What I Look Forward to Experiencing at Animal Kingdom This Summer, and Pandora is Not Top of the List!


A View of Expedition Everest - Animal Kingdom at night.

First of all, at the outset let me say that I am looking forward to experiencing Pandora the World of Avatar. I, like many other Disney veterans, always love having new attractions to experience and new lands to explore. I enjoyed the movie, and will be interested  to see just how immersive it really is. So, in a few months I hope to be writing an article about just how amazing it is! However, in the meantime let me explain why Pandora is not the only thing I am looking forward to this summer. What I am most looking forward to this summer at Animal Kingdom is something that is still relatively new, and I don’t think it can be underestimated just how amazing it is. Simply put, it is being able to enjoy Animal Kingdom at night… here are six reasons why Animal Kingdom at night is making it the place to be at Disney World!

  • Tree of Life Awakenings… simply amazing and has to be currently the best thing to have happened to Animal Kingdom in a while. The Tree of Life Awakenings occurs every 10-15 minutes once the sun goes down. Using digital video projections, the animals that are carved into the tree magically spring to life. The projections and musical arrangement that accompany it are breathtaking, and extremely well done. Once you have seen it once, you tend to want to hover to see the next awakening! It’s that good!!! So it is definitely my ‘go to’ attraction now at Animal Kingdom once the sun has gone down.
The Tree of Life Awakenings

The Tree of Life Awakenings

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – Nocturnal Encounters. The Kilimanjaro Safari at night is a very different experience from the daytime version, and I personally really enjoyed it. It may sometimes be too dark to practice your photography skills, but you will get to see more nocturnal habits of the animals that live on the reserve, as well as the sounds of the reserve at night. There were definitely some teething issues last year when it began, however, I am confident that it will only get better as these issues are resolved, and I am thoroughly looking forward to experiencing it once again.
  • Discovery Island Carnivale. Inspired by carnival celebrations from around the world, this Latin dance party brings Discovery Island to life.  The Viva Gaia Street Band is featured and they, along with the islanders, encourage everyone to help celebrate the wonder and beauty of nature with them. The carnival features great music, colourful costumes, and gives Discovery Island a brilliant party atmosphere. If you are not ready to debut those dancing skills just yet, it is still great entertainment, watching the band and dancers do their thing.

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  • Being able to experience the park in lower temperature. It comes as no surprise that Animal Kingdom always feels like the hottest of all the parks, due to its lack of shade and indoor areas. It can often get uncomfortably hot during the mid day temperatures. However, in the evening the temperature is a little lower, with no sun beating down on you. This means you can actually enjoy the greatness of Animal Kingdom without feeling like you are about to melt. This was particularly great for our little boy who enjoyed spending time in the Boneyard in Dinoland. When the evening came, he was able to enjoy this area much more whilst we could enjoy watching him without melting in the heat!
  • Key attractions with minimum wait time. When we enjoyed Animal Kingdom at night, a few key attractions were walk-ons. We literally rode Expedition Everest four times in a row! With Pandora – The World of Avatar and the new evening show, Rivers of Light, the crowds are probably unlikely to be as low as we experienced, however, it is still possible that the wait times in the evening may be lower than during the day. I hope!

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  • Finally.. it still deserves a spot on the list! Pandora the World of Avatar, and the new night time show, Rivers of light. It is always fun to experience completely new lands, attractions and shows, especially if you come to Disney World often. Due to the expected large crowds that will be descending on Animal Kingdom to enjoy these new experiences, staying late and enjoying the park at night will hopefully help you avoid some of those crowds. If you are arriving during the first part of the summer and are a Disney resort guest, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy extra magic hours every evening at Animal Kingdom to be able to experience Pandora the World of Avatar with less crowds too.

So, there are my six reasons why I am looking forward to experiencing Animal Kingdom AT NIGHT this summer! What are you most looking forward to this summer? Please comment below…





*The information contained in this article represents the opinion of the author, and not necessarily the opinion of the DIS.


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