We pride ourselves on being helpful and welcoming!
You’re correct, you won’t be able to get FP+ in advance, but there might still be some available day-of at kiosks in the park. Frankly, I’m not the best source of advice on out, as I’ve not dealt with it yet (42 days!). It’s a big change from Legacy FP, that’s for sure.
Personally, I’m the go-go-go type, but it’s not an approach that works for everyone. It sounds like you have a great sense of what your family will want, and how to best balance things. I’m sure you’re going to have a blast!
I hope you do decide to do AK. It’s very different from a large, more traditional, zoo. I know that the San Diego zoo is one of the best in the country. I grew up going to the Bronx zoo, which also consistently ranks in the top 10. Animal Kingdom is something completely different. The theming in the park is beyond belief. For a long time, it was actually my least-favorite park at WDW. I finally decided to spend some time just soaking it all in, instead of dashing from one ride to the next. Doing that completely changed my perspective and gave me a new appreciation for the overall talents of Walt Disney Imagineering. It sounds like your trip will be conducive to taking your time and savoring the experience. Animal Kingdom is a great fit for that.
Should you end up skipping it, though, consider having a meal at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Even the quick service restaurant is a good choice (though I recommend Boma if you can swing it!). You’ll get a great sense of the theming, and you’ll be able to see the animals. It could work well for dinner on one of your pool-and-relax days.