If you are heading to Walt Disney World soon and wondering about the water rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you are in the right place! This is my favorite theme park in all of Disney World, well, maybe a close second to the classic Magic Kingdom. I love the combination of amazing shows, thrilling rides, beautiful landscaping, and majestic animals throughout this Disney park. Keep reading for my best tips on what to see and explore while in Animal Kingdom, including the best water rides!
Na’vi River Journey
Na’vi River Journey sounds like a water ride, but it’s a slow boat ride you find in Pandora and the World of Avatar. When you enter the park and reach the Tree of Life, turn left towards Avatar Flight of Passage and you will find Na’vi River Journey right next door. This slow-moving boat ride takes you through the beautiful world of Pandora, filled with skittering bugs, lizards, and other forest features.
The whole family can enjoy this ride, as there is no height requirement or restriction. Small children, teens, and adults will enjoy relaxing as you journey through the World of Pandora. You may want to prepare little ones for the Na’vi Shaman at the end, who may seem a little intimidating in size.
Na’vi River Journey can attract long lines, since it is right next door to Avatar Flight of Passage, one of the best rides in Animal Kingdom. Be sure to check wait times in the My Disney Experience app. Consider grabbing a Genie+ reservation for this one, as it is one of the more popular of Animal Kingdom attractions.
If you and your family enjoy a raft ride experience like Jungle Cruise, Gran Fiesta Tour, Pirates of the Caribbean, or It’s a Small World, you will want to add this one to your list. It is also a great option if you have small children that can’t ride Flight of Passage or other thrill rides, and you need to keep them occupied. Are you traveling to Disney World while expecting? Na’vi River Journey is the perfect choice for expectant mothers with its gentle boat ride quality.
Kali River Rapids
If you are looking for the ultimate in water attractions at Animal Kingdom Park, then head to the Asia section of Animal Kingdom. Kali River Rapids is one of my favorites of Disney World water rides and is so much fun on a hot day in the Florida heat. If you enjoy Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (formerly Splash Mountain) in Magic Kingdom, you will love Kali!
The entrance to Kali River Rapids can be a little tricky to find. Locate the Yak and Yeti restaurant or the entrance to the Maharajah Jungle Trek walking paths in Asia and you are almost there!
The ride vehicle for the Kali River Rapids ride is a circular boat raft seating 12 people. Some small drops may not leave you super soaked, but be prepared for the big drop down the Chakranadi River! The raft rotates as you float through the experience, so be prepared to get wet!
There is a height requirement of 38″ so be sure all of your party is tall enough to ride. The ride only takes 5 minutes, so once you get through the cue, it is a quick experience!
If you don’t want to walk around in wet clothes after the ride, be sure to pop on a poncho, or raincoat, or bring a change of clothes. I also like to wear a pair of flip-flops on this one, to prevent wet tennis shoes – not my favorite! You can also opt to store your things in a free locker.
The ride cue is one of my favorites in Animal Kingdom. It’s filled with lovely landscaping and follows the storyline of a raft expedition company. The company is trying to discourage logging in the area. It is one of my favorite water attractions in the Disney parks, and it’s definitely one to include in your favorite Animal Kingdom rides.
If you have little ones who are not tall enough to ride, be sure to check out rider switch at Disney World. Adults with kids who do not meet the height restriction can take turns riding the ride, while the other adult does something else with the child. When it’s the second adult’s turn, she can go through the Genie+ line instead of waiting in the regular line.
Does Kali River Rapids have a Genie+ entrance?
You can use a Genie+ choice (formerly lightning lane) on Kali River Rapids. You can also just ride standby but there is no single rider line. The lines can get quite long, particularly in the warmer months and in the hot afternoons. It is one of the most popular rides in the summer! The ride will close during inclement weather.
Can I use rider switch at Kali River Rapids?
You can use rider switch at Kali River Rapids, if one of your party is not tall enough for the ride. While an adult waits with the child, consider checking out the walking trails nearby. If your little one is participating in Wilderness Explorers, this is a great time to earn your stickers!
Where else can I escape the heat at Animal Kingdom, besides water rides?
Animal Kingdom is a warm park any time of year. If you want to escape the heat without getting on the water rides, consider a stage show. It is a great way to sit down in the air conditioning and relax while being entertained. My favorite of the shows in Animal Kingdom include the Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo.
