Are you looking for the best Animal Kingdom rides and attractions? This guide has everything that you need to know about the best things to do at Animal Kingdom! We’ve picked out all of the must-see, top-priority rides and attractions to visit at this Disney Park.
Between the rides, shows, and animal encounters at Animal Kingdom, it can be difficult to narrow down what you want to do, especially if you only have one day in the park. Which Animal Kingdom rides are worth it? And which ones aren’t?
Which Animal Kingdom attractions are the ones you should prioritize? This guide to the best Animal Kingdom rides and attractions answers all of your questions.
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Understanding Animal Kingdom Lands
The six Animal Kingdom lands are Oasis, DinoLand U.S.A., Asia, Africa, Pandora – The World of Avatar, and Discovery Island.
The Animal Kingdom entrance opens up to Oasis. This land is home to all of the places where you can get necessities for your day at the park, like stroller rentals, wheelchair rentals, and storage lockers.
Everything dinosaur-themed in Animal Kingdom is in DinoLand U.S.A., like Restaurantosaurus, The Boneyard, and Fossil Fun Games. From DinoLand U.S.A., you can either make your way to Discovery Island or Asia.
Asia is where you’ll find some of the coolest Animal Kingdom rides, like Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest. It’s also where you’ll start to encounter animals, like gibbons and tigers. And if you’re hungry, it’s also home to one of the best restaurants in Animal Kingdom: Yak and Yeti.
On the path from Asia to Africa, you can pose for an amazing photo with Animal Kingdom’s iconic Tree of Life. Once you get to Africa, you’ll finally get to see the bulk of the animals in the park, including African lions, giraffes, elephants, gorillas, hippopotamuses, and more! As you could probably guess from this long list of animals, Africa is also home to the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris ride.
Unlike the rest of the lands in Animal Kingdom, Pandora – The World of Avatar is not based on the animals and landscapes of this planet. Rather, it’s a bit more otherworldly.
It is home to natural wonders like the Valley of Mo’ara and the Pandora Waterfall. It also has the amazing rides, and the tasty eatery, Satu’li Canteen.
The last land in Animal Kingdom is Discovery Island. Discovery Island is at the center of Animal Kingdom. As a matter of fact, to travel between many of the Animal Kingdom lands, you have to cross onto Discovery Island first.
This park hub is home to many of Animal Kingdom’s best sites and animals. Meet up with some of your favorite Disney characters, like Mickey, Minnie, Timon, and Rafiki. Say hello to some flamingos, vultures, and cotton-top tamarins. Perhaps even dine at Tiffins, one of the best restaurants in all of Disney World.
Once you’ve figured out where you are headed at the park, it’ll make life a lot easier, and you’ll be able to make the most of our list of rides at Animal Kingdom.
Full Animal Kingdom Attraction List
There are nearly 50 attractions at Animal Kingdom, so there is a ton to do in this Disney Park! Here is a full list of these Animal Kingdom attractions and rides for you to reference.
Oasis: The Oasis is focused solely on animal attractions and exhibits. There are three different animal viewing areas, and several exhibits to view. This is the entrance into Animal Kingdom and is the first stop on attractions at Animal Kingdom.
- Animal Highlights: Babirusa, Spoonbill, Giant Anteater
- The Oasis Exhibits
DinoLand U.S.A.: DinoLand is currently undergoing a few changes, and its future is unclear at the time of this article. Several rides have been removed, but there are still some great things to do at Animal Kingdom in this section! It’s definitely not a skip in our book.
- Animal Highlights: American Crocodile, Tyrannosaurus Rex
- The Boneyard
- Fossil Fun Games
- Finding Nemo – The Musical
Africa: Africa is home to great live music, a Broadway-worthy musical show, and some guest favorite attractions. If you need help on looking for what to do at Animal Kingdom, we suggest visiting the Africa section of the park.
