Let’s pause reality for a moment and pretend there was no such thing as flying in an airplane.Or even better, let’s say you’re like I am and would really rather not fly but prefer to road trip everywhere you visit with your kids. You couldn’t or wouldn’t fly to Africa to see all of the exotic animals roaming around the Savannah. And let’s say you’re a Disney nut like I am as well. Is there an attraction that combines the best of both worlds? I mean, can a family visit an African Savannah AND enjoy a Disney vacation at the same time? You betcha. Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World does a fine job of melding the two together. The whimsy and safety of a Disney park attraction combined with an honest to goodness recreated and realistic African Savannah gives visitors to the park a glimpse into the daily life of native African animals.
Where is Kilimanjaro Safaris Located?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is separated into continents and themed areas, so it makes sense that the ride itself is located in the Africa section. I’m calling it right now by saying this ride is pretty much the main attraction in this area of the park and by putting the entrance at the back, it takes away a ton of congestion and traffic around the shopping and dining areas. The sign for the ride is easily visible as well and the standby queue is at the main entrance. Have a FastPass+ selection for Kilimanjaro Safaris? That entrance is 20 paces to the right side of the main entrance.
Tell Me About Kilimanjaro Safaris
Disney’s Harambe Wildlife Reserve is the setting for the ride. A 110-acre animal sanctuary, the reserve is home to 34 species of native African animals that are basically given the free will roam wherever they see fit. The reserve recreates grassy, open plains, forest areas that provide a shady respite for the animals during the peak heat times of the day, and rocky wetlands- the perfect spot to glimpse those adorable hippos that kids love. The ride takes you through all three and drivers will stop to point out the African animals for you. The ride lasts approximately 18 minutes and can go longer if there’s an animal road block. My family actually looks forward to these types of road blocks- they beat the orange cone type were accustomed to on long, summer road trips!
Kilimanjaro Safaris also teaches its guests the value of animal and land conservation and you’ll learn about Disney’s efforts while having a blast in an open-air vehicle.
What Makes Kilimanjaro Safaris Fun for All Ages?
Each time we visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s a no brainer for us to take a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris for a few reasons. First of all, the general whimsical splendor and ambiance of an open-air safari ride is a blast for my teen daughter. She loves loading into the large vehicles and always asks for a seat on the far inside of the vehicle’s benches so she has the best view in the row. Can’t score an outside seat? No worries, you’ll still have a great view but many of your animal photos will have the back of other riders’ heads in them.
Secondly, the vehicle drivers are a hoot. You can expect a fun, lively, and jokey personality from every driver along with safe driving skills. And last, but definitely not least, there’s the African animals. On our last visit this spring we spied African elephants, lions taking a nap high on a hill, rhinos meandering around, cheetahs checking out the zebras, and three species of giraffe, and bongo. The drivers are also skilled at pointing out hidden animals and know their favorite places to hang out, so they’re more than happy to stop driving for a moment so you can have a look and say, “Aww!”
If your kids are animal lovers, it never hurts to ride multiple times. The ride itself is nearly 20 minutes long which gives your tired feet a rest, and the ride is never the same ride twice. The animals move and become active at different times of the day, so a ride in the morning will be completely different than a ride in the afternoon or early evening.
When is the Best Time to Take a Ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris?
That depends on your family’s heat tolerance and if you’ve scored a FastPass+. If you and the kids don’t dig hot, humid Florida weather, head for Kilimanjaro Safaris when the park opens as open air rides lack air conditioning. If you didn’t score a FastPass+ selection during your visit, head for the ride in the morning as well. Peak ride times tend to be from lunch to around 3 p.m.
Animals native to Africa are really good at sparing themselves from the heat and tend to nap during early afternoon, so keep that in mind if you really want to see the animals out and about.
Is there FastPass+ for Kilimanjaro Safaris?
Yes! Kilimanjaro Safaris is very popular so if you know you’re going to visit the park in advance, try and score one for a time that’s convenient for you and the family.