The Kilimanjaro Safaris Trick That Disney Doesn’t Share


It’s one of the most unique – and wild – attractions in theme parks across the world.

There’s nothing that matches it at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, especially because of its enormous size.

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is home to incredible wildlife, a massive savanna, and a bumpy ride in one of the iconic Harambe Wildlife Reserve vehicles.

Located at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the ride is renowned for being different every time Guests venture into the African reserve. With over 30 species of animals found in over 110 acres of open plains, there is plenty for Guests to spot on their next Disney safari.

But with Disney World crowds increasing and the costly Disney Genie+ causing frustrations, we reveal our best trick for getting the perfect Disney’s Animal Kingdom safari experience.

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida back on Earth Day, April 22, 1998. The Lake Buena Vista Park is, in fact, the largest theme park in the world, covering a whopping 580 acres!

The theme park is unique for housing attractions alongside numerous forms of wildlife, with many of these protected animals found at Harambe Wildlife Preserve, the fictional home of Africa’s main attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guests climb aboard an open-sided safari vehicle for an expedition to see African species in savannas, rivers, and forests.

The famous safari ride features wild animals like okapis, bongos, black rhinoceroses, Nile crocodiles, giraffes, hippos, zebras, wildebeests, