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Animal Kingdom Tips and Secrets

Published on March 22, 2014 by Russ & Stani

Animal Kingdom Tips

Our Animal Kingdom Tips page has been put together to provide the best advice possible for any Animal Kingdom visitors. Whether you are new to the park or a seasoned professional, you are sure to enjoy reading this page and testing some of this great advice. If you only gain some extra Animal Kingdom trivia knowledge from this page then you are wiser than you were before…..Have fun!

Animal Kingdom Trivia

Encounter exotic animals and exciting adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, the largest animal theme park in the world. Home to more than 1,700 animals across 250 species, the park reflects Walt Disney’s dedication to conservation and is committed to animal care, education and research. Explore 7 enthralling lands: Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and Dinoland, U.S.A. areas.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the fourth of four theme parks built at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, opened on Earth Day, April 22, 1998. It is the largest single Disney theme park in the world, covering 580 acres. In 2011 the park hosted over 9.8 million guests, ranking it the fourth most visited park in the United States and seventh most visited in the world.

More than 4 million trees, plants, shrubs, ground-covers, vines, epiphytes and grasses from every continent on Earth, except Antarctica, were planted.

Sixty dump trucks of dirt were brought to Disney’s Animal Kingdom construction site every day for two years straight, equaling 4.4 million cubic yards of dirt.

To keep 1,000 animals happy takes about four tons of food a day . . . that’s a four and a half year supply for the average person.

Animal-Kingdom-Tips-and-Tricks-Tree-of-LifeThe Tree of Life is 145 feet tall and its leafy branches spread 160 feet. It is topped with more than 103,000 five shades of green leaves that actually blow in the wind. Ten artists and three Imagineers worked full-time for 18 months to create the 325 animal carvings on The Tree of Life. Sculptors had between six and 10 hours to create the finished image before the plaster hardened.

There are 27 million gallons of water in Discovery River . . . that’s an amount equal to 1,800 average-sized swimming pools.

Animal Kingdom Tips

The best of our Animal Kingdom Tips is to try to get to Animal Kingdom as early as possible. It closes earlier than the other parks, so if you want to see as much as you can, get there as early as you can, especially if you want to go on Kilimanjaro Safaris. When it’s hot, the animals tend to come out earlier in the day to avoid the heat, and are more active. Also, during warmer months, the animals come out more on the safari when it rains, so riding the safari in the rain can be fun.

Being an Early Bird has its advantages at Animal Kingdom. The park starts every morning with a little ceremony called “The Adventure Begins,” about 15 minutes before official opening time. Rafiki welcomes you, followed by a number of his friends, including Mickey, Minnie, Baloo, Louie, Timon, and Terk. Lots of cast members are also on hand, with small creatures of all kinds — lizards, snakes, insects and more. It’s a great chance to see them, and the characters, up close.

If the regular turnstiles are mobbed, go to the Rainforest Cafe store to the left and use the side entrance.

Send your Fast Pass runner to Everest and have him meet you in Africa at the Safari’s after getting Everest FP’s.  Make sure your runner has a map ready and takes the most direct path or you may be waiting on him.

Make sure you make a booking for breakfast for before the park opens. That way you get into the park way early and get first in line onto awesome rides. Also, make sure that you do that on a day the park doesn’t open early for some guests.

You will find that the most Disney character meet and greets can happen at the Animal Kingdom. With this park not being as packed as the other parks, the lines are shorter and make it more fun to get those autographs and photos.

Head to the Festival of the Lion King for the first show of the day, which tends to be the least crowded show of the day.

As you are on your way to Harambe Village at Animal Kingdom keep your eye out for the last path to the right after the Tree of Life and before the bridge to Harambe Village. This is the “SECRET PATH.” The front of path is filled with a lot of vegetation so you might have to look hard. Yes, it is open to the public. Follow the path for a close look at the Tree of Life and for some great photo spots. Not many people know about this path so you will have a lot of time to yourself and will not be interruptions when you are taking photos. You know those people who ignore the fact that you are taking a picture and walk right in front of you.