Festival of the Lion King Show
Kids and adults will love the music of The Festival of the Lion King. The performance features acrobatics, music, puppetry, and dancing. It is a 40 minute show housed in a round theater. It is a good idea to line up at least 30 minutes early to grab your spot. Shows occur every hour, on the hour, starting at 10 AM and typically running to 6:00 PM.
The Festival of the Lion King is housed in the Harambe Theater, located in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom.
Finding Nemo: the Big Blue and Beyond
Another fantastic show is Finding Nemo: the Big Blue and Beyond. This is one of the best shows in the Disney parks, particularly for fans of elaborate puppetry. The entire performance takes you underwater with Nemo, Dory and all of their friends. This newly updated show features live performers with puppets, along with amazing lighting and special effects.
Again, be sure to line up early for this performance. Ask any cast member for help on finding the line. The Finding Nemo stage show is located in the Asia area, between Dinoland U.S.A. and Expedition Everest. If you have a little one who can’t ride a roller coaster like Expedition Everest, consider taking them to this 25 minute show while your other adult rides Everest!
Finding Nemo runs from 11:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Check your My Disney Experience app for the most updated information on the latest times.
Feathered Friends in Flight
If you are looking for another fun show and your family enjoys animal encounters, check out Feathered Friends in Flight. This show is outdoors, so we prefer to catch it in the mornings or later in the afternoon. This performance features many of the free flying birds housed at Animal Kingdom.
Feathered Friends in Flight Is a 35 minute show in the Anandapur Theater in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom. You can find it right behind the Tree of Life on Discovery Island, after you cross over the bridge into Asia. The shows currently occur at 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30, but be sure to check the app for the day’s performance times during your vacation.
Does Disney World have water parks?
Yes! If you are looking to really cool off, check out Disney World’s water parks. There are two water parks, Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Many times, these parks will alternate closures for refurbishment, so be sure to check before your travel dates. The water park’s water is heated, so you are good to go most of the year!
Disney’s Blizzard Beach
Blizzard Beach is located between Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The closest Disney resorts are the All Star Resorts and Disney’s Corondao Springs Resort.
Blizzard Beach is open varying hours throughout its season. Currently, the park is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, but that can fluctuate, depending on the season. The most popular rides include the Summit Plummet, Runoff Rapids, and the Toboggan Racers. If you have thrill seekers, they will enjoy the Downhill Double Dipper and Snow Stormers.
The Blizzard Beach Chairlift takes visitors to the top of the “mountain” where you can find many of the best rides. If you love a lazy river, be sure to drift away on Cross Country Creek. Melt Away Bay is the wave pool in the center of the park. If you enjoy family raft rides, be sure to take a ride on Teamboat Springs.
Little ones have plenty to explore at Blizzard Beach too! The splash pad area is called Tike’s Peak for those 48″ and under. Ski Patrol Training Camp is geared for older kids wanting to try out the water obstacle course and zip lines.
Arrive early for the best seats around the pools and the shortest waits in line! Keep your eyes open for your favorite Disney characters, as a few friends will often stroll around the park. Consider packing water shoes, sunglasses, and sunblock to make the most of your day! Bring your own towels to save the money on renting them from the water park. You can also bring in your own snacks, so you can save a little money that way too!
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon has another great backstory. After a terrible storm, an amazing bay full of shipwrecked items came to be. “Miss Tilly” is the shipwrecked boat rising high above the park filled with all things tropical.
You can purchase a stand alone water park ticket, or you can add the water parks to your ticket by adding Park Hopper Plus to your base ticket. This will enable you to hop between all of the parks, including Disney’s two water parks.
Typhoon Lagoon is located near Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Carribbean Beach and Disney Springs. If you love exciting slides, check out the Pineapple Plunger, Banana Blaster or Coconut Crusher. Humunga Kowabunga is the ultimate in thrils with its 214 feet downhill slide. Enjoy an exciting raft ride? Check out Mayday Falls.
The wave pool is called Surf Falls and is good for all guests who love the water! Kids will enjoy exploring Ketchakiddee Creek with mini slides, fountains, “caves” and a mini raft ride. Bay Slides are perfect for kids under age 5.
You can even grab surf lessons at Typhoon Lagoon. Again, be sure to arrive early to make the most of your day and spend little time in line. You can bring your own snacks, drinks, sunblock and towels to cut down on costs during your day.
I hope that this blog post helps you understand more about the water rides at Animal Kingdom, along with others ways to stay cool while at Disney World! Be sure to sign up for my free packing newsletter below and keep reading for more great travel content.