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Animal Kingdom

Park Guide, Tips & Strategy

Animal Kingdom is our favorite park at Disney World, yet it often gets skipped when folks have a shorter trip. Don't miss out on this stunningly beautiful and surprisingly relaxing park on your next trip. There are big thrills and state-of-the-art attractions, but there are also quiet hideaways and magical animal encounters. Best of all, since a lot of folks sleep on this one, you can often find shorter wait times and fewer crowds.

Key Details

Attractions that Require a Virtual Queue

None currently

Rides that are NOT Included in Genie Plus

Avatar Flight of Passage* and TriceraTop Spin

*Offers Individual Attraction Lightning Lane

The Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

General Tips

  • Animal Kingdom typically closes a lot earlier than the other parks so be sure to plan accordingly

  • Seeing the world of Pandora lit up at night is one of the most spectacular sights in all of Disney World. If the park is closing before dark, try getting in line at Flight of Passage right before close. With any luck, the line will be long and you'll come out to a bioluminescent wonderland. 

Latest Animal Kingdom Videos

Early Entry Strategy

At Animal Kingdom, early entry is REALLY early!

Guests staying at qualifying Disney World resort hotels can enter the parks 30 minutes before everyone else. At Animal Kingdom, that usually means entering at 7:30 AM - now THAT's an early morning. For this reason, early entry is not usually quite as competitive as the other parks, but we still recommend arriving at least 20 minutes before early entry begins to get a head start on your first line of the day.

Most Popular Early Entry Attractions

Animal Kingdom Early Entry Tips

Hank in the Tank at Avatar Flight of Passage

1. Avatar Flight of Passage

EVERYONE is headed to this one

Shaman of Song at Na'vi River Journey

2. Navi River Journey

Start here if you're running late for early entry

Entrance of Expedition Everest

3. Expedition Everest

When you want NO wait (and to ride multiple times)

  • Disney buses will typically start running about 1 hour before early entry, though they can sometimes arrive at the resorts a bit later than that for Animal Kingdom because the park opens so much earlier than the others.

  • If you are arriving late (but still in the early entry period), consider starting with Na'vi River Journey instead of Flight of Passage

  • Note that Kilimanjaro Safaris and Kali River Rapids are not typically offered during early entry

Rope Drop Strategy

No early entry? Do "rope drop" instead!

Rope drop is Disney-speak for arriving before the park opens so you are on the front lines when the "drop the rope" and let everyone enter the park. At Animal Kingdom, they will often corral everyone who doesn't have early entry up in the Oasis at the front of the park and they'll often give folks a little head start, so be sure to get there at least 20 minutes before the official opening time.

Our Recommended Rope Drop Attractions

Everyone from early entry will be filling up the lines in Pandora, but Kilimanjaro Safaris isn't open during early entry so you can get first dibs on that ride. Also, folks tend to ignore Dinoland USA and Asia in the morning, so those rides are pretty empty.

lion lounges at Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom

1. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Morning is a great time to see lots of animals

Animal Kingdom Rope Drop Tips

  • Note that Kali River Rapids is typically not open until later in the day, so don't try to jump in line for that one yet.

  • If you start in Dinoland USA and work your way back through Asia, you'll feel like you have the whole park to yourself.

Entrance of Expedition Everest

2. Expedition Everest

You might need to ride this twice. Or more. Who's counting?

Sign for Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom

3. Dinosaur

They'll be so happy to see you because it is EMPTY over there in the morning

Genie Plus Strategy

Genie Plus is a steal of a deal at Animal Kingdom

One of the newest changes to Disney Genie Plus is variable pricing for each park. If you don't plan to park hop, you can often get the Animal Kingdom-only version of Genie Plus for about 15 bucks. While there are not as many attractions that use Genie Plus at this park, it's easy to fit them all into your day when you add the Genie and the price makes it an appealing add-on to consider.

Most Popular Genie Plus Lightning Lanes

Na'vi River Journey - the Shaman of Song

1. Na'vi River Journey

Far and away the most popular - book it first

Animal Kingdom Genie Tips

Kali River Rapids in Disney's Animal Kingdom

2. Kali River Rapids

If it's a hot day. If not, skip to Mickey

Entrance to Adventurer's Outpost in Animal Kingdom

3. Meet Mickey & Minnie at Adventurers Outpost

This one often runs out of Lightning Lanes

  • Try to grab Na'vi River Journey right at 7:00 am so you can cross that one off your list. It is the only Lightning Lane that will often run out of slots early in the day

  • Don't forget that you can use Genie Plus to secure a good seat at Festival of the Lion King. It's one of the few shows that it is helpful to use a Lightning Lane for

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