Special thank you to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the complimentary tickets to visit the park!
We successfully completed our first trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a toddler and a preschooler and had a BLAST! Any time we can plan a trip to the Disney Parks is exciting for us. Animal Kingdom was a whole new venture and experience. We did a little research first (here’s a great blog on Animal Kingdom for Babies & Toddlers) on what to expect and the best places to venture with the little ones. The one thing I love the most about Animal Kingdom is the the SIGNS! Yes, the signs. If you’re not familiar with the parks, I’ll tell you that it’s difficult for a person with little to no sense of direction to keep on a clear path. But at Animal Kingdom there were clear signs to each area that allowed us to navigate with ease and make our FastPass+ times. Hallelujah! So if you’re heading to AK soon or planning ahead, here’s what we loved and the ONE thing you might want to stay away from with little tots.
The first area you walk in to after Oasis is Discovery Island. Here you can walk around the trails and check out some of the animals. The attraction here is It’s Tough to be a Bug!®. (FP+ recommended!) Now, on the map there are symbols to help guide you. While I knew we were taking a chance, we still decided to head into this 3D adventure with a 4 and 2-yr old. Based on the film, A Bug’s Life, this show takes you on a creepy-crawly adventure with periods of darkness, spritzes of water, and gentle blasts of air. My kids (along with some other little tots) weren’t ready for this type of fun. We ended up carrying out our shaking, crying kids. LOL Not really the best way to start off the day. So if you have timid little ones who may be afraid of any of those things then steer clear and head right over to DinoLand USA.
>> RELATED: A Toddler Guide to Magic Kingdom <<
DinoLand USA is the holy grail for babies, toddlers and preschool aged kids. Here you’ll find a carnival type area with games and the equivalent to the Dumbo ride in Magic Kingdom, TriceraTop Spin. The main event for us was The Boneyard, a dinosaur dig-site playground with slides, rope climbing paths, and a sand-rock play area complete with buckets and shovels. I’m pretty sure my kids would’ve loved the Finding Nemo show, but it’s closed this month (Feb 2018) for maintenance. Next time though!
Pandora – The World of Avatar
OK so this was my favorite part (tied with the Safari). This land is just visually spectacular. Be sure to grab a FP+ for the Na’vi River Journey and travel deep into a bio-luminescent rainforest. If you’re heading here in the summer, it’s also a great stopping point to escape the heat. It’s a slow ride, perfect for the whole family and full of lights and tranquil sounds.
Absolutely grab a FP+ for this! The safari ride through the African savanna is a bumpy one but amazing and thrilling for the kids! We saw so many of their favorite animals; lions, elephants, giraffes and some new favorites too! Afterwards head over to the Festival of the Lion King for an exciting musical with songs from the Lion King and plenty of acrobatics! I would also recommend a FP+ for this as well and be sure to get there early. They close off the FP line and fill in whatever seats are remaining in the back through the regular lines. Shows run on every hour and last 30 minutes. (I recently read someone’s tip to not use a FP+ for this show and I completely disagree. Use one and get there early. We did not and had to sit in the last 3 rows. While this was fine for me, my 2 year old couldn’t see most of the show.)
Animal Kingdom has plenty to do for toddlers and preschoolers. We had so much fun and can’t thank Disney enough for allowing us to come on this adventure! We can’t wait to return and check out Finding Nemo when it reopens!
And of course….the highlight of the trip – Souvenirs!!
Tips for ALL Disney Parks
- always apply and re-apply sunscreen
- take a water bottle for each person. No plastic lids are allowed in Animal Kingdom so if your toddler spills easily, don’t forget an insulated straw cup for them. Most restaurants and Starbucks will hand out free cups of ice water that you can use to refill your own insulated cups with.
- pack plenty of snacks.
- always take the stroller. Disney Parks are large and 10 months out of the year it’s super hot. They will get tired.