The Animal Kingdom was the second Disney park we brought our daughter to. We came here on her second trip to Disney and our son’s first. The primary reason for this was because there are a lot of attractions targeting the preschooler age group. If you’re not aware, there are many rides that require a minimum height so be sure to measure your child before planning your vacation. If your next vacation includes children 32” and smaller the Animal Kingdom is the next park to make a part of your adventure, after the Magic Kingdom of course. Be sure to plan on taking in the vast array of stage shows and make an advanced reservation at the Tusker House to make your day at the Animal Kingdom with the littlest of littles memorable. After those things are earmarked into your day take a look at the amount of things you can all do as a family around the Animal Kingdom Park:
This area is so often over looked. It is the entrance of the Animal Kingdom. You walk through the park gates and you find yourself on a path through the wild, surrounded by animals. Birds, wallaby, giant anteaters, boar and more. You simply have to stop and take your time. There are a few pathways to take, for your young one to really enjoy this, take them out of the stroller so they can see better. Because so many people rush through the area I strongly suggest you enjoy this section of the park as you are leaving or at a different point during the day. You don’t want your little ones getting confused in the massive amount of people making their way to Pandora.
Great for the whole family. If you have a family where the kids ages range from young to tween then this is something for everyone. If your kids all fall into the elementary school age and younger category then this would be a skip. Pick up your map and explore Animal Kingdom while earning badges along the way. For families who are returning to the Animal Kingdom this can be an awesome new way to discover this park. If it’s your first time don’t fill your day with too many things by adding this on your list. Because there is so much reading involved in this attraction it is not made for preschoolers but they can certainly participate.
It’s Tough to Be A Bug!
This attraction is a 3D show with the characters from A Bug’s Life. It is very funny but a little scary. There are no heigh requirements because it’s just a show but I find it too frightening for young ones. I remember the first time I saw it, at the age of 14 and it frightened me. If your child is frightened of insects do not bring them on this attraction, if they love bugs and they love being a little scared then bring them along. The walk into the attraction is an adventure of itself, you get beautiful views of the Tree of Life and some animal views.
Discovery Island Trails
Walk around the tree of life and view the wildlife. You’ll see Flamingoes, Otters, Kangaroos, Storks, Lemurs, and more. This can be a great alternative to Kilimanjaro Safaris. You don’t have to wait in line for this, you just walk the trails and watch the animals. Your little one is not stuck in a moving vehicle for twenty minutes.
Tree of Life
Take in this majestic piece of art. Discovery Island is your best place for a picture and the trails around the tree give you the best opportunity to find all the creatures carved on its trunk.
Pandora-The World of Avatar
Na’vi River Journey
If you’re planning months ahead of time you may be able to get your family a FastPass for this new ride. If not the line may be a little too long for a young one to handle. But the ride itself is made for families, a water boat ride through the rainforest.
This trek through the safari has beautiful animals in the closest thing to their natural habitat. You will see elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, all the animals your children know and love. The guide will also give you information about all these animals as you ride by. We’ve not had issues with our kids sitting still on this because the vehicle is constantly moving and we engage with them to keep them interested. By the way, stroller parking for this attraction is close to the entrance so expect your little to have to be carried for a while. Those who have littles under 6 months, bring a carrier so they can be on you for the length of the safari.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
This walk-through trail is lengthy so be sure to bring the stroller around or wear your child. It can also get very hot in this area so be sure you have plenty of fluids. On this trek you will see Gorillas in a very natural setting. One time on this trail we saw a Gorilla running and then bang on his chest and yell. It was terrifying! But thrilling. There are a wide variety of viewing areas and heights. Some of the viewing points will be at your child’s level where as others they’ll need to be lifted up. If you have a monkey fan than this trail is a must.
Wildlife Express Train
Take this 7 minute train ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch (a great place for interactive animal experiences). This is the only way of accessing the Planet Watch. It also opens at 10am which is an hour after the park opens so plan your day accordingly. Your child will have to disembark from their stroller to get on the train. Do this before you get on the train to save time.
It’s a bit of a walk into the main area so strap your kids into the stroller. There will be plenty of opportunity to do some walking and exploring when you enter the interactive area. Be aware that Planet Watch is only open from 10am until 5pm.
Make your way through the trails of Rafiki’s Planet Watch and use the tools to teach your children about conservation.
Located indoors, there are a variety of things here for your child to watch and participate in. From a treatment room, to seeing the animals in the park with backstage cameras that they can control, and the encounter stage. Some of the exhibits here are a little old for young children but there is enough that it’s worth spending a little time exploring the station.
Here your child will have an opportunity to hug and pet a variety of farm animals. Goats, sheep, donkeys, cows and pigs. So if you’re from a farm or a farming community this may not be worth the stop, otherwise this is perfect for their level. Something they can get down on the ground and be apart of instead of just witnessing.
Maharajah Jungle Trek
This trail is lengthy but worth it for the view of the Tigers. You’ll see water buffalo and komodo dragons as well but the main attraction are the Tigers. It gets very warm in here so be sure to have lots to drink. It can get a little crowded so take your time and don’t rush through the crowd.
Located in the hub of the exit from the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Kali Rapids, beside Yak & YetiTM Local Food Cafe, and a few carts and bathrooms. It’s a busy spot but there is lots of room to go close to the witness these monkeys sail across the sky. The gibbons are a kind of monkey and they play around on a very large wooden structure, swinging and singing. Your littles will love this, so plan this as a part of your day to sit and watch these monkeys. Grab a bite to eat or use a snack credit from your dining plan and relax for a little while. Don’t rush your littles past this spot, it may be the highlight of their trip.
This area of the park is made for young ones so expect to spend a large amount of your day here. The dining options are mainly American cuisine with great options for picky eaters. Spend the middle of your day here, enjoy a meal and attractions before naps or in the afternoon post naps.
Fossil Fun Games
There are a variety of midway games to be played here. From tossing games and to smacking games and rolling balls. Some of these games your little will need some help with but others they may be able to do on their own.
Similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Flying Carpets found at the Magic Kingdom, your little can climb aboard and fly around on their very own dinosaur, with your accompaniment of course.
Not really an attraction, go and check out this massive dinosaur. This is a replica of a T-Rex skeleton. Great photo opportunity of a huge dinosaur and your small person.
The best part of the Animal Kingdom for young children. This is a playground with slides for all heights and ages. The ground is turf-like so you can let your kids run wild and not worry about them falling and hurting themselves. Expect to do a lot of exploring yourself as some of these structures are very large and tall. Plus older kids tend to get excited and can bump into littles by accident. Carve out some major time for this spot in your day.
Those are all the attractions your little one can participate in. Talk about a full day. Especially since the majority of them are dependent upon how long you want to take. The Boneyard in and of itself could take up to an hour of your day. So make your plan flexible so your young one can enjoy every part of their day.