Can’t-Miss Attractions and More at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom is a theme park that you grow to love. It's always hot, sometimes hard to navigate, and if you don't give it a chance you might not appreciate it for what it is: an absolutely gorgeous theme park. There are quite a few incredible, must-do attractions (and more) at the Animal Kingdom and it's time to show them some well-deserved love.

There's so much to love about Disney's Animal KingdomThere's so much to love about Disney's Animal Kingdom

No trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom is complete with at least one ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris. This 18-minute expedition deep into the Harambe Wildlife Reserve is always our first stop when we're visiting the Animal Kingdom. Sure you can get a FastPass+ for this attraction but if you're visiting on a less-crowded day you might not need it.

On the Safari you'll see more than 34 different species of African wildlife from hippos to giraffes to rhinos, elephants, baboons, and maybe even the rather elusive lions up on their rocky perch. One of the things we love most about this attraction is you'll likely have a different experience each time.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must-doKilimanjaro Safaris is a must-do

If you're a thrill seeker you can't miss Expedition Everest. I won't say it's a "must-do" for me, but it is for my oldest daughter. And I begrudgingly ride it with her. And I scream like it's the end of the world. It isn't pretty. And I apologize to anyone who has to sit near me on the ride.

Despite my fear of this attraction I will admit that after it's over there's an undeniable "Omigosh that was so awesome let's do it again!" feeling. It's the ultimate thrill ride at Animal Kingdom and a FastPass+ is recommended unless you're OK with trying the single rider line.

Are you brave enough to conquer Everest?Are you brave enough to conquer Everest?

For a more relaxed adventure I always recommend visiting 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.

Take a stroll through the Maharaja Jungle TrekTake a stroll through the Maharaja Jungle Trek

The Festival of the Lion King is another can't-miss at the Animal Kingdom. This Broadway-style show has a new home in the all-new Harambe Theater and no matter how many times you've seen it, the show is just incredible. It's also a great way to spend some time out of the sun, resting your feet.

And if there's one place we just have to eat every single time we visit the Animal Kingdom, it's Flame Tree Barbecue. This popular quick service spot has been closed for the past few months for a refurbishment but it's expected to reopen very soon.

Flame Tree Barbecue!Flame Tree Barbecue!

In addition to the delicious food at Flame Tree Barbecue, which includes smoked chicken and ribs, what sets this location apart from other spots are the amazing views and the themeing.

Take a few minutes to check out the decor the next time you're at Flame Tree Barbecue (provided it hasn't been changed in the refurbishment) and you'll notice that the theme is the circle of life. Predators and their prey are on full display. And of course you can't beat the views whether you choose to sit by the reflecting pool or in the shaded area with a great view of Expedition Everest.

Great seating areas at Flame Tree BarbecueGreat seating areas at Flame Tree Barbecue

Disney's Animal Kingdom sometimes gets overshadowed by the other three theme parks at Walt Disney World. But there's really nothing else like it and even if you only spend half a day at the park during your entire Disney vacation it's a good bet that you'll walk out loving the experience.

What are your must-do attractions or dining locations at Disney's Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks to the Disney Food Blog for use of their photos.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 04/13/2015 - 20:51:

Kristen K.'s picture

I love all of these things, but I'm even more excited about the new stuff that's being built. I can not wait to see the Rivers of Light show!

Marc wrote on Tue, 04/14/2015 - 20:00:

Marc's picture

Try Wilderness Explorers -- yes, even for adults! It's a great way to revisit parts of the park that I've passed by many times. Getting my "badge" reacquainted me with so much of the park because, afterall, the wilderness must be explored! (kaa,kaa)

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