When does Animal Kingdom close? Our guide covers everything you need to know about Animal Kingdom hours including the typical park opening and closing times plus operating hours for attractions and dining.
Animal Kingdom often closes earlier than other theme parks at Walt Disney World large due to its dual status as a home and refuge for many wild animals that require 24/7 care.
Animal Kingdom offers some of the best attractions for guests including Flight of Passage in Avatar- The World of Pandora, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Expedition Everest. It’s a not miss on your trip! Keep reading for all the tips we have on Animal Kingdom hours.
Walt Disney World Theme Park Hours
Click below for our analysis of the park hours for each of the Walt Disney World theme parks:
Average Animal Kingdom Hours
The Animal Kingdom operating hours vary depending if you’re visiting on a weekday, weekend or during a “peak” time of year which often includes holiday weeks, select summer dates, and spring break.
Weekday Animal Kingdom Operating Hours
- Opening 9AM
- Early Entry for resort guests: 830AM
- Closing 7PM
Weekend Animal Kingdom Hours
- Opening 830AM
- Early Entry for resort guests: 8AM
- Closing 8PM
These are the average hours and will change depending on the time of year. The busier the parks, the longer park operating hours will be but you can always count on weekends to offer the longest operating hours. Most guests always wonder: when does Animal Kingdom close? As you can see, they do have an earlier closing time than other Walt Disney World parks largely due to the lower demand of this park and the care the animals require.
What Time Does Animal Kingdom Close?
Animal Kingdom rarely stays open past 8PM and on average is the Walt Disney World park with the earliest closing time. A lot of this has to do with the fact that Animal Kingdom is home to many different animals that require care. This requires the park to close earlier than others so cast members can care for the animals and prepare for the next day.
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Is Animal Kingdom Ever Open At Night?
The time of year you visit Walt Disney World will impact whether you see Animal Kingdom open at night. If you visit during the winter months and daylight is shorter, you can expect to see Animal Kingdom at night with the sun going down around 5PM. If you visit during days of the year with longer periods of sun, you might not catch Animal Kingdom at night unless you visit on a weekend when they’re open until 8PM.
It’s worth planning to see Animal Kingdom at night due to the World of Pandora which completely transforms into a glowing spectacle at night. Because of this I always try to plan our Animal Kingdom night for a weekend so we can take advantage of the longer operating hours.
Animal Kingdom Closing Tips
Many guests usually wonder when Animal Kingdom closes and some are surprised to hear how early it closes in comparison to the other theme parks. My best tip for Animal Kingdom closing hours is to pick a weekend day for your visit so the park will at least be open until 8PM. If you’re visiting during a time of year with a later sunset, this will give you the best shot at seeing Avatar- The World of Pandora lit up.
You can get in line for any attraction before park closing despite how long the wait is! As long as you are IN LINE before the official park closing time, you will be able to ride. My strategy is often to get in line for Flight of Passage five minutes before park closing and then by the time we finish the attraction and exit into Pandora, it is dark outside and we get to see the land lit up.
Disney will often post inflated waiting times for attractions at the end of the night, often to discourage guests from getting in line right before park close. We have jumped in line for Flight of Passage at the end of the day many times and never have waited the full posted wait time, usually we have waited half the time of what is stated.
Animal Kingdom Early Entry
Animal Kingdom offers Early Entry daily for guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel. You can read more about this perk in our Early Entry Walt Disney World guide.
Early entry allows hotel guests to enter the park 30 minutes prior to official opening time. For Animal Kingdom, this will usually be 8AM or 83oAM. This 30 minute head start is a great thing to take advantage of! Everyone will dash straight to Flight of Passage and unless you’re at the front of that herd of people, I recommend crossing off other attractions first and saving Flight of Passage for later.
Animal Kingdom Extended Evening Hours
So far Animal Kingdom hasn’t been included in the Extended Evening Hours offering for guests staying at Deluxe Walt Disney World hotels. This makes sense since Animal Kingdom has shorter operating hours to begin with and it likely wouldn’t make sense for Disney to keep the park open an additional two hours.
I don’t foresee these coming to Animal Kingdom anytime soon as this park just doesn’t meet the demand required to justify these extra evening hours. As you can see more the information above on when does Animal Kingdom close, this park is more of a daytime park.
Animal Kingdom Attraction Hours
All Animal Kingdom attractions open right when the park official opens with the exception of Kali River Rapids which often has a delayed opening. It’s also worth mentioning that you have a limited window to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris which only operates during the daytime hours and closes early each day before sunset. This is usually around 5-530PM depending on the time of the year. The safari is also best enjoyed in the early morning since that’s when you’ll see the animals most active before the hot Florida sun makes its appearance in the afternoon.
For Animal Kingdom Early Entry, only these select attractions are available:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
- Na’vi River Journey
- TriceraTop Spin
The most popular of these attractions is easily going to be Avatar Flight of Passage and this is where all guests will head to first. If you’d rather not be part of the mad dash to Pandora, you could head right to Expedition Everest and walk right on with no wait. We usually take this route on our trips and save Pandora for later in the day. Everest usually doesn’t begin to build long waits until 2 hours after park opening so it’s a great place to head to first while everyone else is in Pandora.
Animal Kingdom Dining Hours
Animal Kingdom restaurants that offer breakfast will be open right when the park does which is usually 830-9AM during most times of the year. For the restaurants that start the day with lunch, you can expect an opening time of 11AM-12PM depending on the individual restaurant.
Most table service restaurants stay open until an hour before park closing with some remaining open until closing. For quick service restaurants most close when the park does giving you some time to grab a bite before Animal Kingdom closes.
You will be allowed to linger in the park even after Animal Kingdom officially closes so if you grab a snack right before closing, you’re welcome to grab a table and enjoy it.
Animal Kingdom Shopping Hours
Most of the Animal Kingdom shopping locations will close right when operating hours end for the night. The one exception to this are the two main store locations by the Tree of Life and park entrance. Discovery Trading Company and Island Mercantile offer the greatest variety of souvenirs anyways and often these stores stock a good portion of regular Walt Disney World merchandise for seasonal celebrations. I was able to find a lot of merchandise that was sold out on Shop Disney and in other theme parks at Island Mercantile so it’s definitely worth stopping in.
These two shops will stay open an hour past official Animal Kingdom closing giving guests an additional hour to shop before they leave for the day. This is why I recommend saving your shopping for the end of the night rather than doing it during regular park hours. Plus you don’t have to carry your purchases around with you and can walk right out when you’re done.
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