Best Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attractions & Ride Guide


Disney’s Animal Kingdom is another park that is lean on attractions (and has unfairly earned a reputation as a half day park because of this), but has more than enough quality entertainment to fill a day. This guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom attractions contains short reviews and numerical scores for every ride and show in the park. If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, it’s a great place to start when determining what and when you want to do various Animal Kingdom attractions, as well as how you should use your three FastPass+ in the park. Preferences vary, but we’ve tried to keep this as objective as possible with enough description so you’ll know whether particular attractions will appeal to your group.

This guide for Disney’s Animal Kingdom includes headliners and smaller attractions, plus shows and animal exhibits. We don’t recommend skipping any attractions based upon the advice of others if you have the time to experience them all (except Dinorama!), but be warned that this meager list of Animal Kingdom attractions is only deceptively meager, and will take a long time to complete. If you go at a slow pace or stop for table service meals, you won’t be able to do it all in a single day. This guide will help give you an idea of which Animal Kingdom rides and attractions are must-see for you, and which ones you won’t have time to do.

Even more than our Disney’s Hollywood Studios Guide (but unlike our Magic Kingdom Attraction Guide and Epcot Attraction Guide), you’ll notice that this one is very top heavy, with far fewer attractions on “The Rest” list. This is good and bad. It’s good because the good attractions at Animal Kingdom are really good, and most appeal to a broad audience. It’s bad because there still is a shortage of attractions at Animal Kingdom, and if a certain type of attractions don’t appeal to people in your party (namely, animal exhibits or shows), then your visit to Animal Kingdom might be over by noon.

This is where the half day park reputation comes in, and it usually comes from those who don’t give Animal Kingdom’s shows or animal exhibits a chance (it took me a long time to discover the beauty of Animal Kingdom, but I finally admitted being wrong about Animal Kingdom in this blog post). Just because you’ve experienced animal exhibits elsewhere does not mean you’ve experienced anything like these. Same goes for the shows (two of which aren’t even based on actual animals).

Beyond that, Animal Kingdom ranks right up there with World Showcase as an excellent spot to just relax and spend some time. Each of the lands (besides Dinorama) has a great sense of place to it, and the thematic execution is top notch, save for some criticism that it has too much real world “grit” and not the same sense of whimsy you might find from other Disney parks. It’s truly an exceptional “ambiance park,” and although it could use a shot in the arm in terms of rides that aren’t predicated upon living animals, it appears that won’t occur until around 2017 when Avatar Land opens. Still, it’s a great park, and definitely will be appreciated by the animal lovers in your group.

This guide assumes that you have a full day to spend in each of the Walt Disney World theme parks. You may have more or less time depending on how many day tickets you purchase and whether you add on the Park Hopper option (read our Walt Disney World Ticket Guide to determine which tickets are best for you).

Numerical scores are on a scale of 1 to 10, and only take into consideration overall quality relative to that specific type of attraction. Dark rides are judged against other dark rides, roller coasters are judged against other coasters, etc., to create a relatively level playing field. Attractions are rated based upon how much their target audience will enjoy them. For example, an attraction with a height restriction that precludes kids from riding it might score 9/10, despite it’s score for toddlers being 0/10. Likewise, a stage show based on a TV show for kids might score a 7/10 because that’s how much they’d enjoy it, even though it might be a 2/10 for adults. In our ratings, we only consider how well done the attraction is, overall and within its category, when experienced by its target demographic.

Top Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attractions

Kilimanjaro Safaris (10/10) – Animal Kingdom’s flagship safari ride through “natural” environments exposing guests to a wide array of animals. This attraction used to have a bit of a storyline, but it was widely viewed as lazy pretext. Now it doesn’t have any real storyline and it’s viewed as lacking ‘substance.’ It just can’t win. Regardless of the story or lack thereof, Kilimanjaro Safaris is an amazing attraction, exposing guests to a multitude of animals in what appears to be their natural environments. The ride can be bumpy, but it adds an element of authenticity. Drivers are usually quite knowledgeable about the animals, so definitely ask questions that you may have. Animals are most active first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. This works well, as these are also the best times to experience the attraction to avoid waits. We recommend using FastPass+ and trying to get on one of the last safaris of the day. Nothing beats a sunset ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris!

Ever done Expedition Everest at night? It's a BLAST!

