DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM
Location: Orlando, Florida
Discounts: Florida resident, multi-day tickets
Worth the Price? Yes
This well known facility has extra magic to it than most zoological facilities, and that’s because it’s ran by a mouse-Mickey Mouse that is. This theme park is very accommodating with its wide paths and hospital staff per the Disney norm. The facility allows you to connect with animals through your favorite Disney characters and provides a unique experience for the entire family. There are both thrill rides and kid friendly attractions, entertaining shows from movies such as The Lion King and Finding Nemo, and their infamous safari ride. The Kilimanjaro Safari is one of their most popular attractions and allows you to board a safari vehicle that transports you across their own version of the Serengeti Plains. On this tour you will see elephant, rhino, a variety of hoofstock such as zebra, rhino, giraffe, and wildebeest, as well as carnivores like the lion and cheetah. They also have walking paths where you can view more species like the okapi, gorilla, and tiger. If you’d like, you can even pay extra for a private tour that allows you to feed the hippo and embark on a semi-private excursion. Unfortunately, that’s about it for animals. The rest of the animal exhibits feature mostly smaller animals like otter, kangaroo, and a variety of bird. For many enclosures, they do an outstanding job of replicating the animals’ natural habitat, but the guest viewing is limited and the animals are often in the far distance and hard to see. In addition, all of the major animal exhibits in the back of the park close earlier than the rest of the park. If you opt for a somewhat inconvenient tram ride, you can reach a distant area of the park known as Rafiki’s Planet that houses the children’s petting zoo and indoor veterinary facility. There are also tours available for a behind the scenes look here as well. While this park does a great job of incorporating live animals into the Disney corporation, it does not have as many exhibits as you would hope for in a zoo, and the animal collection is commonly found in a variety zoos. Remember, this zoo doubles as a theme park so they aren’t focused on expanding their animal collection as much as they are on entertainment. With that said, the new Avatar land, Pandora, is phenomenal and immersive, and the zoo has very popular species among adults and children alike.