If you know where to look, there is so much more to Walt Disney World than just the rides in the theme parks! I love to surprise my family with one special Disney experience on our big trips. In September we did Wild Africa Trek in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and it was one of the most fun, most memorable experiences we’ve had! Every one of us rated it a five out of five stars.
Side Note: I had a splitting headache when we got to the park. I headed to the First Aid Center and they gave me Tylenol, a pack for the road and cold water to wash it down. They also had an immaculately clean bathroom. I did know that they don’t sell tylenol in the gift shops in the theme parks until that day, but they took care of me!
Our excursion started by meeting our guides at the Wild Africa station near the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We were geared up and given a few safety instructions. Our group was relatively small and, while kids 8+ are permitted, ours were the only two in the group of adults.
Our excursion started with a light hike through some trails. It started drizzling just a few steps in and our guides provided everyone with a Disney poncho. We were equipped with headsets so that everyone in the group could hear the guides at all times.
Our first stop was to meet with an animal specialist at the hippos. We learned all about these creatures and got to see them wake up and play during a feeding session. These little ducks swam sooo close to their mouths! Oh, and this hippo had a very bad cavity in one of his bottom teeth and it had to be removed. Can you even believe that?!
As you will see, we got a lot of great photos. The guides take pictures of everyone in the group – and everything that you see – and provide you with a free download code of the hi res images at the end!
Moving on from the hippos, we were off to the suspension bridge! Oh my gosh… y’all, this was surreal!! We walked over hippos and such a great birds-eye view.
You can see here that the first bridge connected to a second one. They gave you as much time as you wanted to cross each one and soak it all in. This one took you over the crocodiles. eeeekkkk!
The paint on their backs was something from their bi-annual vet check-ups that they had just returned from the day before. Apparently everyone checked out healthy. :-)
These things were pretty wild. A couple of them kept having a bit of a skirmish while we watched – flipping all over the place and splashing with their tails. It was a sight to see.
After the bridges, we boarded a modified version of the trucks from the normal safari rides. They had bench seats along the two sides, and were open in the middle so that everyone could move around when we saw something interesting. A third guide drove the truck while our original two narrated and explained everything we saw. They were able to pull over into certain areas that the usual trucks can’t and we got a lot more detail than I’d ever had before.
About half way through the safari ride, we arrived at this incredible dining pavilion.
Just look at these views!
While we marveled at the animals, our guides set up our lunch! The experience is offered morning and afternoon, and the menu varies by time of day. I specifically booked the 11:45 so we could get the lunch menu. It was served with the delicious jungle juice you can find at some Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants as well as the concierge lounge.
- 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
While one guide orchestrated lunch, the other set up shop with his camera and took photos of the groups.
With our bellies full, we boarded the vehicle to continue our safari. We loved learning more about the animals we have seen so many times.
After about three hours, it was time to bid asante sana to our to amazing guides – Shaq (at one point when they asked if anyone had questions, Whit asked if he missed playing basketball. He played along and it was hysterical.) and Jared.
If you go:
- I highly recommend booking in advance.
- Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult. Participants must be 8 years of age or older and at least 48 inches tall.
- Participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs. with the harness gear on.
- You must have physical stamina, comfort with heights, and the surefootedness to negotiate small hills, foliage and unsteady rope bridges on this tour. If you are unsure, I have arranged for alternate activities for clients that didn’t feel comfortable with the entire experience.
- 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. You do not get dirty, and will be fine to continue touring the park afterwards.
- 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. Disney provides equipment to do this and said they can usually attach phones in a case.
- Excursion occurs rain or shine, with the exception of severe weather or lightning.
After our experience, we headed to a few FastPasses at Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest.
If you already have a Disney trip planned for 2019, this would make a wonderful Christmas gift to add on as a surprise for the kids/family from you, Santa or even the grand parents. For first time visitors, the parks usually suffice in keeping clients busy. For repeats, it is a lot of fun to look for something new and different!! I always save the points from my Disney Visa and use those to book special things like this.
DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED