Opened: March 18, 1999
Location: Asia – the entrance is located to the left of Kali River Rapids.
Extra Magic Hours: No
Type: Self-guided walking tour, zoo exhibit
Similar To: Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Scary Factor: Zero – just don’t jump in the tiger pit.
When To Go: The Bengal tigers are most active in the early morning and between 4-5pm (because they know they’re about to be fed). If you want to see the tigers moving around, these times are your best chance. Otherwise, much of the Trek is shaded and cooler than other areas in the Animal Kingdom, which makes it a good choice during the afternoon heat when attraction lines are at their longest. Check your Times Guide to see if the Trek closes before the rest of Animal Kingdom. It may if Animal Kingdom is open past 5pm and it gets dark early.
Expect to Wait: No waits
Length: The Maharajah Jungle Trek is a little longer than a third of a mile and most visitors spend about 20 minutes walking through it. You can take as much or as little time as you like looking at the animals.
What to Expect: Maharajah Jungle Trek does not suffer from several of the problems that plague the Pangani Trail – the trail is wider, there is more room to view the animals, and the Kilimanjaro Safari doesn’t drop off thousands of people in front of the entrance throughout the day. This makes Maharajah more pleasant in the afternoon. Otherwise, like Pangani, Maharajah is a trail that takes visitors through several zoo-like exhibits and enclosures. You’ll see Bengal tigers, the world’s largest Komodo dragon, Malayan tapirs, Blackbuck and Elds deer, and hundreds of exotic birds. There is also a separate house-like enclosure where you can view Rodrigues fruit bats and Malayan Flying Fox bats, but you can easily skip it if you’d prefer to remain bat-free. The bats are not visible unless you enter the clearly labeled exhibit.
Commentary: I strongly recommend walking the Maharajah Jungle Trek. No one themes an area like Disney and no zoo on the planet puts in as much time, effort, and money into creating an experience as authentic as Disney does. You have the opportunity to view a number of rare endangered species in some of the best exhibits in the world. If it sounds like I’m strong-arming you into doing something you don’t want to do, it’s only because so many people skip these wonderful trails. Don’t be one of them. You’ll miss out on much more than you could ever gain from another ride on “Dinosaur.”