We just did a day at the Disney Animal Kingdom yesterday, so I wanted to give you guys these Animal Kingdom tips while they are fresh on my mind. Today's Animal Kingdom tips are going to be focused on what NOT to do when you are visiting Disney Animal Kingdom for the first time.
If you want a break from running from ride to ride, Animal Kingdom is great park to choose, but it can still be hectic if you don't have a plan. I love the more “chill” feeling in Animal Kingdom…but you can have a stressful experience if you do all the wrong things. Here are some things to avoid doing:
What NOT to do at Disney Animal Kingdom
- Use Fast Passes on Shows. I love going to Disney's shows, and The Festival of the Lion King is one of my absolute favorites, but you really shouldn't be using one of your Fast Passes on it. There's enough seating if you get in without a Fast Pass and there are shows on the hour. The park was incredibly busy when we visited yesterday, and we still got in showing up 30 min prior to showtime. There's not a bad seat in the house. Save your Fast Passes for the rides. Read our article on Animal Kingdom Rides to know exactly which rides to get FastPasses for.
- Take Little Kids to the Bugs 4D attraction. The “It's Tough to Be a Bug!” attraction is geared towards kids, so it still baffles me why Disney would put scary elements into it, but beware of ahead of time if you have young kids. Unfortunately they didn't mention the possibility of kids getting scared until everyone was seated and the show was about to start, so we sat it out….but all of my children were scared and one was completely traumatized by the end (It's 4D, so think….air shooting at their faces, giant grasshoppers, and spiders falling from the ceiling….not to mention the bench moves underneath your bottom at the end, giving the sensation that you are sitting on bugs).
- Wait in line to order food. It's obviously best to eat at odd times when most people aren't eating but sometimes that's not idea. Either way, it's best to take advantage of the Disney app to order food from your phone. We waited in line probably 40 min for lunch, and there were only 2-3 people in the line for food they had ordered ahead. You will be much happier deciding what you want ahead of time and ordering your food through the app.
- Come Without a poncho. Especially if there is any rain in the forecast, come to Animal Kingdom with your own ponchos. We paid $9 each for ours and my daughter ripped a hole in hers in the first 5 minutes. You can guess how likely it was that I was going to spend another $9 on another one. The other downside to buying ponchos in the park is that they all look the same. If your child wanders, you are going to have a much harder time spotting them quickly, than if you have a bright-colored one that is different from everyone else. Call it bad luck, but we have been to Disney World 3 times and EVERY SINGLE TIME we have needed a poncho. Even if there is NO rain, a poncho is still a good idea at Disney Animal Kingdom because the Kali River Rapids can leave you pretty wet (unlike Splash Mountain that may get you wet, this one WILL).
- Wait until your visit to get Fast Passes. This is hard to avoid if you plan to go to Disney World last-minute, but I highly discourage making that decision last-minute. We usually plan ahead, but for this particular trip I decided the day before that I really wanted to make a stop at Disney Animal Kingdom and use my 2 yearly media passes, and I ended up frustrated because all the good rides didn't have any fast passes left, and the lines were way to long to stand in (especially with kids). Avatar Flight of Passage had a wait time of almost 3 hours! If you are visiting during the off-season this won't be quite as big of a deal, but it's still best to get your fast passes weeks in advance so you can get the times you want.
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Extra Disney Animal Kingdom Tips
- Stay Close. Staying further away might be cheaper, but if it means you don't get to the park 30 minutes before opening, it's not worth the savings. You are spending a lot of money to go to the parks and being there early is the best tip anyone can give you. Being early means doing more in that first hour than most people can do in their first 3-4 hours. Aside from from Disney's deluxe Wilderness Lodge, here are the Closest 10 hotels to Disney's Animal Kingdom.
- Shows. The Nemo show is good, but since it's a musical and the movie didn't have a lot of musical, the songs won't be familiar. It's 40 minutes long, so keep that in mind if you have younger kids. My girls were okay, but it didn't keep my 2-year old's interest. The Festival of the Lion King however captivated everyone the entire time!
- If the main turnstiles to get into the park are really busy, take the lesser known park entrance from Rain Forest Cafe.
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