Animal Kingdom is the largest Disney park, spanning more than 500 acres. It’s bigger than all of the Magic Kingdom, so there’s plenty to explore here. Make time for the animal exhibits, take in the Tree of Life, and have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Join a truck for the Kilimanjaro Safari and see much of what the park has to offer.
Once you explore some of the regions of the Animal Kingdom, you’ll want to take advantage of the rides. There are great options for all ages, but these Animal Kingdom roller coasters are ones you can’t miss.
Read on to find out what the rides are like, how long you might have to wait, and what rider requirements they have.
Avatar Flight of Passage
Avatar Flight of Passage is a 3D thrill ride in the Pandora region of the Animal Kingdom. It’s not a roller coaster like you’d imagine because you’re not sitting in a car and moving around. Instead, you’re sitting on a contraption similar to a bike, so you get the sensation of flying.
You’ll ride a winged banshee as you explore the Pandora landscape, which looks just as it does in the Avatar movie. You don’t physically move much with this ride, but that doesn’t decrease the thrills you’ll feel. The screen makes it seem like you’re constantly in motion, and you’ll want to take time to see everything around you.
To enjoy this adventure, you don’t have to be familiar with the movie. There’s nothing too scary about it, so it’s great for all ages:
The only stipulation of the ride is that everyone needs to be 44 inches or taller. Since this is one of the most popular Animal Kingdom roller coasters, you should try to ride it first thing in the morning or wait until it’s close to closing time. If you pay for Lightning Lane, you won’t have to wait long for your turn.
Though you might have a 60 to 90-minute wait for this ride, you won’t get bored standing in line. The wait is mostly inside, and sections look like caves and the lab from the movie.
DINOSAUR is a thrill ride in DinoLand, USA. Kids, tweens, teens, and adults will love this ride, and it has a lower height requirement than other Animal Kingdom roller coasters, at just 40 inches.
Though some kids may love this ride, it can be scary. It takes place in the dark, and the dinosaurs are loud. They’re animatronic, so small children might feel frightened when the creatures move.
Riders climb into a 12-passenger truck to travel across bumpy jungle terrain. There’s a great sense of adventure to this ride. You’re on a mission as a paleontologist asks you to travel in time and bring an Iguanodon back with you to the present day.
However, you’re racing against the clock because a meteor is about to hit the Earth. The ride’s original subtitle was “Countdown to Extinction,” so you can figure out how serious it is that this meteor is on the way.
While this ride will thrill you, it’s not the famous attraction it used to be. The animatronic dinosaurs look outdated, so it doesn’t seem as cool as the Avatar Flight of Passage or have the fright factor of Expedition Everest. However, it’s still a fun ride and has a much shorter line than many other attractions. You’ll never have a long wait for this roller coaster.
If you do have to wait, you’ll enjoy the feeling of being in a museum. There are replica fossils to look at before watching the paleontologist explaining your mission on video.
The TriceraTop Spin ride seems tame compared to the other Animal Kingdom roller coasters, but your kids will love it. As a bonus, it’s right near DINOSAUR, so if that ride is too scary for your children, they can enjoy the TriceraTop Spin instead. There’s no height requirement, so even the youngest Disney fans can hop into a dinosaur for a few spins.
The ride is similar to the iconic flying Dumbo. It’s an aerial carousel that gives you the feel of a small-town carnival. While it’s not especially thrilling and doesn’t have the breakneck speed of a roller coaster, it does have its ups and downs and is a nice, relaxing ride. It only lasts about two minutes, so you won’t have to wait in a long line for your turn.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain certainly looks intimidating as you approach. It’s a true roller coaster you can see almost anywhere in the park. The ride is in the Asia section of the park and is suitable for any rider taller than 44 inches.
The stunning mountain draws visitors in, so you might have a short wait, but it’s so far back in the park that you can make a beeline to ride it first, then work your way back around the park. The queue is interesting so you won’t get bored while waiting.
You feel like you’re in a travel agency, preparing to book a trip to the Himalayas. Most artifacts are real, so you’ll learn something while you wait for your turn. You’ll also see very detailed information about Yetis, including a museum and shrine. Pay attention to the Yetis because you might see them later.
When you reach a certain section of the track, you’ll find that it’s torn up. The ride reverses, and you’ll see the shadow of a yeti ripping up the track in anger.
Expedition Everest used to boast an impressive animatronic Yeti. Over time, Imagineers realized that the yeti’s weight and movements were causing the ride’s foundation to crack. You can see a video of the active yeti online. It used to swipe at riders as they went past the broken track. Now the park uses strobes to make it look like the yeti moves.
The roller coaster has some steep inclines and goes backward when you reach the “broken” section of the track, but it doesn’t go upside down. The tracks also tilt to the side in some sections, making your heart race but not enough to make most riders motion sick or dizzy.
The ride goes as fast as 50 miles per hour in some spaces, so you’ll definitely get a thrill. It’s just under 200 feet tall, giving you fantastic views of the park as you ride. The mountains themselves are gorgeous and will make you feel like you’ve traveled to the Himalayas.
Expedition Everest is one of the most expensive rides at Disney World, costing over $100 million to build. You’ll find that it’s worth that price because of all the details you’ll see waiting in line and flying through the mountains.
Kali River Rapids
Kali River Rapids gets your heart pumping and your clothes wet, but it’s an adventure you’ll never forget. It’s one ride almost everyone in your party should be able to enjoy, with a height requirement of just 38 inches. The roller coaster is in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom, so you can hit this one before or after you enjoy Expedition Everest.
It’s not part of Early Entry and opens a bit later than other rides, so you might have a long wait if you get there as soon as the park opens. Lining up as soon as the ride starts running is the best plan since it gets more popular as the day heats up and people want to cool off with splashes of water.
Just like the nearby Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids has an amazing queue. You can check out Asian artifacts and learn about loggers, which plays into the ride’s purpose. Loggers are illegally working in the area, and you see them throughout the ride.
There’s one major incline at the beginning of the ride, which leads to a big drop. You’ll most likely get splashed, but some riders only get a few drops of water on them from this adventure. It all depends on positioning, but don’t get too confident if you stay dry at that point.
Towards the end of the ride is a bridge where guests can watch the ride. Right past the bridge are elephant statues that spray water. You’re at the mercy of the viewers at this point because they can make the statues spray you as your vessel passes by. It’s a fun, interactive element to a ride that is otherwise a little too short to be exciting.
These are the Animal Kingdom roller coasters, but there are plenty of other attractions you won’t want to miss, so keep an eye on the time. If you’re traveling with young ones, don’t miss the animal attractions, safari, and Camp Minnie-Mickey. When you’re ready for a thrill, hit the roller coasters on this list. You’ll love the sense of adventure you’ll feel in the Animal Kingdom.
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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