Animal Kingdom

12 Tips for Families Visiting Disney World’s Animal Kingdom 2024

Are you planning a family vacation to Disney World? Spending a day at Animal Kingdom? Here are 11 tips for families visiting Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom Entrance

1. Avoid Animal Kingdom When It’s Really Hot

Avoid Animal Kingdom when it’s really hot. Animal Kingdom is a large outdoor park/zoo. Most of the animal attractions are outdoors. There are only a handful of indoor rides. As a result, there is a limited number of air-conditioned places at Animal Kingdom. To make it worst, there aren’t many shaded areas in Animal Kingdom.

Try to go to Animal Kingdom when the weather is cooler. Ideally, don’t go when the temperature is above 90F. It can get unbearably hot (meaning you will be sweating profusely!) Everyone, both kids and adults, are sure to get cranky in the heat. It’s also physically demanding since you will be doing a lot of walking under the hot sun! 

2. Bring Fans and Water Mister

You will need your water misters and fans at Animal Kingdom. Plan ahead and save money. Bring your own water mister fans by buying water mister fans online or at retailers outside Disney. Otherwise, you will be very tempted to buy the overpriced $22 Disney Water Mister Fan!

3. Be Prepared to Buy Ice Cold Treats

I found myself buying the most ice-cold treats at Animal Kingdom than at any other Disney World theme park. In the summer, it can easily get unbearably hot at Animal Kingdom. With few options to cool off, you will want to buy the $6 Dole Whips from Tamu Tamu or the $6.50 Yeti Sundae in Asia.

Animal Kingdom
Frozen Treat at Animal Kingdom

4. Let Your Kids do the Wilderness Explorer Scavenger Hunt

Animal Kingdom has a scavenger hunt called Wilderness Explorer where kids go to different stations around the park to collect badges. My son got really into it and was obsessed with collecting all the badges! It’s not the easiest to do because there are a few badges that are at Rafiki’s Planet Watch which meant you would need to take the Wildlife Express train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch (see below for details).

5. Give Yourself Plenty of Time if You Want to Go to Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is located in a different section of Animal Kingdom that is only accessible by train. To get to Rafiki’s Planet, you will need to take the Wildlife Express train from Harambe station. It is a 7-minute slow train ride that gives you a glimpse of behind-the-scenes vet facilities and animal housing. Although it’s just a 7-minute train ride, you need to give yourself much more time than that to board the train, do the activities at Rafiki’s and then take the train back to Harambe. 

I suggest giving yourself 1.5 hours from when you board the train to return just in case. 

Don’t make the same mistake we did, by scheduling a lightning lane too soon. I made the mistake and booked a Dinosaur Lightning Lane and our train even broke down! So you can just imagine the mad scramble to try to get back to make the Dinosaur ride!

Animal Kingdom
Wildlife Express Train at Animal Kingdom

6. Board the Wildlife Express Train 40 Minutes Prior to Your Animation Experience at the Conservation Station

If you plan to do the Animation Experience at the Conservation Station at Rafiki’s you should board the Wildlife Express train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch 40 minutes prior to the start time. 

7. Lightning Lane Booking Tips at Animal Kingdom

Lightning Lane reservations for most rides do not typically sell out at Animal Kingdom except for Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage. I suggest booking Na’vi River Journey Lightning Lane as soon as you can. You don’t need to purposely wake up at 7 am to book it but you should reserve your Na’vi River Journey Lightning Lane in the morning. The 2nd Lightning Lane to book should be Expedition Everest- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. And the 3rd Lightning Lane to book is Dinosaur or Kali River Rapids. 

8. Individual Lightning Lane is Worth it for Avatar Flight of Passage

Avatar Flight of Passage is not included in the Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane. It is an individual Lightning Lane ride so you will need to pay extra for it. I think it’s worth buying the Individual Lightning Lane for Avatar Flight of Passage. The standby line is long for Avatar Flight of Passage. Even at the end of the day, the standby lane can be 80 minutes long! 

It does sell out so you should buy your Avatar Flight of Passage Individual Lightning Lane early in the morning. 

Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Disney World’s Lightning Lane and Is It Worth It to Buy Lighting Lane at Disney World?

Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom

9. Expedition Everest- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain Ride Can Give You Motion Sickness

Expedition Everest- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain ride is an intense roller coaster ride in Animal Kingdom. There is an intense backward portion that may cause motion sickness for some riders! It gave my husband motion sickness while my son did not feel it at all.

10. Don’t Miss Disney KiteTails at Animal Kingdom

Don’t miss Disney KiteTails at Animal Kingdom. My kids love the show! It is an outdoor show featuring larger-than-life kites of The Lion King and The Jungle Book characters. KiteTails is 15 minutes long. There are bleachers in Asia (near Expedition Everest) and bleachers in DinoLand USA (near Finding Nemo). Check your Disney app for showtimes. Grab a snack and enjoy the show!

KiteTails at Animal Kingdom

11. Don’t Miss the DINOSAUR Ride in Animal Kingdom

Don’t miss the DINOSAUR Ride in Animal Kingdom. It is a dark ride where you board a Time Rover. You will encounter menacing dinosaurs along the way and there are some small drops. It’s an exciting and thrilling ride that I think is underrated! DINOSAUR ride actually reminds me a bit of Space Mountain but with dinosaurs and less roller coaster. 

Check out my Beginner’s Guide: DINOSAUR Ride at Disney World

Animal Kingdom
DINOSAUR at Animal Kingdom

12. Preferred Parking Is Not Worth it at Animal Kingdom

If you thinking of upgrading to preferred parking at Animal Kingdom- don’t. Preferred Parking is not worth it at Animal Kingdom. The standard parking at Animal Kingdom gets you pretty close to the Animal Kingdom entrance.

Check out my Disney World Tips for Families:

Tips for Families Visiting Epcot

Tips for Families Visiting Hollywood Studios

Tips for Families Visiting Magic Kingdom

You May Also Be Interested in these Disney Guides

Where to Buy Discount Disney Tickets in 2022

20 Ways to Save on Your Next Disney Vacation

Should You Hire a Disney VIP Tour Guide? (Pros and Cons)

How Much Does It Cost to Go on a Disney World Vacation? (calculator)