We spent our very first day in Walt Disney World in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It was a great start to our trip, other than It’s Tough to be a Bug!…you can read more about that here.
Animal Kingdom has lots of space for toddlers to run and explore. Even the Tree of Life is entertaining for toddlers to point out what animals they see on it!
We were only in the park for about 6 hours, but we did a lot. Here are the best things we did for our toddlers:
Explore the wildlife. The kids saw monkeys swinging and loved it. We didn’t make it on the Kilimanjaro Safari, which was a bummer and I know they would’ve loved it, but they still got to see all of the animals along the walkways.
DinoLand U.S.A. We spent a huge chunk of our morning in DinoLand. Emaline loved the TriceraTop Spin.
Eli loved the Fossil Fun Games, which were basic carnival games with dino themes and watching the Primeval Whirl rollercoaster.
Then there was the Boneyard Fossil Fun Land. My kids, ages 2 and 4, would have spent the entire day there. I love how Disney puts play areas in so that kids can be kids.
It’s completely a interactive play area where they can use their imagination and be tiny paleontologists. It has stuff for them to climb on, slides, a jeep they can pretend to drive, and lots of room to run around.
There was a rope bridge and upper play area for them to get lost in.
And there is an archaeologist dig site, which Elijah was crazy about. It had triceratops and tyrannosaurus rex fossils buried and the kids could dig them up using the tools provided. While Emaline napped in the stroller, RJ and Eli went back to it and spent so long digging up bones and reburying them and digging them up.
The Lion Guard Adventure. Both my toddlers love the new Disney Jr show, The Lion Guard, and throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom there are 5 statutes of the Lion Guard crew hidden for little ones to discover. Emmy was shouting when she found Kion.
You can pick up a guide map that has clues where to find each of the characters: Kion, Ono, Bunga, Fuli, and Beshte, but Eli wasn’t really interested in it, so we just “found” the characters as we passed them. Although, I’m certain he would’ve loved the badge to be an honorary Lion Guard member.
Festival of the Lion King. This is my favorite part of Animal Kingdom and I’m really glad my babies loved it. Emaline was asleep in the beginning of it but woke up when it started and really enjoyed it from the Ergo. Elijah was mad and didn’t want to be there until it started and then he fell in love. It’s a live show with stadium seating and it is incredibily entertaining, even if you haven’t watched the movie recently. It has singing and dancing and flame throwing and acrobatics. The monkeys are really silly–Elijah’s favorite part. And there is an animatronic Simba and Pumba, which Emaline really enjoyed. The show is so good, I wouldn’t miss it.
Character Meet and Greets. We only met a few characters in Animal Kingdom…I was sad not to meet Pocahontas and Tarzan, but my kids don’t really know either of them. First we met Dug and Russell from Up.
For our very first character experience of the trip, that went surprisingly well. Emaline was the one who wanted to meet them, Elijah really didn’t, but he ended up having a great interaction with them. Dug messed up his hair and tickled him, Russell gave him a high five.
And Emaline was super into the autograph book.
Emaline spotted Flik, from A Bug’s Life, and wanted to meet him. Elijah was still traumatized from It’s Tough to be a Bug! so he sat in the stroller and pouted while he ate goldfish. Emaline was cute as ever with Flik.
Then, there was Donald Duck, dressed like an archaeologist–at least I think that’s what he was dressed as. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen my post where I commented that I had no idea she even liked Donald Duck. It was such a shock to me, but she was obsessed. More so than Mickey even!
She was almost asleep in her stroller and I was just walking around, waiting for her to fall asleep so I could eat a Mickey Ice Cream bar and not share it. Then, Donald Duck walked by. She shot up and started yelling Donald. So we waited in line to meet him.
It was love at first sight and she now chants “Donald’s number one!” and holds up one finger whenever we talk about her favorite duck.
We ate lunch at Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafe, and it was yummy. The kids each had chicken tenders with grapes, RJ had Korean stir-fry barbecue chicken, and I had the teriyaki beef bowl.
We had a short day because of RJ’s commitments, but I’ll take a short day in Walt Disney World over a full day anywhere else! If we had more time we would’ve also done: The Kilimanjaro Safari, Wildlife Express Train, Rafikis Planet Watch, Finding Nemo–The Musical, and more Character Meet and Greets.
What did you do in Disney’s Animal Kingdom with your toddlers? Did I miss something that needs to be on our list for next time? What was the favorite attraction for your family? Let me know in the comments!