Opened: April 22, 1998
Location: Africa, in the very back of the area.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning
FastPass+: Yes – high priority.
Type: Safari ride
Similar To: Unique
Scary Factor: Low. The animals look like they could stroll right up to the vehicles, but there are cleverly camouflaged barriers and drops protecting both the animals and passengers.
When To Go: Kilimanjaro Safaris ordinarily sees the second or third longest waits at Animal Kingdom. 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.
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.
Expect to Wait: Waits between 30 and 50 minutes are common in the afternoon.
Length: 20 minutes
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 rare animals. 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: 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.
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.