One Day in Animal Kingdom [What You Should Do!] – 101

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great destination that combines the theme park and zoo experience. But what if you only have one day to spend there? This post covers how to plan your one day in Animal Kingdom!

One Day in Animal Kingdom

  • Pros and Cons of Animal Kingdom being a “one-day” park?
  • Animal Kingdom is a combo of a theme park and zoo/animal encounters
  • To Genie+ or not to Genie+, that is the question
  • Advice for IA Prep/Lightning Lane Selection
  • When to get to the park, how to use that first hour or so
  • Advice for the different areas of the park (Pandora, Africa, Asia, Dinoland USA)
  • Dining at AK (our picks/suggestions)

Animal Kingdom Attractions

Genie+ Individual Attractions:

  • Avatar: Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest (not currently open)

Genie+ Lightning Lane Attractions:

  • Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug
  • Animator’s Experience
  • Feathered Friends show
  • Dinosaur, Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Na’vi River Journey.

Question: What is your must-do in Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group!

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Ryan and Shayne are both Travel Advisers with Creating Magic Vacations, an authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Feel free to reach out to us for a free quote and to start making magical memories.

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Episode 101 Transcripts

Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence, so there are likely some highly amusing translations!

Ryan: Hello, and welcome to All Things Travel. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great destination, which combines a theme park and zoo experience. There’s so much to do and see, but what if you only have one day at this park will help you map out an unforgettable day at Animal Kingdom. You’re listening to All Things travel episode 1 0 1 original air date, March 23rd, 2022

So Shayne, what do you think the pros and cons are of looking at Animal Kingdom as a one-day park?

Shayne: Pros: Expedition Everest is one of my favorite rides and Orlando

Ryan: Uh huh.

Shayne: cons would be not going to one of the. Parks. This is just not one of my favorite parks

Ryan: Okay. All


Shayne: one. I would recommend that this person that only has one day to go to Disney visit, unless they want to see the cool theming on the expedition Everest ride, or if they love zoos and want to see a lot of animals, then Yeah.

this might be the park for you.

Ryan: Yeah. I certainly think if you’re not as keen on classic Disney, I really think this is a good entry park for somebody who wants to take their smaller children to Disney and spend the day fighting the crowds and magic kingdom. I think it’s, I think it’s a really good park for a lot of ages, especially younger kids because of the animals.

I think a con is. I don’t know if there’s enough to do, to justify one day here, which I, I know not everybody’s gonna agree with, but you know what? We’ll talk about it today. You know what we’ll we’ll talk about. What is it like to go to this park? Focus on this park for one day, if that’s your time at Walt Disney World,

Shayne: It would be a good park. If you want to have a nicer, easier day, it’s a bigger park. So you’re going to get in more steps and there’s not as much that people are wanting to see and do like at magic kingdom or at cot. So the crowds might be less in the bigger footprint,

Ryan: Well, before we get to that, before we get into this park, Shayne, where in the world is all things travel.

Shayne: Waverly, Ohio.

Ryan: Welcome, Ohio. Thanks for listening.

Shayne: We visit there. We can go hang out at Denny’s doghouse. Another cool name. I think Denny’s

Ryan: I like it. Yep. I like it. I bet there’s a menu item called the Denny dog.

Shayne: There should be right. A hot dog with just all kinds of crazy

Ryan: Yeah. Yep. I like it.

Some chili and Fritos and a pickle relish and all sorts of good stuff.

Shayne: If you eat the whole thing, you’d get a T. If they don’t have that, they might start doing it now.

Ryan: There you go. I like it. Well, Waverley, thank you so much for listening to all things travel. Do me a favor, reach out to Shayne and I on Facebook or on one of our emails, we would love to say hi and get your address because I have a nice little gift to send you for being a listener of all things.

Shayne: And to make sure that you here, “Where in the World is All Things Travel” next week. Be sure to subscribe to the show so that you never miss any of our travel tips, travel ideas, or travel stories.

