Disney's Animal Kingdom Attractions for Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers & Teens
Here's a guide for an outing at Animal Kingdom with your toddler, pre-schooler, or teenager.
By Chelle Koster Walton
Kids of all ages love animals -- and Animal Kingdom arranges all sorts of ways to engage them, from a petting zoo to environmental education exhibits.
A good first stop for you and the little one is the Festival of the Lion King, where you join the inhabitants of the Pride Lands for a live gala in honor of Simba, the lion cub who would be king. As the lights dim, hear the sounds of the African savanna. A kinetic kaleidoscope of color floods the stage as colossal puppets, extravagantly costumed dancers, amazing acrobats, a daring fire dancer and incredible stilt walkers dazzle the senses. During the theatrics, you’ll relive all the classic songs from The Lion King,
At Kilimanjaro Safaris, explore the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, home to 34 species living in 110 acres of picturesque open plains, shady forest landscapes and rocky wetlands. Your rugged safari vehicle is driven by an expert guide, who helps point out animals and shares fascinating wildlife facts during this extraordinary 18-minute expedition.
For mealtime fun, the popular Rainforest Café makes you feel as though you're dining in a jungle, underneath a volcano, with animated animals peeking from the tree canopy. For something quicker, hit Restaurantosaurus in Dinoland U.S.A. At breakfast time, check out Donald's Safari Breakfast, featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy at Tusker House.
Discovery zones throughout the park are designed for ages 4 to 8. Each zone lets kids experience life from the perspective of an animal and has them looking for fossils, animal clues and other objects as they earn special stamps in their field guide.
School-aged children are ripe for It's Tough to Be a Bug!, one of the park's top attractions. Loosely based on the Disney-Pixar animated movie A Bug's Life, it can get a bit creepy for teeny ones. Its theater is inside the 14-story Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom's impressive centerpiece.
Older kids will also love the loud, dark and frightening DINOSAUR (height requirement is 40 inches tall) which involves an introduction by Bill Nye the Science Guy adding education to the pure adrenaline rush.
Kali River Rapids (38-inch height requirement) is another thrill ride, wet and with environmental twists. Kids this age will most value some of the more extravagant shows such as The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Festival of the Lion King.
Terrific for 'Tweens, Teens and Upward
Older kids and adults will love the thrill rides Kilimanjaro Safaris and It's Tough to Be a Bug! every bit as much as their younger counterparts. This age group is more likely to appreciate the true environmental and biological aspects of the park, such as Gorilla Falls Exploration Trial and Conservation Station.
For the thrill lover in your family, Expedition Everest in the Asia area of the theme park is a high-altitude, high-speed roller coaster train ride for big kids, teens and adults.
There are plenty of things to do with family at Walt Disney World.