Hot Take: Animal Kingdom is a Full Day Park
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Animal Kingdom at night is severely underrated.
Animal Kingdom gets a bad rep — maybe it’s because people don’t like the theming, or maybe it’s because they don’t like the attractions. Truthfully, I’m not going to pretend to understand why people don’t love Animal Kingdom. In my opinion, Animal Kingdom is a full day park.
Yup, I said that, I’ll let you take it in. You need the entire day to do Animal Kingdom.
I’ll admit there are some parts about DAK that are a little, well, confusing. And a person only ever needs to do It’s Tough to Be a Bug once in their life before they realize it’s not great. BUT, the good parts of DAK outweigh the bad.
I love a good rope drop and while Mickey and the gang may not ride out on a train to welcome you inside, you still get to walk into DAK and see the Tree of Life in all its glory. Plus if you want a picture, this is about the only time you’ll get one with minimal people in the background. Rope drop is also a good time to ride those E-ticket attractions, like Avatar Flight of Passage, before the lines get crazy long.
Now that we’re inside Animal Kingdom, let’s talk about the attractions. DAK literally does it all! They have fancy attractions like Flight of Passage, thrill rides like Expedition Everest, and just a good ole fashion African safari — come on that’s pretty cool. Similar to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom evokes nostalgia in their guests with the fan-favorite Festival of the Lion King. You can’t tell me that show doesn’t make you want to get up and dance. And everyone remembers the first time they rode DINOSAUR and screamed during the picture — now it’s just fun to yell “We’re not gonna make it!” alongside Dr. Seeker. People hate on DINOSAUR too much, but that’s an opinion no one is ready to hear. And I’ll say it now, if you haven’t ridden the Kilimanjaro Safaris or Expedition Everest at night you are REALLY missing out.
One of the reasons I love spending the whole day in DAK is because of the food. Now it’s not Epcot, but I think DAK has the second best food out of the parks. The pulled pork mac and cheese and the Mo’ara Margarita are literally to die for.
If you’re missing DAK’s delicious food, check out our recipes and reviews for Street Corn and POG Juice.
I think the two main reasons people don’t love to spend all day at DAK is because they don’t think there’s enough to do and there isn’t a lot of kid-appeal due to the lack of IP. But I beg to differ, most rides in DAK are worth riding at least twice and you can walk around and see some pretty cool animals. I will agree that the one thing DAK is lacking is a good nighttime show. If Disney wants to draw a nighttime crowd to DAK, they need a Happily Ever After-level show. I think seeing the Tree of Life Awakens is pretty worth it, but it could use some more wow.
Maybe I won’t be able to sway you to carve out an entire day at Animal Kingdom. But I think it’s worth experiencing Animal Kingdom at night at least once — so you can hit another park in the morning, but don’t miss out on the magical after hours of Animal Kingdom.
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