I often get asked about the Disney parks in Orlando when clients are booking vacations. Which rides are in which park? Where’s the best place to eat? Which park will my child enjoy the most? Where do I meet Elsa?

I hear you! So let’s go over each of Disney’s 4 parks and Disney Springs. We’ll talk Animal Kingdom here but if you’re looking for other parks, you can read about Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs by following those links =)

For those of you saying “but wait, Justine, where’s Harry Potter?” let’s clarify something. Harry Potter is not owned by Disney. Harry Potter is at the OTHER park *gasp* Universal Studios. But, good news, I CAN help you book a Universal vacation or add on a day or two at Universal to your Disney vacation! Not to worry, Harry Potter fans, we’ve still got you covered. You can read more about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter here.

Let’s talk Animal Kingdom!

The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom

Rides & Attractions

Animal Kingdom has great rides and amazing shows for all ages! Pandora- The World of Avatar is the newest section of Animal Kingdom. I’ve made a full list, just for you of rides and attractions. Rides with a * after the name are available for fast pass selection, meaning you can skip most of the line! For more on fast passes, check out my article here. You can find height requirements for rides here.

  • Avatar Flight of Passage*
  • DINOSAUR*
  • Expedition Everest*
  • Festival of the Lion King*
  • Finding Nemo- The Musical*
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!*
  • Kali River Rapids*
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris*
  • Na’vi River Journey*
  • Primeval Whirl*
  • TriceraTop Spin
  • Up! A Great Bird Adventure*

The Festival of the Lion King is a must-do. It’s basically an indoor parade full of amazing floats and incredible singers and performers. Seriously, don’t miss it! Kali River Rapids usually close during January and February for refurb each year, which isn’t a big deal since it’s not really hot enough those months for a good soaking. Up! A Great Bird Adventure was surprisingly fun. You learn about some great birds and Russel and Doug from the Pixar Movie Up are part of the show.

Some of the performers at Festival of the Lion King

Fireworks & Nighttime Shows

Rivers of Light: We Are One is the current Animal Kingdom nighttime show and fireworks display. It happens just as the park is getting read to close, in the lagoon in the center of the park. It is 17 minutes long, and does NOT include Fireworks (too many animals near by). It does include footage from many of the Disneynature films and classic animated films like The Lion King. It’s the best way to end a fun filled day in Animal Kingdom!

Places to Eat

There are some really great food options in Animal Kingdom. Keep in mind that if you have a dining plan, your table service credits work for character dining experiences! I talk more about character dining here. Not sure what the dining plan is? Read more about the dining plan options here!

  • Tiffins Restaurant- Table Service (2 table service credits)
  • Anandapur Ice Cream Truck- Quick Service
  • Caravan Road- Quick Service
  • Creature Comforts- Quick Service
  • Dawa Bar- Table Serivce
  • Dino-Bite Snacks- Quick Service
  • Dino Diner- Quick Service
  • Drinkwallah- Quick Service
  • Eight Spoon Cafe- Quick Service
  • Flame Tree Barbecue- Quick Service
  • Harambe Market- Quick Service
  • Isle of Java- Quick Service
  • Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakerty- Quick Service
  • Mahindi- Quick Service
  • Nomad Lounge- Table Service
  • Pizzafari- Quick Service
  • Pongu Pongu- Quick Service
  • Rainforest Cafe- Table Service
  • Restaurantosaurus- Quick Service
  • Safari Bar- Quick Service
  • Satu’li Canteen- Quick Service
  • The Smiling Crocodile- Quick Service
  • Terra Treats- Quick Service
  • Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks- Quick Service
  • Trilo-Bites- Quick Service
  • Tusker House Restaurant- Table Service- Mickey, Minnie, Donald & Goofy at breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Warung Outpost- Quick Service
  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant- Table Service

If you’re looking for a great character meal with delicious and unique food, it’s Tusker House. The characters in their safari gear are absolutely adorable and while there is kid friendly food (chicken nuggets, Mac and cheese, etc) there’s also some great authentic African food. Definitely worth a visit! If you’re looking for something a little quicker, Flame Tree Barbecue is where you want to stop. Mac and Cheese topped with pulled pork. Enough said.

Character Meet & Greets

There are some great characters to meet in Animal Kingdom. Some are at dining experiences (which I talk more about here), but these characters are at specific spots throughout the park during specific hours. You can ask any cast member for times and spots! Here’s where you can find most of the characters that are in Animal Kingdom.

  • Timon & Rafiki and more at Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party
  • Mickey & friends at Adventurers Outpost
  • Pocahontas on Discover Island Trails
  • Russell & Dug at Discovery Island

You’ll usually find some other characters out and about in the parks. You can find an assortment of friends from The Jungle Book and Brother Bear and other animal movies at a big Dance Party. Kevin, the colorful bird from up, wanders around the parks looking for Russel. Just keep an eye out and you’ll find lots of great hidden treasures.

Animal Kingdom Area Resorts

Looking to stay close to the action at Animal Kingdom? Maybe you’ll be spending the most time at this park or maybe you just love seeing animals out your resort room window. No matter the reason, you’ll love what the Animal Kingdom resorts have to offer. With Deluxe Villas, a Deluxe Resort, a Moderate Resort and three Value Resorts, there’s a Disney Resort near Animal Kingdom for every budget. You can read more about the different resort tiers here.

  • Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

If you or your kids love animals, Animal Kingdom Lodge or Villas is where you want to be. There are rooms with “Safari View” and you’ll be able to see the animals right from your room! It’s pretty incredible and definitely worth a stay.

That’s all the important things for Animal Kingdom! Are you ready to book your next Disney vacation? You can email me at justinefafaravacations@gmail.com or fill out a vacation quote request here!