A Complete Guide To Discovery Island & The Oasis in Animal Kingdom

Disney World and Animal Kingdom are filled with so much detail and so many things to see or do around every corner. For that reason I am breaking down the fun land by land. Here I take a look at The Oasis and Discovery Island inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

The Oasis and Discovery Island are the entrance and the main hub of Animal Kingdom. They immerse you into a world of nature and the wild. The areas are full of animal viewing, food and lots of shopping. Make sure you don’t just skip past this areas when you enter the park. 


The Oasis is the entrance area to Animal Kingdom as you walk through the Oasis you enter Discovery Island.

Discovery Island is a hub in the middle of the park that connects all of the other lands. This is where you will find the park’s icon the Tree of Life. You can access Discovery Island from any other land in the park and vice versa. 

Animal Kingdom is a large park and it may take longer to get from one land to the next then you think. If you are trying to be on time for a reservation, or FastPass make sure you allow ample time to get where you need to be. 



The Oasis Exhibits – Animal Viewing:

Throughout the Oasis you will find lots of animal viewing spots. Take the time at some point during your day to wonder around these pathways and spot some interesting creatures. Some animals found here include giant anteater, boar, barking deer, wallabies and spoonbills.

Discovery Island:

Wilderness Explorers Headquarters:

  • Any Height / Age

Start your wilderness adventure here! Inspired by Up and designed for preschool and elementary children the Wilderness Explorer Outposts can be found throughout the park. But you want to start here at the headquarters. You will embark on a series of nature-themed challenges throughout your day to become an official Wilderness Explorer. You will collect over 25 badges if you complete all the tasks. A great way to add an extra layer of fun and learning to your day. 

It’s Tough to be a Bug:

  • Any Height
  • Lightning Lane Included With Genie+ 
  • Accessibility: May Remain in Wheelchair/ECV, Audio Description, Reflective Captioning, Assistive Listening, Language Translation Devices

This 4D theatre show takes place inside the Tree of Life and just entering the theatre is fun. The show itself is a story about bugs told with characters from a Bug’s Life. With both animatronics and a large movie screen. It’s a fun experience and the 4D aspects really draw you into the show. But one word of caution for easily startled little ones during one segment the back of your chair produces the sensation of being stung and while it does not hurt it is very startling. The animatronic of the villain Hopper also enters the show suddenly and can be a little scary. I have seen crying small children as a result from both.

Winged Encounters:

This bird show takes place several times a day in front of the tree of life. The show happens in the open so there is no real seating but the show is brief. Watch as trainers interact with macaws. A great experience for bird lovers and a thrill for anyone as the birds will fly right over the crowd. 

Discovery Island Trails – Animal Viewing: 

At your own pace explore the trails surrounding the Tree of Life. Throughout you will find several animal viewing opportunities with vultures, flamingos, otters, tamarins and others. This trails are really beautiful and are easily missed so make sure to add them to your plans. 

Tree of Life Awakenings: 

Throughout the evening the Tree of Life Awakenings show is projected onto the Tree of Life. Animal species you may have seen throughout your day at Animal Kingdom and more are projected on to the tree in a beautiful light show. You might even spot some Lion King favorites. Different portions of the show will happen throughout the night. This is a great option for those who enjoy projection shows but may have children who can’t handle the sound of fireworks. 


For more details about dining at Animal Kingdom check out my blog post all about it. 


Sit Down Restaurants

Rainforest Cafe:

  • Located at the park entrance at The Oasis
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American
  • Part of a national chain, and one of two locations at Disney World, Rainforest Cafe is an immersive dining environment themed to what else but the rainforest. A great place to eat for families with food options that will please all. Kids will love seeing all the animatronic animals up close and the frequent “thunderstorms” that pass through the restaurant. For anyone with sound or light sensitivities I suggest skipping dining here as it can get quite loud and the “thunderstorms” include lightning. 

Tiffins Restaurant:

  • Located in Discovery Island 
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: African, Asian, Latin Cuisine
  • Signature Fine Dining Restaurant = 2 table service credits on the dining plan
  • Tiffins is the only signature restaurant in Animal Kingdom. The theming to world travels and exotic locations is beautiful and fits in perfectly with Animal Kingdom. The food features flavors from around the world. As this is a Signature restaurant which comes with a higher price-tag I would recommend this for adult only parties who consider themselves foodies or are looking for a special meal. If you love Animal Kingdom the decor here shares a lot about the making of the theme park. 

Quick Service Restaurants

Flame Tree Barbecue:

  • Located in Discovery Island
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American
  • Mobile Order Available 
  • Outdoor Seating 
  • You will have lots of BBQ options here, a great place to to get a meal that you can split as you will get a good amount of food from one meal. With all of the snack options around this can be a good way to go for lunch. Split a meal and then grab some fun snacks throughout the day. 


