Ultimate Guide to the 7 Best Animal Kingdom Rides and Attractions

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Best Animal Kingdom Rides

Did you know, over 350 species of animals roam freely across the expansive landscapes of Disney’s Animal Kingdom? That’s right, this isn’t your average theme park; it’s a captivating fusion of exhilarating adventures and authentic experiences with the natural world. But with thrilling rollercoasters, fascinating animal encounters, and captivating shows spread across various themed lands, planning your day at Animal Kingdom can feel overwhelming. We’re here to unveil the 7 absolute BEST Animal Kingdom rides and attractions guaranteed to ignite your sense of wonder and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. 

From soaring through the bioluminescent skies on the back of a banshee in Pandora to embarking on a daring safari expedition encountering majestic creatures, get ready to dive into a world of unparalleled Disney magic with a wild twist! 

This definitive guide will ensure you don’t miss a beat on your unforgettable Animal Kingdom adventure.

Animal Kingdom: A Must-Visit Disney Theme Park

Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite Disney Parks with its beloved rides, making it an essential stop for Orlando visitors. As a fan, two of my top five favorite Disney rides are nestled within this park’s enchanting ambiance. Animal Kingdom offers an unforgettable experience for all. Don’t skip this theme park and miss the chance to embark on these iconic adventures and create cherished memories at this extraordinary theme park.

Must-Do Thrills: Top Rides for Your Animal Kingdom Adventure

Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers a world of wonder, with experiences that range from educational animal encounters to exhilarating adventures. While there are over 42 rides, shows, and attractions to explore, this guide narrows it down to the must-do rides and one show that will leave you breathless and wanting more. Buckle up and get ready to soar through the skies, traverse treacherous mountains, and embark on unforgettable safaris –  we’re diving into the heart-pounding highlights of Animal Kingdom!

Optimizing Your Disney Experience: Starting with Animal Kingdom

Best Animal Kingdom Rides

When utilizing the Park Hopper Option at Disney World, Animal Kingdom serves as the ideal kick-off destination for a whirlwind day of park hopping. With fewer rides compared to other Disney Parks, Animal Kingdom offers a concentrated experience, allowing visitors to enjoy its most popular attractions swiftly. In just 4 to 5 hours, you can cover all the key rides, efficiently maximizing your time before moving on to another park. Since Animal Kingdom typically closes earlier than other parks, this strategic approach ensures you make the most of your Park Hopper Option, optimizing your Disney adventure by experiencing multiple parks in a single day.

Top 6 Rides in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

1)Experience the Magic of Kilimanjaro Safaris

Embark on an adventure like no other as you delve into the heart of Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Did you know that this attraction is home to over 34 different species of African wildlife? It’s not just a ride; it’s an immersive journey into the wild, making it a must-do experience for visitors of all ages.

Lasting approximately 20 minutes, Kilimanjaro Safaris offers glimpses of majestic elephants, towering giraffes, and fierce lions roaming freely in their natural habitats. The ride’s unique blend of live animals, lush landscapes, and realistic African scenery creates an unparalleled sense of realism and wonder.

Best Animal Kingdom Rides
Photo by Disney Parks

As your safari vehicle traverses rugged terrain and lush savannahs, expert guides provide fascinating insights into the animals’ behaviors and conservation efforts. Whether it’s witnessing a herd of antelopes grazing peacefully or encountering a rhinoceros up close, every moment on Kilimanjaro Safaris is filled with excitement and discovery.

There are no Heigh Requirements for Kilimanjaro Safari

2) Expedition Everest

Standing tall as the tallest ride in all of Walt Disney World, Expedition Everest beckons adventurers to embark on a thrilling journey into the heart of the Himalayas. This roller coaster isn’t just about the adrenaline rush; it’s a masterful blend of storytelling, immersive theming, and heart-pounding excitement.

As your train ascends the towering mountain, you’ll encounter breathtaking vistas and encounter the legend of the fierce Yeti. Despite the Yeti being in “Disco Yeti Mode,” where it only flashes due to structural concerns, riders still eagerly anticipate coming face to face with this mythical creature. The anticipation adds to the allure, making each encounter with the Yeti a memorable moment.

Expedition Everest’s unique backward segment, sudden drops, and sharp turns keep riders on the edge of their seats throughout the entire experience. It’s no wonder this roller coaster consistently ranks in the top 5 of all-time Disney rides.

As a fan of Disney’s attractions, Expedition Everest holds a special place in my heart. The blend of adrenaline and storytelling makes each ride an unforgettable adventure, ensuring that I return to face the Yeti time and time again.

AttractionHeight RequirementOther Safety Measures
Expedition Everest44 inches (112 centimeters)Fastened seat belts and safety restraints

3) Flight of Passage in Pandora: The World of Avatar

Did you know that Flight of Passage, located in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, boasts an astonishing 3D projection screen that is nearly half the size of a football field? This technological marvel, combined with innovative ride mechanics, makes Flight of Passage a truly unforgettable experience.

As guests soar on the back of a banshee through the breathtaking landscapes of Pandora, they are immersed in a sensory adventure unlike any other. The sensation of flight, enhanced by wind and scents, creates an unparalleled sense of realism.

Beyond the ride itself, exploring the world of Pandora is a unique experience in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The lush flora, floating mountains, and bioluminescent forests transport visitors to another world.

