Animal Kingdom was the fourth theme park built at Walt Disney World. It officially opened on April 22 1998 which also happens to be Earth Day. Great day for this park to have it’s anniversary on. After all the park is dedicated to animal conservation and the natural environment.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which means they have met the standards in education, conservation, and research. Animal Kingdom does not allow plastic straws, balloons or lids in the park. That is just one of their many efforts in helping protect the environment.
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Now even though the park just turned 20 a little over a year and a half ago it was ranked 3rd in overall visitors in 2018 in the US. It is ranked 6th in the world. In 2018 Disney’s Animal Kingdom had over 13 million visitors.
So what is so great about Animal Kingdom. Could it be the Animals? The floating mountains of Pandora? How about the BBQ? What is everything that makes Animal Kingdom so great.
Animal Kingdom has the current top ride on anyone’s list. Of course we are talking about Flight of Passage. The ride opened on May 27, 2017 and has been a huge hit ever since. This is the HARDEST Fastpass to get. If you were unable to get one you would need to either show up at rope drop (park opening) or plan on standing in line for a minimum of 90 minutes.
Thrill seekers including my 8 year old daughter, love to feel the wind in their hair as they ride around the Forbidden Mountain and encounter the Yeti. Go forward and backwards as you try to escape the Yeti.
This next ride is the closest most of us will ever get to go on a real African Safari. Of course I am talking about Kilimanjaro Safari. This is another tough FastPass to get for either early in the morning or around sunset. This is because the animals are more active at those times.
If you can get on this while it is raining or just after you could be in for a treat. The one time I was on it around sunset right as a thunderstorm was passing through. Let me just say I didn’t realize they had so many animals out there roaming freely. Every single animal must have been out there soaking up the rain. It was amazing.
People tend to look at Animal Kingdom as either a zoo or a theme park. It is really both. Animal Kingdom has a lot of endangered animals that they look after.
Something that is little known to most guest is that efforts are always being made to reintroduce animals to their natural environment. Two of Animal Kingdoms white rhinos we transferred to the Uganda’s Ziwa animal sanctuary back in 2006. The white rhinos had become extinct in that area for a number of different reasons. As a result of this transfer, a male calf was born. This was the first white rhino born in Uganda in 25 years. That’s a pretty big deal if you ask me. If Animal Kingdom wasn’t opened and housing animals would Uganda still have rhinos?
Not only will you see dozens of animals roaming freely on the safari ride. You can walk a few different trails to see other animals that are not on the safari. Check out Pangani Forest Exploration trail. Or a personal favorite of mine, the Gorilla Falls Exploration trail.
Anywhere you walk at in Animal Kingdom you are only a few steps away from an amazing animal encounter.
After all why call it Animal Kingdom if there are no animals? Why would animals being in this theme park/ zoo not make it the greatest zoo of all time?
Two of my favorite places to eat at in all of Walt Disney World are located in Animal Kingdom. Both are a great use of a credit if you are using the Disney Dining plan.Not sure what the dining plan is? Check out here for more info on the different dining plans.
Let’s first talk about Flame Tree BBQ. This place is a quick service location that serves up some delicious BBQ. Who doesn’t love a good pulled pork sandwich? Or some ribs and chicken? Even better, who wouldn’t want to get ribs, chicken and pulled pork with a side of coleslaw, baked beans and cornbread? If you are just looking for something quick to eat get the cheese fries with pulled pork. At $7 it is a great use for a snack credit.
Another must eat at place for me is Tusker House. I have only gone for breakfast. But each time I go it somehow gets better and better. Now, other than the food, the characters here are amazing. You have Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Goofy. They are all decked out in safari gear which is pretty neat.
Too bad you can’t go on the safari with them. Of course you can meet Mickey and Minnie in safari gear at the meet and greet location. But you won’t find Goofy, Donald or Daisy there.
Now while most of the food here is the same that is served over at many other character breakfast locations around Walt Disney World. The food just seems fresher here than most other places. You can also get this jungle juice stuff. I usually drink like 3 or 4 glasses each time.
This location is also not too far from Flight of Passage so if you get an earlier enough reservation and finish up before 9 you could be one of the first people on the ride.
Have you ever been walking around Discovery Island and see a big flock of birds fly over head? How about walking towards Kilimanjaro safari and hear the beat of the drums? That is just some of the street entertainment you will find around Animal Kingdom.
One of the best shows in all of WDW calls Animal Kingdom Home. Of course I could only be talking about The Festival of the Lion King. This is a favorite of guest small and large. Make sure to get here earlier if you don’t have a FastPass. This show fills up quickly. So either grab a FP or head over at least 15-20 minutes before show time. Earlier if you are there during the really busy season.
Pandora is a fantastic land within Animal Kingdom. Now I know some people say that it doesn’t fit in. But that just isn’t the case. Take a look out front of Animal Kingdom and tell me that you don’t see the dragon. Sure that land never came to be (Beastly Kingdom) but it was a part of the original plan.
If you ever watched the avatar movie you would know that at its core, it is about respecting the environment around you. Just like Animal Kingdom does.
Not only does Pandora have the best ride in the park. It has some of the best theming in all of Disney World. It is even more immersive than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter over at Universal Studios. Just look around you while you are there.
All the different plants and trees. The “Floating” mountains. The smells and sounds. It makes it one immersive experience. Pandora the world of Avatar is a thrill ride for the senses.
You really have to experience it both in day light and at night. It really feels like another planet when you roam around at night.
Sure Magic Kingdom may be the best overall park for kids but I think Animal Kingdom is the best park for kids. That’s what makes Animal Kingdom so great. Kids just love this theme park.
Between collecting all the stickers for your wilderness explorer book to playing in the best playground in all of Walt Disney World. The playground in Dino Land is huge.
Multiple levels with ramps, stairs and slides. Kids could spend hours running around this dinosaur themed dig site. While there are not many areas with shade. There are plenty of spots to sit down and relax while the kids run while.Disney World Hotel Deals & Discounts
Look all around Animal Kingdom for the “WE” Logo and let your kids learn a wild range of new and exciting things. One better…. it’s EDUCATIONAL.
Have your child became apart of the Wilderness Explores. There are over 30 locations all around Animal Kingdom where you and your kids can learn a wild range of things. Embark on missions that include fact finding missions, knowledge tests and scavenger hunts.
Complete the task to earn a “badge” in your Wilderness Explores book. This is a fun activity to get the whole family involved.
If you are hitting up the parks make sure to have the latest t-shirts that are perfect for a day in Animal Kingdom. Check out the Lion King Profile t-shirt or this great Hukuna Matata t-shirt. Both t-shirts are great for your Animal Kingdom Day.
There are many reasons Animal Kingdom is a great theme park. It is a must see every time I visit Disney World. From one of the best character breakfast in all of WDW to having the best ride.
Animal Kingdom is NOT a half day park like some people like to say. Between the great rides, wonderful shows, delicious food and fantastic theming. You will want to spend morning to night exploring all Animal Kingdom has to offer.
What are your feelings on Animal Kingdom? What do you think makes Animal Kingdom great. Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to stay up to date with Kozmophotos. I am working on a what’s great about and what’s not great about series on each of the 4 Walt Disney World theme Parks, Disney Springs, and Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
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