Planning a trip to Walt Disney World requires an itinerary that’s planned extensively. That’s the best way to ensure that your family has a magical Disney experience. This extra planning might be tedious, but it will go a long way toward making the trip less stressful in the long run.
Animal Kingdom is the most popular of the four parks at Disney. This means that it’s the busiest park, but it also means it’s the park that’s open the longest. This park may even open an hour earlier than usual during busy times.
Knowing the park hours is vital to getting your itinerary in order. Park hours will help you plan your day efficiently for the maximum amount of fun. Knowing the Animal Kingdom opening time will ensure that you get there with enough time to get on all your favorite rides.
Typical Animal Kingdom Hours
The typical hours at Animal Kingdom are from 8 am or 9 am until 7 pm or 8 pm. This schedule does vary, especially around busy times like the holidays. How in demand the park is will play a part in the theme park hours. So it’s important to always verify the correct Animal Kingdom hours early on the Disney website in the days leading up to your trip.
Typical hours for specific rides
The rides in Animal Kingdom will open and close according to the park hours. This means that rides can only open after the park has opened in the morning and will close when it closes. Rides may still open later or close earlier than the park does.
There is no way of knowing the opening time of a specific ride in advance. The best way to predict what time the opening time will be is to look at the opening times on the previous days. This doesn’t guarantee that the ride will open at that time, but there’s a good chance it will. You can do this using the My Disney Experience app.
Always check the closing times for the rides that you really want to get on beforehand. You can also use the app to check closing times. You want to budget enough time to get to your ride, even in the event that it closes early.
Extra Hours at Animal Kingdom
As with other parks at Disney World, the stipulated closing time in park hours doesn’t mean you have to leave the park. It just means that you’ll no longer be able to line up for the rides. Guests who are already in line will still be able to get on the ride. Some stores will remain open past closing park hours. The stores toward the front of the park will usually stay open.
The Rivers of Light nighttime show is usually scheduled to start at closing park hours. The Tree of Life Awakenings nighttime projection also typically continues for a little while after the park has closed.
Pandora is always open the latest due to the Avatar Flight of Passage. You can often hang around Pandora for an extra hour after the park has closed. if you happen to leave the area after closing, you may not be able to get back in.
Early Theme Park Entry
Guests at Walt Disney World Resort hotels and select hotels are given access to the Early Theme Park Entry. This replaces Extra Magic Hours.
Early Theme Park entry gives guests access to the park half an hour before other guests. This perk is available every day.
Most of the rides in the park are included in Early Theme Park Entry. Here are the Animal Kingdom rides you can expect to be open:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
- TriceraTop Spin
- Expedition Everest
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Extended Evening Hours
Guests at deluxe Disney hotels and a select group of hotels will have access to Extended evening hours. This means that they have the option of enjoying extra hours in the park on select evenings.
This perk is typically available once a week and gives the guests two extra hours after closing time. They are currently not offering this perk at Animal Kingdom. Keep an eye out for Disney news in case this changes.
Animal Kingdom after-hours events
Animal Kingdom After Hours is currently not being offered, but it might make a comeback.
These are ticketed events that happen after the typical park hours. This is available to anyone without a regular admission ticket to the park. Guests for these events can usually enter the park from 7 pm and for about 3 hours after.
If you remember anything about extra hours, it should be this; you should avoid visiting the park on days that there are events, Extended Evening Hours, and holiday parties. The park is likely to close earlier than usual on these days.
How often are the hours at Animal Kingdom updated?
Disney updates their park hours roughly 75 days in advance. They also update the events’ schedule and inform you of any refurbishments.
When does Animal Kingdom start letting guests in?
Despite park hours, any seasoned Disney lover will know they let guests in at least half an hour before. This means that you need to be at the park 45 minutes before the stipulated park hours. This will give you the best chance of getting to rides earlier.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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