A ranked list of the most popular rides and attractions at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom has many rides and attractions for families to enjoy. Ranging from thrilling rollercoasters, shows, to water rides; there’s a plethora of fun things to do while visiting Animal Kingdom. This list is going to rank the most popular rides and attractions in the park, based on multiple factors such as entertainment, creativity and the age-old question: Would we do it again? None of these attractions are “bad” by any means. They’re all popular enough to make the list! Here are eight hand-selected rides and attractions we deemed worthy of ranking today…

Avatar Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage Animal Kingdom

Coming in at number one, Avatar Flight of Passage located in Pandora. If you’ve read our other article ranking the rides and attractions in EPCOT, you might recall a remark about Soarin’ Around the World being “one-upped” by this ride. Though comparing the two, we sometimes wonder if “thousand-upped” is an acceptable saying. This is more than just a ride, it’s an entire experience.

If there is one thing you get to do while in Animal Kingdom, make it this. The fun starts while you’re waiting in line, when Dr. Stevens gives all riders a run-down of what exactly they are about to endure. His quirky personality gets riders excited for their journey flying on the back of a banshee, and experiencing the world of Pandora. This is a simulation ride, involving your visual, olfactory, tactile and auditory senses. Flying on your banshee (wearing 3D glasses of course,) you’ll feel the wind in your face, be sprayed with mists of water, smell the beautiful flowers and more. We truly cannot rave about this ride enough.

The duration of this attraction is 5 minutes and the average wait time is about 110 minutes (almost two hours,) but we promise it’s completely worth it. We’d wait in line for this ride all day.

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest is an exciting rollercoaster with large drops, high speeds and wild effects. You’ll board a speeding train to adventure through the peaks of Mount Everest. One of the most creative aspects of this coaster is that it takes place both indoors and outdoors. After ascending almost 200 feet in the air, you will plunge into the darkness of a cave, where a yeti lurks. After many twists and turns, you find yourself at the top of a hill while the tracks in front are broken. Many first-time riders have no idea this is coming, so if you’re reading this, DO NOT PANIC! The ride is not broken and you will be okay. Unless you have a fear of going backwards, that is. After a short pause where it seems like the tracks have been broken, you’ll race backwards into the darkness and see a large shadow of a yeti “ripping” the track apart. In this time, the track beneath switches and after this scene, you are accelerated back into the light and down a thrilling drop. The entertainment value mixed with the adrenaline of this ride is truly unmatched.

The ride duration is 3 minutes and the average wait time is around 40 minutes.

Pro Tip: Bring a hair-tie on this ride! Not for your hair, but to throw on top of the mountain for good luck!

Festival of the Lion King (A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King)

Lion King Animal Kingdom

This attraction is unlike any other on the list. The Festival of the Lion King is a Broadway-esque show, including: live music, beautiful dancing, funny jokes and more. The costumes are so bright and beautiful, every performer’s makeup is done so professionally and it truly feels like you’re at a Broadway musical. Located in the Harambe Theatre, guests gather “in the round” (seated all around the stage area in a circle,) to witness some of the most entertaining talent shown in Disney.

Festival of the Lion King features songs from the actual Lion King movie as well as songs created just for the show. Being an immersive theatre experience, there have been a few changes due to COVID-19. They’ve temporarily renamed the attraction “A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King,” made changes to the choreography, enforced limited seating and even paused some show elements to keep the audience safe. Even with these changes made, the show is just as magical as ever. Luckily though, Disney has definitive plans for the show to return to normal!

Lasting an entire 40 minutes in an air-conditioned theatre, this is an attraction you don’t want to skip.

DINOSAUR

Dinosaur Animal Kingdom

Back to the more thrilling rides, DINOSAUR is definitely one that’ll make your heart race. Before the ride begins, guests are taken into a room with a large screen. Displayed is a paleontologist explaining that you will go back in time in your time-rover to find the dinosaur who he thinks will give answers to many questions about this species: The Iguanadon. He asks riders to ensure that they can bring this creature back to the present. The catch is, the period he wants to send you back to is the colliding moment of the giant asteroid which destroyed all life on Earth. This race against time will send you through amazing scenes of realistic dinosaurs, meteor showers, twist turns, drops, and leave you mind-blown. While on this journey, you try to survive with the Iguanadon before the asteroid strikes.

