Activities & Resources
Disney's Animal Kingdom050in Orlando, FL
about Disney's Animal Kingdom:
Each morning, music from The Lion King announces the opening of the park and the arrival of some of Disney's most beloved characters, who block all of the traffic into the park. Kids will probably want to get in line for autographs and hugs, but - if you can convince them otherwise - it's best to head straight for the most popular attractions. They'll be able to see characters in plenty of other places throughout the day.
The gigantic Tree of Life is the centerpiece of the park. Carvings of animals big and small line the trunk and branches, best seen on your way into the 3-D It's Tough To Be a Bug! movie at the base of the tree. This can be a very scary experience for small children, so be prepared to hold them on your lap, or even make a break for the door when spiders "drop" down over your heads during the show. We recommend it only for the very brave, or kids over eight years.
The park is divided into four lands:
In Africa, catch a ride on the Kilamanjaro Safari early in the morning to view giraffes, lions, gazelles, elephants, and more munching on their breakfasts. At the end of the safari, head over to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, where you can get closer to hippos, monkeys, and groups of gorillas. Look for plenty of juvenile gorillas in the lush landscaping. They're the most fun to watch and they seem to enjoy the attention of park guests. For a hands-on petting zoo experience, take the steam train to Rafiki's Planet Watch for close encounters with plenty of goats and sheep.
Asia features the soaking Kali River Rapids ride, a white-water raft adventure. If the ride doesn't get you wet, the spectators on the bridge will. Other park guests control the water squirting elephants, so you may want to look "goofy" and ride with a poncho on. An overlooked treat, Flights of Wonder is an exotic bird show filled with some of the most interesting birds you'll ever see. In true Disney fashion, one of them can even take money right out of your pockets!
Kids can go wild in DinoLand USA's Boneyard play area, and try the child-friendly Primeval Whirl and TriceraTop Spin. The Dinosaur thrill ride takes guests back in time to make a daring rescue, but you'll encounter a frightening T-Rex and a bumpy ride along the way.
Camp Minnie-Mickey is the best place to find characters for meet-and-greets. The very popular Festival of the Lion King stage show is also in this section. Get to the theater at least 30 minutes before showtimes, or you may not get a seat.
Dining is, for the most part, fast-food based. The Rainforest Cafe is located just outside the park, but a "secret" entrance near the front gate lets you go in and out as long as you have your ticket and hand-stamp.
Some important things to know about Animal Kingdom:
1. The lush, tropical canopy and landscaping can make this park feel ten degrees warmer than any other park, especially in the summer. Drink plenty of liquids to keep up with the kids.
2. Speaking of drinking, no plastic lids or straws are allowed at the park for the safety of the animals. Plan accordingly (sippy cups are a good thing to bring along).
3. Plenty of wildlife is set back in the landscaping of the park. After you've gotten through the rides and shows, spend some time looking in the trees for beautiful birds, monkeys, and more.