One of Walt Disney World’s well-known gems is the beautiful Animal Kingdom theme park. Even if you aren’t crazy about zoos, there are so many beautiful characteristics and interesting attractions to enjoy. If you and your significant other appreciate wildlife and like to spend time in far-flung atmospheric locales, then this is the perfect setting for an exotic Disney date.
Dine with the Characters
Ready to dive in 100%? Then let’s start your date off with some African cuisine! Within Harambe Market, you can sample delicious, exotic flavors in a buffet setting at Tusker House. You’ll also get to meet Safari Donald Duck and his friends for awesome photo ops. Some of the many popular breakfast items include Coconut Sweet Potato Casserole, Ham and Cheese Frittata, Seasonal Vegetable Quiche, and of course, Mickey waffles. For lunch or dinner, try the Peri-Peri Whole Salmon, the Oven Roasted Skin Potatoes, or the Mojo Pork paired with Spicy Mustard. Menu pricing ranges from $15-$35 for breakfast and lunch, and $35-$60 for dinner. To make reservations, use the My Disney Experience App or Disney’s online reservations.
Zuri’s Sweets is one of my favorite stops at Animal Kingdom. It’s right in the heart of the Mombassa Market, and it offers all my favorite Disney treats — with a wild twist! Candies apples are decorated as elephants and monkeys. You’ll also find delicious fudge, traditional Mickey cookies, sweet chocolate-covered pineapple wedges, and much more. If you and your date want to relax for a bit, this is a great chance to enjoy the live music offered in Africa. There is plenty of outdoor seating outside Tusker House providing a great view of the stage.
Wild Attractions and Entertainment
Okay, this is where some advance planning really helps. On crowded days, remember, the animal exhibits don’t have any wait times–you can walk right in! Try to get fast passes for a few of the most popular attractions. There are three I recommend. (If you can’t get Fast Passes, don’t wait more than an hour for them; just pick something else and go for it!)
1. Pandora, The World of Avatar
You MUST visit Pandora whether or not you can score fast passes to the Na’vi River Journey or Flights of Passage. Why? Because it is so beautiful! Guests have been raving about Pandora since it opened, and it provides some of the most unique and stunning photo ops in the park. There are great drinks and food options, also, if you desire a snack along the way. If your date takes place during the day, try to make it back to Pandora when the sun goes down; the bioluminescent plants are absolutely breathtaking.
This is my favorite ride at Animal Kingdom, because it reminds me so much of Indiana Jones at Disneyland. (It’s the exact same track.) This is a fun, high speed ride in the dark. Your mission: save a dinosaur from extinction.
3. Kilimanjaro Safaris
This attraction offers daytime and evening open-air bus tours of the African savanna, where you can witness wild animals up-close and in their habitats. This is a one-of-a-kind experience; you never know what you will encounter on your tour. Sit back, relax, and enjoy unique views of these amazing creatures.
Want more animal encounters on your date? Here are a few other spots you can experience wildlife:
- Expedition Everest
- Discovery Island Trails
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
Festival of The Lion King
This live, musical show is hard for me to explain; you truly have to witness it to experience the magic behind this production. Disney can really pack a lot into a 30 minute show. This is a don’t-miss attraction, even if you are not the biggest Lion King fan around (but really, why wouldn’t you be?). If you haven’t reserved a Fast Pass through My Disney Experience, just head over about 20 minutes before the show begins for the best chance at a seat. This one is popular!
Showtimes are 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 6pm
If you are inclined to stay throughout the evening, Animal Kingdom offers two great after-dark experiences (in addition to the glow of Pandora). For a beautiful conclusion to your date, catch Rivers of Light, Animal Kingdom’s nighttime spectacular. It starts at 8:15 pm and lasts about 15 minutes. The show plays out over water and has special effects, music, and dancing. Fast Passes are also available for this experience through the My Disney Experience app.
On your way out, stop to witness the Tree of Life Awakenings. This is a continuous projection show (right on the giant tree!) that plays every 10 minutes. There are a number of different versions of the show, each showcasing a unique animal storyline, along with amazing colors! The shows continue until the park closes for the night.
How will you choose to spend your wild date at Animal Kingdom?
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