Summer of Disney – Animal Kingdom

I feel like it’s been ages since Animal Kingdom was considered a Disney park worth spending a whole day at. Sure, many Disney fans and Disney conservationists were prone to spend some time at good ol’ AK, but it was most definitely not ranked at the top of anyone’s summer park list. Mostly because there weren’t many thrills like other parks offered, and the animals that the park is centered around were never to be seen on Safari due to heat. Combine those factors in and Animal Kingdom didn’t get much love from anyone for quite some time. All of that has now changed with the addition of Pandora to the Animal Kingdom. Picture colorful walls and floating mountains, an Instagram worthy paradise. This much anticipated expansion has brought a renewed interest to Animal Kingdom, and with that, an opportunity to check off some summer bucket list items exclusive to AK.

  • Pandora… and I’m not talking about the jewelry line

Not to be confused with the shiny Disney baubles you can add to your accessory collection, I’m talking about the Pandora of epic proportions, and just like the jewelry, all that glitters is gold. In Pandora there is a pretty sweet spot where bioluminescence makes everything glow, and it’s a great place for fun pictures to commemorate visiting the new expansion, no filter needed.

  • A Bird’s Eye View

Animal Kingdom offers a separate tour for guests who wish to explore treacherous terrain above the animal exhibits. The Wild Africa trek is a 3 hour tour viewing animals in their natural habitat. Although it seems pricey and is a secondary ticket from the park pass, Disney is currently offering a summer special offer off the price. Annual passholders could possibly get a deeper discount, just ask the CM when you call guest services to book the tour.

  • Spot the Animals

Animal Kingdom has tons of animals, well because the park is called Animal Kingdom…. Duh. However, the staple in the center of the park, which also makes for a fantastic photo op is the Tree of Life. Spend some time checking out the animals that were carved from the bark of the tree, and find a knowledgeable CM to tell you how they got such a mammoth structure into the park to begin with. You’ll be amazed at how innovative Disney was to bring life to the Tree of Life.

  • Rivers of Light

Another new addition to Animal Kingdom, this show features beautiful floating flowers, animal folklore, lovely music and special effects. A visually stunning story set at sundown, you will want to get there early to nab a great seat. If you have any Made with Magic accessories you can wear these to the show; watch as they sync to the story that unfolds on the water.

  • Celebrate Simba… in air conditioning

Summer is brutal, so any activity out of the sun should be on a bucket list, but that’s my humble opinion. The great part about this option is that you can experience a Broadway style show with pageantry and puppetry set to the music of the Lion King. If you don’t know what this could possibly be – add Festival of the Lion King to your bucket list. You can thank me later.

Are there any bucket list items you have for Animal Kingdom Main Streeters? Share with us!



Erika Roberts has been a Disney kid for as long as she can remember, but her love of visiting Disney Parks started after just one ride in a Doom Buggy. She couldn’t run to guest relations fast enough to offer up her soul in return for an Annual Pass. Since then Disney has taken all of her money, but has given her the most cherished memories; from watching her Nona’s face light up with happy tears as we strolled down Main Street on her first visit (she was 84 at the time), to her very own engagement on Halloween in front of the Haunted Mansion. Erika is excited to be on the TMSM team and where Disney Parks are concerned, you won’t catch her dead on It’s a Small World. If she asks to ride that, this is a clear indication that she is in danger and you must send help. You will, however, catch her performing Random Acts of Disney (R.A.D’s), park hopping with her amazing group of impressively talented and kind friends (usually in some themed attire), hanging out by The Haunted Mansion, and ugly crying during fireworks… then begging for a Mickey Premium Bar to eat her feelings…this is a judgment-free bio. Otherwise, Erika works for the State of Florida and is actively involved in her community. Erika believes in empowering others and spreading kindness to people from all walks of life. Erika also makes custom designed Disney inspired ears, etched glass, gifts, and accessories. You can check out, like or follow her work on FB, which also links to my shop’s Instagram: She looks forward to getting to know everyone and sharing the magic of Disney!

Erika has 121 posts and counting. See all posts by Erika


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