt Disney World. Guests know it, too.
That’s why the wait-time ranges between two and three hours. And that’s why you need a FastPass. A ride on Avatar Flight of Passage will make your trip, though.
Okay, this suggestion qualifies as a cheat. It’s not a permanent attraction per se. Instead, it’s an exhibition that Animal Kingdom will host for an undisclosed period. As we learned in 2019, no Disney show will run forever.
So, you’ll want to catch Bollywood Beats while you can. This presentation celebrates the singing and dancing in Bollywood cinema. It’s a popular form of entertainment in India and Pakistan, but some Bollywood movies have become solid box office performers in North America, too.
Disney’s cast a bunch of skilled Bollywood performers to act out a show for you. It’s an infectious concert that will impress even the least musically inclined guests. Prioritize this one just in case it’s not around for long.
I’m a devout fan of this attraction, which I believe park guests vastly underrate. On this dark ride, you get to travel back in time to the era when dinosaurs ruled the land.
Thanks to impressive Imagineering technology, your vehicle will shake similarly to Star Tours, only it’ll move around like a standard ride cart. So, you take the Star Tours experience with you as you explore the past. It’s a brilliant tactic for full immersion. And the dinosaur Audio-Animatronics (AAs) are fabulous, too.
Journey to the Forbidden Mountain! You’ll have a lovely time…as long as you don’t encounter the angry tenant who dwells within the mountain.
Expedition Everest proves that Imagineers can have a chip on their shoulders about perception. Outsiders believe that Disney parks are overflowing with children’s rides. Well, there is nothing childish about this coaster.
When you board Expedition Everest, your “train” will travel straight up the side of a mountain. You’re in for quite the surprise at the top, though. Someone has broken the tracks, forcing you to accelerate backward into the darkness below. It’s exhilarating and in the conversation for best thrill ride at Walt Disney World.
Festival of the Lion King
The other terrific show at Animal Kingdom comes with a much stronger reputation. By this point, any regular visitor to Walt Disney World knows about Festival of The Lion King.
Ostensibly, the presentation tells the story of Simba, the princely lion who would be king. In reality, it’s a Cirque du Soleil style of show. It’s filled with tumbling routines and other demonstrations of acrobatic excellence. Plus, there’s a lot of crowd chanting that kids really love.
Kali River Rapids
Many amusement parks operate a crazy river ride, one where a raft bounces around, splashing the guests along the way. Disney rarely copies attractions like this that are prevalent.
The company made an exception for Kali River Rapids because park planners saw an opportunity. One of the tenets of Animal Kingdom involves conservation. Disney wants guests to respect nature and better understand humanity’s environmental footprint.
While many think of Kali River Rapids as a wet ride at a sweltering park, its underlying message should impress. The start of the ride explains how reckless loggers can destroy forests and villages. Someone has cut down trees, and their absence causes your raft to spin out of control.
Of course, when you soar out of control down the Kali River, you don’t need to worry about the detailed theming. You can just savor the excitement as the people on your raft play roulette. Somebody’s getting very, very wet. Do you want it to be you?
All of the other attractions on this list will bring you happiness and joy. Only one of them exemplifies the underlying concept of Animal Kingdom, though.
The oversized jeeps of Kilimanjaro Safaris will transport you across many acres of the park. In each section, you’ll encounter at least one species of animal. These creatures live at the park and have built homes there where they raise families. You’re the visitor spying on them during their day. Of course, they’re plenty used to it by now.
The beauty of Kilimanjaro Safaris is that each ride plays out differently. The animals all possess different sleep, eating, and frolicking cycles. You never know which ones will appear or what they’ll do during the trip. That bit of randomness means that you’ll always have something new to experience on this ride.
Na’Vi River Journey
I didn’t want to bum you out to start, so I’ll do it now. Odds aren’t great that you’ll get a FastPass for Avatar Flight of Passage. Since Disney doesn’t provide FastPasses for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge yet, the Pandora attraction is the hardest one to acquire at Walt Disney World.
You’ll need a backup plan for your top FastPass. I feel strongly that you should select Na’Vi River Journey. Now, I’ll admit that not everyone agrees. This dark boat ride has proven divisive. Some guests find it boring and underwhelming. They’re wrong.
On Na’Vi River Journey, you’ll witness a fully realized alien environment. Imagineers have recreated many of the most beautiful and dangerous sights from Avatar. The sights and sounds on display throughout the five-minute ride will hypnotize you with their detail. Pandora – The World of Avatar has TWO phenomenal rides, not just the one you hear about most often.
Wildlife Express Train
I’m including this one because I feel strongly about the way that guests explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Some people skip many of the animal-based attractions and thereby miss the point. It drives me crazy.
By riding the Wildlife Express Train, you’re sure to visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch, which houses a couple of must-visit locales. Both Affection Station and Conservation Station demonstrate the daily work that cast members do at Animal Kingdom.
When you interact with the animals and watch their healthcare treatments, you’ll appreciate just how remarkable this park is. It’s the place that Walt Disney dreamt of creating. Imagineers have honored his wishes by bringing those dreams into reality at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.