Expedition Everest (9/10) – Everest-themed roller coaster that goes backwards and encounters a yeti. Everest is Disney’s most ambitious roller coaster, and quite impressive in terms of theming and attention to detail. Many effects on Expedition Everest now do not work; the most notable of these effects is the large Audio Animatronics yeti (dubbed the “Disco Yeti” by Disney fans), which now does not move, but has strobe lights flashing on him to simulate motion. Despite these nonworking effects (the basis for it losing a point in our score), it’s still an impressively fun coaster, with one of the best queue lines at Walt Disney World. Expedition Everest has a minimum height requirement of 44″. It’s a good use of FastPass+, but know that it has short lines very first thing in the morning, and the wait time through the Single Rider line is typically less than 10 minutes, so if you can’t score a FastPass+ (or choose not to), it’s not the end of the world. Everest is also better at night and has a shorter line then, so if the park is open after dark during your visit, definitely ride it then, too!

Kali River Rapids (7/10) – Whitewater raft ride spinning freely down a river through rainforest, ruins, and deforested areas with message of conservation. Kali River Rapids has a pretty setting, but there isn’t enough substance to the scenes. For some, this will be okay because the suspense of whether you’re about to get soaked will have your full attention. You will get wet on Kali River Rapids, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get absolutely soaked–it’s all random. There are free (2-hour) lockers nearby, and we strongly recommend using them for a change of clothes (or wear a poncho on the ride). The queue is arguably more interesting than the attraction itself, and is quite gorgeous. Kali River Rapids has a 38″ height requirement. Kali River Rapids is a good use of FastPass+, and we highly recommend booking as late of a slot as possible so you’re soaked for as little of the day as possible.

Not as good as Indiana Jones Adventure, but a fun attraction, nonetheless!

Dinosaur (8/10) – A high-speed, wild drive in a time rover through dark show scenes with Audio Animatronics dinosaurs trying to capture a particular dinosaur before the moment of extinction. Dinosaur has a humorous pre-show video and some memorable scenes and encounters with dinosaurs. It utilizes the same ride technology as Indiana Jones Adventure in Disneyland and is often (negatively) compared to that attraction as a result. However, the two rides are just as different from one another as Haunted Mansion and Spaceship Earth (both of which use the same ride systems as one another). We really enjoy Dinosaur, although there is admittedly a lot of dead, black space and it lacks interesting scenes (most dinosaur Audio Animatronics are standing in dark patches of foliage. A letdown in terms of what a dinosaur attraction could be, but still good. Dinosaur has a minimum height requirement of 40″. It offers FastPass+, but is only a good use of FastPass+ if you are skipping Kali River Rapids.

Festival of the Lion King (9/10) - Acrobats, singers, and other performers in tribal attire and vibrant costumes, plus parade floats with Lion King characters and other creatures enact scenes inspired by the Lion King in a very lively theatrical show. There’s a lot of stuff going on, in what basically amounts to a lot of audio-visual stimulation. The show just flat out works, and its almost abstract nature allows the audience to just sit back and enjoy the wow-inducing performers. Originally built (literally) out of old parade floats, Festival of the Lion King is presently being relocated. Here’s hoping some of its infrastructure is remade in a more permanent way that blends with the theater, as this audience-favorite will have a long run at Animal Kingdom and deserves some better scenery. FastPass+ is available for priority access, but we don’t recommend you use it here unless your seating location really matters.

What are your Top 5 Disney's Animal Kingdom attractions?

Finding Nemo: The Musical (9.5/10) – Human performers are paired with creatively-made puppets in a condensed retelling of Finding Nemo. The big draw here is how the entertainers manipulate the puppets. Are the humans the focus or the puppets they’re controlling? (Both are, we think.) It’s an interesting concept, and the presentation and music are excellent. We’re not huge fans of the story simply being a condensed version of the film, but this show brings enough novelty to the table that it just works. The best-done show at Walt Disney World. FastPass+ is available for priority seating, and may not be a bad idea given the large theater in which this is performed. You won’t need FastPass+ to get into a showing, though.

Flights of Wonder (9/10) – Exotic bird ‘stunt’ show in an outdoor amphitheater. Flights of Wonder is entertaining and engaging, with a bit of self-aware, cheesy comedy that works really well to balance out its conservationist message. The intelligence of birds is astounding, and pretty funny, too. It’s a great blend of Disney entertainment and wildlife. It’s easy to dismiss as a “bird show,” but that would be a big mistake.

