Friday, July 23, 2021

Fun Facts about Kilimanjaro Safaris

One of the highlights of visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is actually getting the opportunity to see real animals! From the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail to the Maharajah Jungle Trek, there are some awesome ways to be introduced to various species that you may not have ever seen in real life.

Then there’s Kilimanjaro Safaris….the experience that most people actually mistake for being the only thing in the park!


Area – Africa
Opening Date – April 22, 1998
Attraction – Open-Sided Safari Ride
Vehicle Type – Safari Truck
Duration – 22 Minutes
FastPass+ Available


When you look at the physical size of the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction (110 acres), it’s actually larger than the entire Magic Kingdom (107 acres). That’s mindblowing when you really think about it!


When Walt Disney was creating the original Jungle Cruise in Disneyland, he wanted real live animals. After looking at the show elements and realizing that animals are unpredictable, the Imagineers decided to use audio animatronics instead.

At Disney, no idea is ever truly forgotten about, so when Animal Kingdom was being designed it was time to bring Walt’s vision to reality.


The experience features custom-built 1990-2002 GMC Topkicks and Ford Super Duty trucks which have a “mud” feature all over the vehicles…actually created while using spray painted cement.

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To list all the animals would be difficult because the safari has living & breathing real life creatures that get sick, have bad days and sometimes just want to hide away from the view of the ride vehicles.

That being said, you’re able to get a chance to see:

  • Lions
  • Spotted Hyena
  • Hippopotamus
  • Bontebok
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Grant’s Zebra
  • Black & White Rhinoceros
  • Nile Crocodile
  • Masai & Reticulated Giraffe
  • and so many more!


So with as many animals to see, there are creatures that are harder to see than others!

  1. Cheetah
  2. African Wild Dog
  3. Warthog

This is usually due to the time that you ride the safari! Oh, that’s a good topic….


The best time to ride is first thing in the morning (Park open to around 1030am) and then again between 2-330pm in the afternoon.

Top Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attractions To Do BEFORE 10am

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As a photographer, it’s always worth asking for a specific seat on the vehicle, even if you have to wait a little longer. The goal is to sit directly behind the driver at the front of the truck and to far left.

This will allow you to get great photos AND not have to worry about the crazy bumpy parts at the end!

Related Article – Where to sit on your Favorite Attraction


The Wild Africa Trek is an additional paid experience that takes you behind the scenes and into previously undiscovered parts of Kilimanjaro Safaris as part of a 3-hour guided tour.

Related Article – Best Things for an Adult Only Trip

There are so many amazing facts and stories surrounding the Kilimanjaro Safaris and it’s rich history of how it was brought from a basic concept into the attraction that we see today. Are there any fun facts that you want to share with everyone?

Share them with us on Social Media @StepsToMagic

Dustin Fuhs
I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality!

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