By Lauren Tjaden

In a heady combination of rare animals and wild entertainment, Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando celebrates the magic of nature. 

Attractions and rides, from the scream-worthy Expedition Everest -- Legend of Forbidden Mountain® to the serenely beautiful Na'vi River Journey promise adventure for all ages. 

Characters and entertainment include the hypnotic after-dark Tree of Life® Awakenings show and meet-and-greets with beloved Disney pals. 

Restaurants and dining experiences encompass wonders like the Rainforest Cafe®, an unlikely jungle complete with thunder and abrupt downpours, offering tasty American fare. 

Here are some things to do in Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, plus tips to help you plan your getaway:

Expedition Everest mountain at Disney Animal Kingdom in Orlando

Attractions and rides at Animal Kingdom® Theme Park include the scream-worthy Expedition Everest -- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain®.

- Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park


Digging for dinosaur bones! Riding a runaway train! Soaring on a banshee! Disney's Animal Kingdom® promises these extraordinary adventures and more. Check out a few favorites.

Avatar Flight of Passage in Pandora – The World of Avatar

Every Na’vi hunter on Pandora goes through a coming-of-age ritual: he or she must bond with and take flight on the back of a powerful, winged mountain banshee, a wondrous yet terrifying experience. You can test your ability like the Na’vi on this thrill ride, clinging to your own banshee on a breathtaking 3D aerial expedition over Pandora’s eerie land.

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 safari vehicle is driven by an expert guide, who helps point out animals and shares wildlife facts during this 18-minute expedition.


Complete with loud noises in the dark, this scary thrill ride will take you on an adventure through an ancient woodland chock-full of menacing dinosaurs. In a contest with the clock, you’ll try to escape before a giant meteor wipes life on Earth, all while dodging hungry Velociraptors, navigating hair-raising turns and avoiding scorching meteors thundering down.

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain®

Expedition Everest comes with the warning that, “this attraction features loud noises, fast drops, high speeds, dark places and frightening creature effects” – which make it perfect for adrenaline addicts. Your journey starts in a Tibetan village at the base of Mount Everest, where you’ll ride a train up a steep climb to the top of the peak. Hang on when a scrambled track appears in front of you, because you’re about to rocket backward into pitch-black darkness, where you’ll be confronted by an enormous, snarling monster.

Animal Adventures

The creatures at Disney's Animal Kingdom® are what sets the theme park apart, making your getaway unique and memorable. A don’t-miss experience is watching majestic African Lions and herds of African Elephants roam on the generous grasslands of the Kilimanjaro Safaris. For an unforgettable encounter, get Up Close with Rhinos—really close—in a 60-minute guided adventure where the rhinos’ keepers bring you backstage to meet Earth’s second-largest land animal. After the sun goes down, the Savor the Savanna safari tempts visitors with a privately guided journey that reveals the sights, sounds and flavors of Africa. Here’s a complete list of the animals you can meet at Animal Kingdom and the different ways you can enjoy them.

More Pixie Dust

You’re just getting started: Disney's Animal Kingdom® boasts 46 must-do attractions. Kali River Rapids® delivers an exhilarating whitewater adventure down a foaming river, while the Na'vi River Journey beckons visitors with quieter river, one that flows through caves and into a stunningly beautiful bioluminescent rainforest, alive with mysterious plants and animals. And no journey to Animal Kingdom® is complete without seeing its iconic symbol, the Tree of Life® Awakenings, a 145-feet tall wonder. With its twisted roots and outstretched branches, it’s majestic from afar – but unbelievable up close, with the forms of over 300 animals carved into it. Here’s a list of all of Animal Kingdom®’s attractions and rides.


Disney Genie Service lets you use the Lightning Lane entrance at select attractions and experiences at the Walt Disney World Theme Parks. On average, guests can enter 2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using the Lightning Lane entrance if the first selection is made early in the day. You may make one selection at a time, starting at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit (experiences are subject to limited availability). If your Theme Park ticket includes the Park Hopper option, you can select Lightning Lane arrival windows across multiple Theme Parks.

Make sure to download the My Disney Experience app; it gives you attraction wait times, showtimes for fireworks and parades, and finds Character Greeting locations and times.

The app offers other nifty features too, including browsing restaurant menus, making dining reservations and placing mobile orders at select quick-service restaurants.

And you’ll never get lost when you use the ‘Get Directions’ function.

Disney’s planning page can help you answer other questions.

colorful animated fishes at Finding Nemo the musical

Finding Nemo - The Musical pays tribute to the award-winning Disney and Pixar film Finding Nemo, showcasing the film’s emotion, wit and beloved characters.

- Walt Disney World Resort


Firework spectaculars, parades, shows, music and sharing time with beloved Disney friends are all part of Disney's Animal Kingdom® experience. Here are a few you don’t want to miss.

Animal Encounters: Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight

Parrots are the winged stars of this show near the Tree of Life® Awakenings, a living flurry of stunning color and grace. Your eyes will be glued to the skies as this free-flying flock of feathered friends soars, wingtip to wingtip, over Discovery Island. Disney’s resident bird care experts will reveal the secrets of these mesmerizing macaws and answer audience questions.

Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo - The Big Blue and Beyond

Poignant and immersive, both of these Broadway-style shows are worth seeing. Festival of the Lion King is vibrant with music, pageantry and puppetry honoring the classic movie, The Lion King. Finding Nemo - The Big Blue and Beyond is a spectacular stage show-filled with puppets, singers and other performers-set in the underwater world of Disney and Pixar's Finding Nemo.

