Disney World's Animal Kingdom, Review of an Unexpected Favorite

Disney World's Animal Kingdom
The Tree of Life has an amazing night show!

We were not prepped for how much fun we would have at Disney World's Animal Kingdom... it was pretty unexpected.  One of our group didn't even want to go. Over and over we were asked, are you SURE you want to go?  It didn't bode well for the day. This post has been updated, and by reading beyond this point, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy found here, and our use of commission based links.
Do you want to know what?  We loved it.  It was a great day.  We could have actually spent more time there, but the kids were so tired, we needed to have a nap in the middle of the day.  By day three at Disney World, we were all tired and cranky.  I have learned that if we want to stay late at the park, especially after using magic hour in the morning, we need a nap.

What animals are in Animal Kingdom?

What kid doesn't love seeing gibbons high overhead crossing from one area to the other?  The other highlight, watching them relieve themselves on the same wire.  Insert eye roll.  I'm just really glad that we weren't underneath.

Disney World Animal Kingdom
We had a lot of fun watching the animals when we needed a break.

Expedition Everest is a must do coaster at Disney!

I know that I have mentioned that my kids love coasters, and frankly so do I.  While the kids were absorbed by the gibbons, I went to check out Expedition Everest.  Because it was the slow season, and magic hour, we were able to get right on, and you know what?  It is now one of my all time favorite coasters.  I'm not exaggerating. SO GOOD.  The kids each rode it four times, but I could only handle two.  It was great and you should definitely get a FastPass+ (and a stroller switch) for this one!

Disney World Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest, one of my new all-time favorite coasters!

The park is really gorgeous, and they have done a great job recreating regions of the world.  I actually felt like I was back in India when I was walking toward Everest.  It was so cool. I probably took too many pictures.

Standing on a bridge in the Animal Kingdom

Let's talk Kilimanjaro Safari ride shall we?  

It is often listed as one of the MUST DO things at Animal Kingdom.  For me, it can be skipped if the lines are unbearable.  If you have a good zoo near your home, the kids won't really see too much that is different or exciting.  If you don't have access to a good zoo, you shouldn't miss the safari ride.  Don't miss, right near the entrance, the only place at Disney World to have Dole Whip with booze in it.  So yummy!

I will also let you in on something that I learned the hard way, don't use a FastPass+ on the Primeval Whirl.  It was a super long line, and not worth it for my kiddos. It is in DinoLand USA, which is geared towards little kids.

Disney World food
Tons of snack options at Animal Kingdom from fresh fruit to boozy Dole Whip.

If you are at one of the parks after dark, do yourself a favor and find a dance party.  

They are always so much fun.  I know this isn't the best picture, but we all had soooo much fun and I wanted to share it with you.  I get the bad mom award for leaving during the tree of life show at night.  It was crowded and the kids were just done.  It was time to go.

Disney World Animal Kingdom
My little girl dancing with the cast members.  We all had so much fun!

We found a pretty great (and somewhat secret) place to eat at Animal Kingdom that I want to share.  

On Discovery Island is a great quick service BBQ place (with good salads too).  Here is the secret.  Get your meal, walk to the left around the building, and follow the path to the lake.  You can get a table right on the water, watch the birds, and relax in a shady spot.  I even spotted a few kids napping in strollers away from the hustle and bustle. Here is a map...

If you like this post, and want to find out the secret way that travel agents stay at the Disney Luxury Resorts for less than the cheaper ones, you will love this post.

We were also really impressed with the food at Pandora.

Everything was very fresh, and had lots of healthy options, even for kids.  I highly recommend using the mobile ordering feature on the app.  Even though it was the off season, the lines were quite long.  With the app, I spend almost no time waiting.

Beef Bowl at Pandora, Disney World Animal Kingdom
This is the Beef Bowl at the Satu'li Canteen in Pandora

 Probably an unpopular opinion, but the Pandora rides aren't worth the wait.

We used my son's DAS (disability pass to ride both of them).  We wait in line, while not actually in line.  That said, we had to wait for three hours for the Avatar Flight of Passage ride.  Then, once in the FastPass+ line, we waited for another 45 minutes.  It was a cool ride, and unlike anything I have experienced before.  Sitting on the banshee was cool, but VR rides tend to make me a little sick.  If the lines were reasonable, I would say it is a must do.  If you are waiting in the long line, I would skip it.  

The It's Tough to be a Bug show is very cute.

If you are looking for a show to get out of the heat (or the cold in our case) I highly recommend the bug show.  Sometimes it's nice to sit down for a few minutes, out of the elements.  My kids enjoyed it, and 4D shows at Disney are always a crowd pleaser.  Some members of our group saw it twice!

All in all, don't skip it Animal Kingdom.  

I really don't think it's a park hopper day either.  There are too many fun things for every age level and interest.  I wish we had had more time! Perhaps one more ride on Everest? What did I miss that I should see next time?  The character dining at Tusker House is one of the best ones in Disney World.

Pinterest Image for Animal Kingdom
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  1. Thank you for sharing all of these neat details about Animal Kingdom! It's the only Disney World that I have never visited, but I really look forward to going there one day.

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