A Perfect day at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Fairytales and Fitness Disney Blog

 We've done several posts about things to do at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park but we rarely do a park day recap. We had a really good time on one of our recent visits so thought we would share. Hopefully you can pick up at tip or two ( or three) to help you on your next visit to Animal Kingdom.  Here is how we spent our time.

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We have been to Animal Kingdom plenty of times, so we already knew what we wanted to do and what we would be willing to miss out on due to time or long lines. 

We were at the park by opening and by 9:00 am we had made it over to the Asia section. Lacey's "must do" ride is the Expedition Everest roller coaster. The last time I rode it ( last summer), it really started to bother me so I chose to pass this time. There use to be a single rider line for this attraction but I don't think they were having it this day but the wait time was less than 20 minutes so it didn't take long.

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While Lacey was  on the roller coaster, I walked right across the path and had a seat at the "outdoor theater " and watched the Kite Tails show.  The show consisted of Disney character kites ( Lion King characters) being pulled around by jet skis and motor boats. It was a cute distraction for those of us waiting on someone riding the roller coaster, but nothing I would purposely take the time to watch. It's like something you would take a look at as you pass by. Makes sense why the show won't be continuing!

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We then walked through some of the exploration trails. We like Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail Although not a ride, this is one of my favorite attractions. 

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Our next attraction was Kali River Rapids. We've never done a water ride this early in the morning before but the wait wasn't very long so we hopped in. We did get wet, so it was a good thing we had our ponchos on!  By 9:47 am we were done with another key attraction.

  Disney Tip: Don't be afraid to ride a water ride early in the morning, the lines might be shorter.

Our favorite part of Animal Kingdom is Rafiki's Planet Watch.  This is a part of the park that most people miss. I know we didn't even know about this part for years ( or maybe we knew about it but thought it was just for little kids).  

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Anyway,  you have to take a train called The Wildlife Express to Rafiki's Planet Watch.  The train doesn't start running until 9:30 am ( be sure to check exact times during your visit) and it usually runs till 4:30 pm.  At Rafiki's planet watch, you will find a petting zoo, an animal care center, and the animation experience.  We love all of this!  This is like a secret part of the park and has never been really crowded when we've visited. 

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We knew we wanted to do the animation experience first. The first class started at 10 am and we missed that one, so we had to wait till the 10:45 am class. We found out that the first class drew Eeyore, and they actually brought in a live animal, a donkey!  We were hoping for a live animal for our class too, but our character was the tiger from Jungle Book, so no, they did not bring in a tiger.

I later heard that live animals only come to the first class of the day. 

Disney Tip: If you want to have a live animal at your class, be sure to make it to the 10:00 am class. If you want a full review of the Animation Class, check it out HERE.  

One of the best experience we ever had at Rafiki's Planet Watch was seeing an animal at the medical center being worked on. We were really hoping to see another this time, but none where scheduled that day. If you'd like to learn more about observing the animals at the medical center, you can check that out HERE. 

We weren't really pleased with how our sketches of the tiger turned out, so we would try it again. We decided to take the train back to the park and grab some lunch. Disney Tip: There are no restaurants at Rafiki's Planet Watch. 

We weren't in any hurry, so we decided we wanted to try a sit down restaurant. Our choice was Yak and Yeti. 

There was a bit of a wait, which we didn't mind but there was space available at the bar immediately, so we chose to sit there.  We were seated by 11:39 pm. and served our food by 11:56 am.  We took our time enjoying our food and the restaurant and spent about 45 minutes there. For our full review of Yak  & Yeti click HERE.

 Disney Tip: If you want an excellent quick service lunch, try Flame Tree Barbecue.  We ate here on a previous visit to Animal Kingdom. We had the pulled pork with mac and cheese, onion ring and cole slaw and it quickly became one of our favorite meals. It was hard to pass that up but we wanted to try something new. 