- Animal Highlights: Elephant, Lion, Gorilla, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Colobus Monkey, Zebra, Cotton-Top Tamarin, Tarantula
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Wild Africa Trek
- Festival of the Lion King
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Wildlife Express Train
- Conservation Station
- Affection Station
Asia: Asia is home to some of the most popular rides at Animal Kingdom, as well as the best Animal Kingdom roller coaster. Asia also has some great food options, and you’ll certainly enjoy your time in this section.
- Animal Highlights: Tiger, Gibbon, Komodo Dragon, Lion-Tailed Macaques
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Kali River Rapids
- Maharjah Jungle Trek
- Feathered Friends in Flight!
Pandora – The World of Avatar: This stunning section of the park has arguably the best rides at Animal Kingdom and is a must-do for your visit. You don’t want to skip the rides, the food, or seeing the gorgeous bioluminescent lights at night!
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
Discovery Island: The center hub features the icon of the park – the Tree of Life, as well as one of the most controversial rides and attractions at Animal Kingdom. You don’t want to miss walking around the Discovery Island Trails and getting tons of photos of the Tree of Life.
- Animal Highlights: Otter, Cotton-Top Tamarin, Ring-Tailed Lemur
- Wilderness Explorers
- It’s Tough to be a Bug
- Discovery Island Trails
- Tree of Life
What is the Most Popular Ride at Animal Kingdom?
This isn’t the easiest question to answer, and for most people there are only two answers to this question: Expedition Everest and Flight of Passage. Both are extremely popular and are on the top of most visitors lists.
These are the two best rides at Animal Kingdom, and we can’t give just one answer here. Flight of Passage has been very popular since it opened in 2017, and the wait can reach 120 minutes shortly after opening.
Expedition Everest is easily the best Animal Kingdom roller coaster and is perfect for those looking for a thrill ride at this park. The mountain that houses this ride is iconic, and it’s a must do for thrill-seekers.
Which Rides Should I Ride First at Animal Kingdom?
This is definitely all about preference and priorities. If you must ride all the thrill rides, then your first stop should be Expedition Everest.
If you are here for the latest and greatest, then run to Pandora at rope drop and get in line.
Kilimanjaro Safaris is also a great first ride for those with little kids, non-thrill-seekers, or those who want a calm start to their morning.
These are also all great Disney Animal Kingdom rides to get a Lightning Lane for while visiting!
15 Best Animal Kingdom Rides and Attractions
Avatar Flight Of Passage
Avatar Flight of Passage is easily one of Animal Kingdom’s best rides, if not in all of Disney World. Located in Pandora – The World of Avatar, this ride is one of the newest rides in the park.
This technologically advanced ride takes riders directly into the world of Avatar. While riding on the back of a Banshee, riders can look in any direction and absorb the magic of the Pandora landscape.
Like Soarin at Epcot, you fly into “a screen” but it is so much better. We’ve even heard it referred to as “Soarin on crack” but even that doesn’t accurately describe it. The sights, sounds, smells and more are perfect for the whole family!
Since Avatar Flight of Passage is one of the most popular Animal Kingdom rides (wait times can sometimes surpass three hours!), it would be a good idea to use Genie+ and grab a Lightning Lane here.
This is truly one of the best theme park rides in Orlando!
You’re in Animal Kingdom so you need to see some animals! Kilimanjaro Safaris is the perfect place to see them! This nearly 20-minute ride takes guests through the Harambe Wildlife preserve, where over 30 unique animal species live.
Catch a glimpse of zebras grazing on some grass. Spot crocodiles lurking just above the surface of the water. Or maybe watch a giraffe find something to munch on high up in the trees.
The guides actually drive your safari truck, you aren’t on a track. The animals, from elephants and lions to gators and zebras, are all very real and move about the ride at will. There are many times when your safari truck must stop because there is a giraffe crossing the road or standing in the middle without moving.
