When thinking about how I would rank my top five attractions for each of the Walt Disney World® Resort parks, the sheer idea of tackling Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park kept me up at night. As quick as I can be to profess my love for the other three parks, I’m often even faster to advocate for this one.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park is such a unique hybrid of entertainment, and also boasts a coherent message that weaves its way through each of its attractions. Each ride (and show, by extension) in the park is so special and creative, that simply picking five and excluding the others is no small task.
That said, I went through the gauntlet and ranked my favorite attractions in the park. Here’s the list:
5. DINOSAUR Attraction
This fast-paced mission to the Cretaceous Period and back remains as one of the most exhilarating dark rides in all of the parks. Dr. Seeker, your guide on the mission, has become a staple character in the Disney fandom, and the ride is not far behind in terms of favoritism.
It’s a rough, thrilling race through a prehistoric time, and is an awesome glimpse at what some old-school Disney attractions were like.
4. Navi River Journey
This dark, slow-moving boat ride is the most innovative the genre has ever seen. It’s bright, colorful and has one of the best and most unique sound designs of any Disney attraction. Creatures are running overhead and alongside your boat, fully immersing you in a fictional land that seems impossibly real.
The real draw of the attraction comes in the animatronic at the end, as it is hands-down the most complex and realistic Disney has ever created. It’s the sort of thing that has to be seen to be believed, and makes it worth riding the attraction over and over again.
3. Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition
The live animal expedition is one-of-a-kind for theme parks, mimicking those of the savannas in East Africa. There’s such a variety of animals that each ride-through is different, as the animals go about their daily routines and interact with one another.
It is common to see a giraffe walk right up to the safari vehicle, giving guests an up-close look. Not enough can be said about the safari guides who point out the dozens of different animals, facts about the landscape and information that would otherwise go unknown.
2. Avatar Flight of Passage
Whispers about the attraction’s cutting-edge design circled before its opening, but when it finally arrived it blew all expectations out of the water. I’ve gone to lengths not to spoil it for the uninitiated, as it’s the sort of experience that demands surprise. It is at the very peak of theme park innovation, and is likely to set the standard worldwide for years to come. It is an undoubted, absolute, cannot-miss must-do for all guests of all ages (as long as they are 44 inches or taller), especially if they have not done it before. Even as Pandora: The World of Avataris no longer the newest land in the Disney parks, it’s now-famous ride remains of the utmost quality.
1. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain® Attraction
As much as I love all the other attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom®Theme Park, it is impossible for me to think about Walt Disney World® Resort without the towering mountain coaster coming to mind. It is perfect in every way, bringing an original storyline and a wonderful queue together with one of the most creative and exciting coasters in all of theme parks.
It is the epitome of what makes the best Disney rides so phenomenal, and has become an attraction that is impossible to skip, no matter the occasion.