Tackling Animal Kingdom - How do you tour?

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Tackling Animal Kingdom - How do you tour?

Though I've been to Animal Kingdom many times before, it has usually been managed in the fashion of wandering around lost. While I know the general outlay of the Park, it's not one of the maps that I keep in my head with a defined strategy for touring. So - I'm looking for a good plan to tackle the highlights of Disney's Animal Kingdom without my normal back and forth zigzag pattern.

When you get to Discovery Island, is it best to go left or right? I think I usually head straight towards Yak and Yeti, but veer off towards Africa before I get there, what am I missing that lies on that left hand path from Discovery Island? Or is going through Dinoland better? Honestly I'm not sure there is anything in Dinoland that I need to see, I can probably skip it.

What are your thoughts? How to you tackle this super spacious Park to make the most of your time?

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So we usually get there early and slowly meander back towards Africa and the safari. There are nice little side trails to stop at and watch some animals. I love the otters! Most people don't stop so we have the areas to ourselves. Then it is a stop for coffee at Starbucks and off to ride the safari. After that we walk the trails in that area and watch FOTLK. Meander thru Asia and watch flights of wonder. We also like the train ride to Rafiki's planet watch. For the most part we skip Dino land. Don't really like any of the rides in that part. We go to see the animals more than anything. Lunch is usually sitting at the bar at Rainforest cafe. We may have to change how and when we explore the park when Rivers of Light begins. It has always been a half day park for us.

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Where we go depends on where and when we have FastPasses. But we usually start out in Africa for the safari and Festival of the Lion King, with the critter walk and maybe Rafiki's if we have time. Then we'll get food in Asia, and maybe do the jungle trek if there's time before our Finding Nemo FP. Hubby will ride Everest using the single rider line somewhere in there. If we happen by the bird show close to show time we'll stop there as well. We usually skip Kali, don't like to get wet, and mostly walk through Dinoland. Then if we've missed something we'll go back and catch it, or just stop to visit Russell and Dug on our way out.

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We almost always have Dinosaur, Finding Nemo and Everest as our FP+ selections so we usually head toward Dinoland first. I try to put the FP+ back to back so there is less walking or zigzagging. AK is the hardest pavement/park for me to walk without ending up in a wheelchair, so we rarely walk all around the park. If I can walk that day, after Finding Nemo and Everest(these are MUST do's every visit) we might go on the Safari or just wander around for awhile enjoying the overall atmosphere of AK. We rarely make it over to Africa. We only do the Safari once a year or less and neither of us really like the FOtLK very much so we usually skip it.

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Ok, so our attack plan is we head straight to the back of the park to Africa and get on the Safari Ride. The early mornings and late evenings are the best times to see the most animals. After this we do the jungle trek. Then we Usually go over to Asia and do the Rapid Ride, and then Everest if the line is too long. Then we go over to Nemo, and then to Dinoland. We usually ride the Prime Evil Whirl and hit dinosaur then its time to eat. We grab a quick service here and then we head over to Discovery Island and see the characters that are out and The Tree of Life. At this point we would usually go to Camp Minnie Mickey and doing Lion Kings, but that isn't there anymore so I have to come up with a new plan. Then after that we just look around and look at all the animals and such and then if we want to go back and do something again! Then at the end of the day we usually hit Rainforest Cafe for dinner.

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This is my ideal plan, but it doesn't always work out this way because Benn often gets cranky at this park.

Africa: Kilimanjaro standby (unless we're going to Rafiki's Planet Watch), Kilimanjaro FP, Pangani, Rafiki's Planet Watch (if we only did Kilimanjaro FP), ideally hit FoLK for the 10:50 show (sometimes with FP).

Lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and maybe Flights of Wonder (except it's down for a long refurb right now). I intend to finally meet Dug & Russell this time as well. We always intend to go and then end up skipping them and I'm going to turn around one day and they'll be gone.

Asia: Kali if we have a FP (if not, we skip it and maybe hit some of the animal exhibits around the Tree of Life instead), Maharajah Jungle Trek, single rider on Everest if Benn's in the mood for it (ice cream break for me)

Dinoland: Primeval Whirl FP, then Primeval Whirl standby as many times as is commensurate with the current standby wait time, Play some Din-o-rama games

Leave the park.

We don't like Dinosaur or It's Tough to be a Bug. Benn doesn't like Nemo and I've seen it a lot of times, so I don't really care if we skip it. I can also start in Dinoland if I've got FP for Kilimanjaro and FoLK, but I like to start in Africa because the animals are alleged more active in the morning.

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I have to admit, we usually rush in and run from attraction to shows and try and hit everything as quickly as possible so that we can hit everything on our Must Do list by around 2pm. We've only been back to Rafiki's Planet Watch once and spent maybe 10 minutes out there, we've never explored the Oasis or Discovery Island, and we usually rush through Pangini and Maharaja if we do them at all. Well this trip we won't be riding Everst, Kali, or Dinosaur since it will just be Jon and I with Penny and she is not tall enough to ride those. We also won't have a park hopper (Gasp! Horror! Shock!) so we won't be in a rush to leave and we anticipate being in the park later for Rivers of Light crossfingers crossfingers crossfingers I'm really looking forward to taking the time to relax and explore this park more.

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Most every time this is what I do.

Arrive for "rope drop" head straight back to the safari. After, we head over to Starbucks for a coffee and people watch until the first Lion King show.

