Walt Disney World (FL)

Caring For Giants Tour at Animal Kingdom

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Caring for Giants is a 60-minute tour offered at Animal Kingdom that takes you behind the scenes of Kilimanjaro Safaris to learn all about the care and keeping of elephants! It is one of the most affordable tour options at Walt Disney World at just $35 per person. And it’s one of the more accessible options for families, because the minimum age is four years old. I recently took the Caring for Giants tour with my family, and now I’d like to share with all of you about this special experience and whether you might want to add it to your next Animal Kingdom day!

Reservation and Tour Check-In

Like most other “Enchanting Extras” at Walt Disney World, you can start booking Caring for Giants 60 days prior to your vacation – 60 days prior to check-in if you’re staying on property, or 60 days prior to the tour day if you’re off property. You can book online, in the My Disney Experience app, or you can call Tours and Recreation at (407) 939-7529.

You’ll need to know the names of each participant, and you will pre-pay for all tickets. The tickets are refundable if you cancel more than 2 days in advance, but are technically non-transferable. (One member of our traveling party learned that they would be unable to travel just a few days before our vacation, and we did have someone else take the tour with us without attempting any transfer of the ticket or the booking. But the fine print says non-transferable, so operate under the assumption you can’t reassign the ticket to someone else.)

You can also book directly at the Curiosity Animal Tours desk in the park, and it’s not uncommon to find same-day availability. If you’re a Disney Vacation Club Member or Annual Passholder, don’t forget to ask about discounts. They are periodically available.

You’ll receive an email a few days before your tour with more details about the tour itself and where to meet. Park admission and a park reservation (if your admission requires it) are required to take this tour. Your entire party will check in at the Curiosity Animal Tours desk, which is just in front and to the left of the Kilimanjaro Safaris queue entrance. You are asked to arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start of your tour.

During check-in, your tour guide will make sure that names are correct for nametags, give you any last-minute information, and help get waivers signed. They will also recommend that everyone use the restroom – you won’t have access to any bathroom facilities for the duration of the tour.

Start the Tour Backstage

There is a small access between the tour desk and Kilimanjaro Safaris queue that leads directly backstage. If you stand in this area you’ll frequently see cast members leaving and entering the park. Your guide will take you on a 5-minute walk to a waiting van. Guests aren’t allowed to take any pictures during this part of the tour.

Even though no pictures are allowed, as a Disney geek, this was one of my favorite parts of the tour! You may be able to see things like composting activities, a hidden Mickey in Pandora that is only visible from backstage, or even cast members training on how to drive Safari trucks – this is where all of those trucks park at night or when they are not needed.

Then you have approximately a 10-minute drive around the back of the Safari to the elephant barn. Your tour guide will point out more things to see during this drive (and on the drive back), like the Animal Kingdom Imagineering headquarters, a field that grows fruit and plants for animals to eat (it’s the size of Magic Kingdom!), animal barns that may be familiar to viewers of the Magic of Animal Kingdom, and even a “retirement savanna” where non-stage-ready animals get to spend their days.

Learning about Elephants

Once you exit the bus after passing by the elephant barn, you’ll walk up a ramp and be looking out at the elephant portion of Kilimanjaro Safari. Once off the ramp, you’re allowed to take pictures again! You’ll likely see many, many trucks full of guests rolling past throughout your tour.


Elephants aren’t guaranteed to be near the tour overlook. In fact, they’re not even guaranteed to be visible at all during your tour. But with two different portions of the overlook covering most of the elephant area, there’s at least a good chance that you’ll be able to see them quite clearly. During our tour, two males were right in front of us for the entire 30 or 40 minutes.

Your tour guide will share stories and information about the elephants while you watch them. They’ll also teach you more about conservation and learning about elephants in their native habitat too! Each tour guide has plenty of content to easily fill the full tour, but you are actively encouraged to ask any questions that you have as well.

Even if there are only safari trucks and no elephants, tour guides will have plenty to make this tour interesting.

