Animal Kingdom - The Perfect 1 Day Park Itinerary (2024)

If we were to spend a day in Animal kingdom, the itinerary we would take would be approximately what is described in this post.

On this post

including how minimize Pandora's waits – World of Avatar.

So here we will put together a complete itinerary including the order of attractions we would do, the restaurants we would eat at and we will also include all the animals that are cool to see along your way during your day.

This post is part of a series of one-day itineraries designed to answer the frequently asked question we receive, “What would you do if you only had one day at a Disney park?“.

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The first 1-day itineraries we launched were those of Magic Kingdom and Island of adventure.

To put together this 1-day Animal Kingdom itinerary, we also considered Animal Kingdom's nightly entertainment.

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Thanks to nightly entertainment, attractions, and Pandora – World of Avatar, Animal Kingdom is unquestionably a park where you need all day to enjoy it all.

During the day, Animal Kingdom is an interesting mix of zoo-type attractions and traditional theme park attractions that require a more balanced approach to fully enjoy the park.

We will not take into account the crowds in this post, they will not prevent you from doing everything in this guide, they will only affect your schedules.

Actual crowds will vary.

For that, we have a post about when visiting disney. There we define month by month the capacity of the parks and the best time to visit the parks.

If you're looking for something more comprehensive to plan all aspects of your Walt Disney World vacation, from where to buy discounted transportation tickets to what to pack and more, read our Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide.

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The Genie+ can be a great ally in this Animal Kingdom 1 day plan.

However, in this guide we will not count on it as something necessary, that is, you can follow this guide without having to buy Genie+.

Of course, if possible, we recommend that you buy at least the individual Lightning Lane for the Fligh of Passage to considerably streamline your day.

If you don't want to have that expense, be prepared to wait long hours in line at this attraction.

Let's finally get to the Animal Kingdom 1-day itinerary!

1 day itinerary at Animal Kingdom 2022

The first stop of your day must be Pandora – World of Avatar.

Pandora – World of Avatar

Arrive at Animal Kingdom before opening hours and immediately rush to Pandora after your entry.

If you haven't purchased Lightning Lane for Avatar Flight of Passage, do this attraction first.

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If you have, the Na'vi River Journey should be your top priority.

Or you might consider doing the Flight of Passage by the queue if the wait time is not too bad and do it again later.

Because this is a ride you'll definitely want to do more than once (it's my favorite in all of Walt Disney World).


If you finish both Pandora attractions before 10:00 am do the Kilimanjaro Safaris.

If it is past 10:00 am, skip this step.

Rest assured, if you need to skip this attraction now, you'll do it later in the day, so it's not the end of the world to skip here.

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The reason we recommend Kilimanjaro Safaris at this time is because it is one of the best times for animal activity and also for photographing the animals in nice soft light.

From 11 am to 4 pm, animal activity is typically much lower.

Late afternoon is also good in terms of light and has a decent amount of animal activity.

Coffee Break at Creature Comforts Coffee Shop

Creature Comforts Coffee Shop and Bakery is Animal Kingdom's Starbucks.

And they also have some animal-shaped candies.

This might be a good time to take a little break from your day and grab a coffee and a bite to eat to continue your Animal Kingdom itinerary!

Dinosaurs at the Zoo

We mentioned earlier that we were going to share zoo-style attractions with regular theme park attractions.

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Don't worry, here you won't see real dinosaurs (unfortunately).

Head to Dinoland!

In this area you will have the opportunity to do a very cool attraction that is the Dinosaur attraction, based on the Disney movie.

And we recommend that you do it at this time.

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Furthermore, at Dinoland you will find the Donald's Dino Bash which is a "dynastic" which doubles as a date and a dance party.

The premise is that Donald Duck is taking over Dinoland to celebrate his recent discovery that ducks are descended from dinosaurs.

Donald is joined by Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and other Donald Duck friends.

There is also a Pajama Party presented by Tico and Teco with dinosaur pajamas that takes place at the end of the day there.

So if you want to see this party, you'll have to come back here later too!

Lunch at Tiffins – 1-Day Animal Kingdom Itinerary

Animal Kingdom is an excellent park when it comes to food.

For lunch, we recommend slowing down and having a table service meal.

Animal Kingdom gets pretty hot at noon, and this is a great time to escape that heat with a longer, more relaxing meal.

