Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

February 15, 2020

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park is quite literally alive with magic! A zoological theme park, but incomparable to the safari parks and zoos that we know (and sometimes don’t love) here at home. At Disney World’s Animal Kingdom you won’t find any ‘traditional’ cages or enclosures. Instead, you’ll encounter everything from Elephants to Lions on Safari rides and jungle trails. Disney’s clever use of ‘hidden barriers’ means guests are always completely safe whilst the animals roam in the most natural of habitats. Conservation is king, and you’ll forget that you’re actually in a Florida theme park!

Celebrating all living things, the tree of life sits at the central oasis of the park which then branches off into six lands: Oasis; Dinoland U.S.A.; Discovery Island; Asia; Africa and Pandora – The World of Avatar. 


The entrance to the Animal Kingdom draws guests in to a lush oasis of tropical plants and wild animals. As you travel up the worn, concrete paths, note the footprints of ‘guests’ who have journeyed before you! In this area you’ll find beautiful gardens and exotic animals, which is just a hint at the fun that lies ahead. While it’s easy to race through this area after rope drop in an attempt to get on that much awaited ride, be sure to allow a little longer later in the day to take a stroll and admire the beauty in this area.

Toucan at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom
©Mike Bunting

Discovery Island

The hub of The Animal Kingdom, and surrounded by Discovery River here is where you’ll find the Tree of Life. Towering 145 feet high, and covered in ornate carvings of more than 300 living creatures, this iconic masterpiece deserves a closer look.

Enjoy a stroll along the beautiful Discovery Island Trails, before heading inside the tree itself for the 3D movie It’s Tough to be a Bug!

Dinoland U.S.A.

Enter the prehistoric era in Dinoland U.S.A, beneath a gateway that’s towered over by a 50 ft Brachiosaurus skeleton. First, kids aged ten and under can channel their inner archeologist in the ‘boneyard’, a sand filled play area. Watch them dig for fossils and climb through caves while you can enjoy a break from the heat in the shaded seating area with lots of fans!

Next, embark on a thrilling rescue mission on Dinosaur, as you’re catapulted back in time to bring back the last Iguanadon. If you’re looking for something a little more sedate, instead aim for the sky on Triceratops Spin, or spin yourselves into a frenzy on Primeval Whirl.

Finally, no visit to Dinoland U.S.A. would be complete without taking in the spectacle of…Nemo The Musical! We’re not quite sure why Nemo resides here, but we’re so glad he does! Join Nemo and his friends for a musical telling of the much loved film. This colourful extravaganza features puppets, live musical performances, and 14 original songs. This is a broadway worthy show that’s an absolute treat to experience!


With the snow dusted peaks of Mt. Everest towering over you, and the calls of gibbons, enter Asia. Among tumbling ruins, temples and lush vegetation, you’ll be welcomed to the fictional village of Anandapur. This land is a cultural fusion of Nepal, Mongolia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and India.

Stroll along cement pathways imprinted with leaves, and take in the temple offerings, colourful rickshaws and sound of the bamboo rustling. Enjoy the wonder ofsome of the world’s most exotic birds as you join Russell and Dug in Up! A Great Bird Adventure.

Cool off on the Kali River Rapids on a turblunent ride through the Chakranadi River or, if you’re feeling particularly brave, seek to escape the Abominable Snowman on the thrilling Expedition Everest. Finally, don’t forget to stop for a treat at the unmissable Anandapur Ice Cream Truck!


Enjoy a vibrant welcome as you enter Africa through the fictional Port of Harambe. Filled with the rhythm of the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe, take in the thatched huts, bustling market place and well worn streets. Take time to stop at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery for a collossal cinnamon roll before heading to the much loved Kilimanjaro Safari’s. Here, you’ll board an open-aired vehicle for a guided tour of an African Savanna during which you’ll spot wild ainimals roaming free. Spot hippo’s wallowing in the watering hole, lions lazing on rocks and giraffes grazing on foliage. Each safari is unique!

Top tip: Don’t head inside to seek shelter in a rain storm, instead he’d straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris! We find early in the morning, as the day cools off, and in the rain to be the best times to see the animals.

No visit to Africa would be complete without experiencing the not-to-be-missed Festival of the Lion King. Yet another Broadway worthy show, this celebrates Disney’s The Lion King and is filled with huge floats, puppets and songs. A sight to behold, this show is a delight!

Pandora – The World of Avatar

Finally, and most definitely a case of ‘last but not least’, enter Pandora – The World of Avatar. The newest of Animal Kingdom’s lands, and a true wonder. To the sound of the Pandora Drummers, take in with awe the floating mountains, glowing fauna and flora and native drum circle.

After meeting a Pandora Ranger, take an exhilerating 3D ride on Avatar Flight of Passage. Or, for a gentler voyage, journey into a bioluminescent rainforest on Na’vi River Journey.

Top tip: Still hugely popular, Fastpasses for these rides are highly recommended!

No visit to Pandora would be complete without stopping by Pongu Pongu for a Night Blossum complete with Boba Balls. Or, for fast food with a difference head to Satu ‘li Canteen. Here you’ll find a fresh, vibrant, menu inspired by Pandora’s bounty.

Disney World's Animal Kingdom Pandora
©Matt Bunting – Novel Focus Photography

The Attractions

Whether you’re seeking the thrills of Mt. Everest, the wonder of Kilimanjaro Safaris, or the calm of the Na’vi River, there’s something for everyone in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

For ideas of rides to suit your travel party, check out our Must Do Rides for Little Ones, Families, and Thrill Seekers.

Character Meet ‘n’ Greets

From Dining with Donald and Pals to meeting Pocahontas, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the perfect place to meet some special characters.

Animal Kingdom has one character dining destination; Tusker House. Here, meet Donald and his friends as you enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner.

You can also meet characters at designated meet and greet spots; meet Pocahontas on the Discovery Island Trails. Meanwhile, Timon, Rafiki and Russell and Dug can be found at Discovery Island. Finally, don’t forget to stop by Adventurers Outpost to meet Mickey and Minnie.

Top tip: FastPasses are available for many of these meet and greets!


With live musical performances in Asia, Pandora, and Africa; broadway style shows Finding Nemo – The Musical and Festival of the Lion King; AND Up! A Great Bird Adventure, Animal Kingdom celebrates nature in style.

Round off your adventure with not one but two night time spectacles. Firstly, watch in awe as the Tree of Life comes alive with a colourful display. Showing around every ten minutes until the Park closes, this is a perfect treat for younger guests to enjoy at a time that suits you. Finally, enjoy a pageant of light, music and life with Rivers of Light: We are One.

Top tip: check the My Disney Experience App, online, or the Times Guide (available in the Park) for full details and performance times.

Rivers of Light at Disney World's Animal Kingdom
©Matt Bunting – Novel Focus Photography

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Take a walk on the wild side in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park. Filled with a sense of adventure and a genuine celebration of all living things, this is a theme park like no other!

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