Animal Kingdom was Disney World’s most recently opened park, with its first day being Earth Day of 1998. It gave guests a new look at animals and the world around us. Since opening day, Animal Kingdom has seen some massive changes.
As you can see from this Spanish map, there was no Expedition Everest or Pandora, there were Discovery Riverboats (that attraction closed in 1999), and Dinosaur was called Countdown to Extinction. So this park was obviously very different (and boring, after you did the Safari and Rapids) from what it is today. Today it has what is probably the second best detailed land behind only Galaxy’s Edge. That land is Pandora, but enough introduction, let’s get into my favorites.
Festival of the Lion King
This is, in my opinion, the best stage show in Disney World. If you are a fan of the Lion King, you will enjoy this show. All the animals of the Pridelands join in for this festival celebrating Simba and the amazing story of how he became king. It’s not exactly a retelling, but it does include some of the most famous songs, like Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel The Love Tonight. It also has a remake of The Circle Of Life, which I may even like more than the original. The show is Broadway style and is fun for all ages. That’s why Festival of the Lion King is my fifth favorite Animal Kingdom attraction.
4. Dinosaur (Hey, that rhymes!)
Dinosaur is a very complex, technological ride. It is very enjoyable, but I do have one memory that loses it points. I threw up on Dinosaur once. It’s not that Dinosaur is too bumpy, it’s just that I went on Everest twice before and then I ate some gummies. Thanks Mom and Dad. Otherwise, this ride is great. Dinosaur is one of Disney’s most technical rides, and provides fun scares. That’s why Dinosaur is ranked number 4.
3. Avatar: Flight of Passage
Avatar: Flight of Passage is one of the most unique rides in Disney World, as there is no other ride like it. It begins in the queue, where you are introduced to the concept of humans being genetically matched to Na’vi people. This creates an avatar which the human can control and allows humans to explore Pandora. You are then matched as an avatar in a very entertaining preshow, which is followed by mounting your banshee with your special glasses on. Then, you soar through the Pandora biosphere on your banshee in a Soarin’-like experience. This attraction really stands out for how immersive it is and the thrills of soaring through the air. All this and more gives Avatar: Flight of Passage the 3rd spot on this list.
2. Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of Disney’s most unique rides. It is not a thrill ride, and has no animatronics. That is because for this ride, the Imagineers finally fulfilled Walt’s dreams of having real animals in a ride. The ride consists of a typical African safari in a controlled environment, while also including educational elements about poaching. The ride spans across 110 acres for the safari animals to roam around, and it is home to 34 species of animals. And if you love this ride as much as me, you can check out Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a series on Disney+. This series goes behind the scenes and showcases the stories of the many great animals in the park.
1. Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest is, without a doubt, the headliner attraction at Animal Kingdom. It may even be the best roller coaster in the entire resort. This is due to a great story, a unique track design, and big thrills. The queue tells the story of a mysterious yeti who has been spotted a few times and terrorizes the tea export route. Then, the ride starts with a climb up the mountain through a shrine to the yeti, praying for no harm. Eventually, the train works its way to the top, where there are stunning views of the park, but it can’t advance any farther. Why not? Because the track is bent straight upwards! So, the train plummets backwards through the mountain at thrilling speeds, barely giving you a glimpse of the mountain scenery. Soon, the train comes to a halt, and a shadow is visible on the wall. The yeti is near, and sees your train! You break away forwards as fast as possible, but that doesn’t stop him from catching up and reaching out at your cart. You end by dropping out of the mountain and barely escaping to safety, for now. This story and track layout is so perfect, it would be a disservice to Everest if it wasn’t in first.
I hope you enjoyed my post about my favorite Animal Kingdom rides. Did you agree? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and have a magical day!