Guide to: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

When you think of Walt Disney World your mind may jump straight to Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella’s Castle or Space Mountain. If you’ve never been to Animal Kingdom add it to your bucket list now. This park will completely change your mind. Animal Kingdom is my absolute favourite park for its design, atmosphere, and rides. It is Disney’s largest theme park as it sits on 500 acres of property and holds six distinct lands from Africa to Asia. Behold the magic of nature and celebrate all living things.

If you want to make the most out of your trip and see everything make sure to look at the park map before your trip, pre-book fast passes, and find out where you want to eat in advance. Here’s a Guide to: Animal Kingdom:

Discovery Island

When you first enter the park and travel through Oasis you’ll soon land upon Discovery Island. Connected to the other lands by bridges, the island is the hub from which guests can access the park’s various themed areas. A village is arrayed in a crescent around the base of Animal Kingdom’s iconic landmark, The Tree of Life. Towering 14 stories above the village, the tree gives life to the rest of the park. It has over 300 distinct animal carvings on its trunk and into it roots.

Take a walk on the wild side along the Discover Island trails which is surrounded by exotic gardens, and a diversity of animals like the lemurs and flamingos. It’s a fun and relaxing area to explore and learn. The Tree of Life hosts a theatre attraction inside its bark playing, It’s Tough to be a Bug, inspired by the Disney-Pixar film A Bug’s Life. Flik, the loveable ant invites you to become honorary creepy crawly by donning a pair of special “bug eye” glasses and watching an exciting 3D film and live show on the survival techniques of bugs.

Must-See: Lemurs

Must-Meet: Pocahonatas

Must-Eats: Flame Tree Barbecue


Head out of Discovery Island and over to the village of Harambe (it’s Swahili for “come together”) located in Africa. This land is home to the Kilimanjaro SafarisRafiki’s Planet Watch and Conservation Station, and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, all attractions worth checking out. Notably they are some of the best in the park hands down. With over 1500 animals in the park you’ll find a good chunk of them living here such as giraffes, lions, monkeys, hippopotamuses, cheetahs, and hyenas. For a show of a lifetime go check out the Festival of the Lion, a vibrant and exciting story of Simba and his friends.

Must-See: Meerkats

Must-Meet: Rafiki

Must-Eats: Tamu Tamu Refreshments

The savannah that hosts the ride, Kilimanjaro Safaris, spans around 110 acres! That makes it larger than the entire Magic Kingdom theme park.


Make your way towards Asia through the village of Anandapur- a combination between Thailand, Nepal, and India. It’s a beautiful part of the park to stroll around and explore as there are lots to see and do. Asia has four feature attractions, one being the Kali River Rapids whitewater raft ride which takes you through a lush jungle landscape past waterfalls, temple ruins, and bamboo trees. To get up close and personal with some friendly animals make your way towards the Maharajah Jungle Trek or the Flights of Wonder bird show.

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is the ultimate coaster. Enter the Nepalese village to board an old train headed for the top of Mount Everest resulting in a high-speed encounter the mysterious Abominable Snowman. Everest has enough surprises and runaway speeds to make it one of the most enjoyable thrill rides in Disney World.

Must-See: River of Lights

Must-Eats: Anandapur Ice Cream Truck

DinoLand USA

Dinoland USA is a cross between an anthropological dig and a quirky roadside attraction. Packed with a mixture of dinosaur boneyards and zany midway games, it’s the perfect area for the little ones to run around and play. But there’s more to this land than meets the eye. Dinosaur, is one of Animal Kingdom’s beloved thrill rides, brings you back in time on a mission of rescue and conservation to haul back a living dinosaur before the species becomes extinct. 

Must-See: Finding Nemo – The Musical

Must-Meet: Donald, Goofy, & Pluto

Must-Eats: Restaurantosaurus


Book your fast passes for attractions in advance with the My Disney Experience App. It saves you from waiting in line at the kiosk and will let you book quicker online.

  • Bring a camera as you’ll see tons of animals and want to take beautiful photos of your surroundings. 
  • Kali River Rapids is a wet ride so you may get soaked! Bring a poncho or ride it in the morning or right before you leave. 
  • Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a parade or fireworks, but there is a brand new River of Lights water show on the lake. Make sure to get there early for a good view. 
  • There are no plastic straws, lids, or balloons in the park, for the animals. Keep your distance and respect them!

Thanks to Walt Disney World for welcoming My One Big Planet as a guest. As always, all opinions are my own.


  • kenny March 9, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Thanks for including all those musts! It really helps me figure out which spots I’d enjoy best 🙂


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