If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that we give date cards to each of our children every year. In our large family, this is a special time when each parent spends one on one time with each of our five children. My oldest son is a HUGE Disney fan, so our dates always include Walt Disney World. This year, it’s been hitting me hard that he’s in high school. So we are trying to check off some of our bigger bucket list items before he leaves home. So this year, we went big! We booked the Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park!
What is the Wild Africa Trek?
This is a special, separately ticketed event that is available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It has been available for about 9 years. The cost varies from $189-$249 per person. There are discounts available, such as annual passholder discounts. In this 3 hour tour, you have the chance to go behind the scenes at the Kilimanjaro Safari. And here’s a fun fact for you that I learned on the tour!
Did you know that the Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Gorilla Trek are 110 acres? But Magic Kingdom is just 96! That means that all of Magic Kingdom could fit inside the safari!
In this VIP experience, you will have anywhere from your own private tour of 1, to a group as large as 12. You’ll also have two amazing tour guides. You will be attached to gear and “trek” across rope bridges and more. And you will also have a private truck tour. Also, you’ll have a heavy “snack” during your tour, overlooking the beautiful savannah. But more on the food later! Professional photography services for the duration of the tour are included. And all of these digital photos are included in the price of the tour. You also get some fun souvenirs to take home as well!
What animals will I see?
A better question might be what animals WON’T you see! If you’ve ever been on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride at Animal Kingdom, then you know what animals to expect. If you haven’t experienced that attraction, then some of the animals you will see are lions, elephants, gazelle, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, flamingos, rhinos, hippos, and so many more.
During the Wild Africa Trek, you experience all of these same animals, but more close up. For example at the hippo habitat, you are tethered to a cable and are able to look out over the hippos. During our tour, we were also able to watch a keeper feed the animals as well. This was such an amazing experience and we learned so many fascinating facts about these creatures!
We also came up close to crocodiles! There are two rope bridges that cross the crocodile habitat. And on the Wild Africa Trek, you get go across them! This is the most thrilling part of the tour. And it was more exhilarating than I thought it would be! You definitely feel safe the whole time, but it’s also pretty wild to look down and see 20 crocodiles below your feet. After you cross the bridges, you interact with the crocodiles in a similar way as the hippos, and learn lots of amazing facts about these creatures.
Are these animals well cared for?
All throughout the tour, there was a strong emphasis on conservation. We learned how Disney is helping these animals both in the safari, and also in the wild. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is actually officially classified as a zoo, and is governed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Because of this, the AZA determines a lot of how the animals will breed, and need to be transferred to or from different facilities across the country. This is done to preserve the species numbers in the wild. Also, animal nutritionists dictate exactly what each and every animal will eat, down to the exact ounce. These animals are treated like royalty, with the best possible care that is available in the world.
And did you know that when you donate to the Disney Conservation Fund at any of the gift shops, Disney matches your donation by 100%? And at the end of the Wild Africa Trek, you have the opportunity to use a river rock to donate your portion of your donation to the animal of your choice. This was such a meaningful part of the tour. And it really sent home how much help you can give to these animals through the Disney Conservation Fund.
What’s the food like on the Wild Africa Trek?
After reading the description on the Walt Disney World website for the Wild Africa Trek, I wasn’t entirely sure what the snack or meal would be like on the tour. It sounded more like a snack, but for my son and me, it was more like a meal! Our tour was at 11:45 am, so our meal on the savannah was about an hour and a half after that time. For the afternoon offerings, it includes:
Chicken curry salad
Sun-dried tomato hummus and mini pita
Marinated tandoori shrimp
Smoked salmon roulade with dill
Air-dried beef and prosciutto
Fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger
I requested vegetarian options, so my selections also included a grain salad, a bean salad, and ginger beets. I was so pleased that the vegetarian selections weren’t just repeats of other items, but unique and specially made additions. Other guests on our tour had several food allergies, and all of these were accommodated as well.
The food was absolutely amazing! It was some of the best food I’ve ever had on Disney property. And it’s not available anywhere else! Chefs specially prepare the food just for the guests of the Wild Africa Trek. And it would be worth going back just to eat this gourmet food again!
Is it suitable for kids? What about the elderly?
When I read reviews of this tour, I saw several questions about whether it was suitable for older people or for children. In my opinion, as long as a person can walk comfortably, as well as climb stairs, they can embark on the Wild Africa Trek. This the is the description from the Walt Disney World website:
WARNING: For your safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure; heart, back or neck problems; motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not participate.
Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult (18 years of age or older).
Participants must be 8 years of age or older and at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall.
Participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs. with the harness gear on. The safety harnesses used for this experience may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from participating.
You must have physical stamina, comfort with heights, and the surefootedness to negotiate small hills, foliage and unsteady rope bridges on this tour. Guests seeking a less strenuous or wheelchair-accessible trek should contact Wild Africa Trek operations at (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 938-1373 for alternative programs.
I was somewhat surprised that the minimum age was 8 years old. I think it might be a little much for some 8 year olds, but that totally depends on the individual. As long as your 8 year old is comfortable walking over a high rope bridge alone, they would love this tour!
What should I wear? Can I bring my phone?
You should definitely wear comfortable clothes that are easy to move in. Flip flops are not allowed, and dresses or skirts are highly discouraged. You can bring your phone or a camera, and personal photos are allowed on all parts of the tour. A locker is provided for all other personal belongings and are nothing in your pockets is allowed on the tour. A water bottle is provided and will be strapped to your gear. From the Walt Disney World website:
Recommended attire includes shorts or pants and a comfortable shirt. Closed-toe shoes with a back strap or hiking boots are required. No flip-flops will be allowed. Skirts or dresses are not recommended.
Complimentary lockers for your belongings will be provided. You will also receive a safety vest and wireless headset so that you can hear your guide at all times. Cameras are allowed as long as they can be securely fastened to the vest.
Please arrive on time and allow approximately 10 minutes for the walk from the turnstiles at the front of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park to the Harambe area check-in location.
Is it worth it?
That is always the question. In my opinion, absolutely yes. As always, the cast members were absolutely incredible. Jason and Paula, our VIP guides, were funny, knowledgable, and anticipated our every need. If you are looking for something special to do during your time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this is the tour for you. If you love animals, this is for you. Going backstage at Disney is a thrill for you? Do this tour! If you’re an annual passholder and you’ve been to Disney a thousand times, and you’re looking for something new, this is a great choice.
And if you’re looking to make memories with your teenager, this tour is for you. My son and I won’t soon forget walking over a crocodile pit together, or taking selfies with hippos. Make those memories my friends!