My family of 4 spent $800 for a day at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Here's everything we did.
My family of 4 spent the day at Animal Kingdom in Disney World for $800.
My kids love the park, especially Expedition Everest, which we rode three times throughout the day.
We went to one sit-down meal with characters, then we split food and snacked the rest of the day.
As a travel planner at Marvelous Mouse Travels, I'm often asked whether Animal Kingdom is really a must-do at Disney World.
It's not everyone's top pick, but my family loves the park. In fact, it's the favorite for at least half of my crew.
Read on to see everything my family of four did at the park — and what it cost.
We got an extra-early start to the day since we stayed at a Disney hotel
My family was excited to spend the day at Animal Kingdom, so we took advantage of the early entry hours offered for guests staying at Disney resorts.
Animal Kingdom officially opened for us at 7:30 a.m., so we were on the bus promptly at 7 a.m.
By 7:20 a.m., we were lining up to scan our tickets with the rest of the crowd. The sun hadn't risen yet, and it was fun to get to the park when it was still dark.
The single-day tickets for my family of four cost us about $560.
We made a beeline for two of the most popular attractions
As soon as we entered, we quickly walked to Avatar Flight of Passage in the Pandora area — along with most of the crowd we came in with.
Luckily, we got there quickly and waited only 20 minutes for the popular ride.
Next we headed to Expedition Everest, my family's favorite ride in all of Disney World, and walked right on.
By 8:45 a.m., we'd already ridden two of our top-priority rides, and it was time for breakfast.
I made a reservation for a character breakfast at Tusker House
We headed to the Africa section for our breakfast reservation at Tusker House — a table-service dining location where you can meet Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Mickey dressed in their finest safari gear.
The characters dance and sing and take distanced selfies.
The food is served family-style with an abundance of pastries, fruit and yogurt, eggs, waffles, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, and chicken-and-egg curry with rice. Juice and coffee were also available.
The total cost of the breakfast, including tip, was $194, and I paid for the meal with a Disney gift card.
Our next stop was Dinoland USA
With our bellies full, we headed to Dinoland USA to ride Dinosaur.
We waited about 20 minutes, got a good scare, and headed over to the Boneyard play area to run off some energy.
By this point, the kids were hungry again, so we stopped for a Trilo-Bites ice-cream treat, which the boys said was delicious.
The two treats cost $11.
We filled our afternoon with more rides and shows
Pretty soon, it was time to ride Expedition Everest again. We also caught the Disney KiteTails performance on the way.
There was a 30-minute wait for the ride this time — in the early-afternoon heat no less — but my boys said it was worth it and even begged to go again. Instead, we headed over to Kali River Rapids to cool off.
We waited almost an hour for the water ride, which my boys proclaimed was not worth it. But they still enjoyed getting thoroughly soaked.
To escape the afternoon sun, we stopped for lunch
Eventually, we were ready for a late lunch and a break from the sun.
We headed to Discovery Island to our favorite quick-service location: Flame Tree Barbecue.
Since we ordered through the mobile app, our food was ready when we arrived.
We found a shady spot to sit and split two pulled-pork sandwiches and an order of onion rings among the four of us, which was plenty of food.
Instead of buying bottled water, we also always opt for free cups of it, which saves at least a little money.
Since we shared, our lunch cost only $33.
We visited a few more attractions before calling it a day
After lunch, we headed to see "It's Tough to be a Bug!" inside the Tree of Life, which had virtually no wait.
My boys enjoyed the slapstick comedy and gags.
Once the show let out, the boys begged to ride Everest one more time, so we headed once again to the back of the park. The wait was only 20 minutes, and I got to exercise my vocal cords one last time.
In total, we spent about $800 on our Animal Kingdom adventure
Around 4 p.m. we were ready to head back to the resort pool to cool off and relax.
On our way out of the park, we stopped at Joffrey's for two cold-brew coffees and two smoothies, which cost $21 with our Disney Visa discount.
We headed to the bus with our treats in hand, the memories of our day at Animal Kingdom already filling our hearts.
Including tickets and food, the whole day cost us just about $800.
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