Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998. Though it is technically the largest park on the property (and my favorite), it is easily the most underrated theme park at Walt Disney World. If you check the attraction wait times at Animal Kingdom on any given day, they’re likely to be much lower than the other three theme parks.
Maybe this is because Animal Kingdom has fewer heavy-hitter attractions than the other parks. (Tron, Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, Rise of the Resistance…). However, Animal Kingdom is jam-packed with hidden gems, making it an incredible place to spend your day at Walt Disney World. Try a couple of these on your next trip to the park!
Animal Kingdom Trails
You can see animals in more places than Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom! Did you know there are several walking trails where you can see more majestic animals up close? Next time you’re at Animal Kingdom, visit the Maharaja Jungle Trek or the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures.
Bonus Tip: Check out The Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Disney+ if you haven’t already. They often talk about the animals you see on these trails. It’s so much fun to visit them after you’ve learned their names and stories!
Snacks at Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom has some of the best food offerings in the Walt Disney World theme parks (Sorry, Epcot!). Some of these treats you probably have yet to try or even see. Here are just a couple underrated favorites of mine:
Buffalo Chicken Chips
Available at Trilo-Bites right at the edge of Dinoland, USA, this delicious snack consists of house-made chips topped with buffalo chicken, bleu cheese dressing, tomatoes, and celery. The chicken has an excellent buffalo flavor without being too spicy. I’m not even a huge fan of bleu cheese, but the mild dressing gives a nice cooling effect to the heat of the buffalo. The house-made chips are crunchy, salty, and delicious!
You can find the Cheeseburger Steamed Pods at Satu’li Canteen in the heart of Pandora – The World of Avatar. The pods are bao buns stuffed with everything you expect in a classic cheeseburger: ground beef, ketchup and mustard, pickle, and cheddar cheese. Though this may sound like a lot, it comes together perfectly for the classic taste of a cheeseburger in the unique vessel of a soft steamed bao bun. The tasty meal is served with crunchy veggie chips and fresh veggie slaw. A unique take on a cheeseburger, the cheeseburger pod is a hidden gem you must try!
All the Small Details at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The Walt Disney Company is legendary for its details and Easter eggs; the theme parks are no exception. Each land and attraction has elements that make the parks come alive and feel natural. Just walk through the queue of Expedition Everest to get a taste of what I’m talking about.
Immaculately designed to be like a real Everest base camp, you’ll see everything from camping gear to prayer flags. Imagineers working on the project purchased thousands of artifacts to make the environment as authentic as possible, many of which came from Nepal. Taking my time walking through the queue of Expedition Everest and soaking in the detailed authenticity is one of my favorite things to do!
The most underrated part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is just the environment itself. Walt Disney World has fun and unique theming. Still, Animal Kingdom’s theming provides a relaxing and easygoing vibe, a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the other parks.
One of my favorite things about the park is walking around, drinking in the sights and sounds, and admiring the animals and the unique “continents.” Grab some corn on the cob (another underrated snack at Animal Kingdom) and listen to the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe in the Africa section of the park.
Or treat yourself to a fresh iced coffee from Joffrey’s and visit the animal exhibits like the babirusa pigs, the giant anteaters, or the wallabies in the Oasis section near the front of the park. Ride the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and visit the petting zoo. Or wander around Discovery Island, trying to count the animals carved into the Tree of Life. I promise you will have plenty to do!
Why I love Disney’s Animal Kingdom
From the live entertainment to the animals to the delicious snacks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has so much to offer, much of which goes unnoticed. Many consider Animal Kingdom a half-day park or the park they skip if they’re in a time crunch. This fantastic park shouldn’t ever be missed! So much to do and see can quickly fill your day. Between the unique food offerings and dozens of animals to visit, you’re sure to have a “wild” time!
Author: Ashly Hunt
Ashley co-founded The Midwest Mouse, a Disney Instagram account and blog she started with her husband, Braden. Ashley lives in Indiana with her husband and their two daughters. They are Walt Disney World annual pass holders and visit Disney parks as often as possible. They look forward to crossing more things off their Disney bucket list while continuing to share their adventures on their Instagram (@the_midwest_mouse) and website.
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