The Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park: A Review
A Review of the Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
One of the highlights of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction. While not a real African savanna, Disney has recreated an authentic-feeling savanna experience where guests are taken on a tour through the wilds of unspoiled territories, Disney style. It’s about as close as you can get to the real thing. While the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction is a must-do for guests visiting this park, there is a way to get even closer to the action and experience the savanna in ways not available to all guests.
The Wild Africa Trek is a VIP experience available for booking through Disney guest services. The Wild Africa Trek takes you on a behind the scenes tour of the savannas in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park where you will get up close and personal with areas not experienced by guests on the standard attraction. There are several time slots available each day and you are well advised to book well in advance (as is the case with all VIP experiences at Walt Disney World).
What You Can Expect to See and Do on Disney’s Wild Africa Trek
The Wild Africa Trek starts off with a check-in area right next to the Kilimanjaro Safari in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Our group had approximately 12 guests. You’ll begin by being greeted by your guides (ours were excellent) and you will be outfitted with trekking vests and a harness for the suspension bridge portion of the tour. You are also provided with a stainless steel collectible water bottle that you can refill at several points throughout the tour. Be sure to take a restroom break before starting, because there is only one restroom break along the way and it isn’t until the two-hour mark of the tour.
Disney doesn’t want you to drop or lose anything during the trek, so complimentary lockers are provided at the start of the tour where you will be asked to stow all of your items. This includes any camera, phone etc. that does not have a strap. They require all such items to be strapped to your vest so you don’t lose them along the way. They do offer a few cases with straps that may fit your phone, but this is not guaranteed.
The first half of the Wild Africa Trek is a walking tour. This is a true backwoods trek and you will be making your way through very thin trails with lots of tree roots etc. beneath your feet, so be forewarned. Wear sensible shoes and if you have mobility issues you may want to consider whether or not the Wild Africa Trek is right for you. A Cast Member on the phone may be able to help you make the best decision.
Over the course of the walking portion of the tour, you will see and learn quite a bit about the Disney savannas and the animals living there. At times you will see the guests in the vehicles on the regular Kilimanjaro Safari and it does feel pretty special to be walking behind the scenes of this amazing landscape. The highlight for many in our group was the suspension bridge area over the Nile Crocodiles. This was quite fun and a pretty cool experience as well. This is the main reason for the vests and harnesses, so after you pass the suspension bridge area it isn’t long before you can remove your vest and harness once and for all (which will feel great because they really ride up on you). After removing your backwoods gear you get to board a truck for the driving portion of your experience.
Shortly after you board the truck, you will reach a little oasis where you will be served breakfast or lunch (depending on what time your tour started). This is where you will get your restroom break. The food is served in stainless steel canteens and is prepared by Disney chefs specifically for the Wild Africa Trek. This is another highlight of the tour as the food is not your run-of-the-mill quick service Disney fare. So be prepared to enjoy it!
After lunch on the deck overlooking the savanna you re-board your vehicle and finish off the rest of the tour on wheels. Then you will arrive back at your starting point and the tour ends. The whole tour was approximately three to three-and-a-half hours and was never boring. The tour guides that we had were top notch. Also, they will be taking photos along the way and you will be given 90-days access to all of the photos taken for your group after the tour ends. I have to say that our Disney photographer was excellent and in addition to all the photos that we took, the bonus of the Disney photos really helped to round out the experience.
All in all I highly recommend the Wild Africa Trek. It is ideal for any animal lover who either has not been on the Kilimanjaro Safari at all, or who hasn’t been on it for a couple of years. I wouldn’t recommend going on the Wild Africa Trek on the same trip that you do the Kilimanjaro Safari as you may find it repetitive in some ways. However, there’s no question that you get unmatched experiences on the Wild Africa Trek versus the regular Safari and it is definitely up there among the top VIP guest experiences at Walt Disney World Resort.
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As a Luxury Travel Blogger and author of The Very Best of Walt Disney World Resort, I blog regularly about Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes.
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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist