First things first: Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World closes earlier than other parks, usually at 8:00 pm. The likelihood of seeing more wild animals is higher during the cooler morning temperatures, especially from May to December. If park hopping is in the plan, make this park the first stop. Head straight to the back of the park for the safari ride, Kilimanjaro Safaris. Here are some fun attractions for small children at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
Character Greetings at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom
For the little ones, who often enjoy meeting their favourite Disney characters, there is a lot of opportunity at Animal Kingdom. In a section of the park, Adventurers Outpost, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse meet their little fans (one line for each). The characters wear their safari gear, so purists who want the quintessential Mickey shot may want to visit them in the Magic Kingdom.
Several other characters from popular Disney movies are scattered throughout the park. Brer Bear has been spotted, as well as Baloo and King Louie from the Jungle Book, and Terk (the female gorilla from Tarzan). At the Conservation Station, a short train ride from the safari area, Pocahontas, Rafiki (from the Lion King), and Jimini Cricket can often be seen.
Since waiting in line for Disney characters can sometimes take an hour or more, scoring multiple hugs after only one line up is the Disney equivalent of a Las Vegas jackpot.
Photopass is also available at the character greetings. This service involves a professional Disney photographer who takes pictures for the group. He then hands out a card that can be used to access those photos online. The shots can be viewed, shared or purchased via the Disney Photopass website.
Rides for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Children 38 inches and taller can ride the Kali River Rapids. This attraction is a large inner tube that seats several guests and travels quickly down a whitewater river.
Dinoland has a TriceraTop Spin ride that is similar to the Flying Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom. It is very popular with toddlers and preschoolers. Though it looks fun, the roller coaster in Dinoland has a height requirement too steep for most preschoolers.
Parents and older kids shouldn’t feel they have to miss out on some of the more intense attractions at Animal Kingdom, such as the thrilling roller coaster Expedition Everest. Groups can take advantage of what is called a Switch Rider. This is good for three riders and allow those who need to stay behind with smaller children to immediately access the attraction after the rest of their party disembarks. It’s distributed by a cast member at the ride entrance. The cast member may want to see the children involved to avoid switch rider abuse.
But rides and character aren’t all Animal Kingdom has to offer. There are additional attractions including shows, mystical trails, and animal viewings that are all geared for the littlest Disney vacationers.