How My Wife and I Would Rank All Animal Kingdom Attractions
So, my wife and I are sitting here, and we just started arguing about the attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
She looked at my proposed list of ride rankings and assured me that the Internet would bury me alive. She’s not wrong.
So, this time, I’m going to take a different approach.
Here’s our shared list of rankings for attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They will prove once and for all that you agree more with my wife than you do me.
9) TriceraTop Spin
I think we can all agree on this one. TriceraTop Spin is among the least impressive attractions at Walt Disney World.
It’s really just a carnival ride, the most frequent complaint about Dinoland USA. I know that kids and some adults find entertainment in the spinning wildcat coaster concept.
For me, it’s a dull ride that’s also likely to upset my stomach. I ride it on most visits, but I usually regret it.
8) It’s Tough to Be a Bug
Here’s a thought: Animal Kingdom gets a bad rap.
Why do I say that? The next two attractions are both wildly entertaining, yet most would consider them lower-tier for Animal Kingdom.
In It’s Tough to Be a Bug, you don’t exactly “re-live” moments from the movie, but somehow, the attraction perfectly attracts the spirit of that story.
Remember that Disney didn’t even own Pixar when It’s Tough to Be a Bug opened. So, it’s almost more of an homage than a themed companion.
7) Kali River Rapids
This attraction absorbs a lot of criticism, and I must confess that I’ve fallen guilty to it in the past.
However, over time, I’ve grown to appreciate the environmentally friendly message that permeates throughout the ride.
Part of it is my fault, too.
To appreciate this attraction fully, you must pay attention during the line queue. The signs and introductory movie reveal the importance of the story.
As for the ride, I won’t lie. There are better water attractions at Walt Disney World, and even some better raft rides at competing theme parks.
Still, this one satisfies, while spreading an important message dear to former Imagineer Joe Rohde’s heart.
6) A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
Here’s probably the last time where my wife and I line up on the voting. It’s going to get combative after this.
Festival of the Lion King retells the charming story of how Simba becomes the leader of his pride, and thereby king of the jungle.
Due to the pandemic, Disney has modified it into a lesser experience, but one that’s still pretty good.
The lack of audience engagement makes it feel less personal. That’s a nitpick, though.
Really, all the Lion King needs is its core story and the songs we all know and love.
Plus, it provides a 30-minute escape on those scorching hot park days.
Here’s the first spot where we disagree mightily. If I’d done this list on my own, DINOSAUR would have finished second.
You’re very grateful that my wife is involved, aren’t you?
I love DINOSAUR, as I think these enhanced motion vehicles are among the best recent Imagineering innovations.
Plus, you know, dinosaurs are cool!
Also, importantly, one of my favorite Disney memories happened here when the ride’s narrator said, “We’re not gonna make it!” and then the ride tore up.
We didn’t make it.
4) Na’vi River Journey
Again, I come across as a crazy person on some Animal Kingdom attractions. Whenever I write about Na’Vi River Journey, people hate on it relentlessly.
I love this ride and look forward to the day when lines are short enough for me to ride it five or six straight times.
I partially had that during the pandemic, and I adored it.
Na’Vi River Journey somehow makes Pandora feel like a real place, somewhere that humans don’t belong, yet we feel a mysterious draw to it.
I gaze in wonder at the sights and sounds and believe the set pieces here rival anything at Walt Disney World.
3) Kilimanjaro Safaris
I often describe Kilimanjaro Safaris as the heart and soul of Animal Kingdom.
This ride allows something that shouldn’t be possible. Humans drive through the natural habitats of countless different animal species.
The animals don’t run away, hide, or lurch threateningly. Your drive represents an average day for them.
Also, they seem to get a kick out of people watching, just like you do.
Kilimanjaro Safaris functions as proof positive that Disney can do the impossible.
It’s also the kind of attraction I know Walt Disney would have loved.
2) Avatar Flight of Passage
My wife wants you to know that my opinions on Avatar Flight of Passage make me Wrongy McWrongerson.
That’s an actual quote from her, folks.
Let me preface this by saying that I have a herniated disc in my back that needs surgery. I’m also 6’2”.
I’m already too large for this ride to begin with, and then cast members’ instructions require them to tighten the back as much as possible.
This is sometimes genuinely painful to me.
Off my head, I can think of three experiences on Flight of Passage where my primary goal was survival, not ride enjoyment.
That’s neither Disney’s fault nor mine, but it does limit my appreciation of the attraction in ways you’re unlikely to experience.
Having said that, Soarin’ is straight-up better.
Come at me, Internet!
1) Expedition Everest
Despite some negative comments, you’ll find me riding everything on this list during a park visit. In fact, I’m inclined to ride things like DINOSAUR many times.
The same statement applies to Expedition Everest, with the caveat that experiencing this attraction too many times in a short period will make me nauseous.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m an idiot and still do it.
I just sometimes regret it afterward.
The remarkable feat with Expedition Everest stems from the world-building ability of Imagineers.
Serka Zong feels like a real place, and its largest inhabitant sure seems like it doesn’t want you around.
The palpable fear when you enter the Yeti’s abode meshes perfectly with the euphoria when you escape.
My wife argued that Flight of Passage should win before agreeing that Expedition Everest is a good compromise choice.
Feature Image: Disney