Discovery River Character Cruises at Animal Kingdom

A few years ago, we saw the introduction of character cruises to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Several of those character cruises remain. However, some of them are listed as festive flotillas.

This article will preview the character cruises at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. To this day, they are, perhaps, the most unique way to see some of our favorite characters.

As of this update, the following character cruises are available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • Adventure Flotilla (Featuring Dug and Russell from UP!)
  • Discovery Island Drummers Flotilla
  • Discovery River Cruise (Featuring Pocahontas and Meeko)
  • Discovery River Cruise (Featuring The Lion King Characters)

This article was updated on February 5, 2023.

Animal Kingdom Character Cruises

Discovery Island Character Cruises

There are plenty of ways to see the character cruises at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Character cruises begin their journey on the water at the Discovery River Amphitheater near Expedition Everest.

From there, they join the Discovery River and circle the park before returning to the same location. You can see the character cruises from most of the bridges around the park.

We’ve had good luck seeing them from the bridge to Pandora, the bridge to Africa and Asia, the bridge near Expedition Everest, and the bridge in the Dinoland area.

Each character cruise projects music. Therefore, you’ll likely hear the background music when a character cruise comes near the area. You can usually then look over toward the water and see it pass.

Additionally, you can see them from the amphitheater. We often like to grab a snack and find a seat in the outdoor theater when the character cruises are about to begin.

If you look at their times in the My Disney Experience app, you’ll notice that most of the character cruise start 5-10 minutes apart. So if you take a 30-minute break, you can likely see all of them from the theater.

Adventure Flotilla (Featuring Dug and Russell from UP!)

One of the festive flotillas is the Adventure Flotilla with Dug and Russell from UP! They formerly had a traditional character meet in the park. However, it hasn’t returned as of this update.

Discovery Island Drummers Character Cruise

The Discovery Island Drummers are a group of percussionists that play tunes from their flotilla. You can usually find them cruising down the Discovery River intermittently between 9:15 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.

You can check the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit for their exact times.

Pocahontas and Meeko Character Cruise

Next is another favorite set of characters you can typically only find at the Animal Kingdom, Pocahontas and Meeko. Pocahontas formerly met on the Discovery Island Trail. But she now shares a flotilla with Meeko.

Discovery River Cruise (Featuring The Lion King Characters)

Lastly, we have a character cruise featuring Timon and Rafiki from The Lion King. You can also see Timon at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in The Festival of the Lion King performance.

Donald’s Dino Boat Bash

As of this update, these characters have returned to their traditional meet. You can find them at the following locations:

Mickey and Friends Flotilla

As of this update, these characters have returned to their traditional meet. You can find them at the following locations:

Final Thoughts

Character cruises are a fun way to see characters from a distance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Whether or not they’re here to stay is only something time can tell.

But in the meantime, they are enjoyable! For more information about meeting characters, we have a list of every character meet at Walt Disney World.

Additionally, Moana debuted a new character meet-and-greet!

Related: Meet Moana at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Or you might also enjoy these character guides for each park:

In the Comments

Have you had the chance to see any of the character cruises at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? What do you think about these character sightings?

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