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While hugely underrated, Disney World's Animal Kingdom is a great park for families with toddlers.
The park is packed with things to do for toddlers and parents alike, making it the perfect destination for a day of exploration and excitement.
If your toddler loves adventure and animals, they won't be disappointed in the attractions, shows, and experiences that will keep your family entertained all day long.
If you're ready for a fun and educational day, see our 13 can't miss activities at Disney's Animal Kingdom with toddlers!
Visiting Animal Kingdom with Toddlers
If you're wondering what Disney World Park is best for toddlers, Animal Kingdom is at the top of our list.
Although there are only a handful of rides suitable for toddlers, there are several great shows and play areas to explore.
Animal Kingdom is greatly overlooked for fun things to do with kids – especially the younger ones.
While many people say it's a half-day park, we can easily keep toddlers occupied for the entire day.
Plus, the crowds are typically lower than other parks making it much easier to enjoy for Disney first timers.
Animal Kingdom also usually closes earlier than the other parks, so you'll want to start your day early. Keep an eye on the closing times of the attractions as well.
For a half day, plan your itinerary in the morning.
See our can't miss rides, shows and attractions to add to your day at Animal Kingdom with toddlers!
Animal Kingdom Rides for Toddlers
Toddler's First Ride: TriceraTop Spin
This classic ride is perfect for toddlers who are just getting their theme park legs.
The TriceraTop Spin allows toddlers to ride in their own dinosaur and take flight for an aerial view of Dinoland.
Each dino seats 4 and can be controlled by joysticks to go higher or tip forward and backward.
It's also one of the few rides that does not have any height restrictions, so all kids can experience it!
That said, you may want to skip this ride if your toddler gets motion sick easily.
For Some Relaxation: Na'vi River Journey
If you love Avatar, you are going to love Na'vi River Journey – it's one of the best Animal Kingdom rides for toddlers.
This slow-moving boat ride is perfect for little ones because there is so much to see.
The ride is very calming with a few surprises that will keep your toddler entertained throughout.
If your toddler is getting ready for a nap or needs a quiet break, this is the perfect ride to go on.
Continue exploring the world of Pandora – There are so many cool features to point out to your toddler!
For Some Adventure: Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilamanjaro Safaris is like getting a behind-the-scenes look at your zoo.
Take a tour through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve for an up-close encounter with exotic African animals like lions, elephants, and giraffes.
Being one of the most popular attractions at Animal Kingdom, you'll likely want to head there first thing in the morning, or at least plan to wait in line.
If you're brave enough, try riding during the night time hours – your toddler might be able to spot some nocturnal animals that come out only at night!
They also have great photo ops as you are leaving the area!
Animal Kingdom Shows for Toddlers
For Broadway Vibes: Festival of the Lion King
This 40-minute stage show is a must-see when visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom with toddlers.
The vibrant performance combines drumming, puppetry and acrobatics to tell the story of the Lion King.
Plus, the theater is air-conditioned, making it a great escape from the midday heat, catch a nap or nurse.
If you're not there early, we have had luck walking into this show last minute. They want to fill the theatre – and all the seats are great!
If you have a Lion King-loving toddler, they are sure to enjoy this unique experience!
For Unique Special Effects: Finding Nemo
This musical show is based on the hit Disney movie, Finding Nemo.
Set underwater, the show includes puppets, live performers and special effects that bring the experience together.
Your toddler will love singing along to the popular songs from the movie and seeing their favorite characters take center stage.
Plus, it's indoor and air-conditioned making it a great place to cool off and let your toddler nap.
For Education: Feathered Friends in Flight
Take your toddler to meet a variety of feathered friends in this interactive 35-minute show.
An animal behavior specialists introduces the birds that call Animal Kingdom home.
This is a great chance for kids to learn about different species of birds, how they fly, and why their feathers are important.
See how the birds are trained in this educational show – perfect for curious toddlers.
Attractions at Animal Kingdom for Toddlers
A Dino Themed Playground: The Boneyard
The Boneyard is a great place to let little ones explore and play.
This dinosaur themed play area includes slides, tunnels, and more for kids to explore.
The Boneyard is great for toddlers because it's an enclosed play area that's perfect for running around and getting that energy out.
Your little ones will love this fun playground before a show where they might be sitting for a while.
A Walk through the Wild: Discovery Island Trails
Surrounding the tree of Life, you'll find plenty of winding trails perfect for exploring with little ones in tow.
This is where Animal Kingdom gets its bad rap as a zoo.
However, this is just a small part of the park and is the perfect place for stroller naps or adventures. See our picks for the best double stroller for Disney!
As you wander around the trails of Discovery Island, you'll get to take in close-up views of the Tree of Life carvings and explore a variety of animal habitats.
Catch animals from flamingos to red kangaroos and many in between.
Your toddler is sure to love all the sights, sounds and textures that Discovery Island has to offer.
Animal Interactions at Rafiki's Planet Watch
Take a quick train ride back to the Rafiki's Planet Watch and start exploring the different areas.
