Pros:A different ride each time, even better than a zoo, very interactive
Cons:Loooooong wait time, storyline can be a bit cheesy
The Bottom Line: Don't worry about the wait. Kilimanjaro Safaris is the best attraction in the Animal Kingdom.
Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction at Disneys Animal Kingdom theme park on the Walt Disney World Resort property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It is an open-sided safari ride through what has been designed to look like the savanna of East Africa.
As you wait in what can be an exceptionally long line to board the safari, youll see videos about the animals that are included on the tour and some of the dangers poachers pose to these animals. Once you are on the ride, youll see that this is the theme of the tour.
The ride begins on Simba 1, a safari jeep, and travels through what they say is the Harambe Wildlife Reserve in Harambe, East Africa. It is 800 square miles of natural terrain including the Ituri forest, wetlands and open bush country. During most of the ride, you can see common African animals, including elephants, giraffes, antelope, gazelle, crocodiles, hippos, lions, cheetahs, rhinos, flamingos and okapis. The tour guide will point out the animals to you.
During your journey, your driver is in radio contact with reserve warden Wilson Matua, who is flying over the reserve on his daily routine. Part of the act involves Matua seeing poachers in the reserve, and its up to you and everyone on board Simba 1 to stop them and save the Big Red the elephant and her baby, Little Red.
So, how was it?
The safari was one attraction I didnt want to miss during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 2006. As I learned during the 2+ hours I spent in line, many other visitors felt that way, too.
This is a very popular attraction, so be prepared to wait, or use WDWs FASTPASS option to book a ride later in the day. Even though the wait can be excruciating, I was happy that the line was mostly covered, and there were plenty of videos and signs to keep my eyes occupied while I prepared for the ride.
If you have a good cast member playing the part of your driver, youll be able to suspend your disbelief long enough to think that youre really trying to stop poachers from stealing the elephants on the reserve. The acting is especially fun for younger passengers, but if youre an older visitor, you might find it all a bit cheesy.
Still, theres nothing like knowing youre in Florida, and youre surrounded by all of this incredible wildlife. Its better than a zoo because it appears that the animals are in their natural African habitats, not in cages. Some of the animals will get close to the jeep, but dont worry about the lions or cheetahs attacking you there are chain road sensors and bars between each ecosystem that you cant see, designed to prevent the animals from venturing out of their areas.
Because animals are a big part of this attraction, youll never see the same show twice. One day, the lions may be feeling frisky, and the next day, they may not. Although the plot of poachers trying to steal elephants wont change, the number and types of animals you see will.
This is a great ride for taking pictures, but if youre motion sick or have special accommodations, it may not be ideal, as its very bumpy and lasts approximately 25 minutes. Still, I wasnt the least bit upset that it took so long to board the jeep and take the safari trip. It was definitely worth the wait!
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Best Suited For: Families
Best Time to Travel Here: Anytime