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Behind the Scenes of Kilimanjaro Safari at the Animal Kingdom

Behind the Scenes of Kilimanjaro Safari at the Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safari is the focal point of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This attraction opened with the park in 1998. The story goes that the Harambe Wildlife Reserve was for game hunting but when conservation became a focus that all changed. The reserve transformed into a safe place for the animals and only photo tours were allowed.

Kilimanjaro Safari Fun Facts

  • Kilimanjaro Safari is almost the same size as all of the Magic Kingdom at 110 acres.
  • Disney had to plant all the vegetation 18 months before they could even bring in the animals.
  • On the savannah, you will notice dozens of beautiful live oak trees. These were actually on the land prior to building the Animal Kingdom. They were so beautiful Disney dug them up and kept them safe while they built the attraction and then replanted to where we see them today.
  • Ever wonder how they get the animals back home at night? All the animals are trained to audio cues to come into their pens. This allows them to do routine medical checks among other things.
  • The tire tracks along the path that you drive along are actually carefully placed to keep show water from mingling with the animals drinking water.
  • Be on the lookout for hidden feeders the Imagineers placed through the ride. You can normally spot them by logs, rocks, or even up in some of the trees.
  • When you drive by the area of flamingos take a close look at the island they are on. It’s a giant hidden Mickey!

Safari truck Kilimanjaro Safari

When is the Best Time to Ride Kilimanjaro Safari

This is an often debated subject amongst Disney fans and even with those who work on the attraction. Of course, you have to keep in mind that the animals run the show. Much like you may experience with your animals at home you never know what is going to happen or when that nap time is going to hit. Though I must say with my cats, that nap is pretty strong all day long. Consistently I find the best time is to go later in the day closer to sunset. Depending on the time of year this can be between 5 pm – 7 pm. I think this has a lot to do with the animals knowing that at sunset I normally get to end the work day and have some dinner. Of course with Animal Kingdom’s extended hours things have changed a lot. This, however, has been the time that we have seen the otherwise sleeping cats up and running around. I recommend trying to ride the safari more than once, if the lines are not too long.


What have your favorite experience on Kilimanjaro Safari been? Share them with us in the comments below! For more ideas on how to spend your day at the Animal Kingdom read Animal Kingdom Must Dos.

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