Currently, our #1 choice for those who want an exceptional, fine dining is Tiffins.

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I had the pleasure of eating there at the invitation of Disney on the Magic Influencers program.

It is, without a doubt, the best meal in the Animal kingdom, and one of the best at Walt Disney World.

Besides, it's one of the places where you can use your points in the Disney Dinning Plan.

An alternative option for families is the Tusker House which is one of the best buffets in Walt Disney World.

If you don't want something fancy and a buffet looks like a lot of food, go for the excellent Yak & Yeti.

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Select any of these 3 restaurants for meals at Animal Kingdom and you're sure to leave very happy!

After lunch trail

Take advantage of digestion to explore trails or observe various animals in the park.

You have several options for this moment from attractions like the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, to small exhibits around the Oasis, Animal Kingdom has a lot to do.

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Slow down and take the time to explore, discovering various animals and details hidden in quiet corners.

lion king show

Your day at Animal Animal wouldn't be complete without you enjoying the musical Festival of The Lion King.

In this show you'll see acrobats, singers and other performers in vibrant tribal attire, plus floats with Lion King characters and other creatures enact scenes inspired by the Lion King movie in a lively theatrical show.

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There's a lot going on, which basically amounts to a lot of audiovisual stimuli.

The show is simple work, and its almost abstract nature allows the audience to simply relax and enjoy the lewd performers.

Cool off on Hot Days

While we skip this attraction on most trips to Animal Kingdom, Kali River Rapids is a crowd pleaser that's well worth it if you haven't done it before, especially on a hot day.

It's a fun raft ride through cool environments with lots of water.

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Keep in mind that the potential for getting soggy is incredibly high, so don't do this if it's cold.

Then we recommend an activity so you can dry off without feeling cold.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek, you can do this trail anytime, but we recommend it here, so you don't go straight from getting soaked to an air-conditioned theater.

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Maharajah Jungle Trek is another underrated Animal Kingdom attraction, as this exhibit has some beautifully imagined environments.

Definitely don't skip it, but you also don't necessarily have to at this point if you don't want to.

More Shows on your day at Animal Kingdom

2 attractions are excellent to enjoy right now, Finding Nemo: The Musical and It's Tough to be a Bug!

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They are excellent and a good balance for the animal exhibits.

If the Lion King show made you tired of watching, then we recommend skipping the Nemo show, otherwise it will be a very fun experience for your group.

Climb the highest mountain

I'm sure you will feel a great temptation to do the Everest Expedition early in the day, but waiting until sunset is great in terms of the experience.

This is one of the best rollercoaster Disney theme parks and offers breathtaking views of the park.

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You will also want to do this attraction again at night as the view is amazing too.

Of course, never forget, if you have children in your group, to check the minimum heights of all attractions.

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African Safari at Animal Kingdom

By now you will have gone to different corners of the globe, from the highest mountain on Earth, to a distant planet (Pandora), and now, let's go on an African safari.

That's more impressive than going around the world in Epcot in one day!

For this tour aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris it is highly recommended that you board your vehicle at the official sunset time, I know this can be extremely challenging.

This will mean that the end of your sunset will occur at dusk, you will be able to see the ?eternal sunset effect? and some of the night lights used on safari.

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If you wait until dusk for the night version of the safari, you might not see anything but lions, which are often most active at night.

Break to Eat Again

One of the biggest “issues” you will have when visiting Animal Kingdom is that there are so many good places to eat.

Personally I think it's a good problem to have.

One of the newest of them, and the one we are recommending now is the Satu'li Canteen on Pandora.

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This counter restaurant has high quality and even healthy cuisine, being an excellent tasty and economical option.

If you are looking for something a more American alternative, I recommend the Flame Tree BBQ is our next choice.

There, in addition to the food, you will have an incredible view of the Lake in the center of the Park.

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One of the greatest things that Animal Kingdom at night provides is the night view of Everest and from the Flame Tree table you will get that view!

Of course, it's not just the view that's good there, the food at Flame Tree Barbecue is delicious!

Night at the Animal Kingdom Itinerary

If you end up in Pandora – World of Avatar for dinner, you can stick around for the night, but we'll recommend leaving and coming back later when the crowds thin a bit.

Instead, head to the front of the park to watch Animal Kingdom's iconic Tree of Life Awaken!

This is one of the highlights of Animal Kingdom after dark.

