Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction manufactured and designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The attraction opened with the park on April 22, 1998, and is located in the Africa section of the park. In this review I will be breaking down the ride experience as well as giving my thoughts on it!
Kilimanjaro Safaris is located in the Africa section of the park. To get to this attraction, you will have to pass over the bridge if coming from the main hub of the park and pass Tusker House and some of the other eateries and bars and the entrance will be straight ahead. You will enter on the left if you are waiting stand-by or the right if you have a Fastpass+ reservation.
If you decide to wait stand-by, the queue you will be waiting in consists of a shaded cover with TVs displaying the animals on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve that you are about to see along with a message about the dangers of animal poaching. Once you are though the main queue area, you will enter the loading station to get onto the safari. If you are using a Fastpass you will scan your Magic Band outside, then you will enter a smaller covered waiting area that goes directly to the loading station.
Once you enter the loading station, you will be assigned a row by a cast member and prepare to board. Note that the ride vehicles seat around 4-6 people per row. So if you have a family of more than 3 or 4 you should be able to sit together.
After boarding you ride vehicle, your safari guide will introduce his/herself and you will set off on your safari through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. This is where I would normally break down the ride experience, but due to live animals being the nature of the ride, everyone will have a slightly different experience depending on if certain animals are active or not. Some might not be ready for the day or had to go in early depending on the time you ride. Some of the animals you will most likely see during your safari include: Pink-backed Pelicans, Black Rhinos, bongos, hippos, Nile crocodiles,flamingos, zebras, giraffes, and lions!
After your safari is over, you will return to the station and exit out of the ride vehicle. You will then exit down a pathway that leads back into the Africa section of the park.
My Thoughts: This attraction is just one of the many examples of what makes Animal Kingdom such a unique theme/zoological park. There is not another complete theme park with so many other attractions and rides with a ride like this. The closest thing to this at a theme/amusement park is Safari Off-Road Adventure at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The big difference is that the one at Great Adventure is located in the middle of a plain field. Animal Kingdom’s is located in a very picturesque setting that looks and feels like the rider is in an African Savannah. I have been on this ride twice, once in 2013 and once in 2011, and both times my family rode it as our first ride at the park for the day. Both times I loved starting out my day at the park by looking out in the safari and just seeing all the animals in the distance. It reminded me what this park is and what it’s meant to be, a place where people can see all different kinds of animals roam free.
Tips: Even before Pandora opened in 2017, this attraction saw one of the longest waits in the park on any given day. Now, the ride sees around 50-70 minute waits on a normal day and around 75-95 minutes or more on a busy day. If you want to avoid these lines, go to this attraction within the first or last hour of the day or use Fastpass+. This is a tier 2 Fastpass selection at Animal Kingdom, and I’d highly recommend using one of your two selections on this ride. I recommend this simply because it is an attraction the entire family from ages 5 to 85 can ride and enjoy and can build lines quickly!
Final Thoughts: Kilimanjaro Safaris is a very fun and unique attraction that defines what Animal Kingdom is all about. This is a very cool opportunity to see so many different animal species on one attraction at a theme park. Definitely ride it if you find yourself at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!