It took me a few years and several visits to really fall in love with Disney's Animal Kingdom. After my initial assessment that it was "too hot" and "too much walking" I took some time on my last couple of visits to really look closely at this amazing theme park. And I'm hooked.
Yes, Disney's Animal Kingdom is always H-O-T. But if you plan accordingly and make sure you have water (and maybe other beverages, like the Triple Yeti Blast) to keep cool, you'll be just fine. To show our admiration for this park, we've compiled a list of the top five things to love about Animal Kingdom.
First and foremost, I love Kilimanjaro Safaris. It has always been my favorite attraction at Animal Kingdom and it likely will stay that way, for a while. [We'll see how I feel after PANDORA: The World of Avatar opens next year].
The thing I love most about Kilimanjaro Safaris is that it really is a different attraction each time you ride. Sure, the spiel from the driver is usually the same but there's no guarantee that the animals will act the same. On one visit a couple years ago we saw no animals until the end of the ride, but later in the day we rode again and we saw just about all the animals!
And now that you can ride the attraction at night, that's a total game changer! I cannot wait to experience the savanna after dark.
Which brings me to the next reason to love Animal Kingdom: it's now a nighttime destination! Yes, Rivers of Light is still "coming soon" but the Tree of Life awakens every night and you can enjoy the park's attractions after dark.
Plus, don't forget about the Harambe Wildlife Parti and the Discovery Island Carnavale that happen each evening. In addition to great entertainment, you'll also find special food and drink items during the nighttime hours. Since summer is winding down it looks like the nighttime hours might be cut back a bit but that might change again when Rivers of Light debuts.
While there are quite a few thrill rides at Animal Kingdom, one of my favorite places to spend some time is walking the Maharaja Jungle Trek. The trails take you into the mystical Anandapur Royal Forest where you'll find jungles, wild animals, and gorgeous ruins. The scenery itself makes this a worthwhile adventure, but you'll also have a chance to see the Asian tigers, some rather huge bats, and even an aviary full of more than 50 species of birds.
After a busy day at Animal Kingdom you're going to be hungry and lucky for us, there are so many great places to eat at this park! If you're looking for a signature dining experience that is out-of-this-world then Tiffins is the place to be! The Nomad Lounge adjacent to Tiffins is a great spot for cocktails.
If you're looking for something a little less "signature dining" and little more "quick service" you can't beat Flame Tree Barbecue or Restaurantosaurus. Tusker House is a great character meal option at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The final reason we love Animal Kingdom: the anticipation for what is coming soon! I already mentioned Rivers of Light, but I'm also beyond excited for PANDORA: The World of Avatar.
I know some folks aren't sure about this new land at the park, but every time I see a sneak peek at the new area I'm excited! I can't wait to ride the Na'vi River Journey and experience all that The World of Avatar has to offer.
And there you have it, five things to love about Disney's Animal Kingdom. What do you love most about this park? Leave us a comment and let us know.
Many thanks to the Disney Food Blog for use of their photos.