Consuming over 500 square acres, Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom is the largest theme park in the entire Disney Empire. With over 48 attractions scattered throughout this massive park, getting to all of the attractions in one day is no small task. Once you factor in the one hour average wait time on the more popular rides, getting everything done in one day seems more like a dream than a possibility. By all means if you think you can get to everything this vast park has to offer in one trip, then we say have at it, but for us mere mortals who have to pick and choose from all of the attractions, here is our list of the Top 10 "Must Do's" at Disney's Magic Kingdom.
Expedition Everest: Easily one of our favorite roller coasters in all of Walt Disney World, Expedition Everest has everything a great roller coaster should have, and then some. A seemingly never ending climb to the top, high speed turns, huge drops, a backwards loop or two, and as if all of that wasn't enough to get your heart thumping, the entire time you're racing through the Himalayas you're being chased by a giant Abominable Snowman! While the Abominable Snowman is quite large and makes some pretty intimidating sounds, he is scary by no means and provides another element to this attraction that is fun for all ages. There is a 44in. height requirement and there are some loops and barrel rolls so keep that in mind if you have guests in your party who are a little unsure about roller-coasters. Being the most popular attraction in the park, the line for this ride will fill up almost instantly. We highly recommend using Fastpass+ for this attraction or running straight to Expedition Everest as soon as the park opens for the day to avoid too long of a wait.
Kali River Rapids: Make no mistake with this one, you are absolutely going to get wet, you might even get soaked. Kali River Rapids is a fast paced, river raft ride that takes you through a once beautiful jungle landscape that has been destroyed by logging. Designed to showcase how illegal logging is destroying animal's habitats and disrupting the natural balance, it is a stark reminder to the detrimental effect illegal logging can have on our environment. But, its not all sad here, in fact quite the opposite. Kali River Rapids features rip-roaring rapids, water-shooting elephants, and large drops that not only make this one of the wettest attractions in the Animal Kingdom, but one of the most fun as well. There is a 38in height requirement with no dark or scary themes and is appropriate for all ages. Much like the other popular attractions throughout Walt Disney World,the line for Kali River Rapids will fill up quickly. We highly recommend using a Fastpass+ for this attraction as riding this one in the earlier hours of the day may not be the best idea, after all no one wants to walk around all day soaked to the bone.
**While there is a compartment in the middle to keep your things dry, it is not 100% waterproof so we suggest either leaving more valuable items with group members who aren't riding or putting them in zip-lock bags before boarding this attraction.
Avatar Flight Of Passage- Climb aboard the back of a Mountain Banshee as you soar through the Valley Of Mo'ara. Avatar Flight Of Passage is a 3D motion ride unlike anything else on Disney property and has to be experienced to truly understand how amazing it is. With this being one of the newest attractions at Walt Disney World, the wait times are consistently over 2 hours and we don't expect this to drop anytime soon. Getting a Fastpass+ for this attraction is an absolute must and if you are staying on Disney property we recommend checking to see when Animal Kingdom has Extra Magic Hours.
Kilimanjaro Safari's: While Expedition Everest may be one of our favorite roller-coasters in all of Walt Disney World, the Kilimanjaro Safari is one of, if not our favorite Attraction, and now that they have the new Nighttime Safari's, this attraction should most definitely be at the top of you Animal Kingdom Must-Do List. Keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle as your safari guide takes you on a very real African Safari. While you're not guaranteed to see anything, in our 20 years of visiting Walt Disney World we have never come up empty handed and you have the chance to be up close and personal with cheetahs, black and white rhino's, African elephants, a whole pride of lions and much, much more! While the majority of the Kilimanjaro Safari focuses on well.....the Safari, the final portion of this attraction focuses on a more gloomy topic, poaching, and while not scary or gruesome in anyway, it provides a stark reminder of what is really going on in African Game reserves and how hard it can be to prevent poaching from happening. There is no height requirement for this attraction although the ride can get quite bumpy so please, please hold onto young children as large bumps and unattended children hanging out the windows is a recipe for disaster. There is always a large wait for the Kilimanjaro Safari's as it is one of the Animal Kingdom's most popular attractions so we highly recommend utilizing Fastpass+ on this attraction.
Festival of the Lion King: The one event you should plan your entire Animal Kingdom visit around, the Festival of the Lion King is an experience like no other. Inspired by the Disney classic"The Lion King," this show features everybody's favorite characters including Simba, Timon, Pumba, and even a fire juggling Scar! Not only will you get to see all of your favorite Lion King characters up close and personal, the Festival of the Lion King brings to life your favorite movie soundtracks including "The Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata," "Be Prepared," and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" like you've never experienced before. While there are some dark parts of the show with very loud, intense music, fire, and swords, the Festival of the Lion King is targeted at a younger audience so we would not be worried about bringing young kids to the show. There are a limited amount of shows per day so we highly recommend getting to one of the shows a priority as this attraction is simply one you don't want to miss. While there is hardly ever a wait, the theater will fill up quick so we suggest showing up to the doors at least 20 minutes early to guarantee you and your party get a seat.
