Updated: Feb 16, 2021
This is an everything you need to know guide to your day at Animal Kingdom. We start by hitting the rides that are the most popular and will have the longest queue. Then, we will make our way through the rest of the park and I’ll mention some of the best food stops along the way.
The schedule attempts to incorporate the best attractions and restaurants that Animal Kingdom has to offer and are still open during Covid! The park had shortened opening hours (9AM-5PM) during Covid as well, so it is even more important to make a detailed trip itinerary to maximize your experience. Some families with smaller children may not want to go on some of the thrill rides, so be sure to check what attractions are appropriate for you and your family and adjust the schedule accordingly! For information on what Animal Kingdom is like during Covid, go here.
*Times between activities/rides are estimated based on average wait times and ride times
8:30AM: Get to the park early (30 minutes before the park opens)! Getting in line for the most popular ride first is the best thing you can do to maximize your day. If you wait until later when the park gets busier, you’ll be spending a lot of time in lines.
*If you are staying at a Disney hotel, you will be able to enter the park 30 minutes before the general public, so you'll want to arrive at 8:00AM instead.
9:00AM: As soon as you can enter the park, head straight toward through “The Oasis” (this is just some nice, natural landscaping, which you can enjoy on the way out). Take a left and head toward “Pandora- The World of Avatar.”
Optional Stop: If you have little ones, you may be interested in stopping at the Wilderness Explorers Headquarters right after you pass the Oasis. Your kids will get a guide to complete fun, nature-themed challenges through the day to collect badges. Best part? It’s free!
9:15AM: Get in line for Avatar’s Flight of Passage, Animal Kingdom’s newest ride.
10:00AM: After flying through the world of Pandora, take a more relaxing ride on the Na'vi River Journey right next to it, another new ride at Animal Kingdom that will likely have the second longest wait times throughout the day.
10:30AM: Get a quick snack at the Pongu-Pongu quick service restaurant. I recommend ordering Pongu Lumpia, a sweet treat consisting of pineapple cream in a spring roll.
10:40AM: This will be the longest walk of the day. You’re going to cross the park to get to the third most popular ride, so head to Expedition Everest in Asia.
11:00AM: Get in line and ride Expedition Everest!
12:00AM: Next you’ll continue your tour through Asia. Normally, I would fit in the Kali River Rapids here, however it is currently closed for renovations. So instead, head to the Maharajah Jungle Trek where you can wander through trails to view Asian tigers, as well as, other animals like water buffalo and Komodo dragons.
12:15AM: Now it’s time to start thinking about lunch. There are a couple of options. In Asia, there is Yak and Yeti, which has a quick service restaurant and sit-down, casual dining restaurant. If you want sit-down, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time. Another option is to head to Africa, which is where you would be heading next anyway. Here, Harambe Market is a good quick service option. There are also some places for some alcoholic beverages if you are interested like Dawa Bar.
1:00PM: It’s Kilimanjaro Safari time, one of the most iconic adventures within Animal Kingdom! You have the opportunity to see 34 different species on this open-air tour of the Savannah. The ride itself is 18 minutes long, so you’ll have plenty of time to take it all in.
1:45PM: Next head to the Wildlife Express Train which is a 7-minute ride to Rafiki’s Plant Watch where you can get a behind-the-scene’s look at everything that is done to keep the animals happy and healthy. You can check out the veterinary treatment room, nutrition center, science center and a petting zoo.
2:30PM: Inside the building at Rafiki’s Planet Watch is an animation experience where one of Disney’s very own animators teach you how to draw an animated character in a 25-minute class. Classes start at specific times (usually every 45 minutes), so if your plans change a little from this example itinerary, be sure to check the times of this experience. Once you are done bringing your animated animal to life, head back on the Wildlife Express Train.
3:15PM: Close out your African adventure with a walk through the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail where you will of course see Gorillas but also some unique African birds.
3:30PM: Next, you are finally going to head inside that big tree you’ve seen all day at the center of Animal Kingdom on Discovery Island. Get in line and enjoy the It’s Tough to be a Bug live show and film. When you are walking to this attraction, there are many meandering paths to see flamingos, otters, and other animals.
4:00PM: Now, you’ll head to DinoLand, the last part of Animal Kingdom that you haven’t explored yet. On the way, there’s the option for some snacks at the Isle of Java for something sweet (I recommend the Tiger Tail Chocolate Twist) or Trilo-Bites for something savory (I recommend the Buffalo Chicken Chips).
4:15PM: Last rides of the day will be DINOSAUR, a thrilling ride to go back in time to rescue a dinosaur, and TriceraTop Spin, a slow spinning ride. The Boneyard is closed during Covid, but if it opens back up, kids love to dig around in the sand to find some dinosaur bones!
5:00PM: Currently, the park is closing at 5PM due to Covid. Hope you had a fun day!
Feel free to adjust this schedule to fit your needs and interests! Worried planning your whole trip like this might take too much time? Consider hiring a personal travel planner to build your customized travel itinerary. I own a company called Retreats by Rachel, and every custom trip I plan has details just like this so you can enjoy your day to the maximum.
Also, if you are looking for something Animal Kingdom themed to where during your day at the park, Amazon has some great options like these customizable shirts for any age!