It’s Tough To Be A Bug (8.5/10) – 3D show about touting the benefits of inspects with the cast of A Bug’s Life. This is a prime example of how you use Disney characters to make an educational (at least partially so) film feel like pure entertainment. It’s a lot of fun and there are some great “interactive” moments in the show. FastPass+ is available, but you won’t need it for this.

Maharajah Jungle Trek (10/10) – Walk-through animal exhibit with birds, bats, and tigers. Its scenes that bring you up close to various animals, all while traversing through an elaborately themed Asian environment. While the animal encounters are great, as are the Cast Members here sharing information about them, the environments through which you walk (and even through which the animals roam) are the real star. At one point it seems as if you’re going through the ruins of a remote temple that has existed for thousands of years, and details abound everywhere. All of this makes it feel like you’re experiencing the actual environments where these animals live, rather than just observing them in their pens. It truly feels like you’re an active participant in some sort of exploration. This is the best animal ‘exhibit’ we’ve ever experienced anywhere.

The Rest

Rafiki’s Planet Watch (6.5/10) – Board the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to see a petting zoo and a number of exhibits concerning animal care. Disney treats this as land with each exhibit being an individual attractions, but that seems like an effort to bump up the attraction count. The only place the Wildlife Express Train goes is Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and everything (besides the petting zoo) is in the same small-ish area. What you will see in these exhibits varies based upon what’s going on (inquire about the surgery/procedure schedule), which is where the true variance in quality exists. The big downside to Rafiki’s Planet Watch (and the reason it’s on “The Rest” list) is the time commitment–at the very least, you’re looking at about an hour of your day doing this. Also note that the Wildlife Express Train, while offering some interesting views, is point A to point B transportation. It’s not a “high speed thrill ride” a la Big Thunder Mountain, as one drunk couple in line behind us once suggested it was. (They were disappointed when it dropped them off at an animal research area!) If you’re not going for a specific surgery or procedure, the best time to do it is the middle of the day when everything else is busy.

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail (8/10) – Wildlife walking trail, with hippo and gorillas as highlights. Seeing the hippo underwater and being close to the gorillas is pretty awesome. The only reason this is on “The Rest” list is because it will be difficult to see all of the above shows and attractions and this on a normal (5 p.m. closing) day at Animal Kingdom. If you have the time, and you aren’t ‘trailed out’ after Maharajah Jungle Trek, definitely do this. So much for that ‘half day park’ reputation!

One of the most overrated attractions at Walt Disney World. Read about the rest: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/overrated-disney-world-experiences/

Primeval Whirl (3/10) – This attraction, along with the rest of Dinorama, is a blight on Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We’ve heard this area defended as “misunderstood” thanks to its convoluted backstory time and time again, but all that is lipstick on a pig. Primeval Whirl only earns points because it’s a decent mild thrill. It loses significant points because it’s the kind of tacky carnival garbage that doesn’t belong in a Disney theme park.

TriceraTop Spin (3/10) – Spinner ride. Basically, they replaced flying Dumbos with triceratops. Instead of nice views of Fantasyland, you get an elevated view of Dinorama. Don’t bother subjecting yourself to that unless your kids are addicted to spinners.

This leaves out random pieces of entertainment like Divine, character meet & greets, and play areas, but it’s the significant attractions. If you have the time, try as much as you can, as you’ll likely disagree with us on at least a few of these attractions.

If you’re planning a trip, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

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Your Thoughts…

Which Disney’s Animal Kingdom attractions are your favorites? Which ones do you normally skip? Do you agree or disagree with our ratings? If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World yet, which Animal Kingdom attractions are you most excited about? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your questions and thoughts in the comments!

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61 Responses to “Best Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attractions & Ride Guide”

  1. Dan Heaton says:

    I definitely agree about Primeval Whirl and TriceraTop Spin, which are just off-the-shelf rides that add very little to the park. I don’t buy the idea that it’s okay because it’s purposely designed that way. The rides are just dull. I also think Dinosaur deserves an 8/10 and has some great thrills. I do think it needs to have more scenery around the Dinosaurs; that’s where it really falls short of Indy. I also love the Nemo show even more than the Lion King show. It’s really stunning.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Sounds like we’re in complete agreement, then. Right?

    • Don Livingston says:

      I rode Primeval Whirl for the first time last week and consider the 3/10 to be generous personally. However, my 11 year old twins love it and ride it multiple times whenever we visit AK so it does appear to have great appeal for a young audience.