Best Animal Kingdom Rides

Currently, Flight of Passage is the hottest ticket in Animal Kingdom, often resulting in longer wait times compared to other attractions. However, the breathtaking experience is well worth the wait.

To minimize wait times, it’s recommended to experience Flight of Passage either at park opening or during the main rope drop opening. This allows guests to enjoy the ride with shorter lines before the park becomes crowded. Don’t miss the chance to embark on this exhilarating journey through the skies of Pandora.

AttractionHeight Requirement
Flight of Passage44 inches (112 centimeters)

Lightning Lane Option for Flight of Passage

For those seeking to skip the lines at Flight of Passage, Lightning Lane offers a solution through the Genie app. Prices range from $11 to $20 USD, varying based on park attendance and season. This option grants access to expedited queues, ensuring more time to enjoy the wonders of Pandora.

4) Kali River Rapids

Did you know that Kali River Rapids, nestled within Disney’s Animal Kingdom, boasts a thrilling journey through the dense jungles of Asia? This water ride isn’t just about splashes; it’s an immersive experience filled with surprises at every turn.

As you board your raft, prepare for a wild adventure through rushing rivers and cascading waterfalls, all while surrounded by lush foliage and exotic wildlife. Kali River Rapids offers the perfect respite from the scorching Florida heat, making it an ideal attraction during hot weather seasons.

One of the highlights of this ride is the unexpected encounters with waterfalls and geysers, ensuring that every trip down the river is a unique and exhilarating experience. While you’re guaranteed to get wet, the fun and excitement of Kali River Rapids make it a must-do attraction for visitors of all ages.

AttractionHeight Requirement
Kali River Rapids38 inches (97 centimeters) or taller

5) Dinosaur Ride soon becoming an Indiana Jones Ride

Opening its doors with the inception of the park, Dinosaur remains an iconic attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This dark and thrilling ride takes guests on a journey through prehistoric times, braving encounters with dinosaurs and dodging extinction-level events. As one of my personal top 5 favorite Disney rides, its intense atmosphere and immersive storytelling never fail to captivate.

While children may find the ride’s intensity challenging, its adrenaline-pumping moments and immersive theming make it a hit among thrill-seekers. Highlights include close encounters with lifelike animatronic dinosaurs and heart-pounding chase sequences.

Farewell to a Prehistoric Adventure

Disney Parks Expansion Plan for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

However, it’s bittersweet to acknowledge that Dinosaur’s days are numbered. Recently announced plans indicate its imminent closure, making room for an Indiana Jones-themed ride utilizing the same layout. While the news saddens me, I understand the decision to introduce new concepts and themes, particularly considering the popularity of the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland. The transformation of Dinoland USA into multiple hemed areas with Encanto and Indiana Jones  promises fresh experiences and adventures for visitors to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Though change can be difficult, it’s also an exciting opportunity to embrace new stories and reimagine beloved attractions.

AttractionHeight Requirement
Dinosaur40 inches (102 centimeters) or taller

6) Experience the Majesty of the Festival of the Lion King (Not a Ride but a Must-do Show)

Best Animal Kingdom Rides

While not a ride, the Festival of the Lion King show in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a must-do experience for any visitor. Widely regarded as one of the best shows on Disney property, it immerses audiences in the vibrant world of Disney’s The Lion King through captivating performances and stunning visuals.

Lasting approximately 30 minutes, the show features beloved characters, live music, and exhilarating acrobatics, creating an unforgettable spectacle for audiences of all ages. Highlights include breathtaking aerial stunts, energetic musical numbers, and audience participation moments that bring the magic of the Pride Lands to life.

What sets this show apart is its unique blend of storytelling, music, and theatricality, making it a standout attraction in Disney’s lineup of live entertainment. Whether you’re a fan of The Lion King or simply appreciate top-notch performances, the Festival of the Lion King promises an experience that will leave you spellbound and wanting more.

7) Na’vi River Journey (Final Option if you completed the rides mentioned above)

Na’vi River Journey in Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers a serene journey through the bioluminescent forests of Pandora. While visually stunning, I recommend experiencing this ride last after enjoying the more thrilling attractions. The slow pace and lack of climax make it ideal for winding down after a day of excitement.

One of the highlights of Na’vi River Journey is the mesmerizing animatronic of the Shaman of Songs. This lifelike figure captivates riders with its fluid movements and enchanting presence, making the ride worth it for this alone.

As you drift along the gentle currents, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of Pandora’s flora and fauna, brought to life with cutting-edge animatronics and stunning visual effects. While Na’vi River Journey may lack the adrenaline of other attractions, its tranquil ambiance and breathtaking visuals offer a unique and memorable experience in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Final Thoughts about the Best Rides in Animal Kingdom

Exploring the top 7 best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom promises an unforgettable adventure for visitors of all ages. From the exhilarating thrills of Expedition Everest to the serene beauty of Na’vi River Journey, each attraction offers its own unique charm and excitement. I hope this guide helps my readers maximize their experience in the park, ensuring they make the most of their time at Animal Kingdom.

As a final tip, I highly recommend visiting the park early in the morning to beat the crowds and make the most of the day. By finishing your visit by noon or 1pm, you’ll have accomplished a lot and can spend the rest of your day exploring other Disney parks or relaxing at your leisure. Additionally, I suggest including Animal Kingdom in your park hopper itinerary, as its fewer rides allow for quicker navigation compared to other parks. Enjoy your visit to Animal Kingdom and immerse yourself in the wonders of nature and adventure!

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