Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a fantastic park. Following the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar, you must have a plan on how to tackle the park. FastPass+ may have gone, but there is new essential knowledge you need to master to get ahead of the crowd. We have completely refreshed our Top Animal Kingdom Hacks with all the latest information for 2023. If you follow these Animal Kingdom Tips, you will have a fantastic time.
Create an Animal Kingdom Plan
When the Animal Kingdom reopened, removing FastPass+ and Park Hopping meant little planning was needed. However, as crowds have increased, Disney has introduced additional services, meaning detailed planning is essential again.
Our Free Walt Disney World Planners are a great resource to help create a perfect Walt Disney World Vacation Plan.
Check park opening times.
Park opening times vary daily throughout the year and can change shortly before your visit. Check My Disney Experience for the latest information.
Have access to the park’s WiFi.
Online access is essential when visiting Walt Disney World. Don’t even consider entering Animal Kingdom in 2023 without access to WiFi.
Having access to WiFi allows you to access My Disney Experience. My Disney Experience is a free online guide to Walt Disney World to enable guests to plan their vacations. 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.
Walt Disney World encourages all guests to have downloaded the latest version of My Disney Experience on their mobile devices before entering parks. Also, they recommend having location services and notifications enabled.
Book a Disney Park Pass for Animal Kingdom
Your Disney Park Pass is the critical booking you must obtain as soon as you get your Animal Kingdom ticket. To access a park, pre-book a reservation online through the Disney Park Pass System. Availability is generally good, but they can run out on the busiest days.
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.
If you are planning to Park Hop, guests will still need to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation for their first park each day, and they must enter this park before hopping to another park.
Only pack essentials in your park bag
What are the things you must take into the park? Remember, you will be carrying your bag all day.
List what you need, e.g., a camera, autograph book, poncho. Pack your bag the night before and check it before you leave in the morning. We have created an updated guide to what you should include in your Walt Disney World park bag.
Take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry.
Early Theme Park Entry is an excellent benefit for guests staying onsite.
Early Theme Park Entry started in 2021 and replaced Extra Magic Hours. All Walt Disney World Resort guests, and other select hotels, can gain 30-minute early entry to any theme park at Walt Disney World each day. However, you will need a Disney Park Pass.
Consider carefully whether to buy Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes.
Disney Genie+ is the paid replacement for FastPass+, but it isn’t cheap. Purchasing Disney Genie+ allows you to book reservations for the Lightning Lane at select attractions in Animal Kingdom. The Lightning lane will enable you to join a shorter line than the regular standby line.
If you are on a short vacation, you might wish to purchase it every day, but it probably isn’t necessary for more extended holidays. Many attractions included with Disney Genie+ do not have long waits, and Lightning Lane isn’t required.
Some of the most popular attractions at Animal Kingdom are unavailable on Disney Genie+. An individual fee is required to access the lightning lane for these attractions. The list of rides has changed several times since the introduction of Individual Lightning Lanes, but currently, only one attraction in Animal Kingdom attracts this fee:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
Visit our guide to learn more about Individual Lightning Lanes.
Don’t attempt to do it all in 1 day.
The problem with Animal Kingdom is the whole park is excellent. Apart from an occasional exception, you will want to do it all. Since the opening of Pandora- World of Avatar, this is no longer a 1-day park. If you have time, visit for two or even three days.
Make sure the kids are big enough to ride!
Don’t create a plan to realize too late not everyone can ride. Disney does enforce height restrictions rigidly. At the Animal Kingdom, the attractions which have height restrictions are:
- 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
- Primeval Whirl at least 48 inches tall to ride
However, if the kids are too small, it does not mean older children and adults can’t ride. Visit our Guide to Rider Switch for more information.
Don’t Miss Pandora – The World of Avatar
You probably already know this, but Pandora – The World of Avatar should not be missed when you visit the Animal Kingdom. Pandora opened to the public in May 2017 and is believed to have cost $500 million. James Cameron’s Avatar inspires the land.
The area contains two main attractions Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Both attractions are superb and should not be missed. Also, there are Avatar-inspired shopping and dining options throughout the land.
Plan meal and drink breaks
The Animal Kingdom always seems hotter than the other Walt Disney World Parks. Make sure you have plenty of breaks and drinks when in the park.
Dehydrated & tired kids, or grown-ups, are not fun.
Book dining reservations in advance & use mobile ordering
There is a 60-day Advanced Dining Reservation window at Walt Disney World. Make sure you make your reservations as soon as possible, as they book quickly. There are no guarantees you will get a reservation on the day. Visit our Guide to Advanced Dining Reservations to learn more.
If visiting a counter service location, if available, use mobile ordering. It is a brilliant time-saver.
Don’t miss the shows at the Animal Kingdom
There are some sensational Broadway Style shows at the Animal Kingdom, and they are some of the best at Walt Disney World. A show also offers the opportunity to rest and some time out of the sun.
Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris in the morning
Typically the animals are more active in the morning.
However, no two safaris are the same; ride twice if you have time.
Use the lockers for Kali River Rapids
There is no longer storage for belongings on the ride.
Yes, We made that mistake!
Your belonging will get wet, perhaps very wet. Lockers are free and located near the entrance to the attraction.
Be ready for every type of weather.
Sunscreen, a hat & waterproofing all might be needed on any day. Have a plan for what to do if the weather turns.
We have created a Guide to the Orlando Weather, which has further information.
Experience Animal Kingdom at night
Depending on park opening times, you should visit Animal Kingdom at night.
Don’t miss it & make sure you visit Pandora at night. At night Pandora offers an entirely different experience. It is magical!
The Animal Kingdom is not just about rides and shows
Take your time; there is much to see and explore at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Many guests miss the animal exhibits, rushing to the big rides, but this is a big mistake. There are three main trails to explore in addition to a selection of smaller exhibits around the park:
- Discovery Island Trails
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
The Animal Kingdom has also become one of the best places to experience street food and snacks. Keep your eye out for a delicious lunch as you explore the park.
Do you have any favorite Animal Kingdom Hacks? Why not send a message, and share it with our readers?
To learn more about Walt Disney World, visit our 2023 Guide to Walt Disney World.
Visit our Guide to Animal Kingdom to learn more about the park.