Disney's Animal Kingdom Frequently Asked Questions
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Disney's Animal Kingdom Resources
Frequently Asked Questions about Disney's Animal Kingdom!
Of course it depends on what you're interested in, but you can cover almost all of DAK (you might miss a show like Jungle Book or Pocahontas) in one day. In the less busy seasons (Jan/Feb, Oct/Nov/Dec) you can do the attractions easily in a day - just the morning if all you want to do is hit the 'action attractions' . You can spend a full day or two exploring the walking trails all over the park, especially if you talk to the guides/cast members - which you should do.
The secret is to start early. DAK opens at 7am in peak season and 8am in off-peak. You should be there half an hour before opening. Pick up the current guidebook and study it when you're waiting. Look for the show times for Legend of the Lion King, closing times for Maharajah Jungle Trek and Kilimanjaro Safaris, and special Kilimanjaro Night Safaris if it's during Easter or summer.
Assuming you want to hit all of the major attractions at DAK, the longest wait times are usually for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Legend of the Lion King. (Since Kali River Rapids hasn't had a full summer yet, I'm guessing that on hot days it will have a very long line as well. It is a wet water ride.) How long is long? Generally the maximum waits get to be about 90 minutes; beyond that most people won't queue.
So the plan is to go early to the popular attractions and save the others for the mid-day when the crowds are the largest. But plan to ride Kilmanjaro again just before it closes. You're riding the Safaris to see animals, and they are the most visible and active first thing in the morning and around sunset, so these are the times to ride. Most of the complaints about lack of animals are during the mid-day, between 11am and 3pm. It's also bumper-to-bumper Safari Vehicle traffic during these times, which also discourages some animals. Also you will find keen driver/guides and 'script readers'.
Here's what I would suggest:
Disney's Animal Kingdom now accepts all Walt Disney World hopper passes from previous years, if you have been to WDW in the past, bought a multi-day ticket and didn't use all of the days.
DAK admission is the same as all of the Walt Disney World parks. My suggestion is to buy 4,5 or 6 day Hopper passes at AAA or a Disney Store (Magic Kingdom Club discount if you have it). This gets you into all of the parks - you can hop between them on the same day as many times as you like. You could do DAK in the morning, Magic Kingdom/MGM Studios in the afternoon and Epcot at night. These hopper passes never expire, so you can use them next time you visit.
You can also buy a one day pass, at about $45 each.
Park Hopper passes are about $173 for 4 day, $165 with discount; $200 for a 5 day, $190 with discount. There are child rates for 3-9 year olds. There is also an "All in One" Hopper pass (and a Length of Stay pass for WDW resort guests) at a higher price that lets you into the water parks (Blizzard Beach, Discovery Island, Typhoon Lagoon) and Pleasure Island. I don't recommend the extra cost for most people, because you're likely to spend a whole day at a water park, and the gate admission is only $25; you've paid the equivalent of $48 per day for the pass. It is more convenient.
You can purchase Walt Disney World 4 day ($189 plus tax) hopper passes at the ticket booth at all of the parks - Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios or Magic Kingdom. You can also purchase them at Disney Stores in the large malls, and at the American Automobile Association (AAA) offices. There is no Senior Citizen discount, but there are AAA and Magic Kingdom Club discounts.
If you are a Florida resident, you can also purchase a special Seasonal Florida Resident Theme Parks pass for $168.54 that will give you unlimited admission to all Disney Theme parks for one year, EXCLUDING the following dates: June 14 - Aug. 22; Dec. 24 - Jan. 2; March 28 - April 9. You can call 1-407-934-7639 for more info.
Prices are listed at wdw prices.
Generally speaking, personal motorized scooters (Disney calls them Electric Convenience Vehicles ECVs) can be used anywhere in Walt Disney World. In fact, a limited number are available for rental at each theme park but they are strictly first come-first served, otherwise they have standard wheelchairs.
If you're driving, tell the parking booth attendant that you have your own ECV - they will direct you (via parking lot colored lines) to special spaces that are close to the entrances.
