From an African safari to an alien planet with floating mountains, Animal Kingdom is arguably Disney World’s best theme park. The theming and area design is a step up from the other three parks. Luckily, Animal Kingdom has a ride and attraction lineup that is worthy of that amazing placemaking.

With so many different things to see at WDW’s wildest park, Guide2WDW is here to help with a list of the best rides and attractions at Animal Kingdom. This ranked list will tell you which rides are the best of the best, and which rides you might be fine skipping.

The list is divided into three sections:

  • Rides & Attractions You Can Skip at Animal Kingdom – These attractions either have a very narrow audience (like rides intended only for small kids) or don’t quite have the same level of theming and innovation as other rides.
  • Good Rides & Attractions at Animal Kingdom – These rides give the theme park its character and charm, but they usually aren’t worth a long wait.
  • The Best Rides & Attractions at Animal Kingdom – These are the essential, must-do rides and shows that best represent the Animal Kingdom experience.

#19-17 Animal Kingdom Rides You Can Skip

Only go on these if there is little to no wait, usually under 10 minutes. From a standard spinner to a 3D movie with big downsides, these attractions should be your lowest priority, and many guests will be fine skipping them. The best way to experience these attractions is to kind of stumble upon them and say “Hey, this has no wait, let’s jump on.”

19) It’s Tough to be a Bug!

This is one of the quintessential “one and done” Disney World attractions in my opinion. After going on it once, I’ve had no desire to return to It’s Tough to be a Bug! This 3D show has some merit. There are funny gags, cute songs, and an impressive Hopper animatronic. However, some of the 4D tricks are just unpleasant, from a simulated bee sting (aka a poke in the back), ankle ticklers, and stink bug smell. Personally, those factors are enough to make me say “No thanks” anytime I consider going on this attraction.

18 TriceraTop Spin

Triceratop Spin - Animal Kingdom Toddler Guide - Guide2WDW

This aerial spinner ride is almost identical an experience to Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Magic Kingdom. It’s a great ride for small kids, and it’s one of our recommendations in our Animal Kingdom Toddler Guide. While the ride vehicles are adorable triceratops, there’s nothing much else that sets this ride apart from a standard carnival ride. Seek it out if you have small children, but skip it otherwise.

17) The Boneyard

This playground has an awesome theme for any budding archeologists and paleontologists. The Boneyard has plenty of places to climb and play, which is great for toddlers and little kids who need to have a chance to run around in the middle of their day at Animal Kingdom. What makes this playground extra special are the fossils and dinosaur bones you can dig up. 

For guests with small children, this is a great change of pace attraction. However, other guests can safely skip The Boneyard.

#16-10 Good Rides & Attractions at Animal Kingdom

These are rides and attractions that add to the vibe and character of Animal Kingdom. They aren’t must-dos for every trip I make to Disney World, but they are all worth considering experiencing.

16) Winged Encounters — The Kingdom Takes Flight

With several macaws soaring above the theme park, Winged Encounters — The Kingdom Takes Flight adds a wild and majestic element to Animal Kingdom. It’s been a great addition to the park. However, this isn’t really an attraction that you line up for. The birds fly over the park periodically throughout the day. 

Most likely, you will spontaneously notice the colorful flock flying overhead as you explore the park. The Kingdom Takes Flight is a fantastic part of Animal Kingdom, but it’s not exactly an attraction you can plan on seeking out. Just keep your eyes open and look to the skies!

15) Kite Tails

Disney Kite Tails - Animal Kingdom Show for Toddlers

Kite Tails was equally magical and goofy when it debuted as a standalone show in 2021. In our opinion, it was a great use of Asia’s amphitheater that has been semi-defunct since the closure of Rivers of Light. 

However, Kite Tails has been reworked into more park atmosphere, similar to Winged Encounters — The Kingdom Takes Flight. Instead of a dedicated show with showtimes, the character kites now will sail around Discovery Island throughout the day. It’s a plus for the overall feeling of the park, but it does feel like we lost a bit of the show’s unique appeal with this change. 

14) Conservation Station / Wildlife Express / Affection Section 

Conservation Station has a lot going for it. There’s Affection Section, which is the only petting zoo at Disney World. There are some great educational exhibits. Plus, Conservation Station fully aligns with the park’s mission to help conserve our planet.

One of the plusses of this attraction is also a minus. You have to take the Wildlife Express train to get to Conservation Station. As a fan of trains, I love that this is in Animal Kingdom. However, it makes Conservation Station a bit inconvenient. You really need to dedicate at least an hour of your day to this part of the park considering the train ride to and from. 

