|Discussion Boards | Reviews | News | Trip Planning | Shop | Travel | Site Map|
Practical tips for Walt Disney World travel
2002 Disney's Animal Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan
In this session, let's explore a one-day touring plan for Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, which is based on the experiences of many guests who have recently visited Epcot.
As with all touring plans, there is no guarantee this one works exactly as described. Such factors as crowd levels, time of year, park and attraction operating hours, and weather can work singly or together to throw off the best plans.
As always, I encourage everyone to customize any WDW trip-planning advice to fit their family's needs.
This park offers a unique challenge stemming from the layout and topography of the park. Great care and detail went into the planning and construction of this theme park, resulting in an environment that is not only comfortable for the animals, but also representative of the lands from which they reside.
This translates into narrower passageways than the other parks, which will slow you down during the peak visiting seasons.
For those who wish to navigate the park in just one day, another consideration is the park's operating hours, which are affected by the park's top priority of animal care. This park usually closes an hour or two before sunset to ensure that the animals are not disturbed from their normal routines.
There may be other assumptions discussed as we navigate through the park, but let's assume the following:
The park guide map lists 23 official attractions. If the park was operating on an eight-hour day, that would mean we would have less than 20 minutes to spend at each attraction.This is not a realistic goal, especially if we intend to eat lunch and do some shopping while in the park. With that in mind, let's concentrate on the top eight attractions in the park, and allocate an hour for each. This includes traveling to the attractions, waiting in line, and the attraction itself. Of course, some attractions may take less than an hour to see and others maybe more. We are also allocating an hour for lunch and hope to watch Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade at 4 p.m.
Here is our list of targeted attractions: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids; It's Tough to Be a Bug, Festival of the Lion King, Tarzan Rocks, and Dinosaur, Maharajah Jungle Trek, and Tree of Life/Discovery Island Trails.
If you have small children in your party, you may want to substitute the Kali River Rapids and Dinosaur with a visit to Rafiki's Planet Watch.
We arrive at the turnstiles 30 minutes before official park opening time. Remember, we have already enjoyed breakfast.
Once the park is open, grab a Times Guide and check the scheduled times for Festival of the Lion King and Tarzan Rocks. We should plan to watch one of these two major show attractions in the morning and the other in the afternoon. For our plan, we hope to see Festival of the Lion King in the morning and Tarzan Rocks in the afternoon.
Head towards the Tree of Life, and take the trail to the left to Harambe and arrive at Kilimanjaro Safaris. This is a Fastpass attraction so if the wait is more than 30 minutes, take a Fastpass and spend time in the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Otherwise, climb onto the attraction vehicle and explore the African Savannah.
If possible, go to the first performance of Festival of the Lion King. Head to Camp Minnie-Mickey and attend the show. This is a very popular show and better to attend in the morning than the afternoon. Most guests look to the thrill attractions first and the shows second.
After enjoying the Festival of the Lion King, make a mental note as to which afternoon performance of Tarzan Rocks to attend, and try to be there 30 minutes before that scheduled performance.
Stroll over to the Tree of Life for the It's Tough to Be a Bug show. If it's too crowded, return after seeing Tarzan Rocks.
By now it may be close to noon, and lunch. However, you should ride Dinosaur before eating any meal. Walk over to Dinoland, USA to check the attraction's waiting time. Enter the queue if the wait seems reasonable. Again, use the 30-minute threshold as a barometer for whether or not to grab a Fastpass.
After riding Dinosaur, grab a quick bite at the Flame Tree Barbecue, and then go over to Tarzan Rocks. There may only be one opportunity to see this show after lunch, so schedule lunch around this performance.
After watching the swinging couple Tarzan and Jane, leave Dinoland USA and head towards Asia and the Kali River Rapids. Although this is a Fastpass attraction, loading is fairly quick. Unless the line is extremely long, step in line. Do avoid this attraction if members of your party don't like getting completely drenched, especially in cooler weather.
With some extra time after Kali River Rapids and before the 4 p.m. parade, to go through the Maharajah Jungle Trek. However, if it's later than 3:30, grab a parade viewing spot near the Flights of Wonder attraction. Don't worry; you can do the Jungle Trek after the parade.
After the parade, do the Jungle Trek (if you haven't already) and make your way towards the front of the park. You can do the Discovery Island Trails on the way out, as well as any shopping you haven't done earlier in the day.
Finally as we finish our series of one-day touring plans, remember that as these theme parks grow and add new attractions, any one-day touring becomes more and more of a challenge. If possible, all visits to any Disney theme park should be of the two-day fashion.
However, for those who can only visit one park per day here's some pixie dust to wish you good luck.
Next time, What's This Thing Called E-Ride Night?
Photos on this page by Brian Bennett unless otherwise noted.
Here's a list of the trip reports that Mike has written that are part of MousePlanet's archives!
Also, don't miss Lani Teshima's column, "The Trip Planner" for more travel-planning information!
The first Disney trip report that I ever read was a report by Mike Scopa that I downloaded from the America Online travel library in late 1994. The report was a detailed description of the Scopa family's trip to WDW in the summer of that year.
As soon as I was done reading it, I was hooked.
I picked my own brain and documented my own trips and the things I'd learned from my own experiences. Then, in 1995 I actually wrote a report as the trip unfolded. I took a laptop with me and spent some time in the evenings documenting what had happened that day. (I've repeated that process for my own reports ever since.)
In July 1996, I started my Disney trip planning Web site. Besides including my own reports, I asked for permission from the authors of several other reports and added them to the offering. Since then, the number of reports has expanded greatly. In 1997, I added an information summary for each report to make it easier to sort through the reports that are available.
I still 'blame' Mike for hooking me on this Disney habit.
MousePlanet® is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at www.disney.com. This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary, editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change. Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.