Is Animal Kingdom a half day park? A lot of people would say yes to that. I will have to strongly disagree! If you haven’t been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in some time you may not know about all the new attractions that have since been added.
Secondly a lot of people think of this park as not having as much to do simply because its not as heavily ride themed as Magic Kingdom. There is so much more to Animal Kingdom than just rides, although it does have some awesome rides too!
If you really want to see and do everything here you will need to plan a full day to take it all in.
Animal Kingdom is a theme park based around animals, nature, and conservation. It is also size wise Disney World’s largest park when you take into account all the land used for the animals at over 500 acres! It is lushly landscaped and filled with waterfalls, rope bridges, and exotic lands like Asia and Africa, and more. There is adventure around every corner. If anyone says this is a half day they are doing it all wrong.
Animal Kingdom Rides
Lets talk about what the thing everyone first thinks of when they think of any Disney theme park, rides. You have a couple thrill rides here and there’s a few thrown in for the younger crowd. Sure there is not a LOT of rides in this park however there is a lot to do!
The only coaster in the park , Everest is a thrilling fast rollercoaster with steep and even backward drops that take you on a thrilling chase in search of the illusive Yeti. Flights of Passage is a virtual ride on the back of a Banshee through the world of Pandora. Dinosaur lets you travel back in time to the pre-historic time of the dinosaurs while narrowly escaping extinction yourself! Kali River Rapids is a wild river ride through exotic jungle ruins. Kilimanjaro Safari’s is an authentic Safari trip in a rugged all terrain vehicle through many different animal habitats. Lions, elephants, giraffes, and more will be up close and no two rides are ever the same. Navi River Journey takes you on a relaxed boat ride through the world of Pandora. Triceratops Spin is a Dumbo-esque ride aboard adorable baby Triceratop dino’s.
Animal Kingdom’s Animals & Trails
If all you wanted to do was ride a few rides then yes Animal Kingdom would be a half day park. But lets get down to what makes Animal Kingdom so special, the animals. At over 250 species on average of animals and over 1,000 animals in general there is so much to see. Did you know that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to one of the leading animal hospitals in the country. With advanced imaging, radiology, and endoscopy, ultrasound equipment and being one of only 2 hospitals with CT scanners the animals couldn’t be in better hands.
Its easy to walk right by the various animal trails like Maharaja Jungle Trek with tigers, bats, and exotic birds. I love the temple ruins scattered throughout and its one of my favorite places to take pictures. Discovery Island Trails brings your inner adventurer alive with caves, wooden bridges, and waterfalls. Gorilla Falls Exploration with its gorillas, birds, and hippos set among a scenic jungle environment. I could spend hours here alone just watching the animals and discovering little nooks and details that its so easy to miss.
Animal Kingdom is a park to slow down and savor. Unlike the fast paced, well planned out, and scheduled day at Magic Kingdom, here you can unwind and not look at your watch or phone. This is where not having a lot of rides can make for a good thing!
Don’t forget to hop on Wildlife Express Train and head on over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch which features a petting zoo, nature trail, and animal care facility. Its about a 7 minute ride and you pass by the housing facilities for the elephants, rhinos, and more along the way.
Animal Kingdom’s Entertainment
From award winning shows like Lion King and Nemo to an entertaining animal Flights of Wonder exotic bird show featuring your pals Russell and Dug, you will not fall short of things to do and see. Disney’s newest addition KitesTails show takes place over in the amphitheater. It features two select shows, Lion King and Jungle Book. Your favorite movie characters come to life in kite form and soar to the songs from your favorite Disney movies.
The entertainment at Animal Kingdom theme park is ever changing. Just around corner you never know who you may run into. Devine, a walking embodiment of nature herself might be hiding in plain sight. Kevin that pesky bird from Disney’s UP can come out of nowhere. Musicians and puppets that come to life . Birds soar overhead in formation. If you are rushing through you will miss all of magic that Animal Kingdom has to offer.
Its worth mentioning if you haven’t been to Animal Kingdom in some time you will want to allow plenty of time to explore its newest land, Pandora. Pandora based after the movie by the same name opened in May 2017. This area is expansive and highly themed. Visit at night to see all the flowers and fauna come alive with glowing light. Its also home to one of the most popular rides at Animal Kingdom Flights of Passage. Exotic food and beverage choices are fun and offer up a little something different than just the usual chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers while still appealing to picky eaters. Instead of a cheeseburger how about a cheeseburger pod?
In conclusion I really think Animal Kingdom is a park that truly deserves to be explored fully if your schedule will allow. We have only just touched on some of what you can experience as a guest in a day and there is still so much more. The holidays are even better! My favorite time to visit this park is around Christmas time. Magical doesn’t begin to describe it. The projection shows, the lanterns, Menagerie Puppets, winter décor, and more make me never want to leave. The best thing is each time you go back you will always find something new.
Related- Check out our guide for help planning your next trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom
I hope you take some time to enjoy all the beauty and adventure that Animal Kingdom has to offer on your next trip.