Thoughts on Animal Kingdom

mirak

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 26, 2014
Did Animal Kingdom for the first time with my wife and three boys today. Ages 6-11. A few quick observations which may help with planning.

First, it was unseasonably cool with highs in the upper 50s! Also light rain for much of the morning. It cut down on crowds considerably, so I’d say we got lucky.

I like AK, but it just feels *unbalanced.* Pandora is the huge draw, but it isn’t big enough. Then you’ve got a small zoo (exhibit-wise), one really nice coaster, and a smattering of other rides that are average to terrible. Unless your kids have a broad enough appetite to hit most the rides, this is still a half-day park.

Flight of Passage is great, but because the park is so unbalanced, you’re either going to ride it twice tops (once at RD and once with FP) or wait in line at least an hour. NRJ is beautiful but not worth waiting more than 30mins. Fortunately that’s very doable almost all day on a low crowd day.

Dinosaur sucks. What a terrible ride. It needs to be torn down. It is just nausea inducing and not fun. The movie wasn’t good, either.

The Safari is great, and a no-brainer for FP.

Everest is terrific. And standby line was less than 20 minutes all day (thanks to Pandora).

Tough to Be a Bug is terrible, but it ironically occupies the best real estate in the park. Right under the Tree of Life. It has this whole long beautiful winding cue that is completely empty because the show stinks.

Yak And Yeti was a great dinner choice. It is PF Chang’s caliber food at PF Chang’s caliber prices, which is a pretty good value for a theme park.

One final non-AK-specific observation. You can’t predict standby times based upon the length of the line. It might look like a small line, but if a wave of FPs comes in at the wrong time, it increases the standby time considerably. Overall, I really wonder if FP has actually improved the guest experience.

In closing, Pandora needs a third attraction (to which Disney would say “we need another movie, James”) and other areas of the park really need a refresh. But you can make a great half day of this and maybe a full day if your kids have a broad enough palette.
 

Spencer Wright

Constantly craving a zebra dome...
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
AK is my favorite Park, and I think of it much more as a place to sort of meander and enjoy. This is in contrast to say Magic Kingdom, where you can run from attraction to attraction. I love the Maharajah Jungle Trek, especially when the tigers are playful. I know nothing about children, so I can't comment on that. But as crowds continue to flock to Pandora, it helps keep the rest manageable.

It seems your experience was somewhat mixed, but Animal Kingdom and high 50's sounds absolutely wonderful!
 
  • rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2013
    Pandora was supposed to have a third attraction originally.

    I disagree with a lot of what you said but Animal Kingdom is my favorite park. It’s a lot more than a “small zoo”. It’s the largest Disney park in the world.

    I spend multiple days at this park.
     

    mirak

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 26, 2014
    We did Lion King. Our 6yo likes it. Everybody else was pretty meh. It’s a nice spot for a lunch break if you pack your lunch.

    I agree on the nature trails. We did those and they were better than I expected.

    I can understand why some would like AK the best. Especially if you want more of a zoo-like and slower-paced experience. I wasn’t saying it’s “bad.” It is what it is. Some will prefer the things I found to be cons.

    The only thing I objectively disagree with is the comment about “loving Dinosaur.” LOL.
     

    rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2013
    We did Lion King. Our 6yo likes it. Everybody else was pretty meh. It’s a nice spot for a lunch break if you pack your lunch.

    I agree on the nature trails. We did those and they were better than I expected.

    I can understand why some would like AK the best. Especially if you want more of a zoo-like and slower-paced experience. I wasn’t saying it’s “bad.” It is what it is. Some will prefer the things I found to be cons.

    The only thing I objectively disagree with is the comment about “loving Dinosaur.” LOL.
    Have you been to Disneyland? If not just a point of reference but it is the same track and ride vehicle as Indiana Jones out there. Obviously a different storyline.
     
  • epcotobsessed

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 1, 2018
    I love Animal Kingdom. FOP is the best ride, anywhere on the planet, period. I have been on the Safari ride at least 50 times and I never tire of it. The tigers are amazing. The Festival of the Lion King is AMAZING. What a show. EE is fabulous. Kali is fun (just be prepared to get soaked!) I love Dino Land, especially Primeval Whirl. The Character Spot is fun. Food is good. Nomad Lounge is wonderful - fantastic atmosphere, cocktails, food (can order full menu from Tiffins as well). I love the drummers. I love the Tree of Life. I love this park.
     

    TammyLynn33

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2008
    My kids are obsessed with animals so it’s our fav park. We usually spend two days each trip but my crew can spend an hour easily per animal exhibit in total awe..
    We haven’t done pandora yet but hoping to get a FP for each on one of the days we are there .
    I too like the more relaxed pace but with four kids solo travelling it’s the little things lol
     

    mirak

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 26, 2014
    Have you been to Disneyland? If not just a point of reference but it is the same track and ride vehicle as Indiana Jones out there. Obviously a different storyline.
    I have not. I had heard about the similarity to Indy. The darkness plus the strobes plus the jerking back and forth plus the blaring speakers is just not my idea of fun. Kids didn’t like it either. The cue is boring. You have to listen to Bill Nye. Then that cheesy preshow. Boy oh boy. Hopefully Indy is better.
     
  • rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2013
    I have not. I had heard about the similarity to Indy. The darkness plus the strobes plus the jerking back and forth plus the blaring speakers is just not my idea of fun. Kids didn’t like it either. The cue is boring. You have to listen to Bill Nye. Then that cheesy preshow. Boy oh boy. Hopefully Indy is better.
    Different strokes for different folks. I love the pre show. Phylicia Rashad is awesome.
     

    QueenElinor

    It's not my fault they're all redheads.
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2012
    I love Animal Kingdom. FOP is the best ride, anywhere on the planet, period. I have been on the Safari ride at least 50 times and I never tire of it. The tigers are amazing. The Festival of the Lion King is AMAZING. What a show. EE is fabulous. Kali is fun (just be prepared to get soaked!) I love Dino Land, especially Primeval Whirl. The Character Spot is fun. Food is good. Nomad Lounge is wonderful - fantastic atmosphere, cocktails, food (can order full menu from Tiffins as well). I love the drummers. I love the Tree of Life. I love this park.
    Oh, nice tip. Did not know we could get food from Tiffin's at Nomad, we had just planned to have drinks there. Do you typically have to wait at Nomad or do you go right in?
     

    epcotobsessed

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 1, 2018
    I typically walk right in to Nomad! When it's warmer, the only tables you might find are outside but they are in the shade. I love any table in that place - the ambiance is fantastic, as are the cocktails. Did I mention that last part? :)
     

    kydisneyfans

    <font color=blue>It may be because they are too em
    Joined
    Sep 26, 2005
    AK is our favorite park and the only one I visited twice during our last visit.
    We love the Tree of Life show and do it every time, but would agree if someone said it needs updated.
    Meandering the trails is fun, relaxing, and really you have no idea what you will run across.
    Shows are available for breaks, FOTL is the best on site, and Nemo is good too. The bird show is boring though.
    We also like the food choices at AK.

    I was in the park open to close (9-8) last month, then followed up later in the week with another half day.
     

    Azjenn

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 28, 2014
    Did Animal Kingdom for the first time with my wife and three boys today. Ages 6-11. A few quick observations which may help with planning.

    First, it was unseasonably cool with highs in the upper 50s! Also light rain for much of the morning. It cut down on crowds considerably, so I’d say we got lucky.

    I like AK, but it just feels *unbalanced.* Pandora is the huge draw, but it isn’t big enough. Then you’ve got a small zoo (exhibit-wise), one really nice coaster, and a smattering of other rides that are average to terrible. Unless your kids have a broad enough appetite to hit most the rides, this is still a half-day park.

    Flight of Passage is great, but because the park is so unbalanced, you’re either going to ride it twice tops (once at RD and once with FP) or wait in line at least an hour. NRJ is beautiful but not worth waiting more than 30mins. Fortunately that’s very doable almost all day on a low crowd day.

    Dinosaur sucks. What a terrible ride. It needs to be torn down. It is just nausea inducing and not fun. The movie wasn’t good, either.

    The Safari is great, and a no-brainer for FP.

    Everest is terrific. And standby line was less than 20 minutes all day (thanks to Pandora).

    Tough to Be a Bug is terrible, but it ironically occupies the best real estate in the park. Right under the Tree of Life. It has this whole long beautiful winding cue that is completely empty because the show stinks.

    Yak And Yeti was a great dinner choice. It is PF Chang’s caliber food at PF Chang’s caliber prices, which is a pretty good value for a theme park.

    One final non-AK-specific observation. You can’t predict standby times based upon the length of the line. It might look like a small line, but if a wave of FPs comes in at the wrong time, it increases the standby time considerably. Overall, I really wonder if FP has actually improved the guest experience.

    In closing, Pandora needs a third attraction (to which Disney would say “we need another movie, James”) and other areas of the park really need a refresh. But you can make a great half day of this and maybe a full day if your kids have a broad enough palette.
    I totally agree with you! Looks like we are in the minority here though ;) we are currently planning our september trip and literally have about half a day planned for here. It always seems sooo crowded, and in the hotter months I find it sweltering along the pathways with all the vegetation. I do like some of the rides and shows, but not enough to want to spend more than a day here.
     

    saskdw

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2011
    Animal Kingdom is by far our favourite park. And that was before they added Pandora. Our last WDW trip in Dec. 2016 which is pre Pandora we used 4 days or our 10 day tickets there. It's a family tradition that we do AK the first day of every trip.

    We will spend at least 3 days there on our upcoming Christmas trip. We've spent 2 actual Christmas days there and will most likely be a 3rd this year.

    You'll notice you're post isn't getting any likes....LOL.
     


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