Disney's Animal Kingdom Insider Secrets

Here’s a list of some of the insider secrets of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park:

  1. When you first enter the park, pick up a map and a times guide right away, which will tell you park hours and special event times.
  2. Be sure to bring water and sun screen. Having a poncho, umbrella or light raincoat might be a good idea, too, as afternoon rain showers are not at all uncommon in Central Florida, especially during the rainy season (from June through September).
  3. Adults with youngsters too small to ride an attraction may take turns riding. Simply see a Cast Member at the front of the attraction and obtain a Child Swap Pass, which will allow one parent (and any other child who is tall enough to ride) to enjoy the ride while the other sits out with the other child. Then, without waiting in line again, you can swap so that both parents can enjoy the ride!
  1. Many Disney Cast Members are fluent in more than one language – check the lapel pins under their nametags which indicate what languages they speak.
  1. Check the tip board on the corner at Discovery Island® for daily show times and updated wait times.
  1. For full-service meals, it’s best to make reservations in advance by calling 407-WDW-DINE. You can also check for last-minute reservations when you arrive at the park at either Guest Relations or at the desired eatery
  1. Take advantage of Disney's FastPass Service. Simply slip your Park Pass into the FastPass® Service machine to receive an assigned return time and enjoy the rest of the park while you wait. Here’s a tip though – only use the FastPass® Service for the biggest attractions at the park – Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain and the Kilimanjaro Safaris. The other attractions’ lines fluctuate throughout the day, but those rides are sure to always have a long wait! And, plan your FastPass® Service uses wisely – you cannot get another FastPass® Service until your current time is up. So, if your FastPass® Service time is from 3-4 p.m., you cannot get another FastPass® Service until 4 p.m.
  1. The Island Mercantile store at Discovery Island® Area stays open a half hour past park closing.
  1. There are just two ATM at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park – just before the entrance to the park, to the right next to the kennel, and in DinoLand U.S.A.
  1. Be sure to hit up the park’s top two attractions early on, or get a FastPass® Service for one while you wait in line for the other. Our suggestion is to get a FastPass® Service right away for Expedition Everest® Attraction and then head right over to the Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition. It is best to experience the safaris in the morning hours, as all of the animals are out grazing for food. They tend to hide in the shade during the afternoon hours, so keep that in mind!
  1. If you do not get a FastPass® Service for Expedition Everest® Attraction, we highly suggest that you get in the single rider line – just ask a Cast Member to direct you to that line. You may not get to ride with everyone in the your party, but this line is always one of the longest at any of the theme parks, and this will allow you to experience the attraction and move on to other things in the park.
  1. This park does close a lot earlier than all the others, so be sure to keep that in mind if you are planning a day of park-hopping. In other words, do this one first!
  1. Be sure to arrive at the Festival of the Lion King at LEAST a half hour early, as this show is incredibly popular! Once you enter the line, it will divide into two lines – take the one to the right. It is a much shorter line and will allow you to enter the theater quicker once they open the doors. Also, try to sit in the elephant or warthog sections (the two sections that are only about 10 rows of bleachers). If you sit there, you are guaranteed a great view of the action, as the closer you sit, the better. Also, if you sit close to the floor and close to the end of the row, children are more likely to get picked to be a part of the show! Beware though – you may want to sit in at least the second or third row. If you sit in the first or second row, these bleachers are not raised at all and you may have trouble seeing around the heads in front of you!
  1. If you want the rockiest ride on the Dinosaur Attraction ride, try to sit in the back row and to the left of the vehicle!
  1. Save It’s Tough to be a Bug® Attraction for later in the day. It’s very tempting to do this attraction first since it is right at the Tree of Life, but you should never have to wait more than 15 minutes for this show. If the line is longer than that, come back later!