Ryan: right, Shayne let’s get into Animal Kingdom. And like I said, in the introduction. Animal kingdom to me is really a combination of a theme park and a zoo. There are rides and attractions, but there’s also animal encounters that you can actually see up close and, and learn about. I think this is a fabulous park for an animal lover, regardless of their race.

Shayne: And I might’ve spoken, not as complimentary of it earlier as other parts, but that’s just comparing it to the other three Disney parks. So if you’re going to compare it to any other park in the country, then absolutely.

Ryan: Yeah. So my first question is, do we genie plus, or do we not Cheney? Plus if we have one day here, is it worth edginess plus?

Shayne: If you have the extra money to spend sure. Go ahead. Otherwise I would say

no, you

Ryan: the answer always.

Shayne: Yeah. But in some cases for the other parks, I’m going to say it’s your one day there. Go ahead and take advantage of getting some lightning lane reservations at those other parts, but this one, I don’t know, unless you just have that extra money to spend.

I think you’re okay. Using the without genie plus and using that to get through.

Ryan: I agree. I think this is a park where you could decide not to use Genie Plus, just to give people a reminder, the individual attractions that you can get our card here. Our Avatar Flight of Passage Expedition Everest, the Lightening Lanes, our Celebration of the Festival the Lion King. It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Animators Experience, the Feathered Fringe Show.

So those are all shows the other attractions and our dinosaur Callaway river rapids, Kilimanjaro safari, navvy river journey. So I think overall. One of the things that you have to think about with this park, whether the genie plus or not is, just not as much to do. Obviously you may go to a couple shows.

You’re going to want to focus on the attractions, but I don’t think you need Cine plus here, as much as you do at the other parks, like you were saying,

Shayne: I agree. And I do have a recommendation for an individual attraction if you want to purchase that. But as far as genie, plus I think you can skip it this


Ryan: So advice for individual attraction, preparation or lightening lane selections, I think with the lightening lane selections, if you are doing Jeannie pluses, follow advice that we’ve given the last couple shows on this, take your top three and choose one of those with the idea that you’re going to rope drop one of the others.

What would that would that play out here, Shayne?

Shayne: That’s exactly what I was thinking. And then there’s probably particularly. That I would do for each of them.

Ryan: Yeah, I think for me, if I had not written flight of passage several times, I would pay the money for an individual attraction for flight of passage. And then I would plan to either if I was getting genie, plus would get a lightning lane for the. Or I would plan on going to the safari. First thing, if I had an individual attraction for flight of passage.

Shayne: That’s exactly what I would do. I think I would lean towards rope dropping the safari just to it earlier when it’s cooler it gets too hot. the animals will be more active.

Ryan: No, they are. I have found in the mornings, our safaris have been better than in the afternoon. definitely,

you know, the, the

Shayne: else that secret, just

Ryan: right, exactly, exactly. You know, I think you’re going to find that the other rides just aren’t going throughout the day and you may have to wait, you know, you may have to let that first push of folks through at the beginning of the day, but I think you’re going to find that the wait times are more amenable, especially if you are staying on pro.

And you have that extra half hour in the morning. I think you’re not going to find the genie pluses as, vital here. What about Shayne thinking about those shows that animal kingdom has? So I’m looking at the celebration of the festival, the lion king, it’s tough to be a bug animators experience.

Feathered friends show. Are any of those family favorites for you all?

Shayne: We are huge fans of the Lion King. Our kid was Timon a few years ago in a local production at a church. And we just love the Lion King that would easily be our top.

Ryan: Yeah, I would say if you’re juggling, which show should I go to for us, the festival of the lion king rises above here. And one thing to consider if you do have small children, And our choosing Animal Kingdom for that, it’s Tough to Be a Bug, the show and Dinosaur the Ride can be very intense for four Kids.

So keep that in mind that if your kid is a little unsure, a little timid, I would not take them to, it’s a tough to be above.

about the different areas of Animal Kingdom, Shayne you’ve got Avatar or Pandora, um, you’ll hear that name kind of interchangeably. You’re going to want to spend a good amount of time here just because of the theming, but to tell you the truth, we were actually at Pandora the first weekend that.

So it opened on a weekend and we were there like directly after it. And my wife had scheduled in half a day. Could she’s like, oh, this is brand new. We’re going to want to check it out. And it was kind of like, this is it. You know, it does not have that feeling like bet to where you get lost in it.

I’m not saying it’s not cool. It’s very cool. But you’re going to want to spend some time, checking it all out, certainly going on now, the river journey and flight of passage. These are some of my favorite snacks here with the night blossom at, uh, PON Groupon, GU. You’re not going to spend as much time here dedicated as I think you will.

In other parks, in other specific areas.

Shayne: And it could be that Disney had planned for What it is way back when they built Pandora. But like we said before, I think that the Wizarding World up to the game for all amusement parks for immersion, and if the Wizarding world had built before Pandora, it probably would have been a lot better with


in competition for that.

Ryan: So Africa and Asia are two other parts of Animal Kingdom. I love walking through Africa. I think it’s just the coolest, I think it’s that Heran bay village, Shayne, I think is one of the best themed areas in all voltage.

Shayne: I would say it compares with any of the worlds in the World Showcase at Epcot.

Ryan: Yeah. Yeah, no, it is absolutely amazing. You can get great photos. There’s good musical kind of street acts going on there. There’s good shopping. You know, this is not a place to rush through both Africa and Asia. They have really taken the time to. Immerse themselves, you know, this is Joe Rody at his absolute best.

And Joe Roadies, a Disney, a ma, or was a Disney Imagineer. If you’re not, if you’re unfamiliar, just unbelievably amazing.

Shayne: Definitely take your time going through these areas and take it all in.

Ryan: Kali river rapids is a great ride in the Asia area. You will get wet. So if that’s something you don’t want to do, you’re going to want to take a poncho with you. But if you don’t mind getting wet, there’s lockers there, um, where you can store your stuff for free. then we’ve got the, Dyno Land USA area.

W what does your family think of Dinah Land USA?

Shayne: My wife and kids love the Dinosaur ride. At the time, they thought that Expedition Everest might be a little intense for

Ryan: Uh, huh.

Shayne: The dinosaur ride over and over again while I went and wrote Expedition Everest a few times. So we loved it and I really miss Primeval Swirl.

Ryan: That was a fun ride.

Shayne: I, I don’t know. What did, what did it do wrong? Why did they have to get rid of it?

Ryan: You know, this is kind of a weird area for me, kind of like the carnival kind of, I just, I’ve never quite figured it out. I will say though, the first time that we went, my son and daughter were young enough that they went to the boneyard play area and they could have stayed there. I mean, my son could have stayed there.

So, you know, that’s something, if you’re going to animal kingdom, you don’t need a Lightening Lane, you don’t need to individual attraction. You can just have your kid play at the Bone Yard. And it’s a great way to let them blow off some of that steam. But, I think overall, you’re going to find that you’re going to spend a less of a full day Animal Kingdom.

And unless you intentionally. Want to go to not only see these different areas, but also see the animals. That’s one thing we haven’t talked about yet. This is almost a full blown zoo on top of the theme park, you have animal, animal encounters and attractions throughout the park. And then you also have, I think is one of the best kept secrets.

Unfortunately, with planet watch. Have you ever gone out there?

Shayne: I have not done Rafiki’s planet watch.

Ryan: It is really cool. It asserts with one of your favorite things, a train ride, and you actually go by some of the animal habitats out to a completely separate part of animal kingdom. And they have a whole bunch of animal education out here. So this is where they do some of their medical treatments. And sometimes you can actually watch those and learn about how they take care of the animals.

There’s a small petting zoo out here, and this is also where the animator’s, activity is. So it’s one of those things that people don’t think a lot about. the time to do it. It can really add to your day, especially if you have kids who are animal lovers and want to learn about animals.

It’s a really cool place to go.

Shayne: Speaking of animals and dinosaurs. Is it true that in the original concept for Animal Kingdom, that there was a plan to have more dinosaurs sort of Jurassic park, like in the dinosaur area. And maybe they didn’t go through with that. And that’s why that dinosaur section is a little sparse.

Ryan: Yes, I think so. I definitely, there was talk of doing a variety of things with animals i, at one point there was even talk of having a mythical animal section, in Animal Kingdom. I don’t know about you. I kind of like the balance between theme park, animals, conservation, and world culture that they’ve struck with, with animal kingdom, which is to be honest, one of the reasons why I don’t think of Dinah way and USA all that much, because I think more about Africa and Asia and even Pandora, even though it’s a fictional area, I think it just fits there.

Shayne: Yeah.

already got a Jurassic park up the street in Orlando. I would prefer sticking with more natural,

Ryan: Yeah.

Shayne: animals for Animal Kingdom.

Ryan: So dining at animal kingdom. It’s almost a no brainer that my family will go to canteen, which is the quick service in Pandora. We just, we love the food that they offer there. It’s a little more. And it’s well, it’s individualized. Cause you kind of create your own bowls with different, grains and you can have salads.

You can have rice, you can have noodles and then you add the protein that you want and the sauce that you want. So it feels a little healthier. It feels a little more interesting than regular theme park food. So we tend to almost always go there. Flame Tree Barbecue, I really liked. Not the best barbecue on property, but it’s pretty solid it’s a nice place to eat.

I like eating outside there. And then I would say yak and Yeti is probably the winner for table service dining. They have a really good, eclectic world menu. And then there’s also a quick service version right outside. So if you’re not wanting to go sit down or you weren’t able to get a reservation, but are really my heavy hitters when it comes to animal kingdom and eating.

Shayne: Yak and Yeti is definitely the one that I hear the best reviews

Ryan: Yeah.

Shayne: the one that most clients request dining reservations for.

Ryan: Yeah.

it’s very, very good. And last suggestion, if you want to have a character meal experience, do not sleep on Tusker House. think it’s the best option for a character meal because it’s in a park. You get to see some of the classic characters. You get to see them in different outfits because they’re in their safari gear and the food is a lot more interesting than it is at a place like chef Mickey’s or, or other places like that.

I think that’s a really, really good place to have a breakfast or a lunch. If you’re wanting character, dining.

Shayne: That is good to know. Cause most people visiting Disney want to where the best character experiences are. So that’s great

Ryan: Yeah. I have. Suggested that to multiple clients and the ones who have chosen that have not been disappointed. I’ve never had anybody come back and say, I would have, I wish we would have gone someplace else. So that’s really my go-to including my family. Our upcoming trip, we have several character meals and Tusker Houses is certainly on that one. So Shayne to wrap up, what’s your biggest piece of advice when planning your day for animals?

Shayne: Remember that it’s a big park. going to get a lot of steps in one would be a park. You would plan out a little more so that you’re not walking back and forth across the bigger park. I didn’t think to mention this earlier, but when we’re talking about lightening lanes and what to do, first, one of my big bucket list destinations is Namche Bazaar in Nepal. So I love the queue for Expedition Everest. And if you wanting to skip lines or get shorter lines, even though they have a single rider line for expedition Everest, that’s one of the rides that you want to experience the queue for because of setup they have for the Nepalese theming all the way up through the queue, the museum for the Yeti. just awesome.

Ryan: Yeah, no, totally. Totally agree. I think for me, my biggest piece of advice is don’t forget about the. don’t forget about the exhibits and the areas where the animals are, because it’s very easy, a Disney fashion to rush past things, to get to that next big attraction. And I guarantee the first couple of times, or maybe every time your family visits, your kids are going to want to spend time looking at those animals.

Shayne: And in this case, when we say that place is a zoo, we made it in a good way.

Ryan: Well, Shayne and I would love to help you plan your next vacation to animals. As you know we’re both travel advisors for Creating Magic Vacations, and you can reach out to us at R Y A N at or S H A Y N E at

Shayne: Most families are confused and overwhelmed. When planning a vacation, work with you to plan a trip that’s perfect for your interests and saves you time, money, and stress.

Words are not coming to my head today. The