Animal Kingdom is part zoo, part theme park. When Animal Kingdom was built it broke the mold of the traditional theme park. Large and open, yet with wheelchair access seamlessly integrated throughout, Animal Kingdom offers an exciting experience for seniors. In addition to the attractions listed below, there are a variety of walking trails available in each area. The trails lead to close encounters with a wide variety of animal life, and are all strongly recommended. Much of your day will be spent outside, so be sure to dress comfortably and prepare for the weather.
*Tip* The weather is HOT during the summer, and shade is limited in some areas. Be sure to drink a lot of water, and consider purchasing a spritzing fan. Knowing this we suggest to many guests planning their Disney World vacation packages to think about spending at least two days at Animal Kingdom. By splitting Animal Kingdom up into two days this will allow you to go do something else at Disney during the afternoons when it is the hottest.
This park entrance area serves as your transition from the real world. Several shaded walking paths can be found here, all of which wind their way toward Animal Kingdom’s icon, the Tree of Life. Spend some time here peeking around corners, and you may just come face to face with a friendly animal.
Eventually your stroll through the Oasis will culminate in Discovery Island, which serves as the central “hub” for the park. The major attraction here is It’s Tough to Be a Bug, housed inside the Tree of Life. This 4-D movie adventure is a lot of fun for all ages.
*Tip* Be sure to take some time to examine the carvings on the Tree of Life. Over 320 separate animals are represented. The effect is truly stunning.
Do not miss the Kilimanjaro Safaris. This “two week adventure” (that feels like 20 minutes) takes you into the heart of Africa to visit a surprisingly diverse group of animals.
*Tip* The Safari is best enjoyed either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The animals tend to retreat to nap in the shade during the heat of the afternoon.
*Tip* The Safari vehicles are open, and the ride lasts at least 20 minutes (longer if an animal strays into your path). If it rains while you are out, you WILL get wet. Prepare accordingly.
Two of Animal Kingdom’s thrill rides are housed here, in the form of the Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest coaster. Both are of the decidedly family-friendly variety and may be enjoyed by guests of all ages. Both rides have excellent story lines and are worth a visit. However, due to the nature of the attractions, both carry health restrictions. Be certain that you meet the health requirements before riding.
Asia is also home to the enjoyable Flights of Wonder bird show.
The signature show here is the Festival of the Lion King. Do not miss this show. Part Broadway-style song and dance, part Cirque du Soleil style acrobatics, this tribute to the film is extremely well-done, and a definite must see for guests of every age.
This area of the park is divided into two sections: a carnival area with a midway, and a research and history-based area. The carnival section, styled as an old roadside attraction, is worth a look. Be sure to read the various signs, some are quite hilarious. The rides are fun as well, with a truly exciting “wild mouse” style coaster (health restrictions apply).
Dinosaur! is found in the research side. If you meet the health restrictions, the ride is definitely worth your time. A combination of track-based ride and motion simulator, Dinosaur! sends you back in time to rescue a dinosaur from asteroid impact. The ride is not for the faint of heart.
Finding Nemo –The Musical is one of the best productions on property and is not to be missed.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
This section, accessible only by train, is definitely worth a visit. The twin themes here are wildlife care and conservation. Be sure to visit the petting zoo area, known as Affection Section.
*Tip* Morning is the best time to see veterinary procedures from routine exams to surgery, through a large glass wall. Procedures are narrated by a Cast Member, and questions are welcome.
*Tip* Take some time to examine the enormous wall mural in the main building. Dozens of Hidden Mickeys can be found here.
Animal Kingdom is a large park, best explored at a leisurely pace. Often dismissed as a half-day park by those who visit strictly for rides, Animal Kingdom’s true value is in the often overlooked details. The Imagineers have created a lush world, with surprises around every corner. Take your time in each land. Dress appropriately for the weather, drink plenty of water, and allow yourself to fully absorb the experience. You will not be disappointed.
Many seniors who visit Disney World and Animal Kingdom in particular really like to stay in one of our Kissimmee hotels. They find these properties give them great value for their money, and they are super close to all the attractions.