9 Secrets & Expert Tips for Kilimanjaro Safaris | Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Of all the wonderful attractions at Walt Disney World, there is one that checks off all the boxes for the whole family to go on. That one is Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Animal Kingdom. 

When you have a bigger group or family going to Disney World, you often have to take into consideration different factors when going on attractions. Factors like: someone is too short for the recommended height. Some rides might be too scary for someone, or not scary enough for someone else (silly teenagers).

You have to rule out some rides because it might get one of your family members motion sick.  There are those that might be afraid of the dark, or don’t like fast rides. Someone might be afraid of pirates or afraid of talking birds, or Goofy or…well…you get the idea.

The beauty about Kilimanjaro Safari is it truly can satisfy everyone in your family group!  It isn’t too….anything!  Just right for everyone.

What is the Kilimanjaro Safari?

9 Secrets & Expert Tips for Kilimanjaro Safaris | Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Located on 110 acres in the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, the Kilimanjaro safari attraction makes up 20% of the entire Animal Kingdom park. Guests ride on an open-air truck which weaves it’s way around a realistic African reserve, full of African wildlife roaming free.

Disney has done an amazing job of replicating the forests, grasslands and savannas in a way that you have to keep telling yourself you are still in Florida. 

Alligators at Kilimanjaro Safaris | Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

The entire attraction lasts a bit over 20 minutes, has no height requirements, no age requirements and though it can get a little bumpy, there should be no motion sickness issues.

(Side note: we have a family member who gets motion sickness very easily and he has never had a problem on the safari. If you are still concerned, ask for a seat in the first row…you will be able to see out the front better and it will be less bumpy.)

Riding along on Kilimanjaro Safaris

What kind of animals will we see?

The beauty of the Kilimanjaro safari as opposed to a “real” safari is on this one, you will definitely see animals. Disney does a great job of insuring that animals will be present. 

Zebras at Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom

You can read more about that in the facts below. You will see many different animals including lions and other predators, giraffes, gazelles, impalas, wildebeests, zebras, crocodiles and even hippos, elephants and other larger animals.

Is there a best time of the day to visit the safaris?

Let’s start with the worst.  During midday, especially in the heat of the summer, the animals do what animals do in the wild, relax…chill…nap.  Consequently, you will see the animals but there probably won’t be a lot of movement. 

Elephants at Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom

On the other hand, first thing in the morning and towards evening, the animals are much more apt to move and be overall more active.  The safaris will continue if it rains but not if there is severe weather.  

Should we FastPass+ Kilimanjaro Safaris?

Update Fall 2021: Walt Disney World is no longer using FastPass+. This system is permanently suspended at the Disney Parks. In its place is Genie+, a new paid program to utilize Lightning Lanes. You can find out more information here. At this time we are unsure of how Genie+ will impact Kilimanjaro Safari lines.

Obviously there are many factors involved in where you use your Fastpass+ but overall, we recommend that you indeed do use a Fastpass+ on the safari. It is one of the busiest attractions along with Pandora. 

Tree at Animal Kingdom

We find that this is especially true if you want to visit the safaris during the evening when it really is at it’s busiest times for crowds. We have all the information you need to know about securing fast passes here.

9 Secrets About Kilimanjaro Safaris

Here are some fun and interesting facts about Kilimanjaro Safaris:

Pink Flamingos  at Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom
  1. Kilimanjaro Safaris is the biggest Disney Park attraction! In fact, you could put the entire Magic Kingdom park in the reserve.
  2. Walt Disney was not involved in the creation of Kilimanjaro Safaris, however, he did have the overall inspiration for it.  When Jungle Cruise was in its early development, Walt wanted real animals along the cruise route but he quickly realized how difficult this would be and settled for the audio-animatronics version we have today.  When the Imagineers began the concept of this attraction, they knew they were bringing Walt’s vision to reality.
  3. The trucks that take the guests through the parks are on a track, right?  Nope.  Unlike a lot of Disney World rides, this is the real thing baby!  The trucks are free moving and get a maintenance check every night to be ready for the next day. They need to be real trucks because what happens if an animal decides to take a snooze in front of the truck? They need to be able to move around the animal and keep on schedule.
  4. Do the animals attack each other like in the wild? (Will I need to close my grandson’s eyes as a lion pounces on a zebra?) Not to worry. Disney has gone to great lengths to allow the animal to freely roam but be contained in certain areas so as to not interrupt other animal species they may not get along with.  There are water barriers, moats, camouflaged walls, and other boundary fortification set up to keep everyone in their place. In addition, the animals are well fed and taken care of.
  5. Turn up the AC a bit, would you dear? The lions are truly the kings wherever they go. The rocks at the Kilimanjaro Safaris actually are air conditioned in the heat of the day and can be heated when it gets a bit chilly.  
  6. In addition to the air conditioning for the lions, Disney has many food tricks to get the animals as close to the guests as possible. This includes salt licks, hay and grass close to the roads and of course the water holes for the animals are in plain sight for the guests to see.
  7. Over two thousand pounds of manure is produced by the elephants alone each day. Of course, Disney uses it for fertilizer around the Disney property. Don’t get too close smelling the roses!
  8. At night when it’s time for the animals to get into their jammies, the Cast Members call them in by many different sounds including, horns, bells, duck calls, whistles and even drum beats.
  9. Kilimanjaro Safaris at night is pretty awesome! Disney has a permanent sunset state where the forests and savannas get highlighted in new ways.  

You will love Kilimanjaro Safaris! We go on this attraction every visit to the Animal Kingdom. If you have little kids, be sure to read our expert tips for visiting the Animal Kingdom with toddlers. For example, we suggest this park be the first park you visit on your vacation – find out why here!

About disneywithdavesdaughters

Dave and his daughters have been going to Disney for 30+ years, all on a teacher's budget . They love helping families have the most magical Disney vacation ever by sharing all their expert family secrets. Feel free to send them a message or follow along on Instagram!

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9 Secrets of Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris
9 Secrets of Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris