Disney’s Animal Kingdom is perhaps Disney’s most underrated theme park. It is amazing to walk around and see all the details that went into the different themed areas. The best part about Animal Kingdom, though, is the animals of course! Kilimanjaro Safaris is definitely a must do. There are also two wonderful walking trails where you can see some of the animals a little closer, Maharajah Jungle Trek and Pangani Forest Exploration. If you take the Wildlife Express, you will see Rafiki’s Planet Watch where there is a petting zoo. Throughout the park keep your eyes open because you never know what animals you might see! Animal Kingdom is actually accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so the cast members who work with the animals are very knowledgeable and love to answer your questions. Disney’s Animal Kingdom also offers special experiences where you can get closer to the animals and learn more about them. We did Caring for Giants (because Ashley loves elephants) and thought it was a great experience where we learned a lot.
Save the Elephants
The experience is only an hour long (and they kept it to exactly an hour), but considering it is only $30 it’s not a bad deal. If you are an annual passholder you get a discount. You get to visit an outlook that is on the other side of the track where the safari goes through. When you are on Kilimanjaro Safaris, the truck can only stop for a few moments to view the elephants. Here we got a good 40 minutes of being able to observe the elephants, see them bathe, run around, eat, and relax. The best part, besides seeing the elephants, was meeting the keeper and the African cultural representative. The elephant keeper gave more detail about how they care for the elephants at Animal Kingdom and things they do to maintain similar circumstances that elephants would have in the wild.
We also got to see the newest member, baby elephant Stella who was born in December. Did you know that elephants gestate for 22 months? Elephants also eat 300 pounds of food per day and poop almost 150 pounds a day! The cultural representative from Africa talked about conservation efforts that Disney and other supporting organizations are working on to protect elephants in the wild. Millie, who is from Zimbabwe, discussed the things that effect elephants like poaching and habitat loss. She explained how many villagers will unknowingly help poachers find out where the elephants are for some extra money. It is important for conservation initiatives to also provide an economic incentive for villagers so that poaching does not become an option, because for many people it is the only way for them to feed their families. It was also neat to go backstage and see some of the behind the scenes areas where the animals sleep and visit the vet.
Learn more about the African elephants and Disney conservation efforts here.
After you are done with Caring for Giants, head over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge where you can see even more animals from the viewing areas around both Jambo House and Kidani Village. Sometimes the animals get up pretty close!
Also Pandora: The World of Avatar is now open! Book your FastPasses!
Have you done any of the special experiences at Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments!
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