I think I may have a new favorite park at Walt Disney World and it surprised even me. Animal Kingdom is truly an underrated gem in the Walt Disney World park family. We chose it as the park to visit one last time on our trip last week so I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s been feeling this way lately!
Animal Kingdom is gorgeous, full of education and has little surprises around every corner with even more coming this summer. It is home to my favorite Walt Disney World buffet, one of the boys’ top attractions and a “secret” favorite spot for me to take first timers. Animal Kingdom is also sure be the center of attention this summer with nighttime attractions and the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar (opening May 27).
Here’s a little peek of what Pandora is set to look like in miniature.
From what we could see over the secret fence it looks absolutely incredible! So why do I think Animal Kingdom should be your new favorite park? Here are my top 5 reasons:
Why Animal Kingdom May Be Your New Favorite Walt Disney World Park
- Pandora opening May 27 – bioluminescent rainforests, floating mountains and soaring Banshees are waiting for us to discover them for the first time this summer in Pandora – The World of Avatar and from what I’ve heard/seen/read it is unlike anything we’ve seen from Disney.
- New Nighttime Experiences – Rivers of Light officially starts February 17 and is a gorgeous visual mix of water, fire, nature and light all choreographed to an original musical score. In addition to the new show you can experience post-sunset adventures on Kilimanjaro Safaris, ride Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids at night, the Tree of Life awakening and the Harambe Wildlife Parti which is so much fun.
- Food – Tusker House buffet is my favorite Walt Disney World buffet and I’ve heard that their newer restaurant Tiffins is pretty amazing as well. You can combine dining with the new Rivers of Light show for reserved seating!
- Tours – if you’ve never done a tour at Walt Disney World, you must try one out. They range in ages and prices but they just started a new Caring for Elephants tour that would be a great first start. It’s only $30 and is great for families with school aged or older kids. It lasts for an hour and you’ll meet with dedicated animal specialists who provide for the care and wellness of our African elephant herd. They’ll give you a glimpse into their day-to-day responsibilities as they provide fascinating facts about the elephants.
- Speed – I feel like to really enjoy Animal Kingdom you have to take your time which really enhances the experience. This is a huge bonus especially if you’re rushing around to fit everything in. *Tip – schedule a fast pass for your must do’s and then wait until the evening when things slow down a bit to do the rest.
While you’re taking your time here’s my secret spot to take first timers. When you enter the park everyone will be snapping pictures in front of the gorgeous Tree of Life – head straight to Africa and hop on the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Inside you can go and watch the vets of Animal Kingdom do their thing in person! It’s hit or miss whether you’ll see anything but they usually have a list of what may happen that day. They’re dealing with animals so it can always change but it’s a great place to start and if you’re lucky enough to see something it really is such a cool and unique experience! On our last trip we saw a little African Jacana getting her toe looked at.
Also, you can get a Dole Whip with rum at Animal Kingdom. Just sayin. Who’s planning a trip to Animal Kingdom this summer? Any questions or tips? What are you looking forward to?
*Disclosure: We attended Walt Disney World and a Disney Cruise this year as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration which is a payed invite only conference. We do receive exclusive products or experiences but are not payed for our coverage and all opinions are our own.