13) Feathered Friends in Flight!

Eagle Flights of Wonder - Animal Kingdom Attraction

This show has had several different names and themes throughout the years. However, the core of the Feathered Friends in Flight remains unchanged. You will get to see an array of exotic and beautiful birds. Some will do tricks on stage. Some will soar over your head. This is a delightful show for all ages, and it almost never has a long wait. Our tip is to show up 5-10 minutes before showtime to grab a seat.

12) Na’vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey has the elements of an epic attraction. It’s a boat ride through a mysterious and illuminated alien jungle. It’s a gentle change of pace from many of the thrill-based attractions found throughout the park. And this ride features Disney World’s most impressive animatronic, with the stunningly realistic Na’vi Shaman of Song.

But this ride is far too short. Just as you feel like you’re settling into your boat ride on Pandora, the attraction is over. It’s much more of a trip around the block than a “journey.” In my opinion, lengthening the ride and having some more animatronics throughout would boost the appeal of this ride. I’m sure there are good reasons why that didn’t happen. However, with the length of the ride, I would not recommend waiting more than 15 minutes for it. 

For that reason, Na’vi River Journey is a great use of Genie+.

11) Dinosaur

Knowledge can be a dangerous thing. When I first went on this ride as a kid, I adored Dinosaur (which was then called Countdown to Extinction). The jostling car and the hairpin turns through a prehistoric land made for an amazing thrill ride, in my young opinion. I also loved the glimpses of dinosaurs that you get throughout the attraction, however brief they were. It was a hectic journey, and I loved it.

Then I went on Indiana Jones Adventure in Disneyland. It has the same ride system and the exact same track layout. However, Indiana Jones Adventure is a 10/10 attraction, while Dinosaur is somewhere around 6.5-7/10. Why is that? Indiana Jones conveys a much more epic sense of scale, with better theming, storytelling, and variance from scene to scene. Dinosaur has smaller scale scenes, which are mostly played out in the dark. 

Does the knowledge that there’s a much better version of this ride hamper my enjoyment of Dinosaur? Yes. However, it’s still a blast to the past.

10) Kali River Rapids

Perfect for those hot Orlando days, you have a real chance of getting soaked while riding Kali River Rapids. This is one of the best themed river rapids rides I’ve ever been on, drenching guests and bringing plenty of thrills. How much you should prioritize this ride really depends on how hot it is and how much you can tolerate being wet after riding it. For guests wanting to stay dry, we recommend bringing a change of clothes or at least a change of socks. 

#9-1 The Best Rides & Attractions at Animal Kingdom

These are the best of the best attractions at Animal Kingdom. I add these to my must-do list every time I go to Disney World.

9) Wilderness Explorers

Wilderness Explorers - Animal Kingdom Attraction

For kids and kids-at-heart, Wilderness Explorers is a must do! The best thing about this scavenger hunt style attraction is that it is purely additive to your day at Animal Kingdom. When you sign up for Wilderness Explorers, you receive a booklet with dozens of sticker badges to earn. Each badge takes you to a different exhibit around the park, where you’ll learn more about animals and their natural habitat. 

You can go at your own pace. Want to get every badge? You can totally do that by being a Power Wilderness Explorer. Want to grab badges here and there over multiple visits to Animal Kingdom? That’s possible too.

Fun and educational, Wilderness Explorers is easily one of our favorite Disney World freebies.

8) The Oasis Exhibits

The animals are, unsurprisingly, a huge draw for Animal Kingdom. It’s right there in the name. Yes, the world class theming and Disney-level rides make this theme park truly great. But Animal Kingdom also functions as a fantastic and unique zoo. 

The Oasis Exhibits are scattered around the entrance of the park and Discovery Island. These aren’t as curated of an experience as the next two animal walking trails, but they act as a great introduction to the park. Yes, you’ll probably run past them on your way to the rides when they have short lines first thing in the morning. But make your way back and take time to explore these animal exhibits.

7) Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Gorillas - Pangani Forest Exploration Trail - Animal Kingdom Attraction

Located next to Kilimanjaro Safaris, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail makes for an ideal follow up experience to the safari ride. You’ll get to go up close with gorillas, meerkats, and zebras. The self-guided walking trails are some of my favorite things to do at Animal Kingdom. They have no wait, and you get to see some truly incredible animals in beautiful habitats.

