On Kilimanjaro Safaris, guests will embark on an African safari in one of the most ambitious attractions ever developed by Walt Disney Imagineering.
Opening Day: April 22, 1998
Type of Ride: African safari
Age Recommendation: All ages
Duration of Ride: About 20 minutes
Typical Queue Time: Long; often peaks at over one hour
Single Rider Line: No
Chicken Exit Available: Yes
Baby Swap Available: No
Type of Vehicle: Safari truck
Type of Restraint: None
Attraction Open During EMH: Yes; morning. See our Extra Magic Hours page for more information.
Ride Photo Available For Purchase: No
Height Requirements: None
Flash Photography or Video Allowed: Yes
Shopping: Near Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Animal Kingdom’s Africa section, guests can purchase apparel, plush dolls, and collectible ostrich eggs at “Ziwani Traders”; and African wines, art, crafts, and instruments at “Mombasa Marketplace.”
Dining/Refreshment: Dining options abound near Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guests wanting a counter service lunch or dinner can enjoy chicken skewers, vegetable stacks, gyros, fried sausages, and ribs at Harambe Market; and those preferring a sit down meal can make ADRs for a buffet breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Tusker House, where a variety of American and African dishes are served amidst entertainment from Donald Duck.
Restroom: Facilities convenient to Kilimanjaro Safaris are situated at Mombasa Marketplace.
Smoking Location: Smoking is permitted in designated smoking areas only. Disney parks are smoke free.
Did you know?
- Kilimanjaro Safaris’ 1998 debut marked the realization of Walt Disney’s idea to utilize live animals in an adventure attraction. Such a course was contemplated for Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise in the late 1950s before animatronic animals were deemed a superior option.
- More than 34 African animal species are currently encountered on Kilimanjaro Safaris, including antelopes, baboons, cheetahs, crocodiles, elephants, flamingos, gazelles, giraffes, hippos, hyenas, impalas, lions, ostriches, rhinos, warthogs, wild dogs, and zebras. Pictorial guides of the animals are included in each safari vehicle.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris’ development entailed much research. In 1990, Imagineer Joe Rhode ventured to Kenya and Tanzania to view animals and experience authentic East African safari tours.
- The fictitious African village, Harambe, where Kilimanjaro Safaris is located is a homage to real African villages that sit adjacent to vast preserves. Harambe is Swahili for “working together.”
- Kilimanjaro Safaris’ savannah encompasses 110 acres, rendering this single attraction larger than the entire Magic Kingdom park, which only occupies 105 acres.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris’ savannah is called “Harambe Wildlife Reserve.”
- As Kilimanjaro Safaris is located in a theme park, precautionary boundaries, including berms, moats, fences, wires, and chains, are overtly or covertly implanted throughout the savannah to keep the animals in their respective habitats.
- As the animals are unpredictable, devices such as air conditioned rocks, cool breezes, salt licks, cooling or warming waters, and food are utilized to attract the animals towards the vehicle routes.
- Guests experience Kilimanjaro Safaris in 10-ton, open-sided GMC trucks, which seat up to 32 passengers. Each vehicle is painted in camouflage, powered by liquid propane, and actually driven by a Cast Member, who provides educational commentary throughout the safari.
- The attraction’s plants are replaced each morning to compensate for vegetation consumed by the animals the previous day.
- Save for a trial during the 1998 holiday season, Kilimanjaro Safaris ended its tours at sunset, regardless of park closing time, until 2016 because of lighting and animal sleeping issues. Beginning in the summer of 2016, with the debut of nighttime entertainment at the Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris will commence extended hours.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris toned down and then eliminated an overt poaching plotline. First, during Cast Member previews in 1998, complaints arose over the grotesque depiction of a faux elephant named “Big Red,” who was killed by poachers; Big Red was immediately written out of the attraction. Then, in 2007, the tamer poacher story that had been used since the attraction’s debut, where an animatronic baby elephant, “Little Red,” was kidnapped by poachers but quickly rescued by the authorities, was altered to limit the related dialogue between the safari vehicle driver and a naturalist named Ms. Jobson. In 2012, the entire poacher storyline, including related props, were eliminated from the attraction in favor of a new zebra habitat. The zebras were removed in favor of addax antelope in early 2013 because of repeated obstruction from the former, but some zebras have since been brought back to the attraction.
- Following Kilimanjaro Safaris, guests can view more African animals, such as gorillas, hippos, naked mole rats, and birds, by walking the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
- Two related tours, Wild Africa Trek and “Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge,” are offered for an additional cost. The latter experience begins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, not the Animal Kingdom park.
The Flamingo Island area of the savannah is a Hidden Mickey.
Sponsored Ad: Learn more about Hidden Mickey details and location throughout Walt Disney World in A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets .
Top 5 Tips for Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Consider experiencing Kilimanjaro Safaris multiple times as the live animals render each journey different.
- Take photos of the savannah and the animals.
- Hang onto your belongings. Anything dropped from the vehicle cannot be retrieved.
- Expectant mothers should avoid Kilimanjaro Safaris because of the vehicle’s bumpiness.