Disney’s Animal Kingdom park has been gaining more and more popularity ever since the Avatar-featured world of Pandora opened up in 2017. Besides this new addition, Animal Kingdom is notorious for other incredible attractions, one being Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Within this article, I will be discussing the ride itself and what to expect before you experience it for yourselves on your next Disney vacation.
Kilimanjaro Safaris Wait Times: FastPass Needed?
As stated previously, Animal Kingdom is attracting crowds of people due to its newest addition. That being said, expect wait times to be relatively long for the park’s most popular rides. It would be a smart idea to book a FastPass+ reservation for Kilimanjaro Safaris, especially if you want to try and get in as many rides as you can for the day.
Personally, I have waited in the standby line only once, and I was waiting for approximately an hour and a half, whereas the FastPass+ line practically walked right on the ride. The standby line wait time is usually around 60 minutes but can reach 80 to 100 minutes on busy days. Check out TouringPlans’ estimated wait time forecast for Kilimanjaro Safaris. I think the choice is obvious as to whether or not you would want to reserve a FastPass+.
Think about it this way: Do you really want to wait in a line where you would be standing around for a while in the heat, running the risk of dehydration and fatigue? Or would you rather be able to wait for a short amount/no time at all and have time to explore other parts of the park? You would want to wait in a shorter line, of course! Of all the Disney World tips offered in order to make your vacation a successful one, you should strongly consider making FastPass+ reservations for you and your family. The key to navigating Disney theme parks is the element of time management. Why not make the most of your vacation by spending the majority of your time actually on the rides instead of in lines?
What to expect: Attraction description
Kilimanjaro Safaris makes people feel as though they have been transported to an African savanna tour, surrounded by several different species of animals found in Africa. Your tour guide provides background information on all the animals you will encounter throughout the attraction, resulting in an educational experience for everyone in the family.
An instructional ride that is also entertaining and one that your children will enjoy? Sounds like a blast! Originally, this ride was a story-based attraction, where you raced through the savanna to save a baby elephant from local poachers. But in my opinion, I believe the updated ride is more enjoyable than it was before. You are really able to stop and appreciate the wildlife that inhabits the grasslands instead of racing through the ride to save a baby elephant that turned out to be a robotic animatronic. I must say that this ride can be relatively bumpy and shaky due to the rocky terrain, so hold on to your belongings at all times to avoid anything falling off the vehicle.
Also, there is one bridge located towards the end of the ride that is mechanically designed to creak and jerk to simulate a collapsing bridge due to the weight of the vehicle. But fear not! It is simply part of the ride and planned, even though your tour guide might act like it is not (key word: act). Sometimes they have this feature and other times they do not, so it is hard to say if this will happen when you are on the ride. Ask a cast member before boarding to gain insight as to if this feature is up and running if you have any concerns.
Take caution: Those who should be advised
Even though Kilimanjaro Safaris is intended for people of all ages, there are still some advisories for certain individuals. The first one might sound obvious, but make sure to supervise children at all times! The vehicle has no seat belts and it also has open windows, so it is essential that children stay seated throughout the whole ride. In the attraction description section of this article, I mentioned how this ride consists of jerky and bumpy movements because of the rocky and unpaved paths you will travel on.
That being said, if you or a member of your party suffers from motion sickness, high blood pressure, neck or back problems, or any heart conditions, it would be best to consult with your doctor as to whether or not this ride will affect your health. Always be conscious about your health so you can avoid running into problems unexpectedly!
Also, expectant mothers should not ride Kilimanjaro Safaris due to the bumpy nature of the ride. This attraction is not in any way “difficult” to endure, but to be on the safe side, Disney highlights who could potentially be affected during this ride, so guests can be aware of any potential aggravation.
Photographs: Are they allowed?
There are many rides that offer the option of purchasing a photograph that was taken during the ride. For Kilimanjaro Safaris, there is not an area where your picture is taken since you are riding through an open “savanna,” and as a result of this, there is also not an area to purchase such a photo.
