The Ultimate Animal Kingdom One Day Itinerary to See EVERYTHING in 2024

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Are you looking for a Disney’s Animal Kingdom one day itinerary that will ensure that you ride all the popular attractions, try all the best snacks, and get to see all the shows? You’ve come to the right place!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the easiest parks to do in just one day at Walt Disney World. But, that doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot to pack into your schedule! This one day Animal Kingdom itinerary covers everything you’ll need to plan your day including some of the most talk-about rides in Walt Disney World, seeing the live shows that rival Broadway in their performances, a chance to see wildlife up close and personal, suggestions for those who purchase Lightning Lane Multi Pass (on or after July 24th, 2024), and how to tackle the park in a day whether you’re staying at a Disney World hotel or not. Let’s get to it!

Animal Kingdom One Day Itinerary

Animal Kingdom Overview

While Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest theme park in Disney World, a lot of the land has actually been transformed into wildlife habitats for the animals that call the park home. So, the park may take up the most amount of space, but there are not quite as many attractions and things to do as compared to Magic Kingdom.

With fewer major attractions to see and things to do, you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy the Disney World atmosphere. But, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need a strategy going in if you really want to do everything in one day. Before your visit, we recommend picking out your top priorities for the day to ensure that you don’t miss your must-do attractions, especially if you’re visiting during a busy season or the holidays since long lines can really slow down your progress.

But, how do you choose your must-do attractions? Here’s a quick breakdown of rides you may want to prioritize based on who you’re traveling with.

Best Rides for Kids

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has seven major attractions and, while many of them do have height requirements, there are still plenty of fun rides for young kids. If your kiddos are a bit older and have grown to be 44” or taller, then they can ride everything! However, if you can’t get to all of the rides in one day, here are the top attractions to prioritize with little ones.

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • TriceraTop Spin
  • Avatar Flight of Passage (must be 44 inches or taller)
Animal Kingdom One Day Itinerary

Best Rides for Adults

Headed to Disney World on an adults-only trip? You’ll want to check out the most thrilling (and popular) attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Here are the best rides for adults in Animal Kingdom.

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris

Rides to Prioritize With Lightning Lane Multi Pass in Animal Kingdom

While standard standby lines are available at all of the attractions, shows, and meet-and-greet locations in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is a way to skip the long lines and save time with Lightning Lane Multi Pass. This new service replaced FastPass+ in 2021 and is an additional cost on top of your park ticket. However, if you want to ensure that you don’t miss anything in Animal Kingdom during your one-day visit, this could help.

If you do purchase Lightning Lane Multi Pass, you can book your Lightning Lane selections up to 7 days prior to your trip if you’re staying at a Disney World Resort hotel or up to 3 days prior to your trip if not.

However, to make the most of these services in Animal Kingdom, you’ll want to prioritize what rides you make Lightning Lane reservations for first since availability is limited and some rides may “sell out” faster than others. We suggest using our priority list below to help you strategically choose your attractions in an order that will help you do more during your day.

What Rides To Book First With Lightning Lane Multi Pass

Start with priority 1 attractions if you see return times available (even if they’re later in the day!). Then, move to priority 2 rides, and finish with priority 3 rides. Integrating this approach into the Animal Kingdom one day itinerary below will help you accomplish more.

First Priority

  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Expedition Everest
  • A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King

Second Priority

  • DINOSAUR
  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
  • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!

Third Priority

  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug
  • Feathered Friends in Flight

Note that Avatar: Flight of Passage is a Lightning Lane Single Pass. This means that it is not included in Lightning Lane Multi Pass and Lightning Lane entrance can be purchased at a separate cost on the day of your visit.

The Ultimate Animal Kingdom One Day Itinerary

This Animal Kingdom one day itinerary was created for guests who want to do everything in the park with a limited amount of time. Note that the itinerary does differentiate schedules based on guests who have Early Theme Park Entry and those who do not. Guests who opt to purchase Lightning Lane Multi Pass during their day should take into consideration the Lightning Lane priorities above and integrate them into the schedule. You may also want to skip rides that do not appeal to those in your travel party so feel free to customize your itinerary to fit your needs!

Park Opening

To make the most of one day at Animal Kingdom, it’s important to arrive early. If you’re staying at a Disney World hotel, you can take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry which gives you access to the park 30 minutes before it officially opens. We recommend arriving 45-60 minutes before the park opens so that you have plenty of time to scan into the park and take full advantage of the extra time.

Regular day guests won’t be able to enter the park this early, but we still recommend arriving about 30 minutes before park opening to ensure you have enough time to get through security and enter the park.

