Many years ago when Disney’s Animal Kingdom (or DAK for efficiency’s sake) first opened, I didn’t love it. I adore animals and you’d think my outlook would’ve better. But it wasn’t. However, as often with first impressions – my opinion has altered since my first look. I found my liking of DAK increased with each visit. It’s such a beautiful park; the landscaping is exotic. When I was working on the Disney College Program, I used to roam around the park on my days off to check out the plants and animals.
I certainly no longer find the park dull, as evidenced by my hearty “Can’t Miss” list. There are shows, attractions, stunning animals, and tasty treats everywhere. What’s not to like about that?
Below is the Walt Disney World Blog 2015 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Can’t Miss List. As always, there will be an asterisk next to “super favorites,” or things we often do more than once.
- The Oasis Exhibits * – These are just pathways around the front of the park, but they have some really beautiful plants, awesome birds and animals. Take time to enjoy these instead of power-walking past as you hurry to squeeze in one more attraction. (I might be speaking from experience…)
- It’s Tough to be a Bug * – This 3D show will have you feeling bug sized. The queue usually isn’t too long either so it makes a great midday attraction.
- Discovery Island Trails – Like the Oasis Exhibits.
- Flame Tree BBQ * – Many kinds of BBQ are available here. YUM, YUM, YUM. The food is delicious and there’s a great seating area off to the side making this is one of our favorite lunch (or dinner!) Quick Service options. Bonus – try the Safari Amber beer, specially brewed for Disney World.
- Festival of the Lion King – This charming 30 minute show brings The Lion King story to life with singing, dancing, and exciting acrobatics. Kiddos will love the interactive elements. The monkeys are our favorite park!
- Kilimajaro Safaris ** – This unique attraction takes you onto Disney Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Wildlife Preserve. As you bump along in an open-air vehicle you’ll see a variety of African wildlife. The animals are free roaming so what you see varies with each safari. There are over 34 species roaming the savannah such as lions, hippos, elephants, zebra, rhino, giraffe, okapi, ostrich, etc. **SPECIAL TIP** Visit the safari early in the morning or late in the evening for cooler temps and potentially more animal sightings.
- Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – A beautiful walking trail where you’ll encounter flora and fauna. You can get an amazing, close up view of gorillas here.
- Maharajah Jungle Trek * – This trail exposes guests to Asian wildlife. Get a close up view of a variety of animals that includes many species of birds, tigers, and fruit bats!
- Kali River Rapids – To be honest I haven’t ridden this ride in several years. This raft ride is full of twists, turns, dips, and of course – water. I remember it being a lot of fun. So why haven’t I been in a while? You can get very wet. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll get soaked. I don’t liked to be soaked and left to dry out with my clothes sticking to me as I roam the park. Perhaps this makes me a party pooper. I do think husband and I are going to give it a go on our next trip. Soaking wet or not – I bet we’ll have fun.
- Expedition Everest ** – Oh dear readers, how do I express in words how I love this coaster? I adore every detail from the museum style queue, to the trainlike coaster, to the Yeti himself. This ride is a thrill and I tackle it as many times as I can.
- Finding Nemo – This Broadway style show tells the Finding Nemo story. It’s fun and gorgeous. The sets and costumes are really striking. The show lasts 40 minutes and it’s a nice opportunity to cool off, rest, and be entertained while you do so!
- Primeval Whirl * – This colorful ride is a mild roller coaster with round cars that spin. It will leave you giggling – I guarantee it.
- DINOSAUR – Hop into a time rover and travel back in time to hang out with dinosaurs during an impending meteor strike. Yikes! This ride is dark with some really cool animatronic dinosaurs. Could be scarey for young kiddos.