Best Rides at Animal Kingdom

Floating avatar in water tank at Pandora: World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World

Why You Should Trust Me

I’ve studied the theme park industry for over 20 years, including spending some time working rides themselves. I’ve ridden over 200 roller coasters at the time of this post being written, and visited over 40 theme parks, zoos, and fairgrounds (including Animal Kingdom), riding as many rides as possible at each.

While I myself do not have children, I base ratings for children and families on what I enjoyed as a child as well as what I’ve seen other children in my life enjoy. If you see a child smiling during a ride, that’s usually a pretty good sign.

Best Ride for Thrill Seekers and Teens

Expedition Everest

Best Ride for Families

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Arguably the flagship attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris lets families board vehicles to see animals up close. It’s the closest thing to a safari ride that you can get in a theme park. While seeing real live animals is sure to excite children, there aren’t any large drops or real scares to be had like on some bigger rides.

Best Ride for Small Children

TriceraTop Spin

If you’ve been to Magic Kingdom, you’ll see a lot of familiar things about this ride – it’s essentially the same ride as the iconic Dumbo The Flying Elephant. This time, instead of riding on elephants, you’re riding on Triceratops dinosaurs. Those don’t really fly in real life, but small children will certainly love it.

Best Ride for Older Adults and Adults Who Want To Relax

Na’vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey is located in Pandora – The World of Avatar. It’s a classic slow-moving Disney boat ride that takes you through the environment of Pandora from the Avatar movies. It also has one of the most impressive audio animatronics in the world.

Best Roller Coaster

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is the only roller coaster at Animal Kingdom, so it wins by default (oh well!). There used to be another roller coaster here, but it’s since been removed.

Best Indoor Ride at Animal Kingdom

Avatar Flight of Passage

Avatar Flight of Passage can be viewed as a more advanced version of Soarin’ Around The World at EPCOT. Here, you straddle seats that simiulate riding a Banshee. The seats move while there’s a large screen in front of you, amplified by the 3D glasses you’re wearing.

For an indoor ride, it’s particularly impressive. You really do start to feel like you’re flying through the air on an animal. Be aware, though, that this ride gets very long lines, which further proves it being one of the best rides at Animal Kingdom.

Best Water Ride

Kali River Rapids

Like Expedition Everest, this is the only water ride at Animal Kingdom, so it wins by default.

This ride is very divisive among Disney fans – some love it and some hate it. Since I don’t normally want to get soaked when visiting the park, I haven’t had the chance to experience it yet.

Best Ride for Short Lines


Unfortunately, this ride has seen better days, so while still enjoyable, it tends to have shorter lines than other rides in the park. I still recommend checking it out, though – it’s still one of the best rides at Animal Kingdom!

Best Ride for Historians

Expedition Everest

I promise I’m not trying to mention Expedition Everest as much as possible (though it really is one of the best rides at Animal Kingdom). This ride does have some interesting historical merit.

First, it is one of if not the last Disney ride built from the ground up that isn’t based on an existing IP (though I’d love to see a movie based on this ride). It’s a purely original idea from the minds of Disney Imagineers.

At one point this ride had one of the largest audio animatronics in the world. While Betty doesn’t move much anymore, preferring the disco vibes, she can still be seen in all her glory as you zoom past.

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Christian McIlwain

Christian has been a fan of theme parks since he was a child. He has over twenty years of experience both researching and working in the industry. He grew up visiting Kennywood Park throughout his childhood. Currently, he lives in Atlanta, GA where he frequently visits Six Flags Over Georgia and Orlando area theme parks.


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