 After lunch we decided to go back to the train station to go to Rafiki's Planet Watch again. This time we had to wait a bit for the train to arrive. 

We arrived about 1:20 pm and had plenty of time until the next animation class started at 1:45 so we spent some time in the petting zoo.

   You can go right inside the gate with these animals and they will even let you pet them. 

Disney Tip: There are hand washing stations as you enter and exit the area. Be sure to use them. 

When it was time for our class to start, we already knew that we would be drawing Thumper from the Bambi movie.  We had a good time, but still hadn't thought our artistic skills have developed! 

It is now 2:18 pm. We took the train back to the rest of the park and decided to get in a short line for the Kilamanjaro Safaris. 

 I was skeptical of whether or not we would see many animals out during this part of the day ( they are usually more active in the morning), but we did see plenty. 

Next we headed over to Dinoland. We passed on the Dinosaur Ride because last time I thought it was a lot bumpier than I'd remembered. Instead, we went to Dino Bites Snacks and got one of the anniversary ice cream sandwiches. 

Disney Tip: They always have the vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip sandwiches but sometimes they have a specialty sandwich. The one I got was a chocolate cookie with Strawberry ice cream.

We then headed over to see the Finding Nemo show. This show was really cute and we appreciated relaxing in air conditioning. Not gonna lie, there were a few moments that we felt like dozing off..lol

After that, we were happy to get out in the sun again! We couldn't leave the park with out going to It's Tough to be a Bug", so we headed over the the Tree of Life. The wait for this show is rarely very long. We did have to wait for a full show to end this time though, but we got to wait inside the tree trunk.

We debated on whether or not we wanted to do the Pandora rides. We are not huge fans of Pandora, so the wait times did not justify it for us. Especially since we had done those rides before. 

Side Story: I have always been afraid to ride Flight of Passage ( due to motion sickness). I got in line one time years ago when it first opened, and before we got on the Banshee, the ride malfunctioned and we didn't ride. After that I never went back. Last year my sister wanted to ride, so I said I would just wait for her and meet her at the exit. As I was asking a cast member where the ride exited, she struck up a conversation with me and asked me why I didn't want to ride. She asked me if I like Soarin. Yes, I told her it was my favorite. She said that if I liked Soarin than I just had to ride Flight of Passage. She escorted me back into the line so I could wait with my sister.  I will admit, the line was pretty long. I was a little nervous as the ride started I could understand why she thought it was similar to Soarin and I can definitely respect why others love this ride. However, to me, it just felt like I was on an airplane with very bad turbulence.  I did not get sick, but I did not enjoy it!  But to date, Mission Space ( The original, before there were different levels) was the worst ride I've ever been on. So needless to say, we passed on Flight of Passage.

 Before we headed towards the exit, I did spot a pressed penny machine.

 I am a sucker for those pressed pennies and had to get one from the 50th Anniversary before it ended!

I know for some, Animal Kingdom is not the most exciting park, but we really enjoy it. I enjoy it for it's slower pace and lush landscaping. I love that I can just take my time and watch the animals on the trails. There are a lot of things to do in this park that are not heavily focused on rides.

Here are our top things to do at Disney's Animal Kingdom that will give you a quality experience but you won't have to spend a lot of time waiting in line to do them. 

1. Definitely walk the Exploration trails. Sometimes you see more animals than you do on the Safari. You may even have a better view ( although some are separated by glass).

2. See a live show . We recommend either Festival of the  Lion King ( which we've seen before) or the Nemo show.

3. Go to It's Tough to be a Bug. This is a great family attraction and the wait is never too long. 

4. Get something unique to eat. You'll find a lot of that here.

5. Definitely ride the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch. Be sure to check out the Affection Section ( petting zoo), and try your hand at one of the animation classes.  You may even be lucky enough to see one of the animals being helped at the medical center.

What are your top things to do at Disney's Animal Kingdom? M

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today. Some links may contain affiliate links. Some links are just to pages we'd like to share.