Our family has a few quirky traditions. On the way back from the beach, we always stop in Palatka at the Dairy Queen. When we go to Disney, no matter how short or long our trip is, our last day is always Animal Kingdom and the first thing we do there is to ride the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
There is no height requirement, so we’ve been going on this with Eli since his very first visit.
This ride has the FP+ option and it’s usually easy to get an early reservation even a few days before your visit. The wait with a FP+ is usually only ten minutes or so as you funnel into the regular line right before it approaches the split before the loading zone. You can go right or left to two separate platforms, it’s just luck of the draw as to which will be faster (although my husband thinks he has a “system” for this as well as for the line split on Big Thunder Mountain).
A cast member will ask you how many members are in your party and then tell you which row to line up in. In my experience, they tend not to put strangers together in the same row, so don’t try to crowd into the jeep with the party ahead of you unless told otherwise by a cast member.
Little ones should be in the middle of the row or on a lap and it’s a pretty bumpy ride so you might not want to eat a huge breakfast before riding. Because a small boy two rows in front of us once didn’t take that advice, we ended up taking a detour behind the scenes to get taken out of the jeep with ladders and rerouted through the fastpass line again while they hosed out the jeep. Funny story but pretty gross at the time!
Make sure to keep your camera out because there are a lot of great photo ops!
The ride lasts a little over twenty minutes and much like the Jungle Cruise, some of the drivers are hilarious and some are just kind of blah. You’ll learn about the different animals on the African Savannah and what we all can do to help save them.
This is the baobab tree which always reminds me of The Little Prince which is one of my favorite stories.
On one visit we had this crazy rhino come right up to the side of the jeep. The driver was actually a little spooked and we took off faster than normal.
This is about the best picture I’ve ever gotten of the elusive cheetah!
The zebras are a different story, they’ll often come near the jeeps. A fun fact that your driver might tell you is that zebras are actually black with white stripes. That protects their skin from the harsh African sunlight.
The warthog is one of my very favorite animals on the safari. I can never seem to get a good photo of him, but he is adorable with those whiskers!
Eli loves the termite mounds.
And we got a great view of the ostrich on our last trip. It almost blocked the road for a while. If the wildlife does get in the road, the whole ride comes to a stop until the animal(s) decides to move on.
Eli’s other favorite is the muddy puddles. The jeep splooshes through lots of them (although you’ll never get splashed) and he thinks it is hilarious!
There is a group of rocks overlooking the whole savannah that will often have lions watching the jeeps and surrounding wildlife.
They do seem to sleep a lot.
I think we’ve gotten great views of the giraffes on just about every trip.
The elephants are viewable in several spots and it’s been fun to see the babies grow up from year to year.
This is the section where you want to hold on tight to your kiddos because these are the crocodiles. Yikes!
Overall, the safari is a great ride. Lots of facts about the animals and the environment and even some corny jokes from time to time. Every ride is different because the animals wander and you never know what you’re going to see (like our scary rhino close call!). It’s well worth a FP+ and during the summer you’ll have the best experience if you go early while the animals are more active.
And you can always pick up one of these if you want to recreate the experience at home! I’m linking up with John from run…geek…run (disney) for Mickey Mondays. Hop on over and find more magic for your Monday!
What is your favorite memory from the safari?