Once inside the park, where you start your day will depend on whether you’re eligible for Early Theme Park Entry. For those who are, we suggest starting your day in Pandora – The World of Avatar and getting in line for Avatar: Flight of Passage right away. However, if you aren’t able to take advantage of those 30 extra minutes before the park opens, we suggest saving Pandora for later and heading straight to Expedition Everest instead to avoid crowds and long wait times.

Animal Kingdom One Day Itinerary

Morning

For Disney hotel guests who took advantage of Early Theme Park Entry, spend the rest of your morning enjoying Pandora – The World of Avatar. Na’vi River Journey is another popular attraction in the land and there’s so much more to see and explore in the area. And, if you wrap up a little early, head over to Character Landing (which is nearby) and meet Moana and Mickey and Minnie at Adventurers Outpost before lunch.

If you started your day at Expedition Everest instead, we suggest going to meet the characters and starting on the afternoon portion of this itinerary. Save Pandora – The World of Avatar for later in the evening.

Lunch

When it comes to lunch at Animal Kingdom, there are plenty of options to choose from. One of the most popular options is Satu’li Canteen, located in the Pandora area of the park. This quick service restaurant offers a variety of healthy and flavorful options, including customizable bowls with your choice of protein, base, and sauce. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are also available.

We recommend going with something quick for lunch, as table service restaurants can take up a lot of time. And, no matter where you choose to eat, be sure to take advantage of mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app. This allows you to pre-order your meal and avoid waiting in long lines.

Early Afternoon

Get ready because you’re about to do a lot of walking! Start your afternoon off by going to the next Festival of the Lion King show in the Africa area of the park. This show is highly popular, so plan to arrive about 20-30 minutes before the show starts to be sure you get a seat.

When the show is over, head over to Kilimanjaro Safaris and when you get off the ride go to the right and explore the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. This is one of the longest nature trails in Animal Kingdom, so plan to spend some time watching the animals.

After the trail, your next destination isn’t far away! The Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch is right next to the trail’s exit. This one of Animal Kingdom’s hidden gems where you can pet animals, watch Disney’s veterinarians care for the wildlife in the park, and test your Disney character drawing skills at the Animation Academy.

Late Afternoon

By late afternoon, you’ve tackled a lot of the park, but there’s still more to see! As you make your way to the Asia section of the park, stop to explore the Maharajah Jungle Trek, cool off with a ride on Kali River Rapids (if you don’t mind getting wet!), and see the next showing of Feathered Friends in Flight.

Then, keep making your way around Discovery River to see the next showing of Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond! and then head to DInoLand U.S.A. for a thrilling ride on DINOSAUR.

Dinner

After a long day at Animal Kingdom, you might be ready for a good meal. Luckily, there are plenty of dining options to choose from.

If you’re looking for a quick dinner, we recommend eating at Flame Tree Barbecue or Restaurantosaurus. Both of these quick service restaurants are a short walk from DinoLand making it easy to get to the evening portion of the itinerary without wasting time.

For a table service meal, we recommend making a reservation for Yak & Yeti Restaurant or Tusker House. Just keep in mind that these are a bit of a further walk from DinoLand and your dining experience will likely take about an hour or so.

Complete Guide to the Best Disney World Restaurants

Evening

After dinner, head to the front of the park and see the 3D show, It’s Tough to Be a Bug! and walk the Discovery Island Trails if there’s still some sunlight. Once the sun has set, the Tree of Life Awakenings begin, so be sure to stop in front of the Tree of Life and watch as it comes to life with colors, music, and animal projections.

Now, here’s where the Animal Kingdom one day itinerary gets a little different for those who are staying at a Disney hotel versus those who aren’t. Non-hotel guests should end their day in Pandora – The World of Avatar (getting in line for Avatar: Flight of Passage last), whereas hotel guests should end their day with a ride on Expedition Everest. While the park may close at a certain time, the rides remain operating until all of the guests in line have ridden. So, get in line right before the clock strikes park closing and you just might find that you don’t want to wait too long!

Animal Kingdom One Day Itinerary

On your way out of the park, don’t forget to do some shopping! The stores often stay open 30-60 minutes after park closing, so you can pick up a few souvenirs without having to carry them around with you all day.

Late-Night Transportation

After a long day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s important to plan your transportation for the end of the night. Keep in mind that busses stop running to Disney World hotels one hour after park close, so make sure you plan accordingly. However, if you’re driving, you’ll need to make sure you’re back at your car before the parking lot trams stop running one hour after park close.

And, there you have it – a full day in Animal Kingdom! While one day is certainly enough to do almost everything the park has to offer, you just might find yourself excited to come back again…after some much-needed rest, that is.

Comments

What rides and shows are on your must-do list when you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments your best memories from the park and what things you always include in your Animal Kingdom one day itinerary!

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