Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to some of the greatest rides in the world. They take you across the world, back in time, and in some cases, to another planet.
They’re all in their own way a celebration of nature and all of its beauty.
Animal Kingdom has some of the absolute best attractions at Walt Disney World.
In fact, one attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris, is actually even bigger than Magic Kingdom.
There aren’t many rides at Animal Kingdom, but nonetheless, they’re definitely worth checking out on your Disney World trip.
If you want to know more about all the attractions you can see a Complete Animal Kingdom Rides List
Here are the top 5 rides at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, going from least great to greatest.
5. Avatar – Na’vi River Journey
Na’vi River Journey is a slow boat ride that takes you deep into the forests of Pandora from the movie Avatar. It takes place at night time, so all the plants and trees light up in a beautiful blue fluorescent glow.
Like many, I was puzzled as to why Disney chose to make an entire land based on Avatar, given that the story in the movie was, let’s put it bluntly, rather weak.
But after riding this, you can see that the world of Avatar holds a lot of potential for a theme park attraction and that it makes for a very picturesque ride.
It has outstanding effects and some gorgeous-looking sets that truly immerse you into another world.
Then to top it off, it has one of the best animatronics at Disney World, the Shaman of Songs. It’s a life-size Na’vi that moves and looks so realistic, that I thought it was an actor in makeup at first glance.
However, some would say this ride doesn’t deserve a spot on this list.
The main problem with this attraction is it feels short. Surprisingly, the duration isn’t as short as some may think it is – it’s actually 4 1/2 minutes long, which is a decent length for a theme park ride.
I think the issue is there just isn’t enough to look at. They have a lot of impressive sets and effects, but not enough to make it feel like a full experience.
Try to catch this one when it’s a short wait.
The thing is, it’s just not worth the long wait.
Still, it’s a worthwhile experience if you don’t have to wait in a long line for it. It truly is a unique experience with amazing effects and attention to detail. I’ve never been on anything quite like it.
In this ride, you’re sent back in time to the cretaceous period to obtain an Iguanadon and bring it back to the present.
There is a snag though, in that the time you’re being sent back right before the asteroid that wiped out all of the dinosaurs hit the Earth.
But it’s not as bad as it sounds – all you have to do is find the Iguanodon a vast, dark, endless jungle in less than 3 minutes before the asteroid hits, as well as avoid giant man-eating dinosaurs that never stop chasing you… Easy!!
This ride uses an EMV ride vehicle, similar to the one on the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland.
It banks from side to side as you speed through the ride, simulating the feeling of riding through a bumpy jungle. It’s very thrilling!
Dinosaur is fun mostly because it’s very scary. It’s in the dark, you don’t know when a dinosaur is going to jump out next, and the dinosaurs are massive and pretty frightening! The anticipation is really very well done.
The ride will slow down for a second and you’ll think you’re safe, but then a massive dinosaur will come out of hiding and run at you.
I’d go as far as to say this is the scariest ride at Disney World.
Don’t worry, most adults can handle it, and really it’s just a lot of fun. It is just tense and there are jumpscares in it.
However, I would be wary of taking young kids on it.
One thing I wish though is that Disney would give the ride a major update. The animatronic dinosaurs are old and way past their prime.
Either they barely move or don’t work at all.
I’d love to see them update the animatronics using the technology they use now.
3. Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris is a ride experience that you simply won’t find anywhere else in the US.
This is the next best thing to a real African safari. They recreate an African Savannah perfectly, going so far as to bring in native foliage.
In this Animal Kingdom ride, you board a safari jeep and get a close-up look at a huge variety of African animals in their natural habitat, including giraffes, rhinos, and even some lions.
It’s really amazing to see these animals so close up and to see them in their natural habitat.
You’ll learn lots of fun facts from the tour guides who drive the jeeps. They know all there is to know about the animals and are very entertaining hosts.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a celebration of nature. This ride encapsulates all that perfectly.
It is a must-do, especially if you’re an animal lover.
2. Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest is a thrilling roller coaster through a 199-foot-tall replica of Mount Everest.
It’s one of the first things that’ll catch your eye when you enter Animal Kingdom. The mountain towers over the park and you can even see it from the freeway that goes by the park.
This is one of the most thrilling roller coasters at Disney World.
It reaches a top speed of 50 MPH, has a backward drop, and has a steep 80-foot drop down the side of the mountain.
The roller coaster is great, but what puts this attraction above the rest is it has a rich story. You’re going on a daring expedition to Everest.
In the queue, you see an alarming amount of evidence that the legend of the Yeti who guards the mountain might actually be true…
A lot of the ride is the build-up to the climactic scene with the Yeti. You see strange footprints and ripped-up coaster tracks, indicating the Yeti might be nearby…
This is a must-do at Animal Kingdom. The roller coaster is a little intense, but most audiences can handle it. Don’t worry, it doesn’t go upside-down!
1. Avatar – Flight Of Passage
If you’ve been on Flight of Passage, it won’t surprise you that this is number one.
This is a flight simulator where you soar over the world of Avatar on a Banshee. Before I went on this, I was a little skeptical of the raving reviews.
It just looked like a slightly more high-tech version of Soarin’ and to be honest, I was pretty tired of motion simulators.
But wow, the Imagineers did an amazing job in this one. This is the most realistic flight simulator I’ve ever been on. Some people even get emotional on this ride because it really does feel like you’re flying.
It is similar to Soarin’ where lots of riders face a massive Imax screen.
However, the screen is in 3D and instead of a glider, you ride something like a motorcycle. It’s similar to the ones on the Tron roller coaster at Shanghai Disneyland.
The movement is a lot more vigorous than Soarin’ as well. I was expecting it to be tame, but pretty soon after the ride starts, the whole simulator yanks you down the first drop aggressively (it’s a little fast, but nothing like Tower of Terror, don’t worry).
It’s really exhilarating as you feel the rush as the wind blows in your hair and the scenery zooms past you in 3D.
This is by far the best attraction at Animal Kingdom, and perhaps, even Disney World.
Which is your favorite Animal Kingdom Ride?
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.