6) Maharajah Jungle Trek

Similar to Gorilla Falls, Maharajah Jungle Trek is my favorite walking trail at Animal Kingdom for a few reasons. First of all, it has some of the most amazing animals in the entire park, from bats to gibbons to tigers. Secondly, the theming in this trail feels straight out of Adventureland. You walk through the ruins of a former palace. It feels mystical, otherworldly, and transportive — all of Animal Kingdom’s best features found in one section of the park.

5) Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond

Finding Nemo the Musical - Animal Kingdom

The Finding Nemo musical is back, and better than ever! In 2022, Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond returned to Animal Kingdom, featuring a revamped storyline and updated visuals. The show is now features a tighter 25-minute runtime. While that might seem like a negative, Disney managed to pare down the show without cutting any of the favorite songs. It just feels streamlined and a bit better for a theme park day. 

In fact, the show feels fresher due to the large screen technology and updated lighting package. These augment the on-stage sets, and give the performers and puppets a brighter canvas to act upon.

4) Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King is my favorite live show at Walt Disney World. It takes the original source material and translates it to a unique show that is full of spectacle and beauty. Rather than just retelling the story of the movie (which many other shows at Disney World do), Festival of the Lion King reinterprets the best songs in a way that’s part theater in the round and part Cirque du Soleil. 

Definitely make Festival of the Lion King part of your Animal Kingdom plans.

3) Kilimanjaro Safaris

Animal Kingdom - Kilimanjaro Safaris

Despite not being at the top of this list, Kilimanjaro Safaris is the quintessential Animal Kingdom attraction. It’s also the attraction that is worth re-riding at Disney World. The most massive attraction Walt Disney Imagineering has ever created, Kilimanjaro Safaris takes you on a trek through a recreation of an African savanna. On this ride in an oversized truck, you’ll see lions, zebras, giraffes, and rhinos. 

Since this ride features wild animals living in their habitat, each trip on Kilimanjaro Safaris is different. You might get lucky and see the lions awake and prowling on their rock. You might come up close to a tower of giraffes (fun fact: I learned that a group of giraffes is called a tower on this ride). You may see a baby elephant playing with its momma.

The unpredictability of this ride, plus the excellent sunset version that features different animals and distinct lighting, make this a must-do every time you go to Animal Kingdom.

2) Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest - Animal Kingdom Motion Sickness Guide

What do you get when you take Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and make it bigger? Well, you get Bigger Thunder Mountain Railroad, which could be an alternate dimension name for Expedition Everest. This takes the familiar runaway train roller coaster ride and perfects it. The drops are steeper. The speed is faster. The story is more mysterious, befitting this thrill ride. Yes, the Yeti hasn’t worked in years, but his ominous presence is still felt on this awesome steel coaster.

While it’s debatable whether this or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is Disney World’s best roller coaster, Expedition Everest delivers a backwards drop that is one of the most thrilling moments at Walt Disney World. If you are looking for a ride that provides an experience that is as well themed as it is intense, Expedition Everest should be close to the top of your list.

1) Avatar Flight of Passage

Avatar Flight of Passage on Pandora Ð The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Incredible. That’s the best way to sum up the experience of riding Flight of Passage. It’s fun, thrilling, awe-inspiring, and surprisingly emotional. In fact, it’s the only theme park ride that has come anywhere close to moving me to tears. I can’t quite explain why. Flight of Passage evokes the emotion of taking in natural grandeur while showing you a CGI alien world. It also is an approachable flight simulator, taking the ride system of Soarin’ and bringing it to new heights. 

The film Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time for a reason. It is a 3D visual spectacle full of thrilling sequences and illuminated beauty that’s best seen on the biggest screen possible. Avatar Flight of Passage distills the best aspects of the Avatar movie and delivers it in a 5 minute ride. There’s no other ride quite like it in the world, and I cannot recommend going on this highly enough.

How to Plan an Amazing Animal Kingdom Day

Pandora - Exterior Plant Life - The World of Avatar Preview - Disney's Animal Kingdom

Planning a trip to Disney World? This list is just the beginning. Get in touch with our friends at Vacationeer for free Disney World vacation planning. Their travel agents can help you plan your vacation for no extra cost. They’ll make sure you get the most out of your visit to Animal Kingdom and the other WDW theme parks. Plus, they are Disney experts, so they’ll have their own recommendations and advice.

Don’t miss our Disney World guides, which help you learn the basics of planning a WDW vacation. Our Guide 2 Disney Genie and Animal Kingdom Lightning Lane Guide will help you spend less time waiting in line for Animal Kingdom’s best rides and attractions. Plus, we have an in-depth section with Animal Kingdom TipsAnimal Kingdom for Toddlers, an Animal Kingdom Character Guide, as well as Animal Kingdom Dining and Restaurants.