Experience Disney's Animal Kingdom in One Day

Orlando , Travel Advice , Walt Disney World Resort
A girl smiling with eyes closed in front of the Tree of Life wearing glittery gold Mickey ears with a black bow on them. Stood next to her is Timone from the Lion King.
Our guide for a day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park brings you closer to rare animals and nature, which you discover in various themed areas. The theme park also features Pandora - The World of Avatar, the themed area based on the Avatar films, as well as a variety of rides, performances and shows. Spend an incredibly diverse day here!

The four theme parks in the Walt Disney World Resort can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to planning. We have created a series of guides for a day in each of the four parks. Here you will first find some practical tips and tricks for Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme park and then our guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom in one day!


Tips for a day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Tip 1: Explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom from back to front

Most visitors start their day by heading to attractions near the park entrance or they walk directly to the most popular attractions - most guests go straight to Pandora – The World of Avatar and Avatar Flight of Passage. We therefore recommend that you start at the back of the park, where it is usually a little quieter in the morning. Take advantage of this relatively peaceful and quiet area of the park in the morning on the Kilimanjaro Safari. In the morning, the animals are more active and the light is better for taking photos!

Tip 2: Take advantage of the shorter opening hours to relax or return to the other parks

Disney’s Animal Kingdom closes a little earlier than the other Disney parks. After visiting the other three parks, you may want to take advantage of the early park closing time to return to your accommodation and rest, or you can visit the shopping complex called Disney Springs to buy souvenirs or enjoy the free activities that the Walt Disney World Resorts have to offer.

The 7-Day Magic ticket or 14-Day Magic ticket offer you the ability to park hop as well, providing the perfect opportunity for you to travel over to Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or EPCOT to explore - whether you want to re-experience some of the attractions, shows or fireworks, catch up on something you didn't manage to do on previous days, get a first look or just enjoy the incredible atmosphere in the parks.

Water ride where riders sit in circular boat facing one another and there is black circular handle in the middle which people are grabbing onto as they get splashed by water after small drop

Tip 3: Dance to the wild rhythm of nature

On the stage near the Tree of Life, you can sometimes find a band that plays rhythmic music and also teaches everyone some Zumba moves - this is guaranteed fun for both young and young at heart park guests. Whether you just want to enjoy the sounds of the music or actively participate and shake your hips, let the band carry you away!


Our guide for a day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

As your ideal stay in Disney's Animal Kingdom may look different to our ideal stay, we encourage you to adapt this guide to your personal preferences and speed. See this as a rough guide to a day in Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park and incorporate the attractions, shows and restaurants that are important to you.

In the morning

If you have decided to stay in one of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, then you can take advantage of “Early Entry” access, which gives Disney Hotel guests half an hour earlier access to the Disney Parks. Early Entry guests typically head straight to the park's most popular attraction, Avatar Flight of Passage, as this ride usually has longer queues. If you are staying outside of the Disney Resort hotels and do not have early entry, this attraction will have a fairly long queue by the time you enter the park.

Instead, we recommend that visitors without early entry leave the crowds behind them after entering the park by making their way towards the Kilimanjaro Safari. There are several advantages to starting with this attraction: you have short waiting times, the animals are usually more active in the morning when it is cooler and the light is ideal for taking photos of the animals!

Small girl holding binoculars in truck facing her parents with giraffe stood behind her eating leaves in a tree and her dad sat to the left of her smiling down at her.

The Adventurers Outpost is the place where you can meet Mickey and Minnie - there are usually long queues here throughout the day, which you can avoid early in the morning or towards the afternoon. After the Kilimanjaro Safari, the Kali River Rapids are close by, but be careful, you'll get wet here! Expedition Everest is also close by, so head here while the waiting times are still relatively short. Expedition Everest provides a wonderful view of the entire park!

A young girl and an older man sat together on the ride with the girl in a bright pink top leaning over smiling towards the man who is grabbing the lap restraints and screaming

Now is a good time to incorporate one of the theme park shows. Shows at Animal Kingdom include the musical Finding Nemo: The Big Blue... and Beyond! and the fantastic Festival of the Lion King. Choose the show according to your preferences and show times.


Now you can get back to the real animals, of which there are quite a few in the park - from African elephants to gibbons to the Affection Section at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, where you can meet tamed animals like goats and talk to zookeepers. Incredible animal encounters await you on various trails that take you through Africa and Asia. You can also now take a walk through the breathtakingly beautiful themed area Pandora – The World of Avatar. Although we recommend that you only ride the attractions in this themed area in the evening.


Before or after your lunch would be a good time for another show like the Feathered Friends in Flight Demonstration in Asia about birds, after which you can relax and set off to see the animals and treks you didn't have time for before, this includes the Maharajah Jungle Trek or the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. As the afternoon begins, you can add more shows and animal encounters.

At evening

With enough time left on the clock before the park closes, you can visit Pandora – The World of Avatar. There you can examine all the details of the lovingly created themed area, such as the Hallelujah Mountains, and feel like you are in the Avatar movie. Returning here after dark ensures that you can see this themed area with the wonderful lighting effects. Afterwards you should visit the two attractions you do not want to miss, Na'Vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage.

Three guests stood looking up at the sky surrounded by trees, two girls wearing different Mickey ears and one man. Flying above them are various different coloured birds.

Before you leave the park in the early evening, be sure to watch the evening show Tree of Life Awakenings which takes place approximately every 10 minutes. Here you can marvel at how the Tree of Life on Discovery Island is magically animated with the help of projections and shares dazzlingly the journeys of various animals.

Take this template for a day at Disney's Animal Kingdom, identify your favorite attractions and rides and incorporate them into the plan. If you still need to book your tickets, you can buy yours here Walt Disney World Tickets.


Attractions you may be interested in...

Orlando , Travel Advice , Walt Disney World Resort