Pros:Impressive landscape, all types of wildlife, massive size
Cons:Goofy storyline, rocky ride
The Bottom Line: Kilimanjaro Safaris delivers an ambitious ride past numerous types of wildlife and should be one of your first stops at the Animal Kingdom.
Kilimanjaro Safaris has taken a back seat to Expedition Everest in the past year, but it remains one of the premier attractions at the Animal Kingdom. If you're an animal lover and enjoy visiting zoos, this is the ride for you. Boarding safari-like vans into a simulated African landscape, you'll observe lions, elephants, giraffes, flamingos, and numerous other types of wildlife during the journey.
The space occupied by this attraction is gigantic and could actually house the entire Magic Kingdom. Your bumpy ride aboard "Simba 1" lasts for about 18 minutes and goes quickly, but it also is bumpy and could lead to some jumbled photos. Many visitors love this attraction, and it definitely has its high points. Viewing such a large variety of animals in a short time period is exciting, and the diverse environments do give the impression of traveling through Africa. During our most recent visit, a giraffe walked right up our vehicle, which produced a great moment and a classic picture.
The downside of this ride is the tacked-on storyline involving the death of the elephant Big Red and the capture of Little Red. Disney's attempts to insert a quick message about poachers is praiseworthy, but it feels odd when placed at the end of the safari attraction. The attention to detail is top-notch during most segments, which makes this rushed plotline even stranger.
Kilimanjaro Safaris does allow for repeat visits due to the unique behaviors of the animals during each ride. The basic structure will remain the same, but it could vary considerably depending on multiple factors. The driver's enthusiasm and knowledge (or lack thereof) will also play a key role, and most perform well. The fun attraction deserves a solid recommendation and more than one ride, but it falls short of Disney World's best attractions.
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Best Time to Travel Here: Sep - Nov