Tree of Life® Awakenings

The iconic symbol of Disney’s Animal Kingdom® park comes to life in this hypnotic after-dark experience, accompanied by an original musical score inspired by The Lion King. Mystical fireflies, hummingbirds in love and a stealthy fox all play parts in the luminous visual display.

Meet Favorites at Adventurers Outpost

See world travelers Mickey and Minnie Mouse at their exploration headquarters at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

Donald's Dino-Bash

Join Donald Duck and friends for a prehistoric party over 200 million years in the making.

More Pixie Dust

The wonder continues with the Viva Gaia Street Band, an eclectic troupe of boisterous musicians heading up a Caribbean street party. For even more offerings, take a peek at this list of all of Animal Kingdom’s Characters and Entertainment


Check the Entertainment Schedule, My Disney Experience app or the Times Guide at Magic Kingdom park for the schedule and showtimes. Be aware that outdoor parades and events may be cancelled due to inclement weather, and that showtimes are subject to change.

 View the Tree of Life, a 50-foot-wide tree with hundreds of animals carved into its trunk at Disney's Animal Kingdom®.
- Walt Disney World Resort


Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park lays host to marathons, behind the scenes tours, seasonal celebrations and events of all kinds. Check out some of these popular Animal Kingdom® events:

Up Close With Rhinos

Get ready for your close-up with the white rhinoceros—Earth’s second-largest land animal. In this 60-minute guided adventure, the rhinos’ keepers will take you backstage to meet these massive creatures as few people ever do.

Savor the Savanna

Immerse your senses during a privately guided journey and explore the sights and sounds — and tastes — of Africa.

Caring for Giants

Get a closer look at the majestic African elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park — and learn what it takes to care for them.

Wild Africa Trek

The three-hour Wild Africa Trek is as close as it gets to seeing wild animals in Africa without actually going there. On this privately priced tour you’ll stroll a grassland trail, navigate a rope bridge and climb aboard a hardy safari vehicle to see giraffes, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles and more in the Safi River Valley, an unconstrained environment that mimics their natural home.

More Pixie Dust

Here’s a complete list of special events and tours at Disney's Animal Kingdom® .


Animal Kingdom® tempts visitors to relish mouthwatering meals and delicious desserts inspired by American, Asian and African favorites, as well as fabulous foodie snacks that you can enjoy on the go. Check out these yummy restaurants and dining options:

Rainforest Cafe® at Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

The Rainforest Cafe® invites you into another world, a lush, vibrant tropical rainforest complete with thunder and abrupt downpours as well as birds, elephants, gorillas and schools of radiantly hued fish.

This unlikely jungle promises a feast on American fare that your whole gang will love. Breakfast offerings include Eggs Benedict, French toast and Belgian waffles; dinner and lunch include temptations like Jungle Steak and Shrimp, Lava Nachos and the Beastly Burger, and a bowl of Python Pasta or a Gorilla Grilled Cheese will keep the kids happy.

Explorers who are 21 years of age and older can cap off the evening with a safari to the Magic Mushroom Bar, to discover delights like a Mongoose Mai Tai or a Cheetah Rita.

Nomad Lounge

Shush! This refreshing retreat is a secret! The relaxed vibe, good eats and a large selection of beer, wine and mixed drinks make the Nomad lounge a favorite with park insiders. Lounge in comfy chairs or on couches gathered around coffee tables while you sample delectable small plates inspired from exotic locales around the world, like Chicken Manchurian or Togarashi-spiced Tuna Nomad Bowls.  Non-alcoholic cocktails, freshly ground coffee and loose-leaf teas are also available.

Satu'li Canteen

Consistently ranked as Animal Kingdom®’s best fast-casual food, this unique eatery is tucked inside a Quonset-hut that was a long-ago an RDA mess hall. It offers healthy, internationally inspired dishes packed with wholesome grains, fresh veggies and abundant proteins. The kids will appreciate the familiar flavors of favorites like the Steamed Cheeseburger Pod with vegetable chips or the cheese quesadilla. Cap off a meal with the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse and your whole posse will be smiling.

Lip Smackin’ Snacks

To refuel on the go, check out these favorites.

·         Whether they love it or not so much, everyone has a strong opinion about the Pongu Lumpia at Pongu Pongu, a popular drink stand in Pandora – The World of Avatar. It’s a fried pineapple cream cheese goodie that’s sweet, savory, crispy and gooey, all at the same time.

·         Trilo-Bites, located in DinoLand U.S.A., delivers a wallop of flavor with its Buffalo Chicken Chips, a plentiful portion of house-made chips flavored to your desires, smothered with shredded buffalo chicken and finished with creamy blue cheese, ranch dressing and garnishes.

·         You can’t go wrong with the Baked Macaroni & Cheese at Eight Spoon Café in Animal Kingdom’s in Discovery Island, which you can enjoy in its simplest version, or with additions of Shrimp and Sweet Chili Sauce or Pulled Pork.

More Pixie Dust

For more options, check out all 37 restaurants at Disney's Animal Kingdom®.


In addition to a confirmed dining reservation, in-park dining at table-service restaurants requires a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date for each person in your party ages three and up. Dining reservations don’t guarantee admission to the park.

Make sure to make reservations, and make them early. Dining reservations can be booked online up to 60 days in advance.

The My Disney Experience app lets you browse restaurant menus, make dining reservations and place mobile orders at select quick-service restaurants.