People love to call Animal Kingdom a half-day park, but I don’t believe that because there is so much to do. There are hidden gems everywhere; you just have to find them. Sometimes it takes veering off the beaten path and heading deeper into the lands to find unique areas no other park has. Animal Kingdom can also be very hectic with the crowds and the heat, so pack your patience.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
To find this fun trail, you’ll have to venture toward the back of this land toward the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris. You’ll discover animals and learn about them and their habitats as you go through them. During the summer, this provides shade allowing everyone to catch a break from the sun. The trek is the most enjoyable during the colder months because the humidity is significantly less in this area than average.
Festival of the Lion King
If your travel party loves Disney’s live entertainment, you must see this show. The theatre is on the left-hand side of Africa. Here you’ll find some of the most talented Walt Disney World performers telling the story of The Lion King through song and dance. I have to do this anytime I go to Animal Kingdom because it lifts my spirits, and I love supporting theme park performers.
This show is 30 minutes long, so it’s a great break from the heat during the summer months. The best thing is that this show recently reverted to its original form. The show was shuffled around and shortened when the parks reopened after being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eventually, they started adding parts back to the show. Now the entire cast has returned, and the whole experience is back. They actually just added back the part where kids could be part of the show at the end, which was really lovely to see.
Remember when I said to pack your patience? Well, this is why you need it. I was in the park recently, and the line for this ride was out by Tusker House Restaurant and was posted as a 70-minute wait. The line barely moved, making guests unhappy, especially since they were standing in the sun. The Lightning Lane was having no issues whatsoever, and I’m sure that is why the stand-by queue was backed up.
This ride is a must-do because it genuinely embodies Animal Kingdom. Here guests can see animals roaming the savannah and might even see a lion or two. My favorite part is the newly added goat farm at the end of the attraction. Those goats are just so cute. I wish I could take one home. Seeing the giraffes walking elegantly from tree to tree is such a memorable part of the safari.
Back in the day, there used to be a more in-depth storyline about poachers in the savanna. In 2012 Disney changed the storyline to include more live animals, especially zebras. The main focus of the attraction now is conservation and what we can do to keep these animals around as long as possible.
These different attractions and experiences perfectly embody this section of the park and are the most popular things to do, in my opinion. I am also a fan of Rafikis Planet Watch because I love going to the petting zoo and seeing the backstage areas of Animal Kingdom. It’s an enjoyable experience for younger explorers. Anyway, enough about what I love. I want to know if your must-do list for this section of the park is similar to mine. Leave your list in the comments below!
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.