      • Mike Barlow says:

        Don..I had the same thoughts. I left my family to ride Primeval Whirl so I could get Fastpasses only to find my kids (ages 10,7, and 5) insistent on riding it over and over again when I returned. I can’t say I was too impressed and don’t like the carnival aspect of this ‘land’ in the park, but my kids picked this as one of their favorite rides of our week at Disney. Go figure.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Fact: kids love playing in cardboard boxes. ;)

        (Okay, maybe not 10 year olds, but still…)

      • Bernadette says:

        Funny, my kids (15, 10 and 7) were ‘one and done’ when we did PW for the first time last September. I think they might have enjoyed it more if not for how blazingly hot the whole Dinorama area feels compared to the rest of the park.

  2. Don Livingston says:

    Another bonus for Everest is riding it at night. It becomes a completely different attraction since there is almost no lighting. This turns the attraction into a “dark” ride since you pretty much can’t see anything from beginning to end. It’s almost like 2 different rides.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yes! Just updated the description to reflect that. So, so true!

      • Michelle says:

        If the park closes at 5pm, how do you ride in the “dark” or “at sunset?” Apologies, new to the blog and haven’t done Animal Kingdom yet. Considering a Vacation Club home base in the Villas there….but my boys (including hubby) are night owls: 16, 13, 11, 8, 4. Luckily the 3-year-old and I can go to bed earlier together….zzzz!

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Certain times of year (when the park closes at 5pm), you can’t do them in the dark or at sunset, unfortunately.

  3. Chris says:

    Just wondering if you guys would consider doing one of these posts about the attractions outside the parks.

    • Sean says:

      I’d love to read a “best of out-side the parks” article as well! I don’t expect much favor towards Downtown Disney though :P

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Downtown Disney is such a blind spot for us (we have refused to go for the last ~6 years) that a guide like that coming from us wouldn’t be fair. While I personally cannot stand Downtown Disney because of what happened to Pleasure Island (and the sorry state of some of its shops), I know there are some good restaurants there, and I’m trying to make these guides comprehensive and (relatively) objective. Of course, we could go back to Downtown Disney, and maybe we will, but at this point it probably makes more sense to wait until Disney Springs is finished.

      • Don Livingston says:

        I think Splittsville is a great addition to DD. Had a lot of fun there last weekend. I’d say it’s worth going to dine at Ragland Road or Splittsville and shop at the Mega Disney Store. Nothing much else there and a lot of it is under construction right now.

      • Sean says:

        Raglan Road is a MUST every time I visit WDW!

  4. Laurel says:

    How do you find out what the procedure/surgery schedule will be?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’m not sure there’s an easy way. In the past, we’ve asked once in Animal Kingdom. I don’t know if there’s a number you can call or what…but it would be nice to have the information available somewhere.

  5. Blair says:

    I’ve never really understood Dinorama…part of it is themed to look like dig or institute, then the rest of it looks like they threw Dino theming on top of the carnival half of Califorina Adventures…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Although they’re often compared, Dinorama is nothing like Paradise Pier. Paradise Pier is well done and actually conveys the theme of a seaside amusement park without stooping to that level. It could still use some work, sure, but it’s nowhere near the atrocity that is Dinorama.

  6. Kevin says:

    If you have young kids, then the boneyard makes AK a half-day park by itself (or Dinosaur lovers, the signs in the boneyard are well done).

    I can’t completely agree with your review because I like FotLK slightly more than Nemo, and because the score maxes out at 10 so you can’t give the safari an 11. :)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      The Boneyard always seems packed with kids, so there’s no surprise that they love it. To me, no play area will ever top the ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ area at the Studios. I remember playing in that for HOURS at a time as a kid. Boneyard was a little past my time…

  7. SkipperKelly says:

    I can’t agree with your score of Everest, but that’s probably because I got to see the Yeti in all of it’s working glory during cast previews, and it was amazing. I enjoy the thrill of the coaster as well as the queue, but seeing the Yeti in such a sad state brings my score way down.

    Primeval Whirl always makes me giggle, but you’re right-it doesn’t belong at WDW.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I saw the Yeti in all of his working glory, and it was pretty cool. I still think $20 million was a lot to spend on something that was only visible for a couple of seconds (especially given how much work the park needs elsewhere), but that’s neither here nor there.

