Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida is more than just a theme park and home to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and fan favorite Disney's Animal Kingdom. Of the five very different yet astounding parks, Animal Kingdom is the most recent addition as it was constructed in 1998. The Animal Kingdom combines traditional elements of other parks such as rides and Disney characters with the added component of live animals. Because of this, it is the only park at Disney World to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Located in the Pandora -- The World of Avatar section of Animal Kingdom, the Na'vi River Journey is one of the newest rides in the park. It is also one of the most captivating rides as you float through a bioluminescent rainforest in search of the Na'vi Shaman of Songs. Be sure to pay close attention to the unbelievable finale.
Perhaps the most classic and iconic ride at Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest stands the test of time. This Mt. Everest-themed roller coaster goes both forward and backward and even encounters a life-sized yeti. Make sure to hit up this ride early as the line to get on tends to be one of the longest in the park.
Another Avatar attraction so high on our list might surprise you, but the recent addition of Avatar-themed rides will take your breath away. Avatar Flight of Passage is considered by some as the best ride in all of Disney World and features a simulated flight through Pandora. This 4-D experience activates all your senses as you hear the noises of Pandora and feel the salty sea spray on your face.
Animal Kingdom isn't just about it's detailed and thrilling rides; it is also home to some fantastic live performances. One such show is Festival of the Lion King. Acrobats, singers and tribal performers will wow you in this Lion King-inspired theatrical show. This is a great option for the little ones who aren't tall enough for some of the rides yet.
The beloved animated film Finding Nemo takes to the stage in Finding Nemo: the Musical at Animal Kingdom. While the acting is amazing in this show, the real stars are the puppets and the creative way they are manipulated. The large theater makes getting into the show easy, although you may want to use your Fast Pass to get the best seat.
Disney World has perfected the art of making education fun. Case in point: It's Tough to be a Bug, the 3-D film that teaches youngsters about insects using the cast of A Bug's Life. This is a great option for children too young to go on the big kid rides. Make sure to keep an eye out for surprise interactive moments.
If you have spent your morning sitting at shows or on rides, get your steps in at the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, a walking trail formerly known as Pangani Forest. However, this isn't your average walking trail as you will get to witness real-life gorillas and hippos as you stroll.
Audio animatronics serve as the basis for this prehistoric ride in Dinosaur and Animal Kingdom. Before the ride, watch a hilarious pre-show video that will get you excited for your dino exploration. Animatronic dinosaurs dot the track as you ride through and kids and adults alike will enjoy the ride. Note that this ride has a height requirement of 40 inches and it is one of the more popular rides at Animal Kingdom so be sure to get there early.
Again combining an educational show with pure entertainment, UP! A Great Bird Adventure will appeal to the whole family. The characters of Up teach about birds as real-life birds fly overhead. Keep an eye out for the astounding marabou stork with a wingspan of over 10 feet! And after the show, stop by the Club House to meet Russel and Dug from the show.
Kilimanjaro Safari is one of the most popular attractions of Animal Kingdom. On this ride, guests sit in a tram as a guide takes them through a traditional African safari with views of real live animals. View rhinos and giraffes as your guide tells you fascinating facts about the animals. A helpful tip is that the animals tend to be more active when it is a bit cooler out, so avoid the ride during the middle of the day.
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