7 BEST Rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom You MUST Do!

Are you ready to experience some of the BEST rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is where the wonder of nature and the magic of Disney combine into one adventurous day.

While some people might think of this park as a half-day park, only to do big attractions like Expedition Everest or Avatar Flight of Passage, if you really want to get everything out of Animal Kingdom, then you know it’s a whole day trek.

While you’re definitely going to see lots of animals at a park called Animal Kingdom, this theme park is also home to some of the best rides at Walt Disney World.

Here are the ThemeParkHipster top seven attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Rafiki's Planet Watch Conservation Station at Disney Animal Kingdom train leaving for harambe
Rafiki’s Planet Watch Conservation Station at Disney Animal Kingdom train leaving for Harambe

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1. Avatar Flight of Passage

This is one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World, only to be rivaled by Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Animal Kingdom World of Avatar Floating Trees in Pandora. One of the best rides at Animal Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom World of Avatar Floating Trees in Pandora

You start out in the queue surrounded by alien plants, then go into an ancient cave with Na’vi pictures and writing.

Flight of Passage Queue Giant Avatar at Disney Animal Kingdom

Eventually you pass through a lab with a full size Na’vi, and onto the attraction. This is a 3-d, screen-based ride, that has you feeling like you’re diving and flying over different areas of Pandora.

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One of the best Animal Kingdom rides is DINOSAUR, located in Dinoland, U.S.A. This attraction has riders going back in time to rescue an iguanodon before an asteroid impact.

Animal Kingdom Dinosaur Ride with Tyrannosaurus Rex Skeleton. One of the best animal kingdom rides.

If you’ve ever ridden Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland then you’ll already know the type of ride vehicle and track layout because they are both very similar.

This ride is not good for small kids since there are loud noises, complete darkness, and pretty scary dinos, but it’s perfect for thrill seekers.

3. Expedition Everest

Looming over the trees and lagoon in the middle of the park’s Asia section is Expedition Everest. This rollercoaster attraction takes riders up the Forbidden Mountain to encounter the legendary yeti.

Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest Roller Coaster. One of the best animal kingdom rides.

Riders board a train to climb the mountain only to find that that tracks are broken, which sends everyone spiraling backwards. Eventually you do encounter the yeti, and get out alive just before a disaster.

Expedition Everest Temple View Animal Kingdom

If you do get motion sickness at all, I suggest skipping this one and riding something else. That backwards spiral in the dark can be intense.

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4. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Whether you’re traveling in a group or by yourself a must-do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is Kilimanjaro Safaris.

This is one of the most authentic “safari” style rides at any theme park and worth the sometimes long wait.

Animal Kingdom African Safari with Momma and baby giraffe
Animal Kingdom African Safari

After you board your safari truck you’ll drive by dozens of different types of animals like zebra and giraffe on the open savanna, lions up on tall rocks, and even a few hippos floating in the river.

Animal Kingdom Safari with Elephants next to tree.

A major part of this attraction, and Animal Kingdom as a whole is learning about conservation efforts and how you can make a difference.

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5. Maharajah Jungle Trek

There are two major exploration trails at the park, but the one we love the most is the Maharaja Jungle Trek.

Animal Kingdom Tree of Life
Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

Although this is technically not a ride, this self-guided and self-paced walking path is located in the Asia section of the park near Kali River Rapids.

Kali River Rapids Water Ride Animal Kingdom. One of the best rides at Animal Kingdom.
Kali River Rapids Water Ride Animal Kingdom

Here you’ll see tigers, birds, reptiles and more. Around the trail there are animal experts that are happy to answer any of your questions about the animals or teach you something you might not have known before.

Maharajah Jungle Trek Tiger one of the best attractions at Animal Kingdom. Walt Disney World Resort.

Be sure to get to these before late afternoon because they typically close a few hours before the official park closing time. For the most up to date info be sure to ask a Cast Member or check out the My Disney Experience app.

6. Na’vi River Journey

One of the most underrated attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Na’vi River Journey. The slow moving boat ride is located right next to Avatar Flight of Passage, who ends up getting all of the love in Pandora.

Animal Kingdom Avatar World Mountains

Na’vi River Journey takes you through the dark forests and waterways of Pandora to see the Shaman of Songs.

Shaman on Avatar Ride at Disney Animal Kingdom. One of the best animal kingdom rides.

While the ride is not thrilling, it is visually stunning and the Shaman is so lifelike for being an audio-animatronic.

Even though this is on this list of favorites, I would not wait more than 30 minutes to ride. The best time to wait the least amount of time is right before the park closes.

7. Kali River Rapids

Hot summer days in Florida mean that you simply must get on a water ride to cool you down. At Animal Kingdom that means hopping on Kali River Rapids.

Animal Kingdom Kali River Rapids. One of the best animal kingdom rides.

The raft ride groups you together with other riders to go past forests that have been destroyed and burned due to deforestation.

Along the way you’ll go over large falls and you WILL get wet.

You’re definitely going to want to bring a poncho on this ride, or do what we do and make this the last ride of the afternoon before going back to the room to rest for a while.

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3 Best Tips for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Before I wrap up this Disney ride list, let’s go through my top tips for your trip to Animal Kingdom.

DINOSAUR Entrance with Dinosaur in the garden at Animal Kingdom. One of the best rides at Animal Kingdom.

1. Get to the park early, or stay late.

Even though you can definitely make the park a whole day event, it’s not necessary to get there in the very early morning and stay until the last guest leaves to get everything done.

Animal Kingdom African Village men in Harambe singing

You really only need 6 to 7 hours if it’s not a super busy day. So plan to either arrive early, or stay late, there’s no need to do both like you would at Magic Kingdom.

2. Search out Single Rider Lines.

A few of the attractions at Animal Kingdom have Single Rider Lines, including Expedition Everest.

Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest. One of the best rides at Animal Kingdom.

Hop in this line if you want to try for a shorter wait, though there’s no guarantee the wait will actually be less.

3. Don’t skip seeing animals.

One of the best parts of a day at Animal Kingdom is seeing animals. Disney is constantly changing up exhibits and sometimes you might even see a brand new baby animal out in the park.

Animal Kingdom African Safari with rhinoceros and zebra eating hay. One of the best rides at Animal Kingdom.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Animal Kingdom Rides

There you have it! Those are the best rides and attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Did I leave one your favorites off of the list?

Let us know in the comments section below!

7 best rides at Disney's animal kingdom
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We, here at ThemeParkHipster, hope this guide is helpful as you plan your day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. For more tips and tricks about your favorite theme parks be sure to follow us on YouTube!

About the Author

Megan DuBois Theme Park Writer

About the Author

Megan is a theme park expert and frequent traveler to magical places. She covers all things Disney and Universal and runs marathons for fun.

She thinks you can tell a lot about someone by the name of their signature lipstick, and hers is NARS Dragon Girl.

UP NEXT: Animal Kingdom for Adults: Full Travel Guide

(Original Article Date: February 16, 2021/Updated by Editor on June 23, 2022)

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