Its Tough to Be a Bug: Located in the heart of the Animal Kingdom's centerpiece the Tree of Life, Its Tough to Be a Bug brings you into the world of the insect and shows you just how hard it really is to be a bug. Hosted by the star of "A Bug's Life" and everybody's favorite Anthropod Flick, It's Tough To Be A Bug begins quite harmlessly by introducing us to some of Flick's friends including a quill shooting spider, acid sneezing termite, and even a stink spewing stink bug. It all takes a turn for the worst when our host Flick is over taken by the not so nice grasshopper named Hopper who has only one thing on his mind, revenge. Hopper and his minions want to show us humans just what it's like to be picked on, including being swatted, sprayed with pesticide and even attacked by a swarm of angry bees and crazy arachnids! Luckily, Flick and his friends are able to regain control and show us that insects are in fact our friends and not our enemies hell bent on world domination. However, Hopper's stint can be quite scary for some of the younger children. The pitch black theater combined with fog, large spiders with glowing red eyes dangling from the ceiling, intimidating soundtrack and realistic 4D effects certainly make it a little scary so please keep that in mind if you have young children. There is no height requirement for this attraction and while this is not the most popular attraction in the Animal Kingdom, the wait can get a little long at times so we recommend making use of Fastpass+ on this attraction.
DINOSAUR: Hidden in the very back of Dinoland U.S.A, DINOSAUR takes you back millions of years in the CTX Time Rover to save a 3.5 ton Iguanadon from the inescapable meteor strike that destroyed almost every living thing on earth. DINOSAUR is coming off a fresh update and while they didn't change the ride itself, they did give it a new paint job and update all of the lighting, restoring this once tired attraction to its former glory. DINOSAUR is a fast paced, indoor vehicle ride that features small drops, high speed turns, large bumps and oh yeah....did we forget Dinosaurs!? While the main objective of your mission is to locate and bring back the Iguanadon, a second and arguably more important objective that you and your other 11 rover mates have thrown at you is surviving the never ending barrage of small meteors and constant onslaught of meat eating dinos, none of which is more fierce than the immense Carnotaurs. As if all of that wasn't enough, you have just minutes to complete your task and get back before the meteor that killed every living thing on earth strikes. Will you make it? You're just going to have to ride to find out. This ride has a 40in height requirement and while not pitch black, it is quite dark inside and some of the larger dinosaurs can be a bit too scary for young children. While this attraction may be hidden in the back of the park, it is still one of the Animal Kingdom's most popular attractions so it is highly advised that you use your Fastpass+ to avoid any long waits.
Primeval Whirl: In our opinion the most underrated attraction of the Animal Kingdom, Primeval Whirl is a roller coaster like no other. While most classify this attraction as a "kids" roller coaster and won't even forgo the 30 minute wait to ride it, this attraction's combination of sharp turns and drops, and almost constant spinning of your vehicle make it one of our absolute favorites. The feeling you get when you glide around a turn while your vehicle is simultaneously being spun around can simply not be described and is something that has to be felt to truly understand. Primeval Whirl has a 48in height requirement and while there are no scary or frightening elements, the ride does spin almost constantly so any guests with a queasy stomach should make note. Being one of the Animal Kingdom's most underrated attractions, the wait usually never gets to be greater than 30 minutes so Fastpass+ is generally not needed.
Na'Vi River Journey: Glide down a mysterious river in the heart of the Valley of Mo'ara as you search for the Shaman Of Songs. Na'vi River journey is a flume type water ride and is easily the most visually stunning attraction in all of Walt Disney World. It truly looks like you have been transported to the planet of Pandora, everything just looks and feels so real. Much like its other Pandora cousins, the Na'vi River Journey is one of the newest attractions at Walt Disney World and as such the wait times are astronomical. We highly recommend getting a Fastpass+ or trying to ride during Extra Magic Hours to avoid the long waits.
Rivers Of Light: While Disney has been promising us Rivers Of Light for quite some time now, It has finally opened and while it is not our favorite nighttime attraction at Disney World, it certainly adds a lot to the newly added night life at Animal Kingdom. Rivers Of Light is not like any of its other nighttime spectacular counterparts (Happily Ever After, Illuminations, etc...) It doesn't have any fireworks and it can really only be viewed from one area. With that being said the way they project images into fans of water is truly out of this world and the floating props and actors are truly breathtaking.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on on your next vacation or to make the most of your time, read our Tips for Saving Money and Time at Walt Disney World post. Our Fundamental Walt Disney World Packing List post takes a unique look at clever items to pack and has a printable PDF. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Resource Guides will help.
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