I love all of the unique areas and environments that make up Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, whether I’m wandering through Africa, with its delicious aromas and colorful sights, having prehistoric fun in Dinoland USA, or discovering the magic of Pandora. Arriving in the Asia section signals a land full of intrigue and adventure. Guests can cool off on Kali River Rapids, travel through the Himalayas in a runaway train and meet the fierce Yeti, view a very different kind of exotic bird show, and satisfy their appetite with tasty meals. I always make a point to take a side trip down the Maharajah Jungle Trek on every trip. Self-guided, this attraction offers stunning views of lush vegetation, mysterious ruins, and beautiful animals. The next time you find yourself in the Asia area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, make sure to stroll through the Maharajah Jungle Trek and check out these cool features.
1. A Peaceful Walk
The first thing guests notice about this pathway is the quietness. Compared to the thrilling rides and busy trails in Asia, walking through the Maharajah Jungle Trek is extremely relaxing and shady. You can view the resident animals at your own pace and enjoy beautiful foliage and waterfalls around every twist in the path. The path takes about 20-25 minutes to enjoy, on average.
2. A Morning Adventure
After many walks down this trail, I feel the best time to experience the Maharajah Jungle Trek is in the morning. The temperature is cooler, making it more enjoyable for both the animals and guests. The paths are less crowded in the morning as well, making it easier to take your time around some of the more popular animal viewing areas.
3. Ancient Ruins
As you are wandering down the trail, you can’t help but notice the paintings, murals, signs, and sculptures that adorn your walk. The back story is that guests are journeying on the grounds of a former sultan’s palace, but nature has taken over the land. Don’t miss the murals around the tiger viewing area. These beautiful paintings depict the former kings of Anandapur.
4. The Bats
The paths lead to a fruit bat enclosure, giving guests the opportunity to view these mammals up close. The viewing windows are open, but the wing span of the bats ensures they stay safely inside their enclosure. There are two species of endangered bats residing here, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the few zoological parks in the world to display them. There is also a path that avoids the bat enclosure for guests that choose not to view them
The tigers are without a doubt the starring attraction of the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Staying with the theming of the area, a painted sign warns travelers that they approaching the Tiger Forest, but they will be safe if they stay on the path. There are multiple areas to watch these magnificent animals, and I always like to watch them cooling off in the moat and playing in the water. Two tiger cubs were born in the summer of 2017 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and guests should be able to visit them in a few months.
6. For The Birds
As you leave the tigers, cross over a rickety bridge and enter a peaceful bird sanctuary. Make sure to pick up a guide to help identify all of the different kinds. I always think of the bird aviary as a hidden gem on the Trek, with its beautiful vegetation, clever birdhouses, and melodious birds of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Don’t forget to look up in the trees to spot some of the inhabitants.
7. Hidden Mickeys
While you’re observing the tigers, look for several Hidden Mickeys in the murals on the arches. Search for another Hidden Mickey on the left wall at the Elds deer exhibit. Yet another Hidden Mickey can be found in a man’s necklace carved on the wall right before the aviary.
8. Information Please
A walk through the Maharaja Jungle Trek is always changing, no matter how many times I travel through it. Animals are more active at different times of the day and I always have a different experience. Animal Kingdom guides positioned at different spots along the path are always very knowledgeable about the animals and eager to answer any questions that guests may have.