Rides at Animal Kingdom

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Rides at Animal Kingdom

Welcome home! Whether you’re a first-time visitor of Animal Kingdom or a seasoned Disney Vacation Member, knowing what you want to do at a Disney World park can sometimes be overwhelming. Therefore, I have created this guide to give you some guidance to help manage/prioritize the chaos of your vacation planning! Keep in mind these are my personal preferences.

Animal Kingdom is a wild and wonderous park where nature comes alive and adventures await around every corner! It is a place that will leave you roaring with happiness, no pun intended of course.

Whether you are on the back of a banshee flying through Pandora or splashing around the Kali River Rapids; I will walk you through my top five best rides at Animal Kingdom.

Buckle up, hold on tight, and let’s embark on on a journey filled with untamed beauty!

Navi River Journey

Flickr: Scott Smith

5. Na’vi River Journey

“O Eywa!”

This is a serene boat ride through the bioluminescent forests of Pandora, home to the Na’vi from Avatar. It can be one of those attractions you and your party jump on when you want to escape the heat and just relax for a little bit.

As you approach the attraction you are immediately transported to the world of Pandora. The queue winds through a dense forest canopy with vibrant plant life and otherworldly sounds rounding off the atmosphere. The attention to detail in this area of the park is astounding. Every leaf, vine, and rock seems to be meticulously crafted to immerse guests in the world of Avatar!

You will soon board a small, reed boat that will gently escort you down the waters of the Na’vi River. The boat alone will make you feel like you are a part of the world you are experiencing.

Throughout the ride you will float through multiple caves and a rainforest. The entire landscape shimmers with radiant colors that dance across the water’s surface. Sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of all the exotic creatures and plants all around you. Be sure to look above you too or you might miss something!

You will eventually come across the Na’vi Shaman of Songs who will leave you spellbound by her mesmerizing performance. The fluid, lifelike movements of the animatronic figure are definitely something to see too!

Na’vi River Journey is, without a doubt, a testament to Disney Imagineering’s unparalleled skills in creating an immersive environment.

This attraction has no height or age requirement.

Whether you are a fan of Avatar, or simply want an experience to ignite your imagination this is a ride that you want to make time for!

Kali River Rapids

Flickr: blazeowner

4. Kali River Rapids

Namaskāra!

Need a refreshing splash that offers excitement and thrill? Head down to the Kali River Rapids!

Walking up to the attraction you are sent to the jungles of Asia. You will experience a vibrant rainforest, complete with towering bamboo, exotic flora, and ancient ruins. Be sure to pay attention to the detail and some of the carvings of the ruins!

Once you reach the end of the queue line you will be loaded into a circular raft that seats up to 12 adventurers. Don’t worry about your belongings getting wet along the river as the center of the raft is a hub for storing your things. You on the other hand… well, I hope you did not plan on being dry by the end of the adventure.

The tranquility of being on the water quickly fades to the roaring rapids, swirling currents, and sudden drops as you navigate through the treacherous waters of the Kali River. With every twist and turn you will be drenched by towering waterfalls and crashing waves. There is plenty of unpredictability that gives the attraction a new experience with every ride.

Kali River Rapids also delivers subtle messages about the importance of environmental conservation and the fragile balance of ecosystems. So in between the thrills and spills, pay attention to some of reminders they give to riders.

This ride requires that adventurers are 38in (97cm) or taller.

If you want to escape into the heart of the jungle on a thrashing river or maybe cool of from the Florida heat then this water ride offers something for everyone!

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Flickr: HarshLight

3. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Hakuna Matata!

This attraction allows guests to experience the untamed beauty of the African savanna. You will encounter majestic wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and the wonders of nature along the way. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must ride for me and my family. Everyone from the kids to the adults love it!

The setting of this attraction is truly remarkable and make you feel like you are in an actual open-air safari vehicle cruising the African wilderness.