If you’re hoping to get a different view of these wild animals, you can now take a safari at night! Being able to see so many wild animals up close and learn all about them makes this one of Animal Kingdom’s best rides.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
While Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most chill, family-friendly rides in the park, Expedition Everest is the best, most thrilling roller coaster at Animal Kingdom. This thrilling ride takes tons of unexpected twists, turns, and drops.
You may even get a glimpse of the elusive Yeti! Just as a note, all of these features that make Expedition Everest an amazing ride for adults may be a bit scary for children.
Because Expedition Everest is one of the most popular Animal Kingdom rides, it would be a good idea to get a Lightning Lane for it. But if you can’t snag one, there’s also a single rider line option, which will save you a ton of waiting time.
Na’vi River Journey
Located just a few steps away from Satu’li Canteen, one of the best Animal Kingdom quick service restaurants, Na’vi River Journey is an Animal Kingdom ride that showcases the full-fledged creativity of the Disney Imagineers.
This short, yet beautiful boat ride has so many colorful, intricate details from the world of Avatar. And, even better, it’s an enjoyable ride for everyone in your group!
It is a very slow and short moving boat ride, but the visuals and detail are breathtaking. This makes it onto our Animal Kingdom rides list because of the visuals, and the amazingly advanced Shaman animatronic.
If you’re trying to get up close and personal with tyrannosaurus rexes, pterodactyls, and raptors, the DINOSAUR ride at Animal Kingdom is perfect for you. Between the detail and thrill imbued into the ride, you truly feel as if you’ve been transported back into prehistoric times when dinosaurs still roamed around the planet.
On DINOSAUR, your goal is to bring a huge Iguanodon back to present day. But along the way, you still have to deal with all of the dangers of prehistoric times – from other dinosaurs to predators to even a meteor! Are you ready for this one-of-a-kind adventure?
There are life-size Dino animatronics, and you are basically 4-wheel driving thousands of years ago! The ride feels like you are off-roading in a jeep and is quite fun and energetic.
If your kids don’t like darker rides with giant dinos, steer clear. Even though it can be a little scary for some, it is one of the best Animal Kingdom Disney World rides.
Kali River Rapids
One of our favorite things to do at Animal Kingdom is Kali River Rapids. First of all, Florida can get quite hot, especially in the summer, so a water ride is the perfect way to cool down! And Kali River Rapids has a drop too, making it a water ride with a bit of a thrill.
Do know that if you choose to ride Kali River Rapids, you will get SOAKED. It’s not “you may get wet.” It’s “you will most definitely get soaked.” So, keep that in mind while making your decision on whether or not to ride Kali River Rapids.
It is the only water ride at Disney World where you get positively soaked. There is no way to go on Kali River Rapids without getting drenched like you stepped out of the shower or pool.
This such a great family friendly ride, and one of the best Disney Animal Kingdom rides due to the drop, the atmosphere, and the sheer thrill of the whole ride.
Festival Of the Lion King
Honestly, the Festival of the Lion King is a Broadway-caliber show. That’s how good it is.
This 30-minute show tells the story of Simba’s coronation as king. As can be expected, this celebration is filled with amazing acrobats, talented dancers, and even huge puppets!
And you can be sure that Disney won’t leave out your favorite Lion King songs, including “Hakuna Matata,” “The Circle of Life,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”
This show is a don’t miss on our list of what to do at Animal Kingdom, and this stunning show will end up being one of your favorites too!
Finding Nemo – The Big Blue… and Beyond!
Finding Nemo – The Big Blue…and Beyond is so well done! Many even compare it to the famed Festival of the Lion King show! This must-see under the sea experience may be one of the best shows at Animal Kingdom.
In Finding Nemo – The Big Blue…and Beyond! catches up with the aquarium fish Nemo had met, and you join them across their adventure through the ocean. This show was recently updated, with brand new effects, lighting, and storyline.