      Not having the working Yeti is definitely a big letdown for those who know what it’s like, but I think reviewing Expedition Everest behind a ‘veil of ignorance’ that only looks at the quality of the attraction as it stands still leaves it with a pretty high score. That’s just me, though.

  8. Holly says:

    It has been a while since I’ve been to Animal Kingdom, but aren’t there a few other walking trails? I think they are smaller and perhaps less themed than the other two. Did you not include them because they aren’t worth the time to visit or because they don’t take a lot of time to see?

    • Kevin says:

      Their are some paths around the Tree of Life (possibly closed now?) and there is the oasis as you enter the park. IMO, they fall into the super-awesome themeing category rather than an attraction themselves.

  9. ryan1 says:

    Not to nit pick but Cali Adventure has a Primevil Whirl ride system too. If Dino land was redone but kept the ride I think it wouldn’t get as much hate as it does. Its nothing special that’s for sure but it isn’t bad, especially in a park needing rides. Triceratop Spin is, I agree, useless.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Don’t even get me started on Goofy’s Sky School. Not only is it hideous (at least they painted it sky blue), but it makes literally no sense. What does the farming have to do with the sky school?!

  10. Lauren says:

    I read a tip recently about the Safaris I wanted to share. When it starts raining and everyone runs for the exits, go right to the Safari, especially if it’s a hot day. The animals all come out to cool off in the rain so you’ll see more during the rain than any other time, plus you stay dry on the truck. I almost hope it does rain next time I’m at AK to try this.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Excellent tip–and it makes complete sense. We’ll have to give this a try next time we’re there in the rain.

      • Don Livingston says:

        I can verify this tip. The best Safari we ever took was when my daughter and I went during a light rain in the morning. The animals were out in force and pretty much walking right next to the truck. Great Tip!

  11. Bernadette says:

    We’ve been to AK twice – both times we were there from rope drop to closing, and we still haven’t experienced everything on your list. Definitely not a half day park! Your 10/10 score for Maharajah Jungle Trek is killing me because we missed it both times (10 year old absolutely loves hippos, so we did Pangani each time). I must say I really didn’t appreciate AK on our first trip – it wasn’t until I read quite a bit about it in preparation for our second trip that I ‘got it’. The second visit was wonderful – I have to wonder how often people return home from their ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Disney not fully appreciating all that this park has to offer.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Consider yourself lucky–it took me way more than two trips to finally appreciate Animal Kingdom. Definitely check out Maharajah!

    • Ellen says:

      We are planning two long half days in AK when we go with a 6 year old and a 2 year old. That way we can do the safari twice, have plenty of time for the boneyard and get to some shows. I feel like it’ll be a great park for the little ones — not just running ragged running from attraction to attraction but having time to explore all the little nooks and crannies.

  12. Luke says:

    Thanks for the fantastic reviews! I would like to make a suggestions. It’s great that you score attractions by the target age group but is it possible to list that age group so it can be taken into consideration?

    Thanks again!
    Luke.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      The top category isn’t organized by anything. The lower category is in alphabetical order. I’ll give some though to an organizational structure. Thanks for the idea!

  13. Sybil says:

    I think the Festival of the Lion King is closed during construction of Avatar Land. In place of that, AK is doing some kind of Dinoland Dance Party. I will be there in 2 weeks and will find out for sure.

  14. David says:

    Have you ever gone on one of those deluxe safaris where you walk on those elevated bridges and lunch out on the savannah? Curious how that would rank.

    • Ally says:

      The boyfriend and I did that our first trip to WDW. We both absolutely loved it but it is definitely quite expensive for what it is.
      You get two guides and are put in a group and walk behind the scenes. The guides are really knowledgeable and the two women we had were hilarious too!
      You go and check out the hippos, a caretaker comes and feeds them and talks to you about them. You walk for a bit longer and then walk over these suspension bridge type things over the crocs. A caretaker meets you and talks about them. Then you get on a private truck and go through the safari, we stopped halfway to take photos with giraffes that came up to our truck.
      The food was quite tasty and they take professional photos of you and the group that they send to you later. You are harnessed in by the hippos and over the crocs so it is completely safe.
      If you love animals and learning about them and conservation I would suggest it. Do it first thing or later to avoid the heat though!