Throughout the safari you will be greeted by an array of exotic animals that are roaming freely in their natural habitats. You will see anything from giraffes and zebras, to elephants and lions! Around every corner brings a new and exciting encounter with some of Africa’s most iconic inhabitants. Be sure to have your camera ready because the close proximity of the animals allow for some astonishing photographs!

Your safari guide will be full of knowledge and provide fascinating insights into the behaviors, habitats, and conservation efforts surrounding the animals. They will cover anything from simple facts to the challenges that the various animals face in the wild. The added layer of education makes Kilimanjaro Safaris more depth and meaning to the overall experience.

If you are looking to catch the animals at their most active then a morning expedition would be the best time. However, an evening expedition allows guests to experience an African savanna sunset. It is all up to your preference. My family and I have always aimed to go early in the morning as our first stop and has never disappointed!

There is no height or age requirement for this attraction.

This journey through the African savanna is perfect for anyone that is a wildlife enthusiast, nature lover, or simply someone looking for an adventurous experience. So grab your binoculars, hop aboard, and prepare for a wild time!

Expedition Everest

Flickr: Jennifer Lynn

2. Expedition Everest – Legend of the forbidden mountain

Have you seen the mythic Yeti?

This is the ride for the thrill seekers like myself. It is a high-speed adventure through the snowy peaks and treacherous terrain of the Himalayas. You will encounter quite a few surprises and maybe even a visit from the legendary Yeti along the way.

Walking towards the attraction you will notice the towering peak of the Forbidden Mountain that dominates the skyline. Once you are in the queue you will wind through a Tibetan village that is littered with intricate artifacts that hint at the mountain’s fabled past. The attention to detail, just like everywhere else in Disney World, immerses guests into the rich storytelling and sets the stage for an epic adventure.

Guests will board a rugged expedition train that you must trust to carry you through the heart of the Himalayas. As your journey begins with a slow climb up the mountain, be sure to look around you at the sprawling landscape of Disney World. You might even be able to see the Epcot ball!

The ride is full of twists, turns, and unexpected surprises as your train shoots you through steep drops and dark tunnels. I will leave it at that so I do not spoil the rest of the ride for you. However, this a fast and intense experience and overall I probably would not recommend it for any children riding a rollercoaster for the first time.

This ride requires any expedition seeker to be 44in (112cm) or taller.

If you are looking for your typical adrenaline rush, or want to experience an iconic attraction then I would give the Himalayas some of your time. So strap in, hold on tight, and get ready to conquer the Forbidden Mountain and the secrets within!

Avatar Flight of Passage

Flickr: Wally Gobetz

1. Avatar Flight of Passage

Kaltxì

This is hands down the best ride and experience within Animal Kingdom in my personal opinion. Guests will get to fly high through the skies of Pandora on the back of a banshee. James Cameron’s “Avatar” is truly brought to life in Avatar Flight of Passage.

Just as the rest of The World of Avatar, the queue line winds through a bioluminescent forest, covered with towering flora, and unique lighting effects that create an enchanting atmosphere.

Once guests reach the boarding area you are paired with your very own banshee – a majestic dragon-like creature native to Pandora (if you did not know). You are then placed into a state-of-the-art link chair which connects you to your Avatar, allowing you to experience flight through their eyes and senses.

Your banshee launches you through the skies of Pandora, soaring over towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and lush valleys. The sensation of flight is truly breathtaking as the winds race past you. The sights, sounds, and smells (yes, even smells!) of Pandora unfold in all directions.

You will truly feel connected to the world as you float through the Valley of Mo’ara and dive beneath the surface of the ocean. Your banshee will also come alive as you feel it breathing during your tour through the World of Pandora. The immersion tactics and visuals with this attraction are otherworldly and makes this a must ride!

This ride requires any riders to be 44in (112cm) or taller.

If you are looking to experience the exhilarating sensation of flight across Pandora through the eyes of an Avatar, then this is a ride for you! You will not be disappointed!