Disney Animal Kingdom Rides

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is of course all about the animals but it also has some great rides and attractions. Here you can find out about the best rides in Animal Kingdom and how to make the most of your visit there.

Photo by armadillo444

Disney Expedition Everest

The newest Disney World mountain, Expedition Everest

Disney is famous for it’s mountains and you can find the newest, and many would say the best, in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. The ride debuted in 2006 and had taken Disney Imagineers 6 years to research and build.

Expedition Everest is a true Disney thrill ride. This Disney roller coaster reaches speeds of up to 50 mph and takes you on a thrilling ride of twists and turns whilst trying to escape that ancient legendary creature The Yeti. Expedition Everest is unique in Disney roller coaster design as it actually moves backwards at one point.

Even though the ride is named after the famous mountain it is not a copy of the actual Everest Mountain. As always Disney has a backstory for it’s attractions and this one is that it is a fictional Forbidden Mountain which is guarded by The Yeti. Guests are offered a speedy passage through the Himalayas to Mount Everest. Of course things don’t run too smoothly when the train starts being pursued by The Yeti!

This is not a ride for the feint of heart. Or those under 44″. It is billed as a family roller coaster but it may scare some young children (and indeed some adults). There are twists, turns and drops (including an 80 foot final drop) on Expedition Everest. You will also encounter a rather menacing animatronic Yeti. For those who love roller coasters it is likely to be one of your very favorite rides in Disney World.

Expedition Everest is one of the most popular rides in Animal Kingdom and the lines do build up quickly. Plan to ride early in the morning when you first arrive in the park. Or head to the attraction to pick up a Fast Pass for later in the day.

Kilimanjaro Safaris

The loading area at Disney's Kilimanjaro Safari Ride

Photo by arrjay74

This is the closest that you are going to get to a real safari in North America. This is a must see when you visit Disney Animal Kingdom. This is the realization of Walt Disney’s dream to have a theme park with real animals where guests could see them in a place that was as close to their home environment as possible.

Guests board an authentic safari vehicle as they are taken on a tour of the 110 acre African savanna. The area is huge. In fact is is about the same area as the whole of the Magic Kingdom. Along the way you will see many animals which may include giraffe, elephants, hippos, cheetahs, gazelles and even lions. No need to worry though. The animals which present a danger to humans are housed in areas where you can see them, but they can’t get to you. This is achieved with some strategically built trenches which are well disguised. The animals have plenty of room to roam but the ones who could harm you can’t get near you. For the friendlier ones such as the giraffes they can, and often do, come right up to the side of your safari vehicle.

To get the most out of your Kilimanjaro Safari experience try and ride first thing in the morning. I have been on this safari many many times but you always see more animals the earlier it is in the morning for the simple fact that they are more active at this time.

The Kilimanjaro Safari and Expedition Everest are both popular rides with Fast Passes. If you want to ride them both then my advice is that when you arrive in the park then quickly turn to the right and head towards Asia and pick up a Fast Pass for Expedition Everest. Then carry on anti clockwise around the park to Africa and ride the Safari before the lines arrive and when the animals are at their most active.

Kali River Rapids

Floating down the Kali River Rapids

This is a very fun river rapids ride which is located in the Asia section of the park. Lines can be long for this attraction when the temperatures are good. A Fast Pass is available. Be aware that you will get wet on this ride. Extremely wet. If the weather is cold then think twice before riding as you will likely be freezing for the rest of the day!

There is a serious message on the ride to educate guests about illegal logging and the destruction of woodland habitats. Guests are loaded into 12 person rafts for their white water experience. You get an immediate idea of just how wet you are going to get as soon as you sit down in the raft and sit down in a pool of water! Make sure you secure any items that you do not want to get wet in the covered container in the middle of the raft.

The raft starts a slow 90 foot ascent and then drops gently past gushing geysers and water falls which splash into the raft. As always with rides of this type there is usually one person who gets more drenched than any other! The raft speeds through the water through lots of water drenching obstacles and then goes down a 30 foot drop.

There is a height requirement of 38 inches so even the little ones can go on this ride. It is usually at it’s busiest at lunchtime and early afternoon when everyone is trying to get some escape from the Florida heat!

Dinosaur

Dare you ride Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom?

Photo by expressmonorail

I confess. I think this is the scariest ride in Disney World! Forget Tower of Terror this is the one which scares me the most.

Be taken back in time 65 million years to a land where the dinosaur rules the world. Guests board a vehicle called a Time Rover to journey back in time. The vehicle is supposed to take you on a gentle journey back through time to the early Cretaceous period but of course things don’t run quite as smoothly as that. Plans change and the guests are sent to the late, and apparently more scary Cretaceous period so that we can all rescue the Alador dinosaur. The commentary then tells us that this really isn’t a good idea as this is too close to the time when the asteroid hit.

Too late. We are already heading to our place back in time. Of course it all starts of gently but soon turns to a frantic journey trying to escape the scary dinosaurs. Things get bumpy as the vehicle twists turns and dips. Lots of flashing lights and noise!

The ride is brilliantly well done. For me perhaps too well done and intense. The height requirement is 40″ but if you have a child who does not like scary rides then you would do well to avoid this one.

There is a Fast Pass available for Dinosaur but often the line isn’t too bad. In Animal Kingdom always prioritize the Fast Pass for Expedition Everest and then Kilimanjaro Safari. Then fit in Kali River Rapids next and head for Dinosaur if you think you can brave the scariest ride in Disney World!

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