Animal Kingdom can be a full day park if you plan on seeing everything and riding all the attractions. With the shows, rides, and animal exhibits you can spend a full day at Animal Kingdom. You can also create an Animal Kingdom itinerary that is a half day if you would like to move at a fast pace.
Animal Kingdom ticket cost start at $104.00 a day depending on the season you visit. Guests also must make theme park reservations in addition to purchasing tickets.
Some rides at Animal Kingdom may be scary for young children. They include Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur.
Parking is $25.00 a day at Animal Kingdom.
The most popular area at Animal Kingdom is Pandora and that is where most of the guests will start their day. If you want to ride the Pandora attractions you should plan on arriving early and go directly to them. Flight of Passage is the most popular attraction at the park. If you are wanting to ride it you should consider using Genie+ or be one of the first to get in line. The line can often see 2-3 hour wait times.
If you are not planning on visiting the Pandora area you should start with Kilimanjaro Safari. After that we will typically walk to Asia to ride Expedition Everest and then stop for lunch. We always try to ride our must ride attractions before lunch, even if it means a little more walking. We do this to limit our time waiting in long lines. If you would rather do less walking you can explore each land before moving on to the next.
Rope Drop is what it is called to arrive before opening. This doesn’t always involve an actual rope, it only means before the parks official opening time. When I mentioned above to arrive early for Flight of Passage this means 90 minutes before park opening. On our most recent visit we were waiting for the resort transportation to Animal Kingdom at 6:30am. This was for a 8:00am opening time. Buses are posted that they start 60 minutes before park opening but this is not always 100% true. This is really important to remember when planning your visit. Arrive early!!
After lunch we plan time to watch shows or explore more parts of the park. We try to get all of our must do attractions done in the morning but if there are any we missed we will ride them now. Depending on the hours of the park you might want to go back to your room for some rest or an afternoon nap. On a recent visit Animal Kingdom hours were 8:00am to 8:00pm. We headed back to our resort around 2:00 and then returned for dinner and another ride on Flight of Passage.
If Animal Kingdom has night hours try to plan time in Pandora. At night the entire land glows with Bioluminescent lights and is really incredible. There is also a projection show called the Tree of Life Awakenings. This runs every 10 minutes at dusk until close of the park.
The night before your Animal Kingdom day pack your bag, lay our clothes, and decide on a time to leave for the park. Check park hours to know when you should leave for the park. If you are planning on purchasing Genie+ you should do it in the morning. It will be open for purchase the day of your visit. At 7:00am if you are purchasing an individual Lightning Lane you need to reserve that as well as make your first Genie+ reservation. This itinerary is from August 2021. It was before Genie+ was available but is still helpful in planning your day at Animal Kingdom.
6:30am: Arrive at bus station at resort. 6:45am: Bus arrives to take us to Animal Kingdom. 7:00am: Arrive at Animal Kingdom. 7:20am: Enter Animal Kingdom. Walk to Pandora Entrance. Guests are held here. 7:30am: Guests are walked to Flight of Passage. We are on the ride before official park open at 8:00am. 8:10am: Ride Navi’ River
8:30am: Grab a snack, use restrooms, explore Pandora. If you are ready to move on go to Kilimanjaro Safari. – Ride Safari – Gorilla Falls Explorations Trail (Animal Exhibit) – Pick up a Wilderness Explorer Guide if you plan to do the activities during your visit. – Expedition Everest – Yak & Yeti Quick Service – Maharajah Trek (Animal Exhibit) – Kali River Rapids – Expedition Everest – Dinosaur – It’s Tough to Be a Bug – Check showtimes for Kite Tails, The Lion King, or Finding Nemo(Currently Closed)
Animal Kingdom really allows for a flexible schedule after you visit Pandora. Keep an eye on the My Disney Experience app for wait times. If rides are a priority do all of them before lunch and then explore the animal exhibits and shows. This requires more walking and back tracking though the park. If rides are not a priority take your time in each area to explore, grab a snack, and see a show. The Wilderness Explorer Guide book can be picked up at multiple locations through the park and we find it easiest to do it as we go through our day.