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by Wishes Diva

I am never shy to admit that Animal Kingdom is my favorite of the four parks. I don’t know if its my love for zoos and animals or the movies that get highlighted at the attractions there that draws me in, but either way I cant resist in my attempts to convince everyone I come across that it is the best!

There is so much to do at Animal Kingdom, and so much ground to cover, that it can be hard to know where to start! No worries! I have compiled my top five tips for first-timers visiting Animal Kingdom in hopes that it can serve as a starting point for your trip planning!

5 First Timer Tips for Surviving Animal Kingdom

1. Get to the park early. You often hear this advice for all the parks, but I find it especially helpful for Animal Kingdom. First of all, there is what feels like a constant humidity at Animal Kingdom so the more you avoid being there during the hottest part of the afternoon, the better. That means trying to get done with as many attractions and shows as you can before early afternoon. The other reason why this is important is being there are a few attractions that are specifically better to see during the morning, such as the Kilimanjaro Safari (see # 3) and both walking trails (Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls) will be more active during the cooler morning weather. For more on planning your day, take a look at my Animal Kingdom A-Z article here!

5 First Timer Tips for Surviving Animal Kingdom

2. Plan your schedule to include shows. Animal Kingdom has some amazing shows to offer that are definite must-dos. The Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo – The Musical and Rivers of Light are all shows that should absolutely be included in your list for the day. Each show has its own unique presentation of the story they are trying to tell it really takes entertainment to the next level. I often will try to plan at least one of my Fast Passes for a show at Animal Kingdom.

3. Head to the Kilimanjaro Safari first. This is a tip that most visitors will follow, however it is worth the wait in the morning. The animals are much more active during the cooler morning air than they will be later on in the day. I have had some of the best encounters with the animals on the safari during these early morning hours. You are more likely to see animals moving around, awake and alert during these hours then if you were to do it later in the morning or afternoon. I typically try to plan my first Fast Pass for the Safari if possible to help with the wait time.

5 First Timer Tips for Surviving Animal Kingdom

4. Plan for Pandora, twice. Depending on your Fast Pass options, you will want to plan to do Pandora more than once, Along with the Safari I would try to plan any Pandora Fast Passes (Avatar Flight of Passage or Na’vi River Journey) early in the morning. Morning will give you the shortest wait times along with the best chance of getting in and out without any issue. With any new attractions at the parks, wait times are outrageous as you move into afternoon hours, so planning these attractions carefully will definitely set you up for success.

5. Take some time on the walking paths. As I mentioned above, Animal Kingdom is as much a zoo as it is a theme park. There are so many exhibits to view and animals to see they can sometimes be easy to miss. Disney has tucked away all sorts of animals in every bend in the road to truly give the guests the most interactive and immersive experience that they can. So be sure to take some time on the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls walking paths to get the most of these animal encounters.

5 First Timer Tips for Surviving Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom can definitely be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re up against before you go. My hope is that these five tips will help ease the stress of planning and make your vacation extra magical!

I am a 27-year-old Elementary Music (K-5) teacher living outside of Dayton, OH. I am the proud Momma to Mini Wishes Devo, my one year old son! When I am not working at school, I am reading about Disney or watching Disney movies! I have an obsession with all things Lion King. I love to read and I am an avid soccer fan who follows the USWNT almost religiously!