Disney with Toddlers: Exploring Animal Kingdom (Part One)

My family visited Walt Disney Wold in April 2014. When we visited Disney, our daughter was 17 months old, and our son was one month shy of his 3rd birthday. We hope this blog series will help other families with toddlers have a great experience at Disney!

I posted before about the reasons why we chose to do Animal Kingdom before Magic Kingdom – and I’m so glad we did. For my kids, it was a great introduction to the chaos of the parks and the size of the characters. Animal Kingdom is much less overwhelming and we had an AWESOME day there.


My first piece of advice? Get there when the park opens and go straight to KilimanjaroSafari. Get a FastPass ahead of time if you can. The animals are the most animated in the morning – and so are your toddlers. My 17 month old may not know who Pocahontas is, but she went crazy when she saw a giraffe. And it was awesome.


Disney really did this ride right. You drive right through the areas where the animals roam (strategically hiding moats and other barriers that will protect you from the more aggressive ones),   so it is easy to get an up-close look at your toddler’s favorite animals. The ride is just over 20 minutes long, giving them lots of time to gaze at some African animals. Seriously, so cool.

When we left the Safari, we headed over to our next Fast Pass selection – the Outpost where we met Mickey and Minnie Mouse! The Mini Athlete can be a little timid, so my mom suggested buying him an autograph book for them to sign. This would give him a purpose to walk up to the giant characters, since we didn’t think he would be comfortable just going in for a hug. As usual, Amma knew best.

He was just in awe of Mickey and Minnie. A little hesitant, but totally in awe.


By that point, it was just past 11am and everyone was getting a little hungry for lunch.  We ate at the Flame Tree BBQ (the salad was delicious!), but we had packed lunches for the little ones. Why not? They were just as happy with their PB&J as they would have been with a $9 kids meal.

We then headed over toward DinoLand USA. When we were watching some YouTube videos in anticipation of our trip, the Mini Athlete had seen the “flying dinosaurs!” and insisted he wanted to ride them. On our way there, we found these two:


The Mini Athlete was a little more timid around Goofy, but he was so excited to meet him and Pluto. And yes, they signed his book too. Oh and even Daddy had to get his photo with these characters.


We then headed over to the TriceraTop Spin – basically Dumbo disguised as a dinosaur (and with two rows). There was only a 5 minute wait and the Mini Athlete jumped right in. He loved it!


(Daddy clearly missed the memo about the selfie.)

There are a few other things to do in DinoLand but it was HOT. And our next FastPass experience was about to start – Finding Nemo: The Musical!



We LOVED this show. Not only was it nice and cool in the theatre, the music and set/costumes were AWESOME. Seriously. Go see it.

It also put Little Miss in a great napping mood and she fell asleep shortly after getting back in the stroller. The Mini Athlete spotted a few more animals on some of the walking trails, and then we found…the Baby Care Center.

If you have little tiny ones, you are going to LOVE the Baby Care Center. Trust me on this one…or just check out my next post for Part 2 of our Animal Kingdom adventure. 🙂

Which park is your favorite at Walt Disney World? Why?








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One Response to Disney with Toddlers: Exploring Animal Kingdom (Part One)

  1. I was just in Disney in December and Animal Kingdom is awesome! I think my favorite park is still Magic Kingdom because there’s just so much going on there. But I loved the Finding Nemo Musical as well as the Lion King show! I also loved the new rollercoaster in Asia and the pretty intense dino ride is also a favorite, but obviously not for the kiddies.

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