Description And Comments
The park's premier zoological attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition 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 narration provides a storyline about poachers in the area while an onboard guide points out and identifies the various animals encountered. Toward the end of the ride, the safari chases poachers who are after the elephants.
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.
If the attraction has a shortcoming, it's the rather strident story about the poachers, which, while thought-provoking, is somewhat distracting when you're trying to spot and enjoy the wildlife. Since it's repeated on every trip, it can really get on your nerves after the first couple of times.
In 2011 Disney introduced the 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 Expedition 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 the 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 new touring plan eliminates all of that extra walking, too.
Waits for Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition 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 on your safari, 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. Your best bet is to be prepared to snap while under way. 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 pretends to collapse under your truck.
This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition when you visit on a day with a given 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 Expedition 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
TAKING THE KILL OUT OF KILIMANJARO
So why did the Imagineers finally opt to drop the â€œPoachers have captured Little Red!â€ storyline? For starters, blame former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who reportedly just couldnâ€™t stand the sight of all those cast membersâ€™ kids crying when they spied the plastic carcass of big dead Big Red (Little Redâ€™s mother) during a sneak peek of the safaris back before Animal Kingdom officially opened. Once Eisner ordered that prop removed, the endangered-baby-elephant storyline never really jelled. After years of head-scratching, the Imagineers sent Little Red and those poachers packing for good in anticipation of the attractionâ€™s new zebra habitat.
Other Attractions in Africa
- Burudika Band
- Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
- Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe
- Wildlife Express Train: Africa Station
Touring Plans with Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition
- 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, in the 2 hours before closing, or use Fastpass
|Opening Date||April 22, 1998|
|Scope and scale||Super Headliner|
Let us know.