Of the many age groups that Disney World caters to Pre-teens and teenagers tend to enjoy Animal Kingdom the least. Your teenagers will like the natural setting well enough to enjoy themselves for a day, but this age group tends to get bored if you try to spend much more time than that at this theme park. Much of the interest comes from exhibits and environments rather than rides.
Animal Kingdom Rides
Your teenagers may be interested in shows, but they will primarily care for the rides. Here are the rides they shouldn’t miss, arranged in order of importance.
- Expedition Everest – a roller-coaster ride through the mountain, including a stint backward, in the dark, in a circular helix. Culminates with the enormous robotic yeti. Height requirement is 44”.
- Kilimanjaro Safari – an outdoor jeep ride, this attraction is the closest thing to a real safari you will find outside of Africa. All the recognizable animals are here, presented in enclosures so cunningly hidden you’ll swear they are free to roam around and attack each other. The journey is bouncy, which adds a nice touch of faux realism.
- Primeval Whirl – a “wild mouse” roller-coaster with little theming, the cars not only move through the track, they spin on their own. Height requirement of 48”
- Kali River Rapids –a raft ride that includes a large drop, soaking many visitors, and a height requirement of 38”.
- Dinosaur –a motion simulator set atop a jeep-like vehicle, placed in the context of time travel to the dinosaurs. Very dark, unusually loud, and exceptionally intense, this ride has a height requirement of 40” but parents are highly advised to exercise discretion. Young children should steer clear or face traumatization.
- It’s Tough to be a Bug – a 3-D movie with theater-level effects. Boys especially will revel at the insectoid theme and the creepy-crawly effects, many of which poke and prod the audience members directly. The attraction is designed to startle, shock, and entertain visitors—in that order.
- Maharaja Jungle Trek – a nature walk, passing by several smaller animal exhibits before culminating in an impressively-themed tiger enclosure. Visitors really feel like they’ve slipped into Southeast Asia in this space.
- Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – a nature walk with smaller exhibits and encounters with silverback gorillas (either across a gorge or behind very thick glass).
- TriceraTop Spin – a classic “spinner” attraction like Dumbo, themed to cartoony dinosaurs. Fortunately, it seldom has a line. Small children always like these rides, despite their limited appeal to adults.
There are really two main attractions at Animal Kingdom which generate most of the lines at this park: Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris. These two attractions along with Kali River Rapids are the three most popular attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We suggest getting to the park early and going on the Safaris then trying to hit Expedition Everest and Kali River in late morning or later afternoon times.
Since the Animal Kingdom shuts down early we suggest adding the hopper option to your Disney World tickets this way you will be able to hop to another park once this park closes.