My family of 4 spent $800 for a day at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Here's everything we did.

kari posing in front of animal kingdom tree of life next to a recipt from tusker house in animal kingdom
My family spent a day at Animal Kingdom in Disney World.Kari Becker
  • 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

entrance to disney animal kingdom before the sun has risen
We got there before the sun even came up.Kari Becker

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.

kari and her family walking toward animal kingdom int he morning before the sun is up
We just got single-park tickets for Animal Kingdom.Kari Becker

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

kari posing in front of pandora area at animal kingdom
Everyone heads to Pandora to ride Avatar Flight of Passage first thing.Kari Becker

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.

kari posing in front of expedition evrest mountain holding up three fingers
We ended up riding Everest three times.Kari Becker

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

kari posing for a distances photo with mickey mouse in safari gear at tusker house
Mickey meets at Tusker House in his safari gear.Kari Becker

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.

platter of food at tusker house restaurant animal kingdom
There were lots of sweet and savory options at breakfast.Kari Becker

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

exterior shot of dinosaur ride at disney animal kingdom
We love Dinosaur, even if it's a little scary.Kari Becker

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.

hand holding cup of green and orange soft serve at disney animal kingdom
My kids needed an afternoon snack to tide them over.Kari Becker

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

kittales performance happening at animal kingdom
The performance is part of Disney World's 50th-anniversary celebration.Kari Becker

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.

raft coming down kali river rapids at disney animal kingdom
You get totally soaked on Kali River Rapids.Kari Becker

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.

cafeteria tray of pulled pork sandwiches, onion rings, and drinks from disney animal kingdom
We split a couple of sandwiches.Kari Becker

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

kari posing for a selfie in front of the its tough to be a bug queue entrance at animal kingdom
"It's Tough to be a Bug!" happened inside the Tree of Life.Kari Becker

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

kari posing with her arms spread wide in front of the entrance to animal kingdom
By the late afternoon, it was time to head to the pool.Kari Becker

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.

hand holding a cup of iced coffee in front of a bush at animal kingdom
We needed one last pick-me-up before leaving.Kari Becker

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.

Read the original article on Insider