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Exhaustive Guide to Animal Kingdom Rides

Exhaustive Guide to Animal Kingdom Rides

There are a lot of rides and attractions to experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and we want to give you the details on all of them! We have broken them out by areas of the park. For more information on FastPass+ at the Animal Kingdom, click here.

Discovery Island

Wilderness Explorer

  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: No
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: All Day

As you come over the bridge into Discovery Island, you will see a Wilderness Outpost on your right. If you have children with you, make sure to stop and join (it’s free). You will receive a free Wilderness Guide, that contains fun activities for you to do around the park as you explore. You will see Wilderness Explorer stations around the park, that you can stop at and explore, you will be amazed at all the fun interactive information you will receive.

It’s Tough to be a Bug!

  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: 9 minutes

Enjoy a 3-D film inside the Tree of Life from an insect’s perspective! I like to do this attraction in the middle of the afternoon when other wait times are long and I can use a rest in an air-conditioned theater. Beware that there will be periods of darkness and loud noises that may be disturbing to small children. The show also incorporates animatronics, smells and some other “surprise” effects. While you are waiting in line, be sure not to miss all the beautiful carvings on the Tree of Life that you will pass on your journey to get your “bug eye” glasses.

Discovery Island Trails

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Most visitors walk right by the entrances to these trails, but you should take the time to explore them. These wide lush trails take you around the Tree of Life. Most times that I have taken the walk to get out of the crowds in the park, I am surprised at how few people are around. I have gotten some beautiful shots of animals on the Tree of Life, that most people don’t know to exist. It is amazing to see the carvings from this closer perspective. There is even a waterfall on the trail. It can be a relaxing time to get away from all of the hustle and bustle of the park and see how many of the over 300 animals you can spot.

Adventurers Outpost

This is the indoor spot to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Fast pass+ is available to meet Mickey and Minnie all dressed up for their next adventure! Check your times guide for the hours they will be at their exploration headquarters.

 

Pandora – The World Of Avatar

Na’vi River Journey

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  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: Varies – approximately 5 minutes

This slow-moving boat ride takes you through the world of Pandora. You will be amazed at the bioluminescent scenery and the detail that is in this ride. The ride is family friendly and you will have to take several rides to see everything. My only complaint about this ride is that it is too short, especially considering the long wait times, but you should not miss this experience to soak up all the Pandora atmosphere that you can. 

Avatar Flight of Passage

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  • Height Requirement: 44″
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: Varies – approximately 5 minutes

This ride is not to be missed. The technology is 3D and each rider has there own banshee to sit on. 16 people at a time ride, but you are each on what I call a motorcycle-like vehicle. During the preshow, they will explain how you will ride your banshee. For those who don’t like the more adventurous rides, like my husband, don’t worry, you can close your eyes if the ride becomes too intense. This is a must for your fast pass+ selection, but beware that if you are not staying on property and have access to 60-day advance selections, this is the most difficult fast pass+ to get and the longest wait times of any ride on property. I have tried arriving at the park before the park opens, and everyone is queueing for the ride, making the wait time instantly go to over two hours, sometimes three! You will have to decide how long your tolerance is for waiting. Since I have managed to ride multiple times, I get in line anytime I’m at the park and the wait time goes to one hour or less (which isn’t often)! Please click here if you would like to see the ride.

Africa

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Safari truck Kilimanjaro Safari

  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Morning or Evening
  • Length: 22 minutes

The Kilimanjaro Safari is the first ride that I head to at the Animal Kingdom, even if I have a fast pass+ for a later time. This ride is never the same twice, your safari driver and the animals make sure! You will be on a large ride vehicle that travels over the rough roads. You should always have your camera ready because you never know what animals you will see. Many of the animals will get very close to your truck and your safari guide will give you lots of interesting facts about the animals. Each ride vehicle also has animal identification guides above each row of seats to help you identify the animals that you are seeing. The safari ride wait times can climb to over an hour before 10 am. If you would like to see behind the scenes of the safari, click here.

Festival of the Lion King

  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: See times guide
  • Length: 30 minutes

The Festival of the Lion King is not to be missed. This is a Broadway quality show with the music of the Lion King alone, but when you combine the great performances with the music it is spectacular. Also, the show requires audience participation. My favorite act is the tumble monkeys rendition of Hakuna Matata. I recommend seeing the show in the early afternoon because you will enjoy the chance to sit for a half hour in the air-conditioning. If you don’t use a fast pass+ for the show, make sure to arrive at least 20 minutes before show time to ensure you get in.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

As you exit the Kilimanjaro Safari, you will see an entrance to the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Unless you have a very limited amount of time to spend at the Animal Kingdom, take this trail. You will see silver-backed gorillas in their habitat. A guide will be stationed there to answer any questions you have. I am always surprised about the amount of information I learn every time that I didn’t know. The last time that we walked the trail, it was at the end of the day and we were able to watch them return to their nighttime enclosure. The dominant male is the last one in, as he makes sure everyone is safe! I also enjoy the hippo viewing area that lets you see them underwater.