It happens without a set schedule, you'll want to stand in front of the Tree of Life for up to 20 minutes after your meal to see one of these as it's so worth it.

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During these Awakenings, animals on the Tree of Life come to life through projections.

adventure in the dark

At the end of the park's normal operating hours, you should have a little time to queue for Expedition Everest.

At this point, waits should be relatively short and the experience will be exceptional.

If the waits are still on the long side, consider doing Expedition Everest via the usually faster Single Rider queue.

As soon as you leave your last Everest tour, we recommend that you rush back to Pandora – World of Avatar!

First of all, Pandora at night is all bioluminescent and offers a totally different experience.

In addition, at this time you will be able to do the best Disney attraction once again, the Avatar Flight of Passage.

This should mark the conclusion of a long and amazing full-day Animal Kingdom itinerary.

It will take you most of the time to really do everything worth doing at Animal Kingdom during the course of a single day, especially if you want to do the Pandora attractions which are still the most crowded in the park.

If you want to know our other one-day itineraries. Follow here:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Island of adventure

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About the Author Carlos Braga:

Unparalleled experience in Orlando and Disney! As a former Universal Orlando team member and a passionate devotee of the magic of Disney, I have become a true Orlando travel expert. Before becoming a renowned travel consultant dedicated to Orlando, I had already made hundreds of visits to the parks, cultivating my knowledge and passion mainly over the last 7 years as a consultant and specialist in Disney travel.

My journey into this enchanted world began in 1995, when I took my first trip to Orlando. Since then, my love for Disney and the city has only grown. In 2023, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'Partiu Disney Parks', consolidating our role as one of the main sources of information about Disney and Orlando Parks.

During these six years of existence, we have continued to offer quality and updated content, being the reliable source for all those looking for essential information to plan their trip to Disney and Orlando. With my vast experience and passion for this magical destination, I am here to guide you every step of the way towards the most incredible Orlando and Disney experience!

I hope again that this post helped you in your research for your trip to Disney or Orlando.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Expert Introduction

I am an avid enthusiast and expert in the field of theme parks and Disney travel, with a deep understanding of the attractions, itineraries, and experiences offered by the Animal Kingdom and other Disney parks. I have a wealth of first-hand experience and knowledge gained from numerous visits to the parks, as well as being a former team member at Universal Orlando. My expertise extends to providing comprehensive itineraries, understanding the best times to visit, and practical tips for making the most of a day at Animal Kingdom and other Disney parks.

Analysis of the Article

This article outlines a detailed one-day itinerary for visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2022, including specific attractions, restaurants, and shows to experience throughout the day. The itinerary covers various aspects of the park, such as Pandora – World of Avatar, safari experiences, dining options, shows, and nighttime activities. It also emphasizes the importance of planning, considering the park's nightly entertainment, and offers practical tips for maximizing the experience without solely relying on Genie+.

Key Concepts Covered in the Article

  1. Pandora – World of Avatar

    • Prioritizing attractions such as Avatar Flight of Passage and Na'vi River Journey.
    • Considerations for experiencing attractions multiple times.
  2. Safari and Animal Activities

    • Optimizing the timing for Kilimanjaro Safaris to observe animal activity.
    • Exploring zoo-style attractions, including Dinosaur at Dinoland and animal trails.
  3. Dining Experiences

    • Recommendations for lunch at Tiffins, Tusker House, or Yak & Yeti.
    • Suggestions for coffee breaks and additional dining options throughout the day.
  4. Shows and Entertainment

    • Highlighting the importance of experiencing the Festival of The Lion King show.
    • Recommendations for additional shows, such as Finding Nemo: The Musical and It's Tough to be a Bug!
  5. Nighttime Activities

    • Suggestions for experiencing attractions and dining during the evening, including Pandora at night and the Tree of Life Awakenings.
    • Emphasizing the significance of planning for nighttime entertainment and attractions.
  6. Practical Tips and Considerations

    • Noting the potential impact of crowds on schedules and the availability of Lightning Lane for specific attractions.
    • Recommendations for managing wait times and experiencing attractions without solely relying on Genie+.

The article provides a comprehensive and detailed itinerary for visitors to Animal Kingdom, offering insights into the park's attractions, dining options, and entertainment. It emphasizes the importance of planning and provides practical tips for maximizing the park experience.

Animal Kingdom - The Perfect 1 Day Park Itinerary (2024)
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