Description And Comments
The park’s premier zoological attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris offers an exceptionally realistic, albeit brief, imitation of an actual African photo safari. Thirty-two guests at a time board tall, open safari vehicles and are dispatched into a simulated African veldt habitat. Animals such as zebras, wildebeests, impalas, Thomson’s gazelles, giraffes, and even rhinos roam apparently free, while predators such as lions, as well as potentially dangerous large animals like hippos, are separated from both prey and guests by all-but-invisible, natural-appearing barriers. Although the animals have more than 100 acres of savanna, woodland, streams, and rocky hills to call home, careful placement of water holes, forage, and salt licks ensures that the critters are hanging out by the road when safari vehicles roll by.
A scripted story line formerly had an onboard guide pointing out and identifying various animals for guests while also communicating by radio with a game warden about elephant poachers in the vicinity. Toward the end of the ride, the safari vehicle chased the poachers. The poaching narrative was eventually scrapped to make way for a new animal display at the end of the attraction.
Having traveled in Kenya and Tanzania, I (Bob) will tell you that Disney has done an amazing job of replicating the sub-Saharan east-African landscape. The main difference that an east African would notice is that Disney's version is greener and, generally speaking, less barren. As on a real African safari, what animals you see, and how many, is pretty much a matter of luck. We've experienced Kilimanjaro Safaris upwards of 100 times and had a different experience on each trip.
Winding through the Safaris is Disney’s Wild Africa Trek, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Animal Kingdom that takes you through much of the Kilimanjaro Safaris' animal enclosures. As you drive past the hippo pool or over the crocodile pool, look up for a series of rope bridges towering far above the ground. You may see Trekkers on tour.
Kilimanjaro Safaris is Animal Kingdom’s number-two draw behind Expedition Everest. This is good news: By distributing guests more evenly throughout the park, Expedition Everest makes it unnecessary to run to Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing in the morning. Our Animal Kingdom touring plan has you obtain Fastpasses for the safaris just before lunch. While your Fastpass+ return window approaches, you’ll have plenty of time to eat and tour the rest of Africa. Before Expedition Everest, seeing the Safaris early meant backtracking to Africa later in the day to see exhibits and attractions that were not open first thing in the morning; our touring plan eliminates all of that extra walking, too.
Waits for Kilimanjaro Safaris diminish in late afternoon, sometimes as early as 3:30 p.m. but more commonly somewhat later. As noted previously, Kilimanjaro Safaris is a Fastpass+ attraction. If the wait exceeds 30 minutes when you arrive, by all means use Fastpass+. The downside to Fastpass+, and the reason we prefer that you ride around lunchtime, is that there aren’t many other attractions in Africa to occupy your attention while you wait for your Fastpass+ return time. This means you’ll probably be touring somewhere far removed when it’s time to backtrack to Safaris.
If you want to take photos, be advised that the vehicle isn’t guaranteed to stop at any location, although the drivers try their best to do so when big animals are sighted. Be prepared to snap at any time. Also, don’t worry about the ride itself: It really isn’t very rough. Finally, the only thing that a young child might find intimidating is crossing an “old bridge” that seems to collapse under your truck.
This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for Kilimanjaro Safaris when you visit on a day with a given Disney's Animal Kingdom Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Kilimanjaro Safaris Wait Times.
- Physical Considerations
- Handheld Captioning Available
- Video Captioning Available
- Assistive Listening Devices Available
- Audio Description Devices Available
- Must Transfer To Standard Wheelchair
Disney Dish with Jim Hill
X-RATED ZEBRAS ASKED TO EXIT
Disney Imagineers revamped the Safaris’ finale to bring in a new zebra enclosure in 2012, but the zebras were only there a few months before being replaced with addax antelope. Why? Apparently zebras are fond of two things: fighting and making more zebras. Neither of those activities went over well with parents who’d brought their kids on the ride.
Other Attractions in Africa
- Burudika Band
- Festival of the Lion King
- Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
- Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe
- Wildlife Express Train: Africa Station
Touring Plans with Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Animal Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Active Seniors
- Animal Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children
- Animal Kingdom One-Day Holiday Touring Plan for Active Seniors
- Animal Kingdom Scoping the Park
- Animal Kingdom One-Day Holiday Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children
- Animal Kingdom One-Day Late Arrival Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children
- Animal Kingdom One-Day Late Arrival Touring Plan for Active Seniors
- Animal Kingdom Unofficial Guide One-Day Touring Plan (without Expedition Everest)
- Animal Kingdom Late Arrival Not-A-Touring-Plan for Parents and Adults
- Ultimate Touring Plan: Animal Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom Unofficial Guide One-Day Touring Plan
- One-Day Touring Plan for Tweens and Their Parents
- One-Day Happy Family Touring Plan
- See all Touring Plans...
|Wait per 100 people ahead||4 minutes|
|Assumes||Full-capacity operation with 18-second dispatch interval.|
When to go
As soon as the park opens or in the 2 hours before closing, or use Fastpass+
|Opening Date||April 22, 1998|
|Scope and scale||Super Headliner|
Let us know.