Animal Kingdom | Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Rafiki’s Planet Watch, including the Wildlife Express Train, will reopen in the summer of 2019 after being closed as a seasonal attraction.
All aboard! Embark on a journey from the Animal Kingdom’s bustling Africa section to the park’s secluded Rafiki’s Planet Watch area, home to the Conservation Station and the Affection Section, via this vintage steam train.
Opening Day: April 22, 1998
Type of Ride: Train
Age Recommendation: All ages
Duration of Ride: 7 minutes from Africa to Rafiki’s Planet Watch; 5 minutes on return
Typical Queue Time: None
Single Rider Line: No
FastPass+: No. Visit our FastPass+ Guide for more information on FastPass+.
Chicken Exit Available: Yes
Baby Swap Available: No
Type of Vehicle: Train benches
Type of Restraint: None
Attraction Open During EMH: No. 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: In Africa, guests can purchase clothing, plush dolls, and collectible ostrich eggs at “Ziwani Traders.” On the other end of the railroad, apparel, bags, books, and animal plush dolls can be purchased at “Out of the Wild.”
Dining/Refreshment: Although no dining options are available at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, a plethora of offerings can be had in Africa. Guests craving a quick service lunch or dinner should consider eating at Harambe Market, where offerings such as skewers, flatbreads, and grilled vegetables are served. Those preferring a sit down meal can make Advance Dining Reservations for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Tusker House buffet. Tusker House serves a mixture of American and African dishes at all three meals with regular appearances from Donald Duck and friends.
Restroom: Restrooms are situated in both Africa and Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
Smoking Location: Smoking is permitted in designated smoking areas only. Animal Kingdom smoking areas can be found on our Walt Disney World Designated Smoking Areas page.
Wildlife Express Train Fun Facts
Did you know?
- Guests board the Wildlife Express Train at the train station in Harambe, Africa. The station exudes a late-nineteenth century colonial vibe.
- The Wildlife Express Train is themed after an early-twentieth century English steam locomotive.
- The train ride in either direction lasts about six minutes, and the train accommodates 250 passengers.
- Details abound in the Harambe station. For example, a sign near the faux ticket windows indicate that the railroad, operated by Eastern Star Railways, used to offer more extensive itineraries, which have been curtailed because of track erosion.
- Luggage and goods such as chairs, trunks, bicycles, and safari equipment can be seen in both the Harambe station and atop the train.
- Aboard the Wildlife Express Train, guests traveling to Rafiki’s Planet Watch can view the nighttime sleeping areas for the animals at Kilimanjaro Safaris, and guests returning to Harambe can glimpse the backstage areas of the park’s Asia section.
- The seats of the Wildlife Express Train face outwards rather than forwards.
- Aside from the Wildlife Express Train, Walt Disney World guests can enjoy a steam train ride on the Magic Kingdom’s Walt Disney World Railroad. This train circles the Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is also themed after trains.
Top 5 Tips for Wildlife Express Train
- Don’t ride the Wildlife Express Train solely to see animals; you will encounter few if any animals along the journey.
- Check out the details in the Harambe train station.
- Guests especially interested in trains may want to consider signing up for the “Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour” at the Magic Kingdom.
- Keep in mind that the Wildlife Express Train opens 30 minutes after the rest of the Animal Kingdom.
- The Wildlife Express Train is appropriate for guests of all ages.