Disney’s Animal Kingdom Rides & Attractions for Families with Toddlers

February 5, 2009 at 5:35 am Leave a comment

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great theme park and we’re always sad when families skip this park because “we’ve got a good zoo here at home”.   While there are animals, this isn’t just another zoo.   The shows are excellent and most families can fill a very full day, even if there are not a lot of rides.    We’ll try to warn you about anything that might scare a toddler or that might not hold the interest of of a small child.

Africa Area

  • Donald’s Breakfast Safari Character Breakfast.  TIP: Book around 10:15AM so that you can enjoy Dinoland USA and the Maharajah Jungle Trek while crowds are at their lowest.
  • Kilimanjaro Safari – Safari ride past live animals.
  • Pangani Forest Trail. Animal habitat area featuring monkeys, okapi, naked mole rates, hippos, meerkats, and more.

Asia Area

  • Flights of Wonder Bird Show – Educational show featuring hawks, macaws, and other birds. Lasts about 30 minutes; use your own judgment about your child’s attention span and interest level.
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek– Animal habitat area featuring monkeys, Komodo dragons, tapirs, golden bats, tigers, and more.

Camp Minnie-Mickey

  • “Festival of the Lion King” (great show) – animal costumed acrobats and dancers perform in this much-loved show featuring songs from the movie.
  • Character Meet-and-Greet Pavilions

DinoLand USA

  • The Boneyard Play area – great archeology themed play areas.
  • “Finding Nemo – the Musical”. (great show) – impressive production with actors and puppets.  TIP: the last performance of the day is usually the least crowded.
  • Triceratop Spin – child’s ride similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  TIP: ride as soon as the park opens to avoid long lines.  You’ll be able to repeat this ride a few times by arriving first thing.

Discovery Island

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug 3-D – One of Disney’s best 3-D movies but some kids find the giant bugs scary.
  • Discovery Island Trails – Animal exhibits along paths around the Tree of Life. You’ll find giant Galapagos tortoises, kangaroos, lemurs, and other animals.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

  • Wildlife Express Train – train ride.
  • Affection Section – petting area with sheep and fat little African goats.
  • Conservation Station – educational area that may not hold the attention of very young children.

Other Attractions

  • Street performances
  • “Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade”. (A favorite of my family’s). Very cute parade with lots of great, classic Disney characters.

 Attractions with Height Requirements

  • Dinosaur (Dinoland USA) – Must be 40 inches tall / 102 cm. This ride is a bit intense as your jeep-type vehicle gets sent back in time, stuck in the dark, and nearly eaten by a dinosaur. Will likely terrify a small child, especially if they don’t know what to expect.
  • Expedition Everest (Asia Area) – Must be 44 inches tall / 112 cm. Seriously fun roller coaster. You don’t go upside down but you do go backwards in the dark.
  • Kali River Rapids (Asia Area) – Must be 38 inches tall / 97 cm. Water rafting type ride that should be fine for anyone tall enough. You will get soaked! TIP: Younger children can be taken to the bridge that overlooks the ride. There you’ll find buttons that let you spray the riders below with water from the elephant figures.
  • Primeval Whirl (Dinoland USA) – Must be 48 inches tall / 122 cm. Mad Mouse type ride that goes rather quickly.

Extra Animal Kingdom Touring Advice

  • This theme park closes earlier than the other Disney parks -often as early as 5:00 PM – so you probably cannot see everything AND take a mid-day break.
  • The landscaping is lush and beautiful, making this park perfect for great family photos. We all try to wear khaki with red or khaki with blue so that we coordinate in the photos.
  • The conventional advice is to go to Kilamanjaro Safari first thing but we disagree. All of the park’s “thrill rides” are clustered in the Asia & Dinoland USA areas – which are on the same side of the park. We advise taking your little ones to this area first so that you’re out before the crowds build.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom has some great live entertainment. If you see something fun, stop and enjoy it. You’ll be glad you did.
  • If you see an animal handler out with an animal,  stop and let the kids ask their questions.  These people are very friendly and informative.
  • Flame Tree Barbeque is a counter-service restaurant on Discovery Island and is our favorite quick-service restaurant at any of the parks.  All of the seating is outdoors so you might not prefer this on a very hot day.

Remember that Build A Better Mouse Trip will provide – at no extra charge –  custom touring plans to keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines when you book your Walt Disney World Resort vacation through us.

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Entry filed under: Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, Preschoolers, Rides and Attractions, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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