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Hours and Access Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

Timon and guests smiling

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park combines the magic of Disney with the splendor of the animal world, making it a can’t-miss destination for Disney fans of all ages. To get the most out of your visit, it helps to research and plan. To help you with that, we’ve brought together all the essential information on hours and access, plus a few insider tips that will keep your vacation free from any unwanted monkey business.

We’ll even start you off with a bonus tip: Disney Rewards Dollars can be redeemed toward park admission, meaning you can start enjoying your Cardmember status before you even arrive!1


Even if you have the best instincts in the kingdom, knowing the hours of Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park as well as its shows and attractions will help you make the most of your visit.

Theme Park Hours

The animals of Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park rise with the sun, and when you’re visiting, it pays to do the same, as this is Walt Disney World® Resort’s earliest opening time. The park typically opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 7 or 8 p.m., though hours can change from day to day, so be sure to check the park website for the most up-to-date hours.

Mom and daughter near the Tree of Life

Attraction Hours

While Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park is typically open from 8 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m., the hours of specific attractions are often different. For example, Kali River Rapids usually opens an hour later, at 9 a.m. We recommend downloading and checking the My Disney Experience app for the latest hours and information for each attraction. It’s a great tool that will help you plan your day and access an array of handy features, including your own tip board to track the wait times for your top experiences.

Teens on Kali River Rapids

Entertainment Hours

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park has some incredible entertainment, like the fantastic Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!—stage shows filled with puppets, pageantry and songs. All shows at the park have set times, which you can check in advance on the park’s show page for each day.

Store Hours

Some shops at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park stay open late, so if you’ve just been having too much fun riding the attractions and spotting wildlife, don’t worry! You’ll still have time to snag a souvenir at Discovery Trading Company and Island Mercantile before you leave. Check out the park’s shopping page for a complete list of shops and their hours, and don’t forget that you can save 10% on select merchandise purchases of $50 or more when you pay with your Disney® Visa® Credit Card.23

You can also save time with mobile checkout at select shops by scanning and paying for your items with the My Disney Experience app (and your shopping savings will apply when you pay with your Disney Visa Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card).

Island Merchantile


There are multiple options for migrating to and from Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park throughout the day, whether you want to take advantage of Walt Disney World® Resort’s complimentary buses or drive yourself.


Bus service is a super convenient way to travel between Disney Resort hotels and Disney theme parks. The complimentary, air-conditioned buses begin service 45 minutes before parks open and end an hour after they close, and they run continuously, so you’ll have a ride when you need it. For a full list of bus stops and other details, check out the bus service page.


You can also drive to Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, though you’ll need to purchase a daily parking pass if you’re not a Guest of a Disney Resort hotel or a select Annual Passholder. Parking lots at theme parks don’t have fixed hours, but they typically open about an hour before the parks do. When you’re ready to return to your car at the end of your visit, save time tracking it down by using the complimentary car locator feature via the My Disney Experience app.

Another option is to use the Lyft app to request and purchase a ride with the Disney Minnie Van™ Service, which operates from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily (times subject to change).

Woman getting out of Minnie Mouse Van

Pro Tips

Now that you’ve got the basics down, take your visit to the next level with these top insider tips. They’re great ways to save time and make sure you can do the lion’s share of all the fun things to experience at the park.

Early Theme Park Entry

Getting an early start is a great way to make the most of your day, and by staying at a Disney Resort hotel during your vacation, you’ll have extra time to experience Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. Disney Resort hotel Guests are able to access the park 30 minutes before other visitors, letting you get a head start on your adventure. For some great ideas on where to stay near Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, check out our article on Where to Stay Near Each Park at Walt Disney World® Resort.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Lightning Lane Entrances

Save time waiting in line with Lightning Lane entry. Lightning Lane entrances are your key to bypassing the standby queue and joining a separate queue for select attractions and entertainment experiences.

Some Lightning Lane entrances are offered through Disney Genie+ service*—such as entry to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. Other Lightning Lane entrances may be purchased individually (a la carte)—including Avatar Flight of Passage. You can buy either or both options!

Two people on Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World

Mobile Ordering

If there’s one thing that carnivores and herbivores can agree on, it’s that getting food quickly and conveniently is a win. Fortunately, you can use My Disney Experience app’s mobile ordering feature to order, pay for and pick up food at quick service restaurants throughout the park, so hunting down smoky ribs at Flame Tree Barbecue or gathering a salad at Harambe Market is just a few taps away. You can also use your Disney Rewards Redemption Card to redeem Disney Rewards Dollars toward the cost of meals.1

Now that you know all the essentials—and a few bonus tips!—it’s time to start planning your visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. When you do, don’t forget that Cardmembers can redeem Disney Rewards Dollars toward admission, snacks, souvenirs and experiences.1

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EARN A $300


after spending $1000 on purchases in the
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EARN A $300


after spending $1000 on purchases
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EARN A $300


after spending $1000 on purchases
in the first 3 mos. from
account opening.4

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