Disney's Animal Kingdom is the best place in Orlando to walk on the wild side by getting up close to all sorts of animals. This massive theme park is also home to some of the best and most popular rides in all of Walt Disney World. The next time you're looking for fun ways to pass the time while waiting for your FastPass to Avatar: Flight of Passage or Expedition Everest, remember our list of the top 5 things to do at Animal Kingdom, without waiting in line!
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Explore a tropical forest filled with gorillas, hippos, birds and meerkats on this walking path through the heart of Africa that features many animals you won't see on the safari. On your trek, you'll pass through several different types of animal environments, including a dense jungle that monkeys call their home, sprawling savannas populated with zebras and okapi, a large watering hole filled with swimming hippopotamuses and a grassy lowland with majestic gorillas. Before leaving, you must stop to watch the scampering meerkats, always working to dig holes and keep watch on the rocks for incoming predators. These adorable little creatures are always a hit with children. Keep your eyes peeled for Timon and Pumbaa!
Rafiki's Planet Watch
Climb aboard the train in Africa for a behind-the-scenes look at how Animal Kingdom cares for all the animals at the park. On your journey, you'll see some of the animal stables along with other backstage areas for the Kilimanjaro Safari. After arriving, disembark to explore the various areas of Rafiki's Planet Watch. The Conservation Station is a great place to see creatures up close, including snakes and tarantulas. Visit the nutrition center to see how they feed all of the animals at the park. You might even get to see an animal check-up at the veterinary treatment room. Kids love visiting the Affection Section, the only petting zoo inside of Animal Kingdom, where you can pet cute barnyard friends like sheep and goats.
Discovery Island Trails
An area of the park that is often overlooked, here you can find a wide variety of critters that call the roots of the Tree of Life home. The Discovery Island Trails can be found all around the park's centerpiece, the Tree of Life. The trails not only offer close-up encounters with wildlife like kangaroos, flamingos, ring-tailed lemurs and more, but you'll also find a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the park near flowing waterfalls and shaded benches perfect for relaxing. One of the popular creatures that can be found along the trails is the small-clawed otter. These little guys can be seen playing and swimming all day long, and kids get a great view through the underwater viewing area.
Maharajah Jungle Trek
This self-guided walking tour is tucked away in Asia near the Kali River Rapids water ride. On your trek you'll encounter an array of animals from Southeast Asia like exotic bird species, Komodo dragons, giant bats and even tigers! The path is beautifully decorated and the lush jungle surroundings make turning every bend a new adventure. You never know what animal encounter will be next. Recently, the park welcomed two new Sumatran tiger cubs named Anala and Jeda that were born at Animal Kingdom. There are fewer than 500 of these endangered animals left in the wild. The cubs in your family will love watching these cubs run and play with their mother.
In addition to incredible live shows like Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical, you can also catch energetic street performances in Africa and Discovery Island. In Africa, near the Mombasa Marketplace, you may see shows like the Harambe Village Acrobats, Tam Tam Drummers and Burudika, a lively 30-minute music show featuring the infectious rhythms of Afro-pop. Over at Discovery Island, you can dance along to rousing performances in front of Flame Tree Barbecue, including the Viva Gai Street Band and the Discovery Island Carnivale, where guests of all ages are encouraged to dance along to the music in this colorful street party!