  15. Tabitat says:

    My family returned last week from a trip to Walt Disney World (our 4th in the last 8 years, 3 with kids and 1 honeymoon trip). Animal Kingdom is my favorite park, but then I’m a huge animal lover. This time I was a little disappointed because Animal Kingdom was so crowded, but that was poor planning on my part because the park was open until 8 the day we went. With a 5 year old who is just now open to tame roller coasters and a toddler, we almost always skip the thrill rides. My husband and I do get to do one or two thrill rides at each park thanks to the various grandparents who tag along. This year my son had a great time earning the new Wilderness Explorer badges at Animal Kingdom and learned a lot (made me feel better about taking him out of school). Despite skipping Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, It’s Tough to Be a Bug, and The Lion King (currently closed), we still didn’t leave the park until 6 and could have done more. I always plan to do the animal attractions first because I want to make sure we see them before the animals go in for the night. I agree that Dinorama is a huge blight on what is otherwise a beautiful park. This with the exception of the Boneyard, which is by far my son’s favorite place in all the parks. I have to say I currently love that this can be a one day park because it’s restful, and am not thrilled with the impending Avatarland addition. Not a fan of the movie and feel it will taint my favorite park. For the most part I think your ratings are spot on. I found your blog today and as a big Disney World fan, am enjoying perusing it.

  16. John Owen says:

    I just wanted to thank you for all your great guides and blog posts. I have been reading the site for a few days now and I keep coming back.

    At age 28 I am planning my first trip to WDW and finally getting to chase that childhood dream. Your guides have made planning this trip an absolute pleasure, and it is so nice to have an adult’s opinion on the park.

    I am really excited to be staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and I think that Animal Kingdom will likely be my favorite park. I am counting down the day until November!

    Thanks!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks for the kind words–hope you have an awesome trip!

      Make sure to try some of the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village. They’re ALL awesome.

  17. Natalie says:

    Animal Kingdom always feels 20 degrees hotter than the other parks. I think that’s why I have somewhat negative feelings about it. That and the fact that FP’s always run out by noon for the rides there. Maybe with the new system I will actually get to ride something when we visit in August.

    I do love that Lion King show. It’s pretty amazing.

  18. Bethany says:

    I feel … what’s the right word? Relief? Nostalgic? Vindication? When I saw you doing the “best attractions” series I knew Animal Kingdom was coming. And in that post I knew I’d see Dinosaur. I was holding my breath. But I’m happy to see it get such a good score! I have always felt this is the most under appreciated ride at Disney. For the past 4 trips we have NEVER seen a wait longer than 5 minutes for this ride (not counting the pre show) … and while it makes getting on several times a breeze, I find it a real shame. It has great themeing, cute humor, and the ride itself is a blast to me. When people ask why my favorite rides are they are always befuddled by Dinosaur’s appearance. But to them I say don’t count it out! — though one word of caution for readers perusing the comments. It’s not a ride for small children. My nephew was 7 and came out terrified (and convinced all indoor rides would be the same .. sigh) and I’ve seen many a tearful child get out of the time rover. It’s dark, jerky, and VERY loud for little kids.

  19. Kara says:

    I am guilty of previously thinking AK was a half day park. On my last few trips I took more time to wander down the trails – Pangani & Maharajah – and I was amazed. Incredibly well done, as you said. As for the rides, I love Everest, but my parents avoid it like the plague. They don’t like the long drops. Meanwhile, I avoid Dinosaur because the darkness & noise level trigger my claustrophobia, but my parents LOVE Dinosaur! LOL. To each their own, I guess.

  20. MrsM says:

    I’m not really a fan of Animal Kingdom. The Kilimanjaro Safari was great and so was Expedition Everest. There isn’t much else there that I enjoy. I don’t like water rides and I’m not big on shows. I’ve never done Dinosaur and if we go again I’d like to but I can’t justify a ticket for those three things. We don’t get park hoppers because even when we have we usually just do one park a day. We didn’t do Animal Kingdom on our last trip and wont on our next. For the same time and money I’d rather spend an extra day in Epcot, enjoy some more expensive dining options, or explore things at our resort.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Well, maybe once Avatar Land and the nighttime entertainment opens you’ll give it another shot? Not every park is for everyone, and we can understand if Animal Kingdom is not your cup of tea.

      • MrsM says:

        Depending on your review of Avatar Land I’ll probably give it another shot. I saw the movie once when it first came out. I don’t remember it except that that I was pretty “meh”. It Disney does it well I may still love it but I’ll wait to see what you have to say before I spend my money on it.