Animal-Kingdom-Tips-and-Tricks-PizzafariIf you walk up the path to the left, toward Harambe, you’ll pass by the counter service restaurant Pizzafari, one of the best decorated buildings in the Animal Kingdom. The bright colors are eye catching, of course, but stop in before the lunch crowds gather so that you can study the different rooms with their ornate murals, walls and ceilings. Can you identify which room is which? The Home Room, Nocturnal Room, Upside Down Room, Camouflage Room, Four Seasons Room, and Bug Room. In addition, there are some Hidden Mickeys in the murals, as well as a few “errors” — for example, there’s a group of opossum hanging from a tree, yet one has no tail.

As you wander into Harambe, stand outside the door at the Dawa Bar. You’ll swear that you can hear dishes clinking, voices talking, a radio, as well as a lots of knocking. The story is that the landlady who runs the “hotel” above the bar is trying to collect the rent from the students who live there.

You might dread the fact that you’re stuck in the queue waiting to get doused on Kali River Rapids. This is actually one of the best places in all Animal Kingdom to linger! The details and thought that went into designing the queue are evident. Be sure to note the Kali Tiger Temple, the Balinese puppets, the prayer wheel and the brass gongs as you meander through the various chambers. And don’t miss Mr. Panika’s office — the owner of the “business” may be “out to temple” as the signs indicate, but the two geckos who reside in his gecko cabinet are in all the time. Children will enjoy spotting the little critters, which are very much alive!

Another queue to enjoy is the one at Expedition Everest. If you’ve ever walked it, you see that it is an attraction in itself — so much rich detail in every inch!

On the wooden bridge overlooking Kali River Rapids, there is a button. When pressed, two elephants on the Kali River squirt water at guests in the rafts as they float past you. This is quite fun for the easily amused.

On Kali River Rapids 1 person will always get wetter than the others but you can never tell who it is going to be! Also keep your feet above the silver ring near the bottom of the raft if you want to keep them dry!

Very nice place to sit is behind Flame Tree Barbecue in Animal Kingdom. Just follow the path to the left of the counter. There is a lot of covered seating with ceiling fans


Of course, the gorilla exhibit is a big draw, but it gets very crowded at the observation window. Do not even stop there, just keep moving until you cross the bridge and you will see the gorillas on both sides in the open. Usually a few big gorillas to the left and the family to the right. A much better view!

Take the first train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. There are medical procedures being performed, animal food being prepared and lots of characters. The early morning at this often overlooked treasure is a wealth of facts and fun. Also, the Affection Section presents animals wide awake and eager to be hugged, petted and brushed, and Cast Members are full of fun information and stories about the animals.

Animal-Kingdom-Tips-and-Tricks-TigersIf you love the tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, but would like to see them do something other than sleep, visit the Jungle Trek at the end of the day, sometime after 4 p.m. The tigers know that they will be going backstage “soon,” and they all congregate near the fountain (the first tiger viewing area — go up the stairs after passing the bats). It’s a great opportunity to see them moving around, and often you’ll see them chase each other or even take a dip in the water!

One crowd-pleaser that you may walk past without realizing it is DiVine, a performance artist dressed in foliage from the top of her green-painted head to the bottom of her stilt-wearing toes. She rests unobtrusively against a tree or a wall, suddenly springing to life to ease an unsuspecting passerby or chase down disrespectful teenagers or others who dare make light of her art. You might find DiVine along the path from the entrance leading to Discovery Island, or on the way from Africa to Asia.

As the park heads to closing, most people in the last hour are either leaving (they start leaving after the parade ends), or catching the final show.  Everest is in the very back of the park and most guests have already ridden it.

We hope you enjoyed our Animal Kingdom Tips post and hope they help make your next Disney World adventure that little bit more informed and enjoyable.

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