According to Disney's stroller rules, you will be able to bring your folding stroller on the train but not a rented stroller from the parks.
The Conservation Station allows you to see veterinarians at work.
Your toddler can interact with some of Animal Kingdom's animals up close.
You'll find interesting displays and interactive activities that will teach your little one all about the animals at Animal Kingdom.
Be sure to stop at Affection Section – a petting zoo, perfect for your day at Animal Kingdom for toddlers.
Beacons of Magic: The Tree of Life After Dark
If you can keep your toddler going after dark, Animal Kingdom is the most beautiful park at night.
The Tree of Life lights up and casts a light show every so often through the night.
It is definitely a magical experience sure to keep your toddler entertained!
Character Interactions at Animal Kingdom
Meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse at Adventurers Outpost
If meeting the pair of famous mice is on your toddler's list, they won't be disappointed.
At the Outpost, you will find character meet and greets throughout the day with Mickey and Minnie in their safari themed outfits.
Grab a photo and a hug before heading to the next stop on your Animal Kingdom adventure.
Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Mickey at Tusker House Restaurant
Not only is the menu great for toddlers, Tusker House is the perfect spot to meet up with some of your favorite Disney characters.
At this fun buffet spot, you can interact with Mickey, Goofy, Daisy and Donald as they stop by for a visit.
They are dressed in their safari gear and come to each table for a quick meet and greet!
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, your toddler will love meeting their favorite characters in person and filling up on their favorite foods – like Mickey waffles!
Read more about our Tusker House breakfast in Animal Kingdom!
Be sure you make your reservation well in advance for this popular table-service spot!
Donald's Dino Bash
For a character interaction your toddler will love, check out Donald's Dino Bash!
Dressed in their dino gear, you can meet Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and even Chip ‘n Dale!
This is the perfect spot to get photos, autographs and hugs from your favorite Disney characters.
Animal Kingdom Tips and Tricks with Toddlers
SKIP It's Tough to Be A Bug
This 3D movie theater experience follows Flik and Hopper from A Bug's Life as they explore the circle of life.
There are several 3D and special effects that even adults can get surprised by so we wouldn't recommend bringing toddlers to see it.
SKIP Dinosaur the Ride
You might have some dino-loving toddlers who are dying to go on this ride, but it. is. scary.
With a height requirement of 40″ most won't be ready to go, but if they ask, just say no.
BRING Glowsticks, Necklaces, etc.
If you are staying past bedtime, you'll love the way Animal Kingdom lights up after dark.
Disney sells all the glow things, but be sure to pack your own.
Your toddlers will love to light up and enjoy everything from a new glowing perspective!
PLAN Naps and Downtime
Be sure to plan downtime for your toddler.
Wether that means taking a stroller walk through Discovery Island or taking a full day off to explore beaches near Disney World.
Disney can get extremely over stimulating and toddlers need that break.
Definitely plan to pack some calm down activities just in case.
What to Wear to Animal Kingdom
If you're like most people, planning your Disney outfits is a must!
So what should your toddler wear to Animal Kingdom for your park day?
Dress in one of the themed movies the park represents:
- The Lion King
- A Bug's Life
- Finding Nemo
You can keep it simple with a graphic t-shirt or go all out with a full costume if your toddler loves to dress up!
Beyond movies, you can go with a safari or explorer theme.
Animal print is also super popular at Disney's Animal Kingdom – from themed Mickey ears to animal print dresses, toddlers will love getting dressed for their Animal Kingdom day!
Visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom with Toddlers
Overall, Disney's Animal Kingdom is full of fun activities and attractions for toddlers.
If you've decided Disney World is worth it, we've got all the tips and tricks you need to make the most of your time in this amazing park.
From character interactions to where to nap to what to wear, you'll be prepared for a full day of fun.
We know it can be hard to choose between Animal Kingdom and Epcot with toddlers, but we know a trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom with toddlers will be a day you won't soon forget!
Looking for more Disney World tips? See our Disney posts below:
- 6 Things to Know Before Going to Disney World for the First Time
- Disney World Stroller Rules: What You Must Know Before You Leave
- Choosing the Best Double Stroller for Disney
- Animal Kingdom or Epcot for Toddlers: Which Park is Best for Your Trip
- Visit Tusker House for the Best Breakfast in Animal Kingdom
- The Closest Beach to Disney World: 13 Best Family Beaches Near Orlando
- Is Disney World Worth It? Costs, Crowds, Heat, and Memories
Is Animal Kingdom worth it with toddlers?
Yes! Animal Kingdom with toddlers is definitely worth it. With attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, and Discovery Island Trails, your toddler will be sure to have a blast.
Is Epcot or Animal Kingdom better for toddlers?
It depends on your toddler's interests. Animal Kingdom is great for adventurous kids who love animals and exploring, while Epcot is perfect for curious toddlers interested in science and cultures around the world.
Is Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom better for toddlers?
Again, it depends on what your toddler is interested in. Animal Kingdom has plenty of attractions and shows for kids interested in animals, while Hollywood Studios is heavier on broadway-style shows and bigger rides.