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.
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Disney Dining Reviews Index

Walt Disney World and Disneyland Restaurant Reviews

Walt Disney World and Disneyland have hundreds of restaurant and dining options, which can be overwhelming for some people. To assist, we’re highlighting reviews of some fan-favorite Disney restaurants here. This page features links to each Walt Disney World and Disneyland restaurant we’ve reviewed, plus links for the Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney Resort restaurants we’ve reviewed thus far. (Reviews for Hong Kong Disneyland Restaurants are coming soon.)

Each review features a detailed description of the restaurant, some useful information for it, several food photos, and our opinion (or opinions, plural, if the two of us disagree about a particular Disney restaurant) on the restaurant. At the end of each review, we assign a numerical score out of 10 to each restaurant, based upon its cuisine and ambiance. Unless the review explicitly states otherwise, we do not factor service into the score, as service varies so widely (even at the same restaurant on the same night) based upon a number of factors that we do not feel it useful to you to score a restaurant based upon our anecdotal service experience. As for the scores, think of them along the lines of letter grades you received in school. A score of 10/10 is an A+, a score of 8/10 is a B-, a score of 6/10 is a D-, (and so on), anything below a 6/10 is varying degrees of flunking. Scores are not listed for any restaurants located in international parks at this time, as we do not feel we have sufficient experience with these restaurants to give them numerical scores. We expect that to change as we try more options and revisit locations.

Please note that this page includes links to only restaurant reviews. We have a wide variety of other dining resources, including where to eat to maximize your savings on the Disney Dining Plan, where the best cupcakes, steaks, etc. are found, and a myriad of “Top 10″ dining lists. In many cases, these resources are more helpful than the reviews themselves. To find these resources for your destination, be sure to check out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews & Resources or our Disneyland Resort Restaurant Reviews & Resources. Both of those pages include links to reviews, plus the other resources.

Click each restaurant name to read our full review of the restaurant, and see some photos of different items that each restaurant serves!

Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews

Walt Disney WorldEPCOTVia NapoliWhile not the best restaurant for value on the 2013 Disney Dining Plan, Via Napoli is a great place to eat in Epcot!

Resort Hotels

I Was Wrong About Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

If you’ve been a regular reader of this site, you’ve probably come across some of my posts regarding Disney’s Animal Kingdom that are fairly critical of the park. For a while, it was my least favorite park at Walt Disney World, and I’d say I was almost bitter at the park for squandering so much potential. This year, we have spent more time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom than in any previous year (given that we’ve visited Walt Disney World fewer times this year than in any past year, this should be doubly impressive), and I will admit that my opinion of the park has changed. In short, I was wrong about it.

Phrases like “I was wrong” are not the norm on the internet. The standard modus operandi is to establish a position, entrench oneself in that position, and refuse to relent no matter what countervailing reason and opinion are offered. Sorry, fellow internet commentators, if I’ve broken some sort of unspoken code of conduct by admitting that I was wrong. In my defense, while I will admit that I was wrong, I’m not saying I was totally wrong. In fact, I still think several of my specific points are valid. What I was wrong about were my general conclusions about the park, and my general demeanor and attitude towards it.

Let’s take a look at why I am now an Animal Kingdom fan. (more…)

Tusker House Review

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Tusker House is a character buffet at Walt Disney World, in Animal Kingdom, with a mix of African cuisine and more standard American fare. This review concerns lunch at Tusker House, which now ranks as new top character dining experience in terms of both value and food quality. Breakfast and dinner are also served at Tusker House, with dinner having the same slate of options at a more expensive price (and no characters), and breakfast offering characters and (obviously) a breakfast menu. Tusker House is less expensive than other character dining, making it a good value if paying out of pocket, but a poor value on the Disney Dining Plan. In addition to accepting the Disney Dining Plan (1 credit), Tusker House accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount.

Before we dig into the food, let’s talk ambiance at Tusker House. It’s no surprise that the theming at Tusker House is top notch, with incredible attention to detail and a lot fun little touches. It actually looks like a weathered marketplace you might find in Africa. You know, if Disney characters roamed African marketplaces. With the exception of the touches of Disney, Tusker House’s theme is executed so well that you might be able to pass photos of it off as an actual marketplace in Africa. No detail is overlooked, and the restaurant really works well, especially for an adult audience. (more…)

Restaurantosaurus Review

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Restaurantosaurus is an intentionally kitschy dinosaur-themed restaurant (get the name?) in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. The menu is a mix of mostly standard American fast food, with no specific twist. It participates in the Disney Dining Plan and is a rare counter service restaurant that accepts Tables in Wonderland for a 20% discount. It’s neither a good nor bad value on the Disney Dining Plan–just middle of the road.

We all know that kitsch is fun. Everyone loves a good restaurant. It’s irrefutable scientific fact that dinosaurs are awesome. So it stands to reason that Restaurantosaurus would be a mind-blowing experience on many different levels. Yet, in reality, it’s awful. This may seem unexplainable, as mixing so much awesome together should simply result in more awesome. However, much like a Slim Jim-flavored ice cream sundae on a bed of BBQ ribs covered in melted cheese, something has gone horribly wrong.

Before we lambaste Restaurantosaurus for its terrible food, let’s look at what it has done right: theme. Restaurantosaurus is over-the-top, and unabashedly kitschy. Some people won’t like the intentional kitsch (with the argument that “organic kitsch” works best), but I think it works well. I’m not normally one to defend Dinoland for its “clever and layered backstory” (I’ve described it more than once on this blog as lipstick on a pig), but kitsch in small doses and not at the expense of substance works. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a counter service restaurant themed to dinosaurs to have the kind of high level quality an attraction would, so a small dose of kitsch is a good workaround for the restaurant. It gives something to explore and a way to tell story that doesn’t need to occur at the expense of substance. (more…)