You’re going on vacation to Walt Disney World! The only problem? You’re not sure which attractions are right for you and your kiddos and you have questions. Which attractions are too intense for little ones? What’s the disability access like for certain attractions? We’re answering all those questions and more in our Everything You Need to Know attraction series with today’s focus on Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris!
What is Kilimanjaro Safaris?
Kilimanjaro Safaris is an open-air safari through 110 acres home to 34 species of wildlife and designed to look like an actual African reserve! While aboard, guests are treated to views of African wildlife roaming free through forests, grasslands, and savannas.
Where is Kilimanjaro Safaris?
Kilimanjaro Safaris is located at the rear of the Africa section at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.
What is the History of Kilimanjaro Safaris?
When designing Disneyland, Walt Disney wanted live animals for the Jungle Cruise. While this wasn’t possible at the time, Walt’s dream still came true when Kilimanjaro Safaris opened with Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998.
Animal Kingdom, headed by lead designer Joe Rohde, was revolutionary in that this park was alive but wasn’t a zoo. Kilimanjaro Safaris embodies what makes the park different while communicating the message of conservation.
In the attraction’s early days, poachers played a significant role in the ride’s story line and the experience was a little intense. There was also one particularly thrilling moment where a rickety bridge appeared to almost collapse while crossing. Both of these story elements were removed.
In 2016, Animal Kingdom introduced sunset safaris allowing guests to continue riding Kilimanjaro Safaris after dark.
What Do You Need to Know About the Queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris?
There’s not much to see in the queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris. This long, lengthy queue is covered but open air with screens overhead showing clips about the Harambe Wildlife Preserve.
Things get a little more interesting the closer guests get to the boarding area, but the open air design does little to cut down on the Florida humidity and offers little to see in the meantime.
What are the Ride Vehicles Like for Kilimanjaro Safaris?
The ride vehicles for Kilimanjaro Safaris are open-air safari trucks accommodating 35 guests and driven by a guide. Each row seats 3 to 5 guests depending on size and consist of a lightly padded bench with a back. There are no safety restraints. Guests are required to take a small step up into the vehicle.
Cast Members may ask that children sit at the center of the row. Also, photographers will want to sit on the outside seats; and even though both sides of the vehicle offers views of the animals, the left side is often considered the best.
What Do You Need to Know About the Ride Experience on Kilimanjaro Safaris?
The ride transports guests through different terrain and landscapes home to different African animals. While you never know which animals will choose to make an appearance, Kilimanjaro Safaris features giraffes, hippos, elephants, antelope, gazelles, crocodiles, lions, rhinos, cheetahs, and more! The safari guides/drivers point out animals and provide further facts and information about them.
However, because Kilimanjaro Safaris is intended to be as realistic as possible to an actual safari, the roads are definitely rough! Be prepared to hit bumps, lurch, and bounce as your vehicle traverses the pathways.
Kilimanjaro Safaris typically spans about 20 minutes.
Kilimanjaro Safaris also offers nighttime safaris due to incredible lighting and even an artificial sunset beyond the savanna! If you love animals, be sure to experience this attraction both during the day and at night if offered for two different experiences and the chance to see more wildlife.
What Do You Need to Know About Accessibility for Kilimanjaro Safaris?
Guests must transfer to a standard wheelchair to experience this attraction. Also, guests with service animals should check with a Cast Member at the attraction regarding boarding.
What Do You Need to Know About Health and Safety Advisories for Kilimanjaro Safaris?
For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride. Also, the unpaved roads of Harambe Wildlife Reserve pass through rough and rugged terrain. You may experience bumps and sudden jolts on your safari adventure.
What are the Height Restrictions for Kilimanjaro Safaris?
There are no height restrictions for Kilimanjaro Safaris!
What Do You Need to Know About FastPass+ for Kilimanjaro Safaris?
Currently, FastPass+ is suspended with no return date scheduled. However, Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of Animal Kingdom’s busiest attractions, along with Expedition Everest and Pandora’s two attractions. From a touring standpoint, this is a good thing: By distributing guests evenly throughout the park, those other attractions make it unnecessary to run to Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing in the morning. Our Animal Kingdom touring plan has you obtain FastPass+ reservations for the Safaris in the afternoon—while you wait for your FastPass+ return window, you’ll have plenty of time to eat and tour the rest of Africa.
Does Weather Affect Kilimanjaro Safaris?
Yes and no. Kilimanjaro Safaris will operate in the rain if possible. However, in severe inclement weather, it may close.
What’s the Best Time of Day to Experience Kilimanjaro Safaris?
Waits for Kilimanjaro Safaris diminish in late afternoon, sometimes as early as 3:30 p.m. but more commonly somewhat later.
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 be 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.
Did I answer all of your questions about Kilimanjaro Safaris? Is this attraction at the top of your family’s vacation to-do list? Let us know in the comments.
First published December 1, 2019. Updated June 23, 2021.