7 Facts & Secrets About Kilimanjaro Safaris At Walt Disney World

Credit: Disney Tips

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a favorite park of many guests who spend time in Walt Disney World thanks to its amazing depth of detail and gorgeous theming. One of the most popular areas of the park is Africa which features the village of Harambe. Harambe is home to amazing entertainment, unique architecture and culture, and an attraction which is sure to thrill every guest. Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most popular attractions in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and it invites guests onto the Harambe Reserve for a two week safari through the lush forests and savannahs of Africa. Along the way guests can experience up close encounters with animals like elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, lions, flamingos, zebras, and more and no experience is the same thanks to the live nature of the animals. While many guests may love to experience Kilimanjaro Safaris and think that they know all there is to know about the attraction, there are many unique facts and secrets waiting to be discovered. Here are seven facts and secrets about Kilimanjaro Safaris that guests will love discovering on their next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.


1. Massive Size

While Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World, Kilimanjaro Safaris is equally as massive in scale. The attraction spans over one hundred acres which encompass the many different habitats and environments of the animals seen by guests. Guests might appreciate the massive size of Kilimanjaro Safaris, but may not realize that it is so large the entire Magic Kingdom could fit inside!

2. Hidden Mickey

It may take several experiences on Kilimanjaro Safaris to fully appreciate all of the details and scenery featured on the attraction. A great small detail that sometimes goes overlooked can be found in one specific area of the attraction and features a massive Hidden Mickey. While moving around the island featuring dozens of beautifully colored flamingos, guests should pay attention to the island itself. There under the feet of the flamingos is the second largest Hidden Mickey in all of Walt Disney World formed by the island.

3. Separation

Kilimanjaro Safaris boasts an impressive list of animals for guests to enjoy ranging from gentle gazelles to ferocious lions. While many of these animals can be found roaming freely, guests may never know that they are all contained in creative ways. Since safety is the top priority for both guests and other animals, each group of animals are contained in their own habitats thanks to cleverly disguised barriers, moats, and fencing that guests are not meant to see along their journey.

4. Early Mornings

Any time of day is a great time to enjoy a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, but there is one time in particular which tends to be the best thanks to the animals being very active. Early mornings on the Harambe Reserve are a wonderful time thanks to the combination of cooler temperatures and breakfast being served to the animals. This combination entices the animals to come out in the open for guests and to be more active than in the very hot and humid afternoons. Therefore, guests should make it a priority to try and experience Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing in the morning to ensure a wonderful adventure.

5. Little Red

When Kilimanjaro Safaris first opened in 1998, the attraction featured a storyline which involved guests helping to capture and stop poaching. Guests traveling throughout the Harambe Reserve were in contact with the warden who was flying high above in a helicopter. Suddenly, poachers were spotted in the area endangering a mother and child duo of elephants named Big Red and Little Red. While guests hurried to stop the poachers, they were treated to wonderful views of animals and a thrilling storyline. Unfortunately, guests were not able to save Big Red, but Kilimanjaro Safaris would end with a happy vision of Little Red safe and sound. While the storyline of Little Red and Big Red is no longer used for the attraction, guests who enjoy a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris can spot a small display of poached ivory that is a remnant from the original version.


6. The Warden

The warden who was featured in the original version of Kilimanjaro Safaris can no longer be found throughout the experience, but appears briefly on the attraction’s queue. He can be found on camera commenting on some of the amazing animals that can be found in the Harambe Reserve on the overhead televisions in one portion of the queue.

7. Nighttime Safari

While enjoying Kilimanjaro Safaris is amazing during the daytime, guests can now experience a truly unique adventure once the sun goes down! Kilimanjaro Safaris is now open for nighttime safaris, offering guests beautiful views of the sun setting on the savannah, unique glimpses into the nocturnal habits of the animals, and a totally immersive feeling that can easily be confused for an authentic African safari!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.