You’ll feel as if you’re in the ocean with Nemo and his friends, and this had to be on our Animal Kingdom guide to the best attractions.
It’s Tough to Be a Bug
Hidden in a theater nestled at the base of the iconic Tree of Life, the 4D “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” show is one of the most underrated Animal Kingdom attractions. While the movie, A Bug’s Life, taught viewers a bit about the insect world, there’s so much information that couldn’t quite make it into the movie.
That’s where this “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” show comes in. As the perfect combination of educational and entertaining, kids will have so much fun learning more about the bug-eat-bug world from their favorite A Bug’s Life character, Flik.
Just a head’s up though, some little ones find this show a little overwhelming or even frightening, so take that into consideration.
Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch
If you have a future veterinarian or a current animal lover in your group, the Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch is a must-visit Animal Kingdom attraction. There are four separate sections of the conservation station: the veterinary treatment room, the nutrition center, the amphibian, reptile, and invertebrate windows, and the science center.
In the veterinary treatment room, you can watch Disney’s vets give the animals in the park the best care possible. You may even be able to watch a procedure in process!
The nutrition center is where nutrition experts whip up meals for all of the animals in the parks – from the smallest birds to the largest elephants.
The amphibian, reptile, and invertebrate windows give guests the chance to see snakes and scorpions slither just a few inches away (behind glass windows, of course).
Lastly, check out what Animal Kingdom’s resident scientists are up to at the science center.
Feathered Friends in Flight!
Feathered Friends in Flight is the newest bird show at Animal Kingdom and is a great way to learn about the different birds that inhabit the park. Their trainers and handlers tell you about them, and some of them do a few tricks even!
You’ll learn about how these free-flying birds are cared for and getting up close and personal with these amazing creatures will show you why this is on our list of the best rides and attractions at Animal Kingdom.
Maharajah Jungle Trek
The Maharajah Jungle Trek is a relaxing, animal-filled Animal Kingdom attraction. You simply follow a path through Asia, stopping to see a ton of cool animals, including tigers, gibbons, Komodo dragons, and lion-tailed macaques. There’s even an aviary where 50 bird species fly around as they please!
This is a great place to slow down and relax while in Animal Kingdom, and you don’t want to miss the tigers here. Not to mention, the Imagineers did such an amazing job theming this area that you may forget you’re even in a theme park.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is very similar to the Maharajah Jungle Trek, except it showcases African animals rather than Asian animals. Rather than Asian tigers and Komodo dragons, you’ll encounter animals native to Africa, including gorillas, meerkats, and zebras!
You’ll be able to head right into Gorilla Falls after leaving Kilimanjaro Safaris, so you’ll be able to visit both on of the best Disney Animal Kingdom rides and then one of the best attractions one right after another.
Located in DinoLand U.S.A., The Boneyard is essentially a playground but it’s a great place to let little ones run around and burn some energy. It’s designed to look like a dinosaur dig, and budding archaeologists and lovers of dinos will enjoy running around here.
Even though this isn’t a traditional attraction, this had to make it onto our Animal Kingdom guide because so many little ones love it here! You can’t beat pretending to take part of a dinosaur dig and tiring out your kids – without the use of a Lightning Lane!
The Animation Experience at the Conservation Station might be the most chill activity on this list of best Animal Kingdom rides and attractions. After taking the Rafiki’s Planet Watch train over to the Conservation Station, you can take a little time out of your day to learn to draw your favorite Disney characters.
A Disney animator will teach this 25-minute class and show you how to draw a popular character. They’ll even talk about the importance of live animals when it comes to character creation and animation, and you’ll learn more than just how to draw!
This is such a great way to slow down during a busy day, and let a budding artist enjoy showcasing their talent too.
We hope this list helps when you’re thinking of Animal Kingdom attractions and planning your trip to the most magical place on earth. Do you agree or disagree with our list? Let us know which you think are the best Animal Kingdom rides!