After we cruise around Harambe for a bit before hitting Everest. I can't tell you the last time we rode the rapids. I HATE having wet feet and clothes so we usually skip this and Splash Mountain. Maybe this summer when we go and it will be hot enough to dry us off before we get off... laugh

Next up we head over to Dinosaur, Primeval Hurl and Triceratops Spin. If Blondie is with us she plays in the Dig for a bit.

Then it's time for snacks (maybe another coffee) and character meets. Maybe Bugs and Everest again.

We like to roam the trails in between.

I CAN"T WAIT for the park to be open late.

I was jotting down park times for when we go in August and every night shows AK closing at 5. Wonder when they will update times???

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We tend to have very little plan for this park and I think we may miss a lot. I'm going to try to come up with a better one for this upcoming trip. We generally start by bee-lining to Kiliminjaro to get the safari without a FP. Then we generally walk over to DinoLand for a Dinosaur FP and then back to Asia for a Kali River FP (that way we get wet before we leave and don't need to roam around in our wet clothes. Yuck). I think this time I'm goign to make more of an effort to stop and look around. While I think AK is beautiful I've always had a "It's a really nice zoo" feel to me and I'd like to start looking at more of the non-animal things.

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TinkASL wrote:
We tend to have very little plan for this park and I think we may miss a lot. I'm going to try to come up with a better one for this upcoming trip. We generally start by bee-lining to Kiliminjaro to get the safari without a FP. Then we generally walk over to DinoLand for a Dinosaur FP and then back to Asia for a Kali River FP (that way we get wet before we leave and don't need to roam around in our wet clothes. Yuck). I think this time I'm goign to make more of an effort to stop and look around. While I think AK is beautiful I've always had a "It's a really nice zoo" feel to me and I'd like to start looking at more of the non-animal things.

NATAZU! (Not a zoo) It's what they use to use.

It's one of my favorite parks! The theme is amazing, it blows away all the other parks as a whole. I love the countries separately in EPCOT, Main Street in MK but the entire park of AK is amazing!

When we went Thanksgiving, they had the best decorations of all the parks also.

I can't wait for all of the night time stuff! I think it will kick it all up a notch.

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JMed wrote:
NATAZU! (Not a zoo) It's what they use to use.

It's one of my favorite parks! The theme is amazing, it blows away all the other parks as a whole. I love the countries separately in EPCOT, Main Street in MK but the entire park of AK is amazing!

When we went Thanksgiving, they had the best decorations of all the parks also.

I can't wait for all of the night time stuff! I think it will kick it all up a notch.


Natazu laugh I've always said it's #1 in my books in terms on theme. It just never seemed to hold my interest as long, especially the parts I've seen before. So this time I'm determined to look for things we haven't done or seen. clapping

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AK is always a leisurely day for us. We usually FP+ Dinosaur, Everest, and one of the shows. Normally we will hit the Safari first thing, then spend quite a bit of time exploring animals. Lunch at FlameTree or Harambe Market, then FP+ in the afternoon. Head out of there around 4 or so and over to AKL for drinks and dinner before heading home.

Definitely going to have to figure out an evening plan when the changes come...

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JMed wrote:
I can't tell you the last time we rode the rapids. I HATE having wet feet and clothes so we usually skip this and Splash Mountain. Maybe this summer when we go and it will be hot enough to dry us off before we get off... laugh

Somewhat related--does everyone know about the lockers by Yak & Yeti? They are free for a certain period of time--I think it's the first 80 minutes, which is typically plenty of time to ride Kali. To avoid the wet shoe dilemma, toss a pair of flip flops and/or a dry shirt in your bag for the day and change your shoes before getting on the ride or shirt after getting on the ride.

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alicemouse wrote:
JMed wrote:
I can't tell you the last time we rode the rapids. I HATE having wet feet and clothes so we usually skip this and Splash Mountain. Maybe this summer when we go and it will be hot enough to dry us off before we get off... laugh

Somewhat related--does everyone know about the lockers by Yak & Yeti? They are free for a certain period of time--I think it's the first 80 minutes, which is typically plenty of time to ride Kali. To avoid the wet shoe dilemma, toss a pair of flip flops and/or a dry shirt in your bag for the day and change your shoes before getting on the ride or shirt after getting on the ride.

Whaaaaat?! How did I not know this! I HATE when my shoes get wet so we always have to leave right away. I end up spending 30 minutes with the hair dryer blowing into my sneakers! Thankfully my feet aren't too stinky! Wink
I just may have to do this!!

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JMed wrote:
I CAN"T WAIT for the park to be open late.

I was jotting down park times for when we go in August and every night shows AK closing at 5. Wonder when they will update times???

AKL is still showing 6PM for May 3rd (the day I'll be there) and sunset is at 8PM so I'm sure that the times will be adjusted, especially with 3 shows a night for Rivers of Light.

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alicemouse wrote:
Somewhat related--does everyone know about the lockers by Yak & Yeti?

waiting laugh LOL I feel like I need to write an article about this now.

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Kristen K. wrote:
alicemouse wrote:
Somewhat related--does everyone know about the lockers by Yak & Yeti?

waiting laugh LOL I feel like I need to write an article about this now.

I just found out about it on our November trip! I always carried ziplock bags to protect my phone, camera, and any other random electronics I happened to be carrying and let everything else get wet. I was really thrilled to learn about the lockers!

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Wow, these lockers are a hot topic!!! I didn't know they were there either. I will have to jot that down in my notes for August.

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We almost always head to Africa first, with a quick stop at Starbucks on the way. As people have said, normally the best time to see the animals on the safari is early morning before the heat of the day.

Then we wander around through Asia and into Dinoland. Have to get my ride in on Primeval Whirl!! wink