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What Time Does Animal Kingdom Open For Resort Guests


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Timmi Correll



Welcome to the enchanting world of Disney’s Animal Kingdom! This incredible theme park offers a unique blend of magical experiences, thrilling adventures, and up-close encounters with extraordinary creatures from around the globe. Whether you’re an animal lover, an adventure seeker, or just looking to create unforgettable memories with your loved ones, Animal Kingdom has something for everyone.


Spread across 500 acres, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is not just a theme park; it’s a celebration of nature, conservation, and the wonders of the animal kingdom. From the iconic Tree of Life to the majestic Kilimanjaro Safaris, every corner of this park is designed to immerse you in the captivating beauty of the natural world.


During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to embark on thrilling expeditions, discover breathtaking shows and entertainment, and get an up-close look at more than 2,000 animals representing over 300 species. Whether you’re exploring the lush landscapes of Pandora – The World of Avatar or venturing into the mysterious realm of Expedition Everest, every moment at Animal Kingdom is sure to leave you in awe.


With so much to see and do, it’s essential to plan your visit accordingly. In this article, we will guide you through the park hours for resort guests, the benefits they enjoy, and provide you with some tips to make the most of your time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.


Understanding Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is much more than your typical theme park. It is a place where entertainment meets education, offering a unique blend of thrilling attractions and immersive experiences that aim to inspire guests to appreciate and conserve the natural world.


The park is divided into several themed areas, each with its own distinct atmosphere and attractions. These include:

  1. A Discovery Island: This is the central hub of the park and home to the magnificent Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is a 145-foot tall, intricately carved tree that serves as an icon for Animal Kingdom. Inside the tree, you’ll find the fascinating 3D show called “It’s Tough to be a Bug!”
  2. Pandora – The World of Avatar: Inspired by the blockbuster movie, this area transports guests to the mystical world of Pandora. Here, you can journey on the thrilling Avatar Flight of Passage ride or take a gentle boat tour through the bioluminescent forests on the Na’vi River Journey.
  3. Africa: As you step into Africa, you’ll feel the rhythms of the savannah. Enjoy the awe-inspiring Kilimanjaro Safaris, where you’ll get a chance to see incredible animals like lions, giraffes, and elephants up close. Don’t forget to watch the energetic musical extravaganza, “Festival of the Lion King.”
  4. Asia: Experience the rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes of Asia. Climb aboard Expedition Everest, a high-speed coaster that takes you on a treacherous journey through the Himalayas. Explore the mystical Maharajah Jungle Trek, where you can encounter tigers, bats, and other exotic creatures.
  5. Dinoland U.S.A.: Step back in time to the prehistoric era at Dinoland U.S.A. This whimsical area is perfect for families with its carnival games, the thrilling Dinosaur ride, and the educational interactive show, “Finding Nemo – The Musical.”

These are just a few highlights of the incredible experiences awaiting you at Animal Kingdom. From the thrilling rides to the up-close animal encounters, there’s no shortage of adventure and entertainment for guests of all ages.


Park Hours for Resort Guests

If you’re staying at one of Disney’s magical resorts, you have the advantage of enjoying extra time at the parks, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As a resort guest, you have access to exclusive “Extra Magic Hours” which allow you to enter the park either before it opens to the public or after it has closed. This extra time can make a significant difference in maximizing your Animal Kingdom experience.


The specific hours of the Extra Magic Hours vary from day to day, and it’s important to check the official Disney website or consult with the front desk of your resort to plan your visit accordingly. Generally, the morning Extra Magic Hours start one hour before the regular park opening, while the evening Extra Magic Hours extend the park closing time by a few hours.


These Extra Magic Hours are an excellent opportunity to enjoy popular attractions with shorter wait times, explore the park at a more relaxed pace, and take advantage of the ambiance and atmosphere that can only be experienced during these exclusive hours.


Additionally, it’s important to note that the regular park hours for Disney’s Animal Kingdom can vary throughout the year. The park typically opens around 9:00 AM and closes between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM, depending on the season and day of the week.


To make the most of your visit, it’s advisable to arrive at the park at least 30 minutes before the scheduled opening time. This will allow you to get through security and be one of the first in line for your favorite attractions.


Remember, the park hours can change, especially during special events or holidays, so it’s always a good idea to check the official Disney website or consult with a cast member to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.


By taking advantage of the Extra Magic Hours and planning your visit around the regular park hours, you can maximize your time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, ensuring a memorable and fulfilling experience.


