Is Disney World’s Animal Kingdom more than just animals? Are there any rides?
Ah, you’ve come to the right place!
This guide to Animal Kingdom rides isn’t about the best rides at Animal Kingdom or ranking them in any way. Instead, you’ll find brief descriptions of every Animal Kingdom ride here to help you decide which ones you’ll want to enjoy and which rides might not be right for your family.
Descriptions of ride theming and other details are avoided here to keep the guide as spoiler-free as possible. This guide speaks in general terms of each ride’s mechanics, provides riding tips and height restrictions, and recommendations for those who might have issues with heights, dizziness, or darkness. I’m giving you just enough to make the decision whether or not each ride is a “go” or “no go.”
Note that FastPass+ is mentioned in this post although FastPass+ is temporarily disabled during Disney World’s initial 2020 reopening period. All rides will only have a single standby line.
Looking for a quick Animal Kingdom rides cheat sheet that lists these rides and attractions on one concise, easy-to-read sheet? Download my free One Page Guide to Animal Kingdom Attractions!
[The Basics] Animal Kingdom Rides List
Avatar Flight of Passage FP+ // 44” minimum height // indoor 3D flying simulator ride
DINOSAUR FP+ // 40″ minimum height // indoor enhanced motion vehicle ride
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain FP+ // 44″ minimum height // roller coaster
Kali River Rapids FP+ // 38″ minimum height // water rapids raft ride
Kilimanjaro Safaris FP+ // safari bus ride
Na’vi River Journey FP+ // indoor slow-moving boat ride
TriceraTop Spin // outdoor aerial carousel spinner ride
[Beyond the Basics] Animal Kingdom Rides in Detail
Avatar Flight of Passage
This 3D flying simulator ride allows guests to fly on the back of a Banshee, a flying dragon-like animal from the movie Avatar.
Flight of Passage is similar to Epcot’s Soarin’ Around the World with its large screen where a video projection is viewed by guests on multiple levels. Scents are pumped in along with an occasional light spritz of water to add to the overall effect.
However, unlike Soarin’s seats just subtly tilt forward and backward, Flight of Passage’s individual seats rise and fall several feet, and are constantly tilting side to side to make this ride more immersive and thrilling.
The motorcycle-style straddle seats lined up side by side are unique for a Disney World ride and guests are individually secured with back and leg restraints. A test ride vehicle is available just outside the queue for guests to test the seat before getting in line. A pair of 3D glasses completes the setup.
Disney warns those who suffer from motion sickness or have a fear of heights to use caution when choosing to ride Flight of Passage.
Flight of Passage’s queue begins outside, but is mostly indoors and heavily themed. While wait times can be extreme for this ride, there’s plenty to see while waiting in line!
This enhanced motion vehicle ride is completely indoors and in the dark, featuring nighttime animatronic dinosaur-filled scenes.
Dinosaur not a roller coaster so the ride is not fast, but the vehicle is constantly tilting on its enhanced motion frame to simulate rough terrain and greater speed. You’ll be jostled around quite a bit! This ride is also VERY loud and dark with several intense carnivores that lean towards the ride vehicle.
The Dinosaur queue and ride are entirely indoors, a rarity at Animal Kingdom, making this ride a welcomed reprieve from the Florida heat.
The ride system is the same as Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure ride so those familiar with the California parks may think of this as “Indiana Jones with different theming.”
Each ride vehicle has four rows of four individual seats each.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Animal Kingdom’s most intense thrill ride, Expedition Everest is a roller coaster that travels both forward and backward at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. In all of Disney World, Everest’s intensity is perhaps only rivaled by Rock ‘n Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios and it’s more thrilling than any of the roller coasters at Magic Kingdom.
Expedition Everest is mostly outside with portions of the track leading indoors. The entire queue is open air, but passes through many heavily themed rooms.
This roller coaster switches to a backwards portion in the middle of the ride before resuming forward motion again, but does not take riders upside down. The backwards portions are inside in complete darkness and there are also indoor dark scenes with flashing lights.
Like most coasters, the ride will feel more intense in the back rows. The trains push the cars so the front row has an unobstructed view ahead which makes the first row highly requested, though I personally prefer the last row for its increased intensity.
The initial, exposed lift hill can certainly be an issue for those with a fear of heights. The views of both Animal Kingdom and Disney World beyond are quite impressive from the heights of Everest with Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, Hollywood Studios’ Tower of Terror, and numerous hotels visible in the distance.
Each row seats 2 guests side by side with 17 rows per train. A single rider line is available during normal, full capacity park operating times.
Kali River Rapids
water rapids raft ride
Kali River Rapids is similar to most water rapids rides where a circular raft travels a river channel. The raft is surrounded by a rubber ring which will bounce against the sides of the channel, causing the raft to naturally spin along the way.
Each raft seats 12 guests who face one another in a circle.
The raft initially ascends a lift hill before traveling down river for the rest of the ride. The water becomes choppy, the raft will spin, and many will get drenched!
Temporary lockers are provided near the ride entrance for storing bags and any other belongings that you may want to save from being soaked. Consider wearing a poncho during the ride!
It’s hard to imagine a day at Animal Kingdom without riding the original marquee attraction – a safari ride through a live animal preserve over 100 acres in size. This is the largest Disney attraction and also one of the longest, averaging around 20 minutes in length.
Guests load a safari tour bus that seats 4-5 per row with 8 rows per vehicle. There is no track here! These are real, open-air buses driven by a tour guide who will identify animals and reveal facts along the way.
The tour passes through several terrains that are home to different animals. You’ll see elephants, crocodiles, lions, flamingos, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and giraffes along with African wild dogs, springboks, okapis, and more.
As the bus drives through the actual reserve, vehicles can sometimes be delayed by crossing animals or those, particularly ostriches, that choose to rest right in the middle of the road!
Due to the live animals and live commentary, every safari will be different. You may not see all animals if they have chosen to nap or enjoy a meal out of view. If you have time, I strongly urge you to ride both in the morning and later afternoon as every safari is a unique experience.
The safari queue is outside, but covered and, obviously, the entire ride is also outdoors.
Na’vi River Journey
Pandora – World of Avatar
slow-moving indoor boat ride
Perhaps no ride at Animal Kingdom is more relaxing than Na’vi River Journey. This slow moving boat ride gently floats guests through nighttime bioluminescent vegetation on a river in Avatar’s Pandora.
Each small boat seats 3-4 guests per row in two rows. The queue is outside, but completely covered while the ride itself is entirely air conditioned inside.
This is a beautiful ride that is wonderful for all ages.
This aerial carousel spinner ride is similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant at Magic Kingdom, but most closely resembles The Magic Carpets of Aladdin as each triceratop dinosaur has two bench seats to Dumbo’s one.
The ride structure spins while each triceratop’s movement is manually controlled up and down (by those in the front row) and tilting forward and backward (by those in the back). As changing the triceratop’s altitude is undoubtedly more interesting, keep these row-based controls in mind when loading into your dinosaur!
Each triceratop seats four guests – two in front and two in back. The ride is entirely outside, though the queue area is mostly covered. This is one of few rides at Animal Kingdom with no height restriction, making it a great choice for little kids.
Which Animal Kingdom ride will you ride first?