Kilimanjaro Safaris

Opened: April 22, 1998

Location: Africa, in the very back of the area.

The FastPass+ line is located to the right of the main entrance in between the standby entrance and the entrance to the train over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Extra Magic Hours: Morning

Ride Length: 20 minutes.

Type: Safari ride.

Similar To: Unique.

Requirements: None.

Scary Factor: Low. The animals look like they could stroll right up to the vehicles, but there are cleverly camouflaged barriers protecting both the animals and passengers.

This photo was taken at 4:10pm in March.

But I Heard the Animals are Most Active First Thing in the Morning: This old wives’ tale is one the more common pieces of advice you’ll see on the various forums. The reality is that you can have “good” and “bad” safaris at any time of day. It still makes a lot of sense to ride Safaris early because of low waits, but an early arrival doesn’t guarantee better views of the rhinos and lions.

What to Expect:  You will board a 32-passenger open-air safari truck and take a trip through the 100-acre Harambe Wildlife Reserve. It’s basically a simulated, shortened safari through lifelike savannas populated with animals native to Africa.  There are a great number of animals that you may see during the ride, including black and white rhinoceroses, cheetahs, flamingos, lions, giraffes, warthogs, zebras, wildebeests, ostriches, crocodiles, antelopes, and more.  The problem is that the animals aren’t always “out” and your viewing may be limited by the time of day and simple luck of the draw. Disney did away with the Wilson narration in 2013 and the ride instead focuses on educational aspects. The Safari vehicles only stop for a few moments throughout the ride so make sure you have your camera or binoculars ready.

Where to Sit: Each row seats four to six people. Those sitting on the ends of the rows will have the best views.  If you have a photographer in the family, make sure they sit on the end. Otherwise, the driver’s side seems to offer the best view overall.  You’ll have a better look at the hippos, lions, rhinos, cheetahs, crocodiles, and flamingos.  Those sitting on the other side may have a better view of the elephants, wildebeests, and giraffes. If you have back or neck problems, request a front row where it’s less bumpy.

FastPass+: Yes – high priority. Kilimanjaro Safaris usually sees the first or second highest peak waits at Animal Kingdom and the FastPass+ routinely runs dry by mid-afternoon.

What You Miss Using FastPass+: Virtually nothing other than the wait. There are a couple birds and other animals in the queue that you might pass quickly, but it shouldn’t be a big deal.

Total Average Experience Time with FastPass+: 40 minutes.

4th FastPass+ Availability:

Expect to Wait:

When To Go: You’ll either want to ride before 10am or save it for the last hour that it’s operating. Check your Times Guide to see when the last Safari departs because it may be earlier than the rest of the Park due to darkness in the fall/winter.

Rating: 10/10

Size Matters: The Wildlife Reserve is so large that you could easily fit the entire Magic Kingdom Theme Park inside of it.

Commentary: Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the two headlining rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and a must see. My only complaint is that it’s too short.

Comments

  1. Steve says

    Two things after just riding yesterday — you do get jostled quite a bit, which may be an issue if there isn’t one adult per kid to help keep safe. Also, if an animal gets in the way of a truck, you wait! Our ride was stopped for at least ten minutes until workers could persuade a rhino off the path. Something to keep in mind of you have reservations or need to be somewhere.

  2. Terri in So Cal says

    Love this ride! We usually head here first to grab a FP. If the line is short we will go ahead and ride as well since when we are there the park is usually not too crowded and we don’t need to rush over to EE to ride. We will also ride this just before closing for a different experience. Wish they were just open a little later. I do miss the route that took you by the cheetahs for longer as it can be really hard to get a glimpse of them. Also it did seem like the giraffes and zebras were more roaming on the savannah in years gone by (first few years of operation). Now when you make that first turn onto the savannah there are many times when you don’t see an animal for awhile. But still, a great ride and not to be missed. Definitely something to do more than once in a day.

  3. KVC says

    As a former cast member for the safari, I can assure you that there are only a few areas that are set off so that the animals do not approach the trucks. The Lions for example. But all the mainly harmless animals, giraffes, gazelles, etc. are able to come right up to the truck. Been licked in the face by a giraffe and had my truck hit by a rhino. Double check the facts… very few are kept back.

  4. Don says

    Just rode the safari on Sunday and the poacher story with the radio calls to the truck has been completely eliminated. The script has a comment about how poaching is not the problem it once was.

    There was a wobbly bridge feature that I don’t remember from before… it’s been over 3 years since my previous visit and I’ve probably been on the safari less than 5 times total, so it may just be that I am remembering wrong about the bridge.

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