Animal Kingdom, Disney, Disney Rides, Disney World

The Best Rides At Disney’s Animal Kingdom That You Need to Try

May 12, 2021
animal kingdom best rides kilimanjaro

Are you looking for the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that you shouldn’t miss on your next trip? Read ahead for my recommendations!

Animal Kingdom is a beautiful park. Of course, it’s packed with incredible rides and experiences for guests of all ages – that’s expected with the Disney experience! However, what makes Animal Kingdom special are the animals themselves!

Home to several species of animal which aren’t native to Florida, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is an incredible place to visit if you want a taste of the African safari experience.

If you’re looking for a handy guide to the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that you need to try, then the search is over! This list of rides at Animal Kingdom isn’t exhaustive, but if you’re only in the parks for a few days and need to be selective about what you ride, then my curated list should see you through. Featuring the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that will suit the whole family, you can use this as your to-do list for your day at Animal Kingdom!

Due to ride wait times at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it may not be possible to complete all these rides in one day. So, to help you out, I’ve ranked the best rides at Animal Kingdom from those which can’t be missed to those which, although still great, could be passed on if you’re in a massive hurry. After all, you want to get your money’s worth right?

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

The Best Rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Avatar: Flight of Passage

Earning the top spot on my list of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Avatar: Flight of Passage. Although it may be a bit too intense for small children, this ride is perfect for adults who are looking for James Cameron’s take on Soarin’. During this ride, you’ll board a banshee and fly through Pandora for an incredible, simulated experience. You don’t have to have seen the Avatar movie to appreciate this ride, but being able to recognize Pandora’s beautiful scenery during the ride adds another layer to the experience.

If you struggle with motion sickness, you may want to sit this one out as the flying effects are genuinely impeccable and may make you feel a bit queasy. This ride is technically classed as a thrill ride, but it’s nowhere near as intense as some of Disney World’s classic coasters so should still be suitable for kids 44 inches and above! Pesky height requirements.  

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris was so close to the top spot as it’s a classic family ride that rivals some of the best African safaris. I’m serious, here! The wait times for this ride can be high, but it’s worth sticking it out for the experience. Realistically, you can’t visit Animal Kingdom without checking out the animals, so this one needs to be on your list of things to do.

On this ride, you’ll board a safari vehicle and go on a guided tour of Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Wildlife Reserve. This reserve is home to 34 species of animal, and they all have plenty of space to roam free. Your friendly guide will point out the majestic animals to you and give you some background information and interesting facts about each one. Although the tour doesn’t run for as long as I’d like it to (it’s about 18 minutes from start to finish), you’ll fit in plenty along the way! Keep an eye out for giraffes, lions, elephants, zebras, hyenas, and more. Trust me when I say that this ride is really transportive, so keep your camera at the ready for some great shots!

Expedition Everest

If you’re after a ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that will get your heart racing, then Expedition Everest is your best bet. This is one of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart! Packed with steep climbs, intense drops, and moments of darkness, Expedition Everest is best suited to the hardcore rollercoaster fanatics among you.

This ride is set in a Tibetan village, and as you might have guessed from the name, is based around Mount Everest and the treacherous climb to the top. Keep a keen eye out for the mysterious Yeti on this ride. At one point, he breaks the tracks and sends you hurtling backwards into a dark cave. Expedition Everest is one of the best themed rides at Disney World, and if you can stomach intense rollercoasters, the ride is unlikely to disappoint.

Kids over 44 inches can ride this ride, but I’d say that it’s probably too scary for most young children due to the intensity of the ride itself. With scary effects, loud bangs and sudden drops, it’s more of an adult ride I’d say!

Expedition Everest best rides animal kingdom

DINOSAUR

Okay, so I have a special place in my heart for DINOSAUR. This ride is getting older, but the special effects remain impressive to this day. If you love an adrenaline rush, then this is one of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There aren’t steep drops or loops in this ride, but the tension and sudden jump scares make it one of the more intense rides in the park. The gist of the ride is this: get a massive Dino back to the present day.

Obviously, easier said than done!

Throughout the ride, you’ll avoid predators, harness your dinosaur and race against natural disasters. It’s about as crazy as it sounds, and you’ll have an incredible time on this ride! This ride is technically suitable for kids, but as it’s quite dark with sudden loud noises and high speeds, some children may find it too frightening.

Na’vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey is sometimes forgotten by those visiting the parks, and it’s a shame as it’s one of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In addition to being a soothing break from the more intense rides at Animal Kingdom, it’s also home to one of the world’s best animatronics.

The reason why this ride can drop on some people’s personal rankings is largely down to wait times. As it’s a Tier 1 Fastpass+ ride, you essentially must choose to Fastpass Flight of Passage or the Na’vi River Journey. Understandably, most people will go for the headlining Flight of Passage. If you want to do both rides in one day, it’s a great idea to rope drop the Na’vi River Journey and grab a Fastpass for Flight of Passage. Talk about the best of both worlds.

On this ride, you’ll board a boat and take a gentle ride through the beautiful scenery of Avatar. With plenty of bioluminescence, this ride is very pleasing to the eye. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier on, what makes this ride worthy of a place on my list of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the animatronic at the end. It moves so seamlessly that you’d think it was real. Don’t take my word for it though – check it out for yourself!

If you want to learn more about this animatronic, there’s a nifty video available on YouTube that shows the movements and mechanisms up close.

It’s Tough to Be A Bug!

It’s Tough to Be A Bug! is a great attraction, and it’s perfect for kids who need a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of the parks. The show usually has a very short wait time by Disney’s standards (around 15-20 minutes), so it’s the perfect way to kill some time before a Fastpass or just before lunch. The show itself lasts 8 minutes and is over and done quickly.

If you or your kids are fans of Pixar and A Bugs Life, then this ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a must-do. Sometimes it’s nice to just watch a short show and then carry on with your day!

Festival of the Lion King

Okay, so this isn’t technically a ride, but I couldn’t finish this list without including the wonderful Festival of the Lion King. This 30-minute musical experience is packed with music from The Lion King, and guests will even be treated to some incredible acrobatics too!

If you want to get the best seats in the house, then it’s a good idea to use Fastpass+ for this as you’ll be treated to premium seating. However, if you don’t want to wait around or are just popping in during a quiet moment in your day, you’ll still be able to see plenty from the back!

I hope that this list of the best rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has helped you out. When planning a trip to any of the Disney parks, it’s a great idea to pick out your favourite, must-do rides before visiting. Sometimes, wait times can be tricky, so it’s nice to know that you have a shortlist of rides to conquer before heading back to your hotel for the night.

Whether you prefer thrill rides or chill rides, there should be something on this list to suit you!

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