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Five Things to Know About Maharajah Jungle Trek

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Maharajah Jungle Trek is a self-guided walking trail where you’ll cross bridges, see waterfalls, encounter a variety of exotic animals, and enter Asian ruins. If you’d like to take the deepest dive into details, read on. But if you prefer to just hit the trail and head straight to the nuts and bolts, here’s your shortcut.

1. You step right into the jungle.

There is no queue for the Maharajah Jungle Trek since it’s a self-guided walking tour.  That’s what makes it a great last-minute, spur-of-the-moment addition to your itinerary – and it might be just the thing to do while you wait for your next Genie+ or Lightning Lane reservation! You may run into crowds who gather around certain animal viewing areas; if that’s the case, just wait a bit. When they move along, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the view yourself.

The trail is designed to suggest an overgrown old hunting ground that has been abandoned. In addition to the animals, there are ruins of long unoccupied buildings that were once the domain of royalty. Particularly interesting are the bas reliefs on the walls of the Tomb of Anantah, the founder of Anandpur. They tell the story of how the rulers of this mythical kingdom learned to value and live in harmony with nature. There’s the Red Temple, also in ruins, that provides the entrance to the Aviary now in the ruins of the palace’s Great Hall.

Have you noticed that we keep saying “ruins”? The attention to detail that makes this trail feel like the jungle has been reclaiming the buildings from civilization is remarkable; a real demonstration of the Imagineers’ dedication to creating a totally immersive environment.

2. It’s a trail of many delights.

The stars of the Jungle Trek are the tigers, of course. But you’ll also encounter Komodo dragons, gibbons, blackbuck antelope, asian deer, water buffalo, a wide variety of exotic birds, and – this is the especially cool part – bats in an open-air habitat. There’s no glass between you and them! But if you’d prefer to bypass the bats, you can go around them.

Along the way, you’ll find Cast Members stationed on the path to provide answers to any questions about what you’re seeing. Don’t forget to look for the Wilderness Explorers stops!

3. The Jungle has a history.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek wouldn’t be a Disney attraction if it didn’t have a storyline to go with it. In brief, you’re walking through the Royal Anandapur Forest. It was once land where the Maharajahs hunted tigers. They enclosed parts of the forest to create spaces to lure and trap tigers.

When one of the rulers was killed during a tiger hunt, his successors decided it was wiser to focus on protecting the area’s wildlife and living in balance with nature. Eventually, they abandoned the area. You’ll see hints of the time when Britain ruled the area, for instance one sign has the British spelling “Anandapoor”. When the Brits left, the Royal Forest was given to the people of Anandapur who converted the ruins into a nature preserve.

4. The Jungle has its secrets, too.

⭐ Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened April 22, 1998. The Asia section was the first expansion of the park and opened in 1999. The Maharajah Jungle Trek opened on March 1, 1999.

⭐ The Asia section of Animal Kingdom combines influences from India, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, and Bhutan, not just one particular area.

⭐ “Maharajah” is an Indian word for “prince,” and Anandapur means “city of happiness” or “place of many delights” in Sanskrit.

⭐ The attention to detail is evident everywhere, but also less obvious in some places. You can see newspapers from Anandapur being used to insulate the walls of the ruins. I’m always impressed at how the Imagineers seem to think of everything!

5. The Nuts and Bolts.

Maharajah Jungle Trek is located in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Take the path to the left of Kali River Rapids and follow it back to find the trail’s entrance. The trail itself is about 1/3 of a mile long. Depending on how long you stop to observe, look at animals, or admire the Imagineering, you should figure on taking 20-25 minutes to walk through it.

We think it’s a good choice for midday touring when most other attractions are crowded. The downside, of course, is that the tigers, bats, and other creatures might not be very active in the heat, making the cooler parts of the day a better bet for animal sightings. Tip: the trail stays open when it’s raining, so animals may be more active during and after a spot of rain cools the park off for a little bit. Of course, as an outdoor experience, that means you will also be exposed to the inclement weather.

There are no health or safety advisories for this attraction and no height requirement. Guests may remain in a wheelchair/ECV to explore the trail. But due to the nature of this attraction, service animals are only permitted in certain areas, so check with a Cast Member for more information. Audio description is also available to guests with hearing disabilities.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek isn’t open for Early Theme Park Entry or Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, and does not participate in Genie+. However, there is almost never a wait to experience it. Note that the Jungle Trek’s operating hours may be shorter than the park’s, especially during fall and winter, so check your Times Guide for the latest information.

The Bottom Line.

While Maharajah Jungle Trek isn’t on our “not to be missed” list, that’s only because many municipalities have zoos and there is incredible theming all over the Animal Kingdom. It can be a great spontaneous addition to your Animal Kingdom itinerary. It can also provide a way to slow down and enjoy your day a little more. Either way, it’s worthwhile for anyone who wants to take the time to see exotic animals and admire the genius of the Imagineers.

Have you been through the Maharajah Jungle Trek? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Bob Jacobs

Bob Jacobs lives in Wisconsin where he retired as Editorial Director for a well-known catalog company. He and his wife Cristie have four children, seven grandchildren and a cocker spaniel named Penny the Dog. They’ve visited Walt Disney World regularly since 1992.

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