Top Animal Kingdom Attractions For First Timers

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If you’re planning your first trip to Walt Disney World – may I be the first to say congrats – and that I am oh so jealous of you! You and your family are in for some serious fun – it’s an amazing place to visit with SO MUCH to see and do! So much to see and do in fact that you might not know where to begin with your planning! Well, first off – I highly recommend you try and spend at least a day at each of WDW’s 4 theme parks – and one the animal lovers in your family will really enjoy is Animal Kingdomso make sure you check out these Must Do Animal Kingdom Attractions For First Timers while you’re there:

Kilimanjaro Safaris: Board your touring Jeep and head off on a wild ride through the African savannah! Your driver will be your guide as you navigate the bumpy terrain, pointing out animals and fun facts about them too! There are plenty of animals around – rhinos, hippos, giraffes, antelope, ostriches, elephants, flamingos, cheetahs, lions, warthogs – to name just a few! This ride pretty much defines the park itself – it allows you to see what an amazing space Disney has created for these animals, and it is a great ride for the whole family (everyone loves seeing the animals, no matter what age!)

Expedition Everest: The yeti is the ‘protector’ of the mountain that you are about to explore – and he isn’t exactly a welcoming host! You’ll board your train that will take you on a wild ride through Mount Everest, and while waiting to board, be sure to check out all the details in the queue – history of the yeti, information about the ficticious Himalayan Escapes Touring Company that is your guide through the exploration, and more! This ride is a roller coaster – you will experience high drops, fast turns, and you even get to go backwards! Being faced with the yeti can be scary for little ones, but overall it’s a really fun ride that is unique and really well themed

Kali River Rapids: CAUTION – you WILL get wet on this turbulent raft ride down the Chakranadi River and a jungle that’s in jeopardy because of illegal logging. The queue for this one is all outdoors, and is a long one – but you’ll notice a lot of great details as you weave your way toward the raft boarding area. You’re in for waterfalls and plenty of twists and turns on this one – and I recommend you bring some Ziploc baggies for your camera, phone, wallet and other valuables – as they will get wet (and so will you!)

Dinosaur: DinoLand USA is where you will find the “Dino Institute” – where you’ll weave through a queue full of fun fossils and dinosaur facts before heading into the Briefing Room – where you’re prepped for your ride into the past! You then board your all-terrain jeep and head back to the Cretaceous period – and a jungle full of dinosaurs! Dinosaurs of every shape and size appear everywhere, then meteors threaten your trip and turn it into a race back to the present! This is a very jerky ride – there are no drops but the term “all terrain” definitely reigns true here (and you’re wearing a seat belt for a reason). But who can pass up the chance to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs? I know I can’t – I love this ride and the queue is especially fun – it’s like walking through a museum!

Adventurers Outpost: No trip to a Disney Park would be complete without a little character meet and greet, would it? Head here for a chance to meet with one of the world’s most famous couples – Mickey and Minnie! They are all decked out in their safari gear, and are ready for hugs, autographs, and photo ops. Check out the mementos they have collected from around the world while you wait

I recommend heading to Animal Kingdom right when it opens in the morning and taking in these attractions before the lines get too long – plus it can get HOT there in the afternoons, so morning touring usually works out best here.

I also previously wrote about the “can’t miss” attractions at the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios for first time WDW visitors, and I think that this list of Animal Kingdom attractions will really give your family a well-rounded experience with a healthy dose of Disney Magic too! But I would love to know YOUR thoughts – what Animal Kingdom attractions would YOU recommend for a first time visitor to Walt Disney World?

Stay tuned right here on Chip and Co – where next week I will talk about the can’t miss attractions at Epcot!


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Catie Hiltz is an avid Walt Disney World lover who has been vacationing there since she was tall enough to ride Space Mountain. She believes there is something for everyone at WDW-and especially writing about the benefits of vacationing there as an adult
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