• Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Luiz Alberto H.

Created: Apr 30, 2024

Last Updated: May 03, 2024

Animal Kingdom
Rating
8
Great
  • Year: 1998
  • Rides: 7/10
  • Atmosphere: 8/10
  • Dining: 7/10
  • Kids: 9/10
  • World of Pandora
  • Animals!
  • Needs more love

Animal Kingdom Review

Simba’s favorite theme park will only get better with (more) time

It’s not easy to review Animal Kingdom in 2024. Not because there's a lack of things to say, but because its future is shrouded in mystery. You've likely heard about Disney's plans for a multi-billion-dollar investment in their theme parks, with Animal Kingdom being a primary focus. We can expect new lands, fresh attractions, and more in the next few years. This news certainly is exciting, because Animal Kingdom truly deserves more love.

Animal Kingdom World of Pandora lake.webp

If you ask guests around the world about their favorite Disney World theme park, most would likely say Magic Kingdom, followed closely by Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Hardly anyone would name Animal Kingdom as their favorite. Poor little animals. Wait, it's not because people lack compassion for those fluffy and cute creatures, but rather because Animal Kingdom could benefit from more rides and attractions to truly make it a must-visit destination.

Is it still a fun place to spend an entire day? Sure. Could it be even better? Sure.

Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom 2.webp

The Good

Animal Kingdom made its debut in 1998, making it the most recent addition to Disney World's collection of theme parks. As the name suggests, it's the perfect destination for lovers of Kingdoms… I mean, animals! Here, you'll not only find the classic Kilimanjaro Safaris, but also several self-guided trails that allow guests to observe gorillas, giraffes, and more up close. It's a unique theme park experience that aims to bring visitors closer to the wildlife of Africa and Asia. Animal Kingdom stands out in Florida as one of the few parks offering this kind of animal encounter, and I can just think of Busch Gardens in Tampa that offer a similar experience to that.

What about rides, you may ask? I like to say that Animal Kingdom has their very own “Triforce of Rides”. Yeah, three amazing rides that you need to visit everytime you come here. They are the Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest and Avatar Flight of Passage. All three of them rank as some of the best rides in all of Disney World, and you should probably re-ride them if you have the time.

Disney-Animal-Kingdom-Expedition-Everest-entrance-2.webp

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a very unique tour through the jungle, where you will spend about 20 minutes checking different animals aboard a safari truck, from hippos to rhinos and even the menacing lions. Every time you visit Kilimanjaro Safaris your experience will be different, since there is no way of knowing which animals will decide to come out to say hi to you. Expedition Everest is an amazing roller coaster, and I’d put it just behind Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic rewind as the best one in Disney World. Finally, Avatar Flight of Passage ranks amongst one of the best motion simulators in the world. It’s a visual spectacle with amazing 3D effects that really brings you to Pandora. It’s a shame that wait times are so high for that one.

Animal Kingdom Dinsey world (2).webp

Speaking of Pandora, the World of Avatar made its debut in 2017, featuring two new rides, restaurants, and great photo opportunities. It's the best area in Animal Kingdom, by the way. I love the alien sights that really take you to another world. I’m not even a big Avatar fan and I’m sure that James Cameron gives this place two thumbs up.

The Bad

My main problem with Animal Kingdom is that, when you take out the “Triforce of Rides”, there isn’t much to see. Na’vi River Journey, located in the World of Pandora, is very mediocre. Festival of the Lion King is a cool show, but could use a few updates. Dinoland USA is overall a very disappointing area, which explains why it's going to go KABOOM and get replaced by a whole new land in the near future.

kali rapid rivers disney (1).webp

Fans of amazing rides will surely enjoy Expedition Everest and Avatar Flight of Passage, but what else? Sure, you can go on a safari, but I do think that Animal Kingdom lacks that special something that sets a theme park apart. Epcot has the World Showcase with tons of shopping and dining opportunities, Hollywood Studios has amazing rides, shows and an entire land dedicated to Star Wars and Magic Kingdom is the Magic Kingdom. I do hope that the planned future update gives Animal Kingdom the love that this theme park truly deserves.

Will Kids enjoy it?

Most children and toddlers will adore Animal Kingdom. After all, it's all about animals, and who doesn't love them? Poachers, that’s who, but let’s move on. This park offers a fantastic opportunity to introduce your kids to animals they may have never seen before. The atmosphere is sure to feel magical and special for families.

Animal Kingdom Dinosaur 2.webp

Teenagers might feel that this theme park is a bit dull, especially if they are in that phase where safaris and cute animals don’t impress them that much. Sure, they will still enjoy Expedition Everest and the World of Pandora, but it’s safe to say that teens will have a better time in Hollywood Studios.

Check out what else we have to say about Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Overview: we explore everything that Animal Kingdom has to offer, from rides to park atmosphere, dining options and more. 

Animal Kingdom Ride Strategy: our ride itinerary to Animal Kingdom where we talk about every major ride, from Expedition Everest to Avatar Flight of Passage and Kilimanjaro Safaris.

The Top Kid-Friendly Rides at Animal Kingdom: the best rides and attractions in Animal Kingdom for your little ones.

Disney Genie+ Guide for Animal Kingdom: how to make use and optimize your Fast Pass options for Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom Early Entry & Rope drop guide: rising up early with all the cute animals? Then it’s a good idea to stop by here.

Meet & Greet guide to Disney World: want to see Mickey and friends in Safari gear? Come check out our meet & greet guide for Animal Kingdom and everywhere else in Disney World.

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