  • Located in Discovery Island
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Food Style: American 
  • Mobile Order Available
  • Indoor Seating 
  • Your go to for pizza in the park, they also offer salads. For dinner family style options are also available which is a good deal for those on the dining plan as you will get a variety of food options for your counter service credit. But it is not the most exciting dinner you could get at the park. 

Stands – Discovery Island

Creature Comforts (Starbucks) -Each park has a Starbucks location and this is Animal Kingdoms. 

Eight Spoon Cafe -Baked mac & cheese

Isle of Java – Coffee and pastries

Smiling Crocodile – Street tacos & tamales

Terra Treats – Pizza 

Bars & Lounges

Nomad Lounge:

  • Located in Discovery Island 
  • A wide range of small plates are offered. 
  • Specially brewed beer – Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale
  • Many cocktail, wine and beer options.
  • A great way to see the vibe and decor of Tiffins without the price as they are located in the same building. 
  • Indoor and outdoor seating.


Dug & Russell – Meet & greet these characters from Up. 

Mickey & Minnie @ Adventurer’s Outpost – Often the only spot on property to meet and get a photo with Mickey & Minnie together. While they are both present at several character meals it is not normal for them to take photos together at dining locations. Here they are in their safari outfits and ready for an adventure. 

Pocahontas – Located in theDiscovery Island Trail meet the American Indian Princess here. 

Timon & Rafiki – Located in the Discovery Island Trail meet these Lion King favorites.



The Outpost Shop & The Outpost Cart – The first a last chance to shop at Animal Kingdom these are actually outside of the ticket gate. Pick up some ears for your day at the park of that last minute souvenir. 

Rainforest Cafe Shop – Located inside the Rainforest Cafe this store has a lot of Rainforest Cafe branded merchandise and general rainforest themed items. 

Garden Gate Gifts – Photo services and items, magic bands and more. 

Island Mercantile – This is one of the larger gift shops full of all sorts of general Animal Kingdom merchandise. 

Riverside Depo & Discovery Trading Company – These two connected stores are full of tons of Animal Kingdom merchandise. 

Tree of Life Cart – Apparel and Accessories 

Tiffins Cart – Apparel, pins and more

Pressed Pennies Locations

  • Riverside Depo
  • Island Mercantile 

Pin Trading

Park Entrance  – A large pin board is located by stroller rental and across the street on the other side of the entrance there is a trash can covered with pins for trading. 

Discovery Trading Post –  Ask one of the cast members where the pin trading board is 

Other Conveniences

Smoking Area – Located outside the gate entrance

Guest Relations – Located at entrance gate. If you are celebrating a special occasion make sure to stop by to get a “I’m Celebrating” button. You will also find lost and found  here and be able to get help with any special assistance you may need like translation services or disability access services. 

Storage Lockers – Past the main entrance on your left

Wheelchair, Stroller & ECV Rentals – Located to the right of the main entrance as you enter. 

Disney Vacation Club Kiosk – Learn about Disney time share program. 

First Aid & Baby Care Center – General first aid is available here for all. In addition this is the home of the Animal Kingdom Baby Care Center. The baby care center offers a lot of amenities for families with infants

  • Changing room with tables and a women’s restroom
  • Private nursing room with rocking chairs 
  • Feeding area with highchairs 
  • Kitchen with microwave and sink
  • Main room with television, table and seating
  • On-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase

* Something to note in the event of a lost child, the child will be taken to the baby care center where they will be cared for while the parents are located. * 


  • Restrooms – Main Entrance 
  • Restrooms – Oasis 
  • Restrooms – Pizzafari 
  • Restrooms & Companion Restrooms – Flame Tree BBQ
  • Service Animal Relief Area – Discovery Island near first aid center

VIP Tours

A Path Less Traveled Tour – This ticketed 2 hour guided walking tour takes you through Animal Kingdom as you discover what it takes to bring the magic of animals, culture and conservation to life. You will meet with members of the animal care team and learn about how the park’s animals are cared for. This tour does not go back stage. 

Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour – This 4 hour guided group tour will give you front of the line access to all of the major attractions at Animal Kingdom for a night full of fun. Enjoy some signature snacks and beverages as well. 

Animal Kingdom’s Asia is such a beautiful land packed full of things to do and I highly recommend a visit during your next trip. 

If you are looking to travel to Disney World I would love to be your travel agent. Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you. 

Contact me at katiev@themagicsyours.com

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Published by katiethemagicsyours

Hi, I’m Katie! I’m an independent travel agent with The Magic’s Yours Travel. I specialize in Disney vacations but I book all sorts of travel all over the world. I book Disney, Universal, cruise, resort, all-inclusive, hotel, and guided travel. All of my travel agent services are FREE of charge to the traveler. You pay no extra fees for using a travel agent, but you get an expert in your corner to offer you VIP planing services. Contact me for a free quote today. Email me at: katiev@themagicsyours.com

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