Think you’ve seen it all at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Think again! Covering 500 acres and divided into seven themed areas, it’s actually the largest Disney theme park in the world. Even a third time visitor made several new discoveries.

Animal Kingdom Secrets

10 VIP Animal Kingdom Secrets from Traveling Mom

10 Animal Kingdom Secrets

If you’ve visited Animal Kingdom before, it’s time to head back. There are new discoveries throughout Disney World’s largest park. Below are 10 VIP must-see Disney secrets and tips for your next visit to Animal Kingdom with or without kids.

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Animal Kingdom Secrets & Tips

1. Avoid Lines via the Gift Shop Entrance

There is a second, less frequented entrance to the theme park at the rear of the Rainforest Cafe gift shop. This is a great way to avoid early morning lines at the main entrance.

2. Go Early. Or Late.

Go in the morning if you want to spot the most animals on the Kilimanjaro Safari jeep ride; however, go in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. We arrived at the theme park at 2 p.m. when many people were ending their visit, and by 5 p.m. the wait times on popular rides were under 20 minutes.

3. Take More than 1 Safari Ride

Speaking of the Kilimanjaro Safaris, don’t just ride this once. Each tour guide shares different stories and you can see different animals at any given time. I’d recommend starting and ending your visit to Animal Kingdom by going on this amazing up-close and personal, African animal safari trek. Also, impress your fellow riders by pointing out that the flamingo pond is a hidden Mickey.

Kilimanjaro Ride at Animal Kingdom Tips & Secrets

View from the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Photo Credit: Tara Settembre/VIP TravelingMom

4. 27 Hidden Mickeys

It’s reported that there are 27 hidden Mickeys in the park. Sorry, I did not go looking for them outside the above-mentioned pond and a few others.

5. Explore the Secrets of the Tree of Life

There are approximately 320 animals carved into the Tree of Life, which is not a real tree of course.

6. Look for the Animal Prints

Watch where you’re stepping. Look down and you’ll notice leaf impressions, mud cracks and animal prints along the walkways. See how many you can spot.

7. Get an Adult Dole Whip

You can get a grown-up version of the famous Walt Disney World treat – Dole Whip – with rum and without the wait at Tamu Tamu in Africa. It’s the adult version and just as satisfying and refreshing on a hot day.

Minnie Mouse water art by entrance

Animal Kingdome secret 8 –water art. Photo credit: Tara Settembre

8. Look Fast to See the Water Art

Outside the entrance of the theme park there are cast members with a bucket and broom appearing to be cleaning up trash, but they are actually there to delight guests with drawing water art on the pavement of classic Disney characters. Cast member Brittany drew us a large Minnie Mouse!

9. This is the Best Spot for Tea Lovers

Tea lovers like me can rejoice in finding specialty loose leaf tea instead of the standard tea bags at the Royal Anandapur Tea Company stand in the Asia section of the park. Also, remember to grab a park-only exclusive Animal Kingdom Starbucks ‘You Are Here” collectible mug before you leave.

10. Visit the Boneyard

The Boneyard  and DIG site is a giant playzone in DinoLand U.S.A. that’s ideal for toddlers to let off some steam and run around and have fun.

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