Best Rides for Toddlers at Animal Kingdom

In this post, we discuss the best rides (and attractions) for toddlers at Animal Kingdom. Similar to Epcot, Animal Kingdom has limited ride selection for toddlers but plenty of other good attractions and activities that we also cover—so don’t stop reading at the list! We close with a discussion of FastPass+ with toddlers at Animal Kingdom.

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None of the commentary on this page has to do with how we personally feel about the overall quality of the rides—keep any commentary focused on whether attractions are suitable for toddlers. We have a ranking of all the rides at Disney World if you’d like to see our personal assessments.

Best Rides for Toddlers at Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom has four rides without height requirements. If you’d like to read more about these—and all the rides, attractions, and entertainment at Animal Kingdom—check out our Guide to the Rides and Entertainment of Animal Kingdom. After this list, we’ll go more into other attractions and activities for toddlers at Animal Kingdom.

Here are the best rides for toddlers at Animal Kingdom:

  1. Kilimanjaro Safaris

  2. Na’vi River Journey

  3. TriceraTop Spin

  4. Kali River Rapids (38” Height Requirement)

  5. Wildlife Express Train (seasonal)

1. Kilimanjaro Safaris

While most people (including us) hold Avatar Flight of Passage to higher esteem, there’s a really good argument to be made that Kilimanjaro Safaris is the best ride at Animal Kingdom. So it’s really awesome that it has no height requirement.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a roughly 20-minute long safari ride through the Animal Kingdom’s African savanna, feature a wide range of real live animals. Every safari is different, but you’re guaranteed to see a number of animals, and if you’re lucky they will come basically right up to your vehicle (no touching, obviously).

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We highly recommend a Kilimanjaro Safari FastPass+ at Animal Kingdom for families with toddlers. Alternatively, you might make it part of your Animal Kingdom rope drop strategy.

2. Na’vi River Journey

Of the remaining rides without height requirements, Na’vi River Journey definitely ranks highest. It’s a stunning boat ride featuring a variety of fictional plants and animals. Toddlers might not appreciate the design that goes into creating all these fictional creatures, but the bioluminescence should impress them enough.

3. TriceraTop Spin

TriceraTop Spin is an aerial carousel located in the Dino-Rama area of the park. It’s an average aerial carousel, unfortunately offering little by way of views.

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4. Kali River Rapids (38” height requirement)

Kali River Rapids is a water raft ride where you typically will get wet as you ride down the fictional river, encountering twists, turns, and drops along the way. It has a 38” height requirement, which puts it out of the reach of most toddlers.

5. Wildlife Express Train (seasonal)

The Wildlife Express Train is technically a ride, and it has no height requirement, but it mostly serves to transport guests to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, a seasonal offering at Animal Kingdom discussed more below.

Other Attractions and Activities for Toddlers at Animal Kingdom

With the rides out of the way, let’s talk about the wealth of other activities at Animal Kingdom that are good for toddlers.

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It’s Tough To Be a Bug

It’s Tough to be a Bug is a 10-minute long 3D show inside/underneath the Tree of Life, hosted by Flik from A Bug’s Life. While it’s mostly a standard 3D show, we want to mention that it has some very loud, scary, and surprising moments. If your kid is at all easily frightened and this worries you, we really recommend you either (1) research it more online or (2) just find the time to send one parent to watch it first.

The Boneyard

The Boneyard is an outdoor play area themed to a dinosaur excavation. It’s a great place for kids to burn off some energy exploring the dig site.

The Zoological Trails

The Oasis Exhibits (at the very front of the park), Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (in Africa), and the Maharajah Jungle Trek (in Asia) are three zoological trails where kids will have the chance to see different animals in a zoo-like setting.

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Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Rafiki’s Planet Watch (reopening July 11, 2019) is a land accessible via the Wildlife Express Train. It is a heavily zoological / conservation focused area with exhibits like the Veterinary Treatment Room and small animal exhibits. When it reopens on July 11, 2019 it will have a more heavy Lion King presence, including the 25-minute Animation Experience drawing class. It is also expected that the petting zoo element will return.

Stage Shows at Animal Kingdom

There are three stage shows at Animal Kingdom. Festival of the Lion King is an acrobatic Lion King performance. Finding Nemo - The Musical is a musical performance of Finding Nemo. UP! A Great Bird Adventure features Dug and Russell interacting with a variety of birds. All three shows are a good use of time at Animal Kingdom with a toddler.

Streetmosphere at Animal Kingdom

Check the Times Guide or Entertainment section of the My Disney Experience app to find some of the lesser known entertainment offerings, with Dino-Riffic Dance Party! and Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party being particularly good for kids.

Characters

Character greetings aren’t as big a thing at the other parks as they are at Magic Kingdom, but there are still a few to be found in Animal Kingdom. Use the My Disney Experience app to see what characters will be greeting (and where) today.

Booking FastPass+ With Toddlers at Animal Kingdom

Our separate Animal Kingdom FastPass+ guide and Walt Disney World FastPass+ Strategy don’t really cover planning specifically for small children, so we wanted to add a section here.

Keep in mind that these rankings only apply if you’re not planning on using rider switch for adults to ride the rides with height requirements. If you are planning to rider swap, then we still recommend the adults stick to our regular FastPass+ plan (links above).

Here are the Animal Kingdom attractions we’d consider using FastPass+ on when traveling with a small child:

  1. Na’vi River Journey

  2. Kilimanjaro Safaris

  3. Kali River Rapids (38” Requirement)

  4. Adventurers Outpost Character Greeting

  5. Festival of the Lion King

  6. Rivers of Light

The last two of these are shows. Festival of the Lion King is multiple times a day and often has available last-minute seating. You only need FastPass+ if you really want to be sure you visit at a specific time. Rivers of Light viewing rarely (if ever) fills up these days, but FastPass+ guarantees you a decent seat (that said, we don’t think it’s worth it).

You should be able to count on walking onto either Na’vi River Journey or Kilimanjaro Safaris (sometimes both) with a short wait to start your day (again, if you aren’t using rider switch to ride Flight of Passage), so you should have little trouble deciding on your three advance FastPass+ reservations.

What’s your favorite activity for toddlers at Animal Kingdom?

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

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Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.

When it comes time to book, we've got you covered with posts on how to book cheap flights, how to get the best deal on your Disney hotel, and where to find discount Disney World tickets. And of course everyone wants to know whether or not they should get a dining plan—check out our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans!

Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.

Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon!

Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.