There are so many reasons why people should visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. One of my favorite reasons is to experience the special Disney’s Animal Kingdom magic!
This Disney’s Animal Kingdom post was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Out of all the Disney Parks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is set up so uniquely compared to every other Walt Disney World Park.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is such a unique mix of rides, shows, play areas, animal attractions, and cultural showcases.
They also have special events and attractions if you really want to get a VIP experience.
However, you don’t have to buy dessert parties, guided tours, and Disney After Hours events to experience Disney’s Animal Kingdom magic.
As you zip around to the thrill rides on all four corners of the massive park, here are some simple things you can do to make the experience as magical as possible.
Special Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tips
USE THE SECRET ENTRANCE
One way to make sure your day begins with a magical start is to enter the park through a secret side entrance.
Go into the Rainforest Cafe and exit through the Safari Bar.
There is a gateway to the park in this tiny oasis, so if there are big lines at the main gate, this quiet alternative is a fun way to get ahead of the action and sidestep the congested area just inside the main entrance, where people stop to determine where to go first.
CELEBRATE DONALD’S ANCESTRY AT DONALD’S DINO-BASH
Dinoland USA, with its layers of backstory, is easily one of the most creative sections of the park.
There is so much to discover here, and yet Disney brought us one more way to love this portion of the Animal Kingdom.
You will be delighted to go to Dinoland USA and find Donald along with his feathered friends Scrooge, Launchpad, and Daisy.
The family of ducks is celebrating that they are descendants of dinosaurs.
Even Chip ‘n’ Dale get in on the shindig dressed as dinosaurs.
DO THE ANIMATION EXPERIENCE
A brand new thing you can do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that is sure to add more magic to your day takes the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and attend an introduction to how Disney artists take inspiration from live animals in front of them.
This one of a kind experience brings the animal park full circle when it comes to Disney, and it reveals a bit of Disney history in terms of animating films like Dumbo and The Lion King.
MAKE TIME FOR THE ANIMALS
Animal Kingdom magic begins and ends with the wildlife and the many habitats there are to explore.
As soon as you walk into the park, there are animal viewing areas to the left and right, and an oasis straight ahead.
With more animal encounters to enjoy before you even can leave the main entrance, you should have an idea of the magical encounters that lie ahead.
Most people just breeze past the Maharajah Trail, and many don’t even notice Gorilla Falls near the exit from the Kilimanjaro Safari.
VISIT PANDORA AT NIGHT
The bioluminescent valley of Mo’ara is something to see after nightfall.
Pandora is a breathtakingly revolutionary land that recreates the world from the film Avatar so faithfully.
When you get there, there is so much of the Animal Kingdom magic just in this one spot.
Where Should I Eat at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
If you want to do a character meal at Animal Kingdom, Tusker House Restaurant is the ONLY place to go and you’ll want to make reservations.
The restaurant is visually stunning and it’s an immersive experience. We saw Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy and the kids got a kick of out all the special attention!
You can read all my Tusker House Tips and Tricks.
YAK & YETI
This is another coveted dining reservation. They serve a selection of Asian and Indian inspired dishes and their food is really tasty!
They also have a grab and go section next to the regular restaurant that serves a smaller menu, but you don’t need reservations!
FLAME TREE BARBECUE
I keep hearing tons of people say this is their favorite spot to eat at Animal Kingdom.
You’ll find lots of hearty entrees including pulled pork sandwiches, BBQ sampler plates, and salad.
If you don’t have one of these restaurants near where you live, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Kids love that the whole restaurant looks like a rainforest and there’s lots of kid-friendly food.
TAMU TAMU REFRESHMENTS
This is where they have Dole Whip! And for parents, you can get it with rum!
Hotels Near Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE
So, my top pick is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is a very short bus ride away from the Park. It’s comprised of Jambo House and the newer Kidani Village.
I mean, you can see giraffes out your window. *mic drop.
You can read all about our experience at Kidani Village and see if it right for your family and your budget.
DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT
One of the recently renovated hotels near Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
There’s a replica of a Mayan pyramid in their pool area and they have a 2 story lobby.
DISNEY’S ALL-STAR RESORTS
Each one has a different theme, but all are just a quick bus ride from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a truly unique Disney Park. You really will feel transported to Asia and Africa and the programs they offer are fantastic!