Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition – Animal Kimgdom, Walt Disney World

September 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Posted in For the Family | 2 Comments
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When I started this blog, I promised I would post stories of places that were a good time for the entire family. Who does “family” like Disney?! While I’m not into the zoo scene, if a place has animals in captivity and are taking excelent care of them and giving them ample space to roam and be themselves all while educating the public and making positive efforts toward conservation of wildlife everywhere, well I’m all about that! Animal Kingdom itself is huge and has something for everyone – animals everywhere for the animal lovers, thrill rides like Expedition Everest, and a huge play area for the kids at DinoLandUSA. My personal favorite at this park is Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Riding Kilimanjaro Safaris is like taking a a ride through The Lion King. Disney has done en excelent job of recreating the African savannah with open grasslands, watering holes, and even fake termite mounds like you would see on an actual African safari. The ride is set yo take you through the Hambre Wildlife Reserve on a photography expidition. And so the story goes, your vehicle gets called away to help with poachers on the reserve. It can be a little bumpy at times, but it’s a ride that anyone can go on.

Some of my favorite animals on this exhibit are the King of the Jungle himself, the Lion. Their habitat is situated up at the top of some rocks and the way it’s designed makes it look like they could run right down to your vehicle if they really wanted to, adding to the authinticity. Typically rather lazy, we caught these guys up and about toward the end of the day, probably as they were getting ready to have dinner and go in for the night.

The Elephants are a big part of this attraction, and the storyline behind the poachers. When I went last year, they had a rather new baby, who I’m assuming is that same baby in the top picture but a little more grown up. They are absolutely adorable! We watched the baby pushing on a palm tree and then watched as a bigger one came over to show him how it was done. How that palm tree didn’t snap in half from the force of an elephant shoving on it is beyond me, it was sure shaking like it was going to. After the tree shoving lesson, they “held trunks” and it was honestly the sweetest thing I had seen all day.

Some of the other animals on the safari you can admire from a safe distance ate the Hippo’s and Crocs. Again, their habitats are designed to keep them from running over and sitting on your lap, but you’d never know with the way it looks. It really is a great way to safely admire animals that are typically not known for being super friendly.

Of course, other areas of the journey offer a much more up close and personal experience. While these are living creatures with minds of their own and it’s never guaranteed that every animal will end up right next to your vehicle, typically you can get a glimpse of all sorts of animals in the grasslands. You’ll encounted animals like giraffes, wildebeest, antelope, ostrich, and many others, often times within just yards of where you’re sitting. The tour guides try their hardest to make sure you get the best viewing possible. Be quick with your camera, you never know what they’re going to do!

Photos taken with my Nikon D3100


I cannot emphasize this point enough… if you go on a day that seems even somewhat busy, get your Fastpass for this ride! The lines can be, well, about as wild as the ride itself. Also, set your camera to “action” if you have the setting for it so if an animal takes off or you’re trying to take a picture during a bumpy part of the ride you don’t end up with a big blob of a photo.  For the best animal action, try to go first thing in the morning or very late in the day (we wen’t right before closing). The animals are awake, feeding, and active during the cooler parts of the day, usually suring the mid heat of the day they’re hiding out in the shade and taking a nap.



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  1. Great photos! Animal Kingdom is actually my favorite Disney park.

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