Asia

Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids Animal KIngdom Walt Disney World

  • Height Requirement: 38″
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: varies – approximately 5 minutes

Warning! This is a water ride, you will get wet, you might get soaked. These rafts hold 12 brave riders. You will encounter some small drops and the current does make the raft spin as it travels along the Kali River. The biggest thrill of the ride is predicting if you will get into the wrong position and be the lucky rafter who gets soaked as the waves come over the edge of your raft! Since you are going to get some degree of wet, I recommend an afternoon fast pass+. If you are visiting during the less hot months, make sure to check the weather forecast before using a fast pass+ on this attraction, as it may not be hot enough out to enjoy this ride. Be warned though, that on hot days, the wait times will climb on this ride, as you would expect.

Up! A Great Bird Adventure

Up bird show

  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: Varies – approximately 25 minutes

This entertaining show features exotic birds performing their natural behaviors with our friends from Disney*Pixar’s Up. The show is in an outdoor theater that is undercover so you will be in the shade. You will be amazed by the variety of birds that you see and what they do! You will have to check the time guide for daily show schedules, I would leave this show till towards the end of the day as it is not as crowded as other attractions.

Maharajah Jungle Trek

The Maharajah Jungle Trek is similar to the Gorilla Falls Exploration trail, but you will see tigers! Last year two cubs were born and it was incredible to see them. Remember, Tigers are cats, so they sleep a lot but I never miss walking this trail to see what they are up to. You will also be able to view the bats and a separate bird aviary. This well-shaded walk is a pleasant diversion from all the hustle and bustle of the park.

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

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  • Height Requirement: 44″
  • FP+: Yes, Plus a Single Rider Line
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: Varies – approximately 3 minutes

This is my favorite ride at the Animal Kingdom, but beware, it is a roller coaster. Make sure you get a fast pass+ for this ride, as the wait times get long pretty early in the day. This isn’t your ordinary roller coaster though, once you reach the top of the Forbidden Mountain, your train stops and you can actually see the tracks have been ripped up! After holding for a few seconds, the train goes backward into the mountain. This isn’t the end of the adventure – you can see the Yeti projected on to the walls and your train has stopped again, only this time to send you forward out of the mountain, down the biggest drop (smile, this is where they take your picture) and to pick up speed to eventually see the Yeti in all his glory reaching for you. Most times when the train pulls back into the station everyone aboard claps! The only disappointment on this ride is how fast it is over, so I get back into the Single Rider line and do it again! For all the younger riders out there that might be wary of this ride, beware that a good portion of the ride is inside the mountain in the dark.

Rivers of Light

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  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: varies – approximately 17 minutes

This nighttime show on the water will delight you with the effects used to project scenes in front of you. If you have seen Rivers of Light in the past, please note that the show was updated in May 2019. There is stadium seating around the water, so everyone has good views. Depending on how busy the park is, there are one or two shows nightly, consult your time guide or Disney app. 

Dinoland U.S.A.

The Boneyard

This is a play area for preschoolers and kids designed to look like a dinosaur dig site. Parts of the site are shaded and this area can be used as an area for little ones get some of their energy out. If you are not traveling with small children, this is definitely a skip!

Fossil Fun Games

Hester and Chester have set up some dinosaur themed carnival games! Want to squirt or whack your way to win a stuffed animal? You have come to the right place. I’m often surprised to see the activity here, as I have come for all the fun rides and shows, but lots of people seem to be here having a blast.

Finding Nemo – The Musical

  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: Varies – approximately 40 minutes

This show is in a large indoor theater. The puppets are amazing! Now I know what you must be thinking – puppets? Crush is at least six feet tall and over ten feet wide. You can see the performers operating the puppets on stage, and they do a fabulous job. The music was written especially for this production of Finding Nemo and it is a condensed version of the movie. Again, check the time guide or the Disney app for daily show times. 

Dinosaur

Dinosaur animal kingdom

  • Height Requirement: 40″
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: Varies – approximately 3 minutes

This attraction has a preshow, which explains your mission. We are going back in time to rescue a dinosaur, as long as we can avoid the meteors. Beware, that most of this ride is in the dark and the dinosaurs are large and noisy, which can be frightening to small children. I ride this quite often, so I tend to forget how loud it can be until we have a guest with us that have not experienced the ride before. I enjoy the bumpy, rough ride in the Time Rover, which has three rows of four seats each. Don’t worry the road is smooth but our Time Rover does all the wild up and down moves. Smile when you see the scariest dinosaur, that is when your picture is taken! Don’t worry, everyone makes it back to the present day! This ride isn’t usually as busy as others so I often forgo using my fast pass+ on this ride.

TriceraTop Spin 

  • Height Requirement: None
  • FP+: No
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: Approximately 2 minutes

This ride is designed for small children. You can see the entire ride, it slowly spins in a circle with two rows and room for four. You can maneuver your dinosaur high and low from the back seat and tip forward and backward from the front seat as you go around.

Primeval Whirl

Primeval Whirl

  • Height Requirement: 48″
  • FP+: Yes
  • Best Time: Anytime
  • Length: Varies – approximately 2 minutes

These are two small outdoor roller coasters that are entirely visible, so no surprises. I refer to this style of coaster as “starter style”, great for introducing your young riders to a little thrill. Don’t write this ride off though, as the car spins on the track while traveling through all the sudden dips and sharp turns. The spinning adds an element of surprise that makes each ride experience feel different.

Donald’s Dino-Bash

Dino Dance Party Animal Kingdom


For our recommendations on the best rides at the Animal Kingdom, click here. Or you can plan out your Fastpass selections for the day by referring to our Deciphering Animal Kingdom Fastpass+ Tiers.

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