The good news is that pictures are encouraged to be taken while on the tour! You will be seeing a wide range of animals, so take this opportunity to take some amazing pictures. Just make sure to stay seated at all times, especially when the vehicle is in motion. In case an object like a camera or cell phone falls off of the vehicle and onto the ground, your tour guide will not turn around to look for your missing item. Instead, you would have to notify a cast member at the end of the safari, where they would try to retrieve it at a later time.
The animals: What will you see?
I have mentioned several times that there is a large variation of wildlife that you will witness while on your tour, and I am telling the truth! Once you board the safari vehicle, you will notice that there is an information board located above you with animals you can expect to observe on the tour, showcasing pictures of said animals with their name printed under it. To make it easier for you, I have included a list of a portion of what you may see:
- Black rhino
This is not a complete list of the exotic African species that you can expect to encounter. For a complete list of animals, visit the Disney website! This attraction includes extremely diverse animals, making it seem as though you are at an interactive zoo. The cast member guiding your tour will point out all the animal species that are visible, so you do not need to worry about missing out on seeing any specific animal!
Useful information for parents
If you are visiting Disney World with kids, note that Kilimanjaro Safaris is a great ride that will hold their interest throughout the safari. On the main Disney website, it states that this ride is designed for children of all ages, meaning there is no height requirement. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule as to who should actually go on it.
This ride is in no way scary or too stimulating for a child. If you know that your child is uncomfortable around large animals, make sure to keep this in mind, since there are some occasions where animals can get close to the vehicle. This makes for some killer photographs, but you probably do not want your child to be frightened at any point during the attraction. If you have a young child that can have moments of uncontrollable crying spells, it may be best to either rethink about going on this ride or to think about what the best time of day would be in order to avoid these moments (like after a meal or when the child is not too tired).
The tour guide uses a mouth piece that is connected to speakers located throughout the vehicle, but if your child is crying or screaming, it will be difficult for you and the other passengers to hear what is being said. In terms of supervision, any child who is under the age of seven must be accompanied by someone who is at least 14 years old. Cast members also ask that all children be seated towards the middle of the row you occupy instead of on the outsides next to the open window.
Do not worry, they still will be able to see! Children are more likely to stand up during the ride, and since the terrain is bumpy and uneven, you want to make sure you eliminate any risk of injury. Check out Disney Fanatic’s blog on the seven things you should not do on Kilimanjaro Safaris.
What did I enjoy and what disappointed me?
Kilimanjaro Safaris has been an attraction I have been going on since I was young. I always find it fascinating to see so many different kinds of animals throughout the safari, and every time I go on it, I tend to see a few different animals. This ride is a great option when you are starting to feel worn out from the day and need a break from running around, especially if it is hot outside.
Think about it: You get to sit down for about 20 minutes while looking at exotic animals and cool down due to the breeze of the vehicle accelerating. It is a good pick-me-up ride. I enjoy how it is quite educational and how the tour guide is quick to point out interesting facts about each animal. Cast members who act as the tour guide are always inviting of any questions anyone might have.
I think that being interactive with guests is extremely important, as it all adds to the inviting atmosphere that Disney World provides. The cast members that are located at the entrances and at the boarding stations are extremely helpful as well. They work quickly and efficiently in order to get the line moving and get people on the ride. There is a specific boarding station for anyone in a wheelchair or whoever needs assistance getting on the vehicle, which is very beneficial to that individual and their family.
One thing that is disappointing is when there are not many animals to view. Sometimes, specifically when it is extremely hot and humid outside, they will be hidden in shaded spots or behind trees, limiting the number of visible animals. When this happens, it feels like you are just in a vehicle riding through an open desolate grassland. Luckily, there is almost always something to see though. If I were to give Kilimanjaro Safaris a rating from 1 (meaning terrible) to 5 (meaning excellent), I would give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The only reason why I did not give it a 5 out of 5 is because of the chance that there may not be many animals on display some days. Whether you are waiting in the standby or FastPass+ line, there are some fans that are spread out in order to make guests as comfortable as possible while waiting in potentially long lines. Overall, I really enjoy going on Kilimanjaro Safaris, and I have been on this ride countless times! I would recommend it to anyone who plans on visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, since it is a great family attraction and holds everyone’s interest.
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