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Updated Details about the Nighttime Safari for Kilimanjaro Safaris

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©Rikki Niblett
©Rikki Niblett

April 22 is quickly approaching! That’s the day the new nighttime safari debuts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of Kilimanjaro Safaris. (Along with a few other things, such as Rivers of Light, the Tree of Life Awakening, Discovery Island Carnivale, and Harambe Wildlife Street Parti.) The nighttime experiences are certainly going to transform this park into a whole new experience.

Of course, one of the more unique aspects of the evening options is what will occur with Kilimanjaro Safaris and how they will transform the attraction into a nighttime experience, as well as what Guests should expect when visiting the attraction in the evening hours.

Kilimanjaro Safaris won’t be billed as a new attraction, but instead it is simply an extension of the hours the attraction will be open. Thanks to some great technology, the attraction will appear as though it is constant sunset.

One thing to keep in mind, for those of you who are planners is that the attraction itself will unfortunately have no set start time for the nighttime option, since it will depend on what time the sun set is nightly. However, the everlasting sunset is expected to last approximately 4-5 hours each evening. 

The ride path will be adjusted and the truck will make longer stops, allowing Guests more time to see the animals on the savanna, however Guests will not be able to use flash photography during the nighttime experience. (Thank goodness, because I don’t want to be blinded by your flash when I’m trying to see a hyena on the savanna!) In addition, Guests may see different animals than they normally would during the nighttime safari.

Keep in mind that attractions that previously closed at sunset at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will continue to do so. Attractions that will continue to close early will include: Wilderness Explorers, Maharajah Jungle Trek, Rafiki’s Planet Watch and the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.

Are you as anxious as I am about being able to experience Kilimanjaro Safaris in the evening? (Heck, I’m excited to finally experience Disney’s Animal Kingdom at night! That’s still something I’ve yet to do!) It certainly seems like the nighttime safari will be a unique way to see the animals found in the savanna.

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Rikki Niblett

I am a co-host of the Be Our Guest Podcast and do lots of other fun Disney stuff all around the interwebs! You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @RikkiNibs or on Facebook at

8 thoughts on “Updated Details about the Nighttime Safari for Kilimanjaro Safaris

  • So, if there is expected to be “4-5 hours” of sunset each evening, does that mean this park will be closing at 8-9pm at the earliest, and possibly 11pm-12am, based on ACTUAL sunset times? I imagine there is a maximum amount of daylight that won’t let this effect work properly.

    • Sunset occurs latest on 30 June (not 21 June as many believe… reasons are beyond the scope of this forum, but look up “equation of time”), at 8:28pm. If they go 4 hours, the park would close around 12:30am. If instead “4-5 hours” means after civil twilight (when it is starting to get noticeably dark), the park would close at around 1am in the summer.

      In the winter, the earliest sunset is on December 1st (not the 21st…see above) at 5:29pm. If they go 5 hours past sunset, the park would close at 10:30pm. If they go 5 hours past civil twilight, the park would close around 11pm.

      All conjecture, of course 🙂

  • I’ve never been to AK past noon. Could someone enlighten me as to what attractions WILL be open in the afternoon? Thanks!!

  • I can’t wait to check this out the next time we’re there. I’ve been in the park a few times after dark and it is absolutely beautiful.

  • So is this a situation where we should use FastPass+ for later in the day for the evening Safari and Rivers of Life? The downside, of course, would be not being able to get a 4th FastPass for that day.

  • Very excited, and if possible, even more anxious. We’re in the World April 18-24–originally I planned the 20th as our AK day, but we’d love to hop back on the 22nd to experience the evening attractions/events. I really wish Disney would announce new park hours for AK and release evening fastpasses. As a planner (and a guest staying on-site) I’m pretty disappointed that we’re nearly at the 30-day mark. I’m guessing the park is going to be super busy on the 22nd, and FP+ seems invaluable. Hoping to see more info from Disney soon!

  • I’m so excited! I’ve always loved Animal Kingdom – I’m so glad and proud of all the changes. I can’t wait to see it all later this year 🙂 Hoping they’ll bring back the “Match the Species” treats 😉

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