At the entrances, stop at Guest Relations and pick up the booklet "Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities". It explains which attractions require you transfer out of your ECV, which allow ECVs and which require you to switch to standard wheelchairs.
For Disney's Animal Kingdom, you will need to transfer to a standard wheelchair for Kilimanjaro Safaris; and transfer to the ride vehicle for Countdown to Extinction (caution - this ride throws you around considerably) and Kali River Rapids (caution - this is a water ride, you will get wet, and the rafts bounce around the rapids). Otherwise you can enter all of the other attractions at DAK directly. This is one advantage of a newly built theme park - it has been designed for access by all kinds of guests. In fact the new construction at Kilimanjaro Safaris is a new loading station for wheelchairs.
Speaking as an interested observer (I'm not a Disney employee), there are only a few places that the Kilimanjaro Safaris is not authentic and all of them relate to the plot that you're chasing after elephant poachers. Most of this occurs in the last 3 minutes of the ride, although the soundtrack theme is throughout. The only anamatronic is 'little red' the baby elephant in the back of the truck at the poacher's capture site. (near the end of http://members.tripod.com/~SaitoNews/kilimanjaro.html )
The actual animals' habitat is a 'modern zoo' style, where walls, fences and moats around small pens have been replaced by large open areas with 'natural' barriers - cliffs, streams/gorges - for the most part. Thousands of trees and shrubs were planted to give the animals some native habitats and vegetation. Animals were introduced to these habitats gradually over a 6 month period and all of them came from zoo environments - many were raised specificially for DAK. I received a note from a person who worked at a zoo that had raised most of the gorillas and recognized them from my pics.
Animals are placed into groups that generally co-exist - the giraffes, eland, tommies, kudu, zebra and ostrich are all together on the open grassland; the lion and cheetah environments are isolated. As zoo animals, they are used to being fed on regular cycles.
At DAK, feeding and nutrition are important and not only is this a prime concern, but there is a lab area at Conservation Station devoted to showing the General Public what they do. The animal hospital here is also open to viewing. In addition, a large part of the building is devoted to education about preserving rainforest and conservation efforts. Our Conservation Station tour.
Yes, the animals are fed nutritionally balanced diets that are custom tailored for each, and yes, these feedings are in places that the Safaris go past so that there are usually certain animals in certain places. That's the way the park was designed, since very few visitors want to see a hundred acres of trees and grasslands with no animals. So yes, there are feeding stations built into some of the 'trees' for the giraffes. There are also a lot of natural trees planted that they can chew on and eat.
For authenticity, the original staffing of the Safari vehicles was predominantly African students. There's an article on this in the News sections on my site.
I had a comment from someone who had spent four months in Africa who felt that this was a good representation of a Safari, except that you saw more animals and that there was a lot more water at DAK.
As far as the new Asia, the Maharajah Jungle Trek is the featured animal area. It's a walk-through so there is no 'storyline'. The animals are presented in a 'ruined old maharajah's palace', which is very elaborately done. The tigers seem to be right at home, and the bats are surprisingly large. I don't think we'll see any criticism of being 'fake' here. The white water rafting ride is just that - a ride.
You should read the three news clips sections on my website:
There's a fair amount of background discussion and also a recent clip on the accreditation from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA).
The only regular TV show produced at DAK is "Secrets of the Animal Kingdom". It is typically on ABC,
and in my market is on Saturday at 7am :(
Yes, Disney runs their regular bus services from all of the on-property hotels directly to
Disney's Animal Kingdom, just like the other three theme parks.
I know the road by sight, but I can't remember the exact street names. Turn north at the Holiday Inn Maingate West at Sherbeth Dr. Stay to the right on Sherbeth, not to the left on Black Lake Rd. This road (Sherbeth?) runs about a mile north, passing Cast Wardrobe on the right, then turns to the left at the west extension of the Osceola Parkway and runs along side then turns right. Take the first right onto the Parkway. You'll pass the DAK parking toll booths, then on your left there's a U turn back into the entrance.
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