This ride is seriously a blast. The duration is 3 minutes and the average wait time is 20-25 minutes.

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom

More information on this attraction can be found in our article “Your Questions About Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris, Answered.” Essentially, you are taken through an “African savanna” by your tour guide who explains a multitude of species that you’ll see on the safari! Some animals include: lions, elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, gazelles, crocodiles and more. The ride vehicles are perfect for large families or parties, considering they are designed to accommodate approximately 35 guests. While this is a fantastic attraction, sometimes it can be a hit or miss, which is why it is ranked number 5. The safari is always different. Sometimes, you’ll see a plethora of animals waiting to show off, roaming around and just going about their day. At other times, you may only see very few animals. Either way, the views of the savanna are enough to enjoy the ride.

This safari has an average wait time of 40-50 minutes and lasts about 22 minutes depending (seeing as each one is different!) One thing we adore about this attraction is that it usually doesn’t close in the rain, and that Florida rain is so unpredictable. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a reliable attraction that anyone can enjoy.

Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids Animal Kingdom

Kali River Rapids is a great ride to visit on a hot day (which in Orlando, is every day.) You’ll set out on a whitewater adventure through beautiful jungle scenery in a large round tube with 12 seats. Spinning through mists of water, geysers and waterfalls; you are absolutely sure to get wet on this one. After rushing through the rapids, you will plunge down a 20-foot drop, resulting in a splash that if anything, will cool you off. The reason we ranked this number 6 on our list is simply because while it’s fun and entertaining, there really isn’t much more to say about it! It’s a repetitive ride for sure, twisting and turning through the rapids up until the drop.

The ride duration is 5 minutes and the average wait time is 30-60 minutes.

Na’vi River Journey

Navi River Journey Animal Kingdom

The reason Na’vi River Journey is ranked number 7 is because while it is absolutely gorgeous, it gets a bit boring after a minute. You are taken on an indoor boat ride, traveling through the mystical bioluminescent forest of Pandora. You will float past many beautiful scenes of glowing nature, while listening to serene music. This is an extremely calming ride, which is ideal for those who want a break from the chaos that is Walt Disney World.

After a few minutes of seeing these glowing scenes, there is a part of the ride that makes it worth adding to this list. The Na’vi Shaman of Songs animatronic is so realistic and simply stunning. Her flowing movements appear as if she’s an actual human, rather than a computerized animatronic. It is breathtaking to watch her move and sing as you pass by. The downside to this is that you really only get to experience this for less than a minute of the ride. One of the best aspects of this attraction besides the beautiful views and animatronics is that it’s indoors, which means it is air conditioned. If you can find any indoor air-conditioned ride in Disney, it would be wise to take advantage of that opportunity to cool off!

Another reason this is near the bottom of our list is the duration comes in at 5 minutes and the average wait time is an hour+, which if we’re being honest, is not worth it.

It’s Tough to be a Bug

Tough to be a Bug

At the bottom of our list is “It’s Tough to be a Bug.” This show/movie is a 3D experience based on the famous Disney Movie, “A Bug’s Life.” One really cool aspect of this attraction is that the theatre is situated in the base of Animal Kingdom’s famous Tree of Life. Other than that, this show can be a bit scary for kids with numerous big “bugs” everywhere, fake spiders drop from the ceiling, and chairs vibrate to create the sensation of bugs crawling underneath. While it may be thrilling for some, we’ve seen one too many kids leaving in the middle of the show. If you’re traveling with a group of adults, however, this is the perfect chance to sit in an air-conditioned theatre.

The attraction lasts approximately 8 minutes with an average wait time of 10-15 minutes.

Well, there you have it! Our list of the eight most popular rides and attractions in Animal Kingdom, ranked. We hope this list will guide you through your day in the park, so you know what’s worth the wait and which attractions you may want to skip. Either way, Animal Kingdom is filled with plenty of other amazing activities, foods and sights as well. Rides and shows are only a small fraction of everything there is to do and see in this park! Now that you have this knowledge, go have a magical day at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

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