  21. Rick Gregory says:

    Visually beautiful with great details and lush vegetation. I really enjoyed this park. The termite hills look decidedly manufactured despite the guides insistence that they were real. How is it that no termites were visible and it looked more like painted concrete than mounds of dirt. And I’ve been to Africa. Is it possible those the baobab trees could have reached such maturity ?

  22. Ernie says:

    My kids loved the Dinoland area and played in the boneyard for a good while on our recent trip. The thing that turned my wife and I off the most about the area were the carnival games. You are already paying a pretty penny to go to Disney and now you charge a couple more bucks to play carnival games. This seems out of place at Disney and is just a money grab.

    Also, our first experience of the entire trip was Bug’s Life and the kids were terrified. For the rest of the trip, we had to tell our 4 year old that each show or ride wasn’t like Bug’s Life. He watched the Nemo show through this fingers.

  23. robyn says:

    Have you guys been to Universal yet?

  24. kim says:

    I loved your blog on animal kingdom but I’m having a hard time convincing my family to spend a full day @ AK. I plan to show them your comments! THANK YOU!

  25. Sara says:

    Just FYI for parents with youngish children, Dinosaur may be a bit intimidating or scary. Although I don’t have any children, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ridden that ride with friends and had kids that got off at the end and seemed absolutely terrified by the darker setting and the more intense dinosaurs (mostly the carnivores). I know it has a height requirement so that will deter the really young kids from going on it, but even so there were still many children that were tall enough to ride it that were a bit unnerved. That being said, I will add that I absolutely LOVE the ride myself!
    Also, just random information for Expedition Everest, from what I understand (having been a CM for a while and talking about it), the reason the yeti no longer moves is because, for the engineering department to fix him, they would practically have to dismantle the entire ride. For much of the attraction, the yeti is a large part of the structural foundation of the ride and they wouldn’t be able to get to the part that needs to be fixed without taking most of the interior of the mountain apart (which is more trouble than it’s worth and would lead to a relatively long rehab period for the ride- hence the strobe lights as an attempt to make up for it). Unfortunately that means that the yeti, while amazing for the short period of time he WAS working, will probably never move again (although I don’t know if that’s 100% accurate, but it’s the rumor among CMs).

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve heard the same thing about the Yeti, and it certainly seems believable. Whether it’s true or not is a different story, but it would make sense.

      Despite that, I think that it *will* work again someday. Right now, it doesn’t make sense for Animal Kingdom to be without a flagship rollercoaster for such a long period of time to fix the yeti, but I think once Avatar Land opens and there are other attractions to provide capacity, it might make more sense to have some downtime. Plus, at some point the ride will need a long refurb based on its age, anyway. It’ll be over 10 years old when Avatar Land opens, and I can’t think of any long term refurb it has ever had.

  26. Young says:

    I am going to Disney World with my friends. We are all college students. We are not sure which park we should go on the day we arrive at Orlando. Should we go to Hollywood Studio or Animal Kingdom? (We are going to arrive at the park around noon)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Depends on whether you’re interested in wildlife. If so, Animal Kingdom. If not, Hollywood Studios. In general, though, Hollywood Studios is my least recommended park. Have you considered Epcot or the Magic Kingdom? Both are a lot of fun–even for adults.

  27. Wendy says:

    After two visits to Animal Kingdom in two years, this year we are having a tough time with it. Should we go? We didn’t love it, but traveling from NY to FL and missing it seems wrong. My greatest complaint with AK is the heat. Because of vacation time, we always go in August. The other parks are designed with cooler attractions, but the “reality” of this African park makes for lots of uphill hiking and brutal heat. Loved the Safari and Festival of Lion King, but had to leave the park early each time because someone in our family was spent. I think we will invest in the Hopper this time so we can pair AK with Hollywood Studios. Then spend the bulk of our time in Epcot and MK, which we LOVE!

  28. Wendy says:

    I agree with your rating of 7/10 for Kali River Rapids, though not for the same reason you mention. This ride is a great one, and so refreshing on a hot day. However, it’s WAY TOO SHORT. I was surprised how fast it was over compared to other Disney rides. Each time I’ve ridden it with a first-time group, I’ve overheard them say, “No, don’t unbuckle yet. It’s not over. Is it?” I remember being surprised when it ended, too. For the wait time and the hype, it stinks to fly through it so fast and be done. Another minute or two and it would be a 10 for me!

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