We were lucky enough to spend almost a full day at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and you bet your bottom dollar that we squeeze every ounce of fun into the day that we could. This was my first time really going through the whole park and I got to learn a lot of amazing things and it was such a fun experience! If you’re a first timer (or even if you’re not!) Here are ten things you should have on your Animal Kingdom bucket list:
Take your photo with the Tree of Life
There are over 300 hand-carved animals in the trunk of that tree. Are you really in the Animal Kingdom at all if you don’t pay SOME attention to it?! Here’s an insider tip: don’t take your photo in front of the tree where it is crowded and the photo is the same photo everyone else has. There are tons of hidden paths around the tree to choose from where you can get an even closer, more beautiful, less crowded shot. Personally we loved this little path behind the tree, it was so pretty!
Learn something new on Kilimanjaro Safaris
This was one of my favorite parts of the whole day, riding on the Kilimanjaro Safaris tour! I was astounded by the number of animals they actually have on reserve there, it was insane! My favorite new piece of information I learned is that giraffes have purple tongues because they spend 20 hours a day eating, basically they’re purple from the sun.
Have your custom Avatar made
If you’re an Avatar lover like we are, this is a MUST DO. The shop at the end of the Flight of Passage ride has a station inside where they will scan your face and make a custom Avatar that looks like you, it’s so crazy cool! It comes out slightly larger than a barbie doll (ahem… action figure, my husband says) and is such good quality. It was surprisingly not that pricey considering it’s in Disney World, I think we paid around $75 ish? Worth every penny, and it’s the coolest souvenir to have.You need to do it. End of story.
Watch the street performances
Throughout the day they had several street performances around the park. I’m not the kind of person that typically watches those things because I don’t like to stand in crowds in the heat, but… WHEN IN DISNEY…. ha! These cast members were so talented, you can see more in my story highlights on Instagram. Make sure if you see one happening along the way to stop and watch, then cross this item off your Animal Kingdom bucket list!
Visit Pandora after dark
Let’s just say there is a reason Pandora is the most crowded section of the park, but it’s worth the hype. The handmade structures are incredible! And the whole world is bioluminescent (is that the right spelling?!) at night! M.A.G.I.C.A.L.
Walk through the Asia section of the park and ride Expedition Everest
this is such a pretty part of the park, it literally looks like a painting! Expedition Everest is one of my favorite rollercoasters in all of Disney World, it’s got such a fun theme and has some unique twists and turns as it takes you forward AND backward. SO fun! It’s a bummer that Disney World doesn’t have the Matterhorn like Disneyland does, but Expedition Everest definitely makes up for it.
Ride Flight of Passage in Pandora
Before we went, I had already decided I wasn’t going to go on this ride because no ride is worth a 4 hour wait and I couldn’t get fast passes. I’ll let you in on a few secrets the cast members told me though. First, on the day you are visiting, they frequently release additional fast passes that you can snatch up, even if you couldn’t get one in advance because they were booked. Second, the best time of day is to go at night before closing because most people leave to watch the light parades and fireworks in other parks, so the wait time is often very manageable (like 30 minutes or less.) Finally, if you DO have to wait in line, it’s worth the wait if the wait time is anything under 100 minutes.
The cool thing about the ride is while you’re waiting you’re basically IN Pandora and there is a lot of cool stuff to look at, so at least it’s pretty and visually stimulating. We decided to wait after hearing their advice and waited about an hour and a half, and it was totally worth every second. I’ve never been on a ride that innovative and realistic! Plus you’re riding a banshee, how amazing is that?! It’s literally the best ride I’ve ever been on. Anywhere. At any time in my life. Seriously, if you can manage to do it, DO IT.
Get a photo with Rafiki
This is sadly one the tI didn’t get to cross of my list because they had closed that part of the park down at the time we got there, and I was so bummed! Rafiki is one of my favorite characters and he is a much more unique character than the traditional Mickey and Friends that people always see, so he’s a fun one to visit.
Search for secret Mickeys
My favorite thing to do in every park and I hope I get to do it around the world! They have such fun hiding spots for the secret Mickeys!
Watch our vlog from the day here!