Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a massive theme park, so you must plan your day. We all make mistakes when on vacation, and these Animal Kingdom Mistakes, updated for 2023, can reduce the enjoyment of your holiday. However, with some planning, you can easily avoid them and have a great vacation.
You are not creating a plan for your visit.
It would help if you planned what you intend to do at Animal Kingdom. There is too much to do at the Animal Kingdom to manage without a plan, and the vast park size presents its challenges.
Systems have changed at Walt Disney World in recent years, but the need to plan has not. In 2023 you must consider Dining Reservations, DisneyGenie+, Individual Lightning Lane purchases, Early Theme Park Entry, Extended Evening Hours, and Disney Park Pass.
While systems have changed, the need for planning your Disney World Vacation has not. No planning or planning too late will mean you miss out.
Attempting to do the Animal Kingdom in 1 day.
If you have time, visit Animal Kingdom for two or even three days.
Not booking a Disney Park Pass.
If you plan to visit Animal Kingdom, you must have a Disney Park Pass.
In 2023 you must obtain a Disney Park Pass as soon as you get your ticket. You must book a reservation online through the Disney Park Pass System to access your first park daily. If this means you intend to visit Animal Kingdom first, you must obtain a Park Pass.
To access Animal Kingdom, guests must present their park reservation and a valid park ticket. Guests who do not have either of these will be refused entry. Now that is a mistake you will want to avoid!
Guests can access a second park, with the correct ticket, during Park Hopper Hours.
Thinking you have to purchase Disney Genie+
Disney Genie+ is the paid replacement for FastPass+, but it isn’t cheap, costing up to $29 a day per person. If you are on a short vacation, you might wish to purchase it every day, but it probably isn’t necessary if you plan to visit Animal Kingdom for several days.
Many attractions included with Disney Genie+ do not have long waits, and Lightning Lane isn’t required. Consider in your plan which days you want to purchase Disney Genie+ in advance.
If you decide to purchase Disney Genie+, you can book your first experience at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit. The most popular attractions quickly run out of slots; make sure you are ready for 7:00 AM to book your first attraction.
Thinking you have to pay extra for Avatar Flight of Passage
Some of the most popular attractions are not available on Disney Genie+. An individual fee is required to access the lightning lane for these attractions. The only attraction that attracts this charge in Animal Kingdom is Flight of Passage, but this is subject to change.
Avatar Flight of Passage is a must-do attraction, but you can always access the standby line. We have found standby waiting times quite reasonable toward the park closing time. Note the advertised waiting time close to the park close is almost always exaggerated.
Not checking if the kids are tall enough to ride.
Before planning attractions, ensure everyone who wants to is big enough to ride. Disney enforces height limits rigidly, and you will not succeed in arguing with the cast members. If the kids are not big enough to ride, ensure they know beforehand.
The following attractions at the Animal Kingdom have height restrictions:
- Avatar Flight of Passage at least 44 inches tall to ride
- Dinosaur at least 40 inches tall to ride
- Expedition Everest at least 44 inches tall to ride
- Kali River Rapids at least 38 inches tall to ride
However, if the kids are too small to ride, it does not mean adults and older siblings can’t. Rider Switch, sometimes called child swap, allows guests with small children to take turns riding while another adult stays with the child. Visit our guide to learn more about Rider Switch.
You can’t access the park’s Wi-Fi.
Online access is essential at Walt Disney World. Don’t even consider entering a Walt Disney World Park in 2023 without access to Wi-Fi.
You must download the My Disney Experience App before accessing Animal Kingdom. Through this free service, you can:
- Keep track of your plans & reservations, including those of your family & friends.
- Make Disney Genie, Dining & Ticket Reservations
- Order in advance food at select Quick Service Locations
- Access maps, wait times, showtimes, park hours, and essential information via the app.
- Check on all the latest resort changes, including any closed attractions.
Not planning Animal Kingdom dining reservations.
There aren’t many table service restaurants at the Animal Kingdom compared to other parks. Make sure you book dining reservations early, as they do get booked up.
A new 60-day Advanced Dining Reservation window was introduced when Walt Disney World reopened. Remember, if eating in a park, you must have a valid park admission and a park reservation to dine.
Missing the shows
Walt Disney World is not all about rides!
There are some sensational Broadway Style shows at Walt Disney World, and some of the best are at the Animal Kingdom. A show also offers the opportunity to rest and some time out of the sun.
Not having a break.
One option is to c
Not bringing park essentials
Make a list of what you need, e.g. camera, autograph book, poncho. Make sure you don’t forget sunscreen & a good hat. Plus, you will need access to plenty of water.
Pack your bag the night before. Remember not to take too much as you carry it all day. We have created a guide to what we recommend putting in your park bag.
Not realizing there will be a lot of walking
Make sure your shoes are worn in and comfortable; you will be doing a lot of walking; Animal Kingdom is a massive park.
Be ready to hire a stroller for all under 5s and some older kids. Kids will get tired & grumpy in Orlando. Plus, cranky kids often lead to even crankier adults.
Not using the lockers for Kali River Rapids.
There is no longer storage for belongings on Kali River Rapids. Your belongings will get wet, perhaps very wet. Lockers are free and located near the entrance to the attraction.
Yes….We made this mistake & our stuff got wet!
Do you have any other Animal Kingdom Mistakes to avoid? Why not leave us a comment below?
Read More Animal Kingdom Tips
Our Guide to Walt Disney World is a great starting point for planning your vacation.