On our tour, we learned about bee fences, and we got to hold an elephant tooth, an elephant tracking collar, and a sanitized piece of elephant poop! I guess elephants aren’t great at processing fiber …in fact, your nametags for the tour will be made out of “Poop Paper” – made from 85% recycled poop fiber. Hooray.

Tour guides will describe any elephant activity that you see happening while on the tour, they’ll provide additional educational information, and they’ll happily take pictures of you and your party too.

When time is up, you’ll head back down to the van for another drive and walk to deposit you right where you left originally.

Say “peanuts”!

Is the Tour Worth the Cost and Time?

  • If this is your first-ever visit to Animal Kingdom, your time may be better spent soaking up the animals on various trails and the Safari (plus rides and entertainment) rather than a tour. Animal Kingdom is easily a full-day park without an extra tour, although you may hear otherwise from those who are focused only on rides.
  • If you have kids (or adults) in your party who are particularly interested in animals, veterinary care, or conservation, I would definitely prioritize this option. The tour group is small enough that you’ll get lots of personal attention and time to ask any questions you might have.
  • I was worried about my 4-year-old getting bored on the tour because she’s not particularly enthusiastic about animals or their care. Standing around and listening to someone talk for 40 minutes isn’t really a big passion for her (or any 4-year-old probably …). But I shouldn’t have worried! The tour guides are like all other cast members – well-trained in keeping kids entertained and happy. She remained engaged and excited for the duration of the tour.
  • Overall, the cost of this add-on is pretty low, and if you’re looking for a cool behind-the-scenes tour at Animal Kingdom, we’d recommend this option!

Have you ever tried the Caring for Giants tour? Is it on your wish list?

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-gandillon/ or instagram @raisingminniemes

9 thoughts on “Caring For Giants Tour at Animal Kingdom

  • Hey so my wife is going to be 5 months pregnant when we go and im looking for others things we can do since a lot of rides are out of the question. I know she is able able to do the actual safari due to all the bouncing around. which she be okay to do this tour, and how is the van ride over to the viewing area?

    • Oh, she would absolutely be fine. It’s a van ride on paved, well-maintained roads along the back of the park.

  • Is there a “tip” to getting reservations. We are wanting to get one for our trip. 60 days out is coming soon. I check every day just to see available times so we can plan what time we want to try and get our tour and every single day, for 4 people, it is telling me there is nothing available. Is it that popluar or am I doing something wrong. We are now worried we won’t get reservations and it was a surprise for my niece . . this is her high school graduation trip. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    • As with most experiences like this, it helps to have the activity you’re trying to book near the end of your vacation. If you’re staying onsite, you’ll be able to book for all days of your vacation at the 60 day mark from your first day. So you’ll get “ahead” of others staying offsite or with vacations starting later.
      That being said, Caring for Giants has more capacity than something like Up Close with Rhinos, so I would hope you’d be able to book it early in the morning of 60 days out.

  • “Animal Kingdom is easily a full-day park without an extra tour, although you may hear otherwise from those who are focused only on rides.”

    100% true!

    My appreciation for this park went way up when I had a “free” day & explored by myself all the Animal exhibits in detail, and much of the live entertainment. This became my 2nd favorite park as a result. (MK will always be #1 lol).

    In my estimation, so many are missing out on what this park has to offer if they’re solely focused on rides & big shows. I also appreciate how expensive it must be to keep this park running with all that needs to be maintained.

  • Hey Becky! It looks like you and your family had a great time! Is this tour accessible to someone in an ECV?

    • An excellent question, and I apologize for not including this information in the post!
      ECVs must be left “onstage” and therefore cannot come along on the tour. However, if those in an ECV wish to participate, they may transfer to a courtesy wheelchair for the duration of the tour. A member of their party will be responsible for pushing the wheelchair during the experience.
      Anyone that would like to book the tour who requires a wheelchair will need to call (407) 938-1373 to confirm capacity onboard the backstage transport.

  • I didn’t even know they had this tour until after I booked the Wild Africa Trek. I immediately booked it for same day and was glad I did. The entire experience was fantastic and we must have seen about 4-6 elephants. Well worth it!!

    • Wild Africa Trek is my favorite tour of all!! A combo with Caring for Giants is totally next-level.


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