Benefits for Resort Guests

Staying at one of Disney’s resort hotels comes with a host of fantastic benefits that can enhance your visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here are some of the perks you can enjoy as a resort guest:

  1. Extra Magic Hours: As mentioned earlier, resort guests have exclusive access to Extra Magic Hours, allowing you to enjoy the park before or after regular opening hours. This means shorter wait times, less crowded attractions, and more time to explore the park at your leisure.
  2. Disney Dining Plans: Resort guests have the option to add a Disney Dining Plan to their vacation package. These plans offer pre-paid meal options at select restaurants throughout the resort, including the restaurants at Animal Kingdom. It’s a convenient way to enjoy delicious meals without the stress of budgeting during your vacation.
  3. Complimentary Transportation: As a resort guest, you have access to complimentary transportation to and from Animal Kingdom. Whether you choose to take a scenic boat ride, hop on a bus, or use the convenient Disney Skyliner, getting to the park from your resort is a breeze.
  4. Early Access to FastPass+ Selections: FastPass+ allows you to reserve access to select attractions, entertainment, and Character Greetings in advance. As a resort guest, you can make your FastPass+ selections 60 days in advance, giving you priority access to popular rides and attractions.
  5. Resort Delivery Service: If you’re staying at a Disney resort, any merchandise you purchase throughout the park can be delivered to your resort hotel, so you don’t have to carry it around all day. Simply let the retail location know and enjoy the convenience of having your purchases waiting for you when you return to your room.
  6. Priority Access to Dining Reservations: Disney dining reservations can be highly sought after, especially at popular restaurants. Resort guests can make their dining reservations 180 days in advance, giving them a better chance of securing a table at their desired dining locations.

These benefits, among others, are designed to enhance your overall Disney experience and make your visit to Animal Kingdom even more magical. By taking advantage of these perks, you can enjoy a seamless and stress-free vacation while creating lifelong memories.


Planning Your Visit

To make the most of your visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a little bit of planning can go a long way. Consider the following tips when preparing for your trip:

  1. Create an Itinerary: Take some time to research the attractions, shows, and dining options available at Animal Kingdom. Prioritize the experiences you don’t want to miss and create a rough itinerary for your visit. However, be flexible and open to changes as unexpected delights may come your way.
  2. Utilize FastPass+: Take advantage of the FastPass+ system to reserve access to select attractions, shows, and character greetings. This will help you reduce wait times and ensure you can experience your favorite attractions without spending too much time in line. Remember, as a resort guest, you can make FastPass+ selections 60 days in advance.
  3. Arrive Early: Plan to arrive at the park at least 30 minutes before the scheduled opening time. This will allow you to get through security and be among the first in line for popular attractions. Some of the most popular attractions, such as Avatar Flight of Passage, can have long wait times later in the day, so arriving early can help you beat the crowds.
  4. Bring Essential Items: Be prepared for a day at the park by packing some essentials. These may include sunscreen, hats, comfortable shoes, ponchos or umbrellas (in case of rain), and refillable water bottles. Staying hydrated and protected from the sun will ensure you have a more enjoyable experience.
  5. Explore During Extra Magic Hours: If you’re a resort guest, take full advantage of the Extra Magic Hours offered at Animal Kingdom. Whether it’s enjoying a few more attractions before the park officially opens or staying late to experience the magic after it closes, these exclusive hours can provide a more relaxed and immersive experience.
  6. Catch the Shows and Entertainment: In addition to the thrilling attractions, Animal Kingdom offers captivating shows and entertainment. Make sure you factor in time to enjoy experiences such as the Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo – The Musical, and Rivers of Light. These shows are not to be missed and add another layer of magic to your visit.
  7. Don’t Forget to Explore the Trails: Animal Kingdom is not just about rides and shows; it’s also home to beautifully themed walking trails where you can encounter stunning animals up close. Take the time to stroll through the Maharajah Jungle Trek or the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail for a unique and educational experience.

Remember, planning is crucial, but also allow yourself to be spontaneous and enjoy the unexpected magic that Disney’s Animal Kingdom has to offer. Embrace the sights, sounds, and wonders of the park and create memories that will last a lifetime.



Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a truly remarkable theme park that combines thrilling adventures, educational experiences, and unforgettable encounters with nature. From the captivating shows and attractions to the up-close animal encounters, every moment at Animal Kingdom is filled with wonder and magic.


As a resort guest, you have the unique opportunity to enjoy extra time at the park through the exclusive Extra Magic Hours. This allows you to maximize your visit by experiencing popular attractions with shorter wait times and exploring the park at a more leisurely pace.


In addition to the Extra Magic Hours, resort guests also enjoy a range of other benefits, including access to convenient transportation, early access to FastPass+ selections, priority dining reservations, and more. These perks are designed to enhance your overall Disney experience and make your visit to Animal Kingdom even more enjoyable.


When planning your visit, it’s important to create an itinerary, utilize the FastPass+ system, arrive early, and be prepared with essential items. Taking these steps will ensure you have a seamless and enjoyable experience at the park.


Finally, remember to take the time to soak in the atmosphere, enjoy the shows and entertainment, and explore the beautifully themed walking trails in the park. Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers a truly magical experience for guests of all ages, and by embracing the wonder and excitement, you will create memories that will last a lifetime.


So, get ready to embark on a wild adventure and immerse yourself in the world of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. From the breathtaking landscapes to the incredible animals, this park will leave you with a sense of awe and a heart filled with joy.