Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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There are some common misconceptions about Disney’s Animal Kingdom park that unfortunately result in many Disney newcomers making some ill-informed decisions that can really dampen their experience. Today, we’re sharing 7 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid at Animal Kingdom so you can have the best first experience possible!

Mistakes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Avoid

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is a great place to brush up on looking down and working on your ROAR! You can explore the 8th largest zoo in the country on the same day that you explore Pandora- World of Avatar and ride a banshee!

In today’s blog post you’ll find out how to set yourself apart from other Disney World newbies and you’ll also find out what those of us who have been a considerable amount of times, absolutely love about Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

Let’s go sightseeing the majestic creatures located within the park and find out what rookie mistakes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to avoid.

7. Thinking It’s a “Half-Day” Park

This is the biggest misconception people have about Animal Kingdom – and I actually fell for this rookie mistake on our first visit years ago.

While it may have less rides and character experiences than the other parks, there is so much to explore that we still haven’t done it all – and we’ve been going to the parks for years!

Also, because of the sheer size of Animal Kingdom (it’s 3x the size of Magic Kingdom), it takes a lot longer to navigate your way between attractions.

6. Ignoring Pandora

It’s so easy to write off the land of Pandora as just a few rides or something that’s only for Avatar fans.

Once you enter this absolute masterwork of imagineering, you’ll understand why so many of us keep going back to Disney World. The second you walk into this foreign land you’re engulfed into a place where you can ride a banshee, or even bring one home with you!

Flight of Passage is like an enhanced version of Soarin’ (my favorite Epcot ride). I also love the Navi River Journey located inside the land of Pandora. It’s a very enthralling dark ride that is just breathtaking.

I recommend going to Pandora as soon as the park opens since Fight of Passage is one of the few rides at Animal Kingdom that has a line that can get out of hand, fairly quickly. However, don’t forget to go back after nightfall to see this land completely transform into a bioluminescent wonderland.

5. Not Planning to Get Wet

While at many of the other parks, you can quickly nip into a store or find shelter during Florida’s sudden downpours, at Animal Kingdom this isn’t as easy to do.

But the rain isn’t all that’s going to get you wet at Animal Kingdom!

If you plan to ride Kali River Rapids, chances are you’re going to get at least a little bit wet – and I’ve seen people emerge from this ride absolutely soaked!

So not only should you bring an umbrella or poncho – you should also wear clothes that dry quickly. That means this is not the park for your favorite wool sweater or jeans. Walking around the parks in wet jeans all day can lead to some serious blisters.

4. Rushing in Between Attractions

Animal Kingdom has so many hidden nooks and crannies that most guests just walk past – there is so much to explore if you take your time. Walk around the base of the Tree of Life, take the boat ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, pop into Oasis and don’t ignore all those little detours from the main path.

Not to mention, if you’re rushing you probably will miss one of Animal Kingdom’s “hidden character” – Devine.

3. Thinking Dinosaur is a Kid Ride

If you have a timid child (like mine was), this might not be the best ride for them – even if they love all things dinosaurs.

That said, don’t assume that the adults in your party won’t love this ride! It also features a fun ride photo opportunity.

2. Riding Kilimanjaro Safari at the Wrong Time

Kilimanjaro Safari is a pretty unique experience that brings you up close to real wildlife. You get to see roaming the landscape of the Animal Kingdom.

However, if you go at the wrong time of day, the animals could all be asleep or if it’s a particularly sunny day, they could be hiding within the shade. We made the mistake of riding in the early afternoon once and it was pretty disappointing to not see many of the animals and only get to see others sleeping.

The best times to take your safari is either first thing in the morning or right after sundown, when the animals are usually at their most active. 

Also, plan to sit on the outside of the vehicle if you have little ones. This is both a safety precaution and it’s also the best spot if you want to grab some pictures.

1. Not Having After Plans

You should absolutely stay at Animal Kingdom until nighttime if for nothing else, than to view Pandora at night. It is even better at night than during the day.

That being said, Animal Kingdom closes earlier than the other parks and is the park that gets rented out the most frequently for corporate events. So your day at the park may end at 7pm, or it may end at 5pm.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I’m usually pretty wiped after a day at this park (again – so much walking) but I always like to make the most of my vacation time so we tend to book a nice sit-down dinner at one of the resorts or Disney Springs to head to after Animal Kingdom. 

(Of course, you can just head back to your resort and enjoy all of its amenities, too!)


It’s also really important to keep in mind that several Animal Kingdom rides and attractions end hours before the park closes. This is a departure from the other parks where you can enjoy rides or meet characters right up until closing time.

Double check the times for the attractions and experiences you want to prioritize and have a rough itinerary planned. (You can do this using the Genie in your My Disney Experience app or just the notes section in your phone.)

If you’re a thrill-seeker, don’t skip Expedition Everest! It’s one of the most thrilling rides at the parks and it often has a shorter wait-time compared to other coaster rides at the parks.

Avoid these mistakes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I hope this article helps you in avoiding these rookie mistakes. Click here for more info on Pandora within Animal Kingdom! Also, join our Facebook group, DISNEY EXPRESS LANE, here!

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