Planning an Animal Kingdom Park Day
Disney’s Animal Kingdom still seems every bit as spectacular as it did back in 1998.
Imagineers achieved the impossible by marrying theme park rides with natural animal habitats.
I could fairly describe Animal Kingdom as the most unique theme park in the land.
When you have a Park Pass here, you’ll feel overwhelmed with choices about what to do. So, let’s talk them through.
Here’s the best plan for an Animal Kingdom park visit right now.
During the pandemic, I’m more ambivalent about Rope Drop than normal. However, I would advise that you arrive early at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
I’d suggest this approach for twin reasons. First, this park’s operating hours remain shorter than usual on many days.
You could have as little as eight hours at the park, although you could also have up to ten. I’m writing this as if park time is at a premium.
Those of you with extra hours should spend the additional time re-riding your favorite attractions.
I’d suggest DINOSAUR, Kilimanjaro Safari, and Avatar Flight of Passage.
The park only operates seven attractions right now. So, you’ll have plenty of time no matter what you decide.
The other consideration involves Pandora – The World of Avatar. Rope Drop doesn’t work as effectively here as at some popular attractions.
Still, I’ll start this guide by suggesting the obvious.
Once you’re inside Animal Kingdom, you’ll enter the Oasis and walk through this section into Discovery Island.
From there, you’ll take the first left that you can. When you notice Tiffins Restaurant, you’ll know that you’re on the path to Pandora.
You’ll prioritize two attractions here, Na’Vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage. I’m a bigger fan of the boat ride than most.
However, I won’t suggest anything cutesy here. Get in line for Avatar Flight of Passage. Once you’ve done that, your park visit will already feel successful.
Current data suggests that you’ll wait 45 minutes for this Pandora ride. That should put you on the second one within an hour of park opening.
Believe it or not, Na’Vi River Journey’s wait-time should hold steady at 35 minutes while you’re in the area.
If everything breaks right, you’ll experience both within your first 90 minutes!
Mid-Morning to Mid-Afternoon
What you do next partially depends on how much time you’ve previously spent in Pandora.
You may want to roam around and admire the sites if it’s still new to you.
The intricate theming here boggles my mind. Also, you should pick up a Banshee at Windtraders.
You’re probably too early for lunch. Still, Satu’li Canteen’s cuisine will dazzle you if you run late.
Whatever you decide, your next destination resides due north in Harambe Village, the Africa themed land.
You can walk this path directly rather than cutting through Discovery Island.
This place caters to animal lovers, as it offers several options like Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Conservation Station.
Do whatever intrigues you, as that’s what’s marvelous about Animal Kingdom. It’s more open-ended than most theme parks.
Once you’ve hit the highlights, take a ride on THE best animal-based attraction on the planet, Kilimanjaro Safaris.
You’re early in the afternoon by now, which means that the wait-time should average 20 minutes or so. Your ride may take longer than its wait!
Asia in the Afternoon
Once you’re done here, you’re heading due east. Your destination is the Asia themed land, where I’ll suggest that you dine at one of two places.
You should pick either Yak & Yeti Restaurant or Yak & Yeti Local Foods Café. One’s Quick Service, while the other’s Table Service.
So, your choice comes down to budget and time factors. Either way, the flavors will Blow. Your. Mind!
You have a secondary consideration here. The next two rides in the queue involve some unique strategies.
You’ll visit Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest while you’re here. You may not want to do the latter on the full stomach, as it’s a roller coaster.
Also, you may prefer the former before a meal, as you can dry off while dining. It all depends on how hungry you are.
Recent data suggests an afternoon wait of 20 minutes for Kali River Rapids as opposed to 30 minutes for Expedition Everest.
You can use that information plus My Disney Experience’s projected wait-times to plan your afternoon itinerary.
As long as you don’t ride Expedition Everest immediately after eating, you have no bad options here.
Once you’re done, you’ve only got two rides left. Use this information to decide whether any animal interactions appeal to you.
Dinosaurs and Free Time
Once you’re ready, you’ll walk over to DinoLand, U.S.A. You’re heading east again and then south.
The place is hard to miss, as you’ll notice the dinosaurs from a distance.
During the pandemic, you’ll really only here for DINOSAUR. It’s one of the most underrated rides at Walt Disney World.
You’ll probably wait in line 30 minutes or so for it. Later in the day, the line drops to half, though.
You may catch a break, depending on when you arrive. Conversely, the high-touch stuff isn’t currently available due to the pandemic.
So, you’ll only have one other option in this themed land. That’s TriceraTop Spin, which is a clone of Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
You’ll never have a problem riding this one, as the wait-time is generally ten minutes or less. In fact, late in the day, it’s almost always a walk-on.
Once you’re done at Dinoland, the world is your oyster. You can return to any part of the park you like.
You should have plenty of time to repeat attractions. I’ve already listed my suggestions, but I’ll add another dining option for once the park closes.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge features several dynamic restaurants.
Sanaa at Kidani Village serves an Indian-style Bread Service that will make you want to pack up all your worldly belongings and move there.
I’m not even sure whether I mean India or Animal Kingdom Lodge, but the point stands. You’re gonna want to eat here to cap off a perfect park day.
Feature Image Rights: Disney