Photo from Dad's Facebook page by Brian Martin
Kilimanjaro Safari is the best attraction at Animal Kingdom. Why? Because of the chance to get up close and personal with all kinds of animals. Sometimes really up close. Like a good adventurer, you'll want to bring a camera or 4.
While you journey through the 100 acre savanna you'll see lions, giraffes, white rhinos, elephants and many more wild animals (yes, wild animals). These animals roam freely (with some nicely hidden barriers) and are really hams when it comes to posing for pictures (sometimes).
Photo by Jeff_B
How does one prepare for a two week safari through the Harambe Wildlife Refuge? Find out as you snake your way through the line on the way to the safari vehicles. There are several stations where you can learn about Africa and life in the savanna.
The line area is open air, but covered and well shaded.
The safari starts as you are loaded into the 32 passenger safari vehicles for your 2 week journey into the Harambe Wildlife Refuge. Oh, you thought the ride was only 20 minutes? No it's 2 weeks! Or at least that's what the guide says.(Anyone here believe any of the Disney guides?)
You pull away from the loading docks and drive your way through the African wilds. The first area you will see is the African savanna where there are always giraffes walking around. (Sometimes the giraffes refuse to move and hold up the safari vehicles.)
Along the way you will cross a river that has overrun the road. You'll see hippos, lions, and the stars of the show, the elephants lots and lots of elephants.
Disney used to have a bit about poachers and a baby elephant and its mother Big Red but they've taken it out and added some more animals. Good job Disney.
There is no real postshow. There isn't even a gift shop that you get dumped into after the ride. (A little unusual for Disney), but you do end up right at the entrance to Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
The Best Time to see Animals
This is a widely discussed topic. You can see animals all day. Some say that afternoons are better because the animals are getting ready to go back to the barns and are more active. Some say the animals are more active in the mornings.
Animals are everywhere
Photo by Samantha Decker
The Animal List
Photo by Maria Lipari
Here is the list of animals you might see during your safari. Sometimes some of the answer hide where you can't see them. Make sure to keep track of the ones you see during Kilimanjaro Safari -
- Nile Hippopotamus
- Patterson's Eland
- Saddlebilled Stork
You might see every type, you might not. You will see plenty of animals.
Here are some interesting tidbits -
- The ride vehicles are propelled by liquid propane. They are custom built GMC Trucks.
- The animals are drawn to areas by tricks like warm air pumped in or salt licks.
Kilimanjaro Safari opened in April of 1998. In 2012 Disney made a major change to the ride. They added a bunch of animals and did away with the story of poachers looking for ivory from the elephants.
Dad's Ride Information Table
|Description: A real life look at live animals|
|Height Requirement - none||Fastpass: YES||Length of Ride: 19 minutes*|
|Type of ride: Ride a safari vehicle through the African plain|
Other Information: * 19 minutes unless the animals slow you down
Photo by Peter Noon
The Fine Print
Here's some small print information
- Due to the nature of the experience, Guests with service animals should check with a host or hostess for attraction and boarding information at this attraction.
- Video Captioning, Assistive Listening Receivers, and Handheld Captioning are available on this attraction. Please visit Guest Relations for more information.
- For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.
- Guests must transfer from their motorized scooter or ECV to an available wheelchair to experience the attraction.
Even some interesting animals
Photo by Jeff_B.
For years there was information that said that the animals were more active in the mornings so lots of guests tried to ride the safari first thing in the morning. Through the years, Disney has found ways to make the animals active throughout the day, but guests still try to get to the safari early.
Hey Dad, does that mean the lines are shorter in the afternoon?
Maybe. If you are there during the slower times, you might find shorter lines in the afternoon. During busy seasons, lines will be long all day. Dad still suggest you hot foot it to the Safari first thing in the morning.
Dad's Plan always includes seeing Kilimanjaro Safari first thing in the morning. Having a plan is essential to avoid long lines. One of the resources Dad depends on is Touringplans.com.
Dad's Bottom Line
The big problem with Kilimanjaro Safari is it's too short. If the ride was an hour long, it would be too short. Disney has done a great job designing the ride to let everyone see animals in their natural habitat.
Don't miss this one!