Disney Animal Kingdom Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest Disney theme park in the world, spreading over an impressive 500 acres.  Walt Disney, himself, was a firm believer of animal conservation, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom is dedicated to just that.  The park opened on April 22, 1998 as the fourth main Disney theme park in Orlando, following Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios.  Together, the four make up Walt Disney World, with additional Disney attractions such as Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon and Island Adventure.  Disney World Animal Kingdom mixes the appreciation of animals with thrilling rides and spectacular shows. 

Disney Animal Kingdom touts its latest attraction, Expedition Everest, as a quick-turning, high-speed roller coaster adventure complete with an 80-foot drop and a Yeti who stalks daring riders entering his territory.  Perhaps not the ideal ride for the little ones in your group, it is sure to excite those looking for big thrills.  Other feature rides at Disney World Animal Kingdom include Kilimanjaro Safaris and Kali River Rapids.  On Kilimanjaro Safaris, head to the African safari without having to actually go to Africa.  The ride has visitors boarding a safari vehicle that heads out into an African-inspired landscape complete with free-roaming animals.  If the weather is hot, Kali River Rapids is sure to cool your bunch down.  Board the 12-passenger circular raft for a turbulent trip down the Chakranadi River.  With plenty of other rides more appropriate for young kids, a list of exciting shows and various animal exhibits, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is part zoo, part amusement park, and part off-Broadway theater.

Of course it’s the animals that take center stage at Disney World Animal Kingdom, and the kids will relish starting the day at “Affection Section”.  A petting zoo, more or less, this attraction includes some of the park’s most friendly animals, such as llamas, pigs, sheep, chicken and goats.  Head to “Discovery Island”, one of the 7 main “lands” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where you will find “The Tree of Life” and a score of animals, from lemurs to large Galapagos tortoises.  Other animal encounters can be had at the other 5 animal attractions, including “Conservation Station” and the “Maharajah Jungle Trek”.   Animal lovers will also enjoy a chance to visit Disney’s Discovery Cove, which is a marine-oriented theme park where you can swim with dolphins.  

To visit Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, make way to the land dubbed, “Camp Minnie-Mickey” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  There are two shows featured at Camp Minnie-Mickey that are based on successful Disney movies.  Young and old alike will love “Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends”, which is a live show based on the Native American Princess’s concern for the conservation of her forest.  Fun for the whole group as well, “Festival of the Lion King” is a broadway-caliber live performance featuring the film’s characters and its renowned song arrangements.  At “DinoLand U.S.A.”, catch “Finding Nemo-The Musical”, another of the featured shows at Disney World Magic Kingdom.  Performed four times a day, this show combines animal-inspired backdrops and puppetry, as well as a mix of dazzling dancers and acrobats. 

There is simply so much to see and do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that you might need more than one day to see all the park has to offer.  Visitors will find a complete selection of dining options throughout the park and a transportation network designed to get them from their car to the park and all around.  Disney World Animal Kingdom is open daily, with varying hours by week and month.  Generally, the park observes shorter open hours than Disney’s other theme parks, mostly in consideration for their animals.  Typically, the park opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes in the evening, anywhere from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m.  Tickets to Disney Animal Kingdom are included in the Disney Magic Your Way ticket option.  You can purchase Magic Your Way tickets for up to ten days, and the more days you add, the more you save on daily admission.  You can often find deals on Disney tickets when booking a Florida vacation package that combines either Orlando hotels or Kissimmee hotels.  For an overall Disney experience, consider staying in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Opened in 2001, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a “deluxe” class hotel and resort found at Walt Disney World, where guests can watch wildlife grazing in close-proximity outside their rooms.

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