Everything You Need to Know About the Discovery Island Trails

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You’re going on vacation to Walt Disney World! The only problem? You’re not sure which attractions are right for you and your kiddos and you have questions. Which attractions are too intense for little ones? What rides do I really need a FastPass+ reservation for? What’s the disability access like for certain attractions? We’re answering all those questions and more in our Everything You Need to Know attraction series with today’s focus on the Discovery Island Trails at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

What are the Discovery Island Trails?

The Discovery Island Trails are self-guided walking trails below the Tree of Life and around a variety of animal-viewing locations.

Where are the Discovery Island Trails?

The Discovery Island Trails are located near the base of the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are two entrances/exits to the trails. One can be found to the right of the walkway when approaching Africa from Discovery Island. If you’re like me and use Starbucks locations as a point of reference for directions, the path is right across the way from the park’s Starbucks, which is known as Creature Comforts.

Another entrance/exit sits to the right of the entrance to the Tree of Life itself.

What is the History of the Discovery Island Trails?

The Discovery Island Trails were originally called the Tree of Life Gardens and opened to guests on May 24, 1998, just a few weeks after Animal Kingdom’s opening day. The trail was later renamed the Discovery Island Gardens before it was changed again to its current name of Discovery Island Trails.

What You Need to Know About the Queue

There is no queue for the Discovery Island Trails since its a self-guided walking path. However, guests might encounter crowds around certain animal viewing areas and may need to wait their turn for a good view.

What You Need to Know About the Experience

The Discovery Island Trails are lush pathways winding around the base of the Tree of Life. This quiet area is removed from the crowds and park activity while offering spectacular, close-up views of the carvings of the Tree of Life. Guests can even explore tunnels formed by the tree’s roots!

In addition to the tree, the trails’ lush landscaping, and even waterfalls, guests will also encounter small animal viewing areas. Be on the lookout for flamingos, otters, storks, vultures, porcupines, red kangaroos, and more!

Also, at times, Pocahontas can be found on the Discovery Island Trails meeting with guests. Be sure to check a times guide upon entering the park for where she will be and when.

What You Need to Know About Accessibility

Guests may remain in a wheelchair/ECV to experience the Discovery Island Trails.

What You Need to Know About Health and Safety Advisories

There are no health or safety advisories for this attraction! It’s an experience everyone in the family can enjoy together and at their own pace.

What are the Height Requirements?

There is no height requirement for the Discovery Island Trails!

Do the Discovery Island Trails Offer FastPass+?

No. The the Discovery Island Trails do not offer FastPass+. Since this is a self-guided path, there is no posted wait to experience it.

Does Weather Affect the Discovery Island Trails?

A June storm pops over World Drive as a rainy afternoon gets started.

The Discovery Island Trails are located outdoors and guests will be exposed to inclement weather.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Experience the Discovery Island Trails?

There really isn’t a bad time to check out the Discovery Island Trails. Very few guests know about these trails or take the time to explore them. While you never know when the animals might make their appearance, the coolest part of the day is often your best bet. The trek also serves as a great retreat from the crowds and long lines during the busiest parts of the day.

Did I answer all of your questions about the Discovery Island Trails? Is this attraction at the top of your family’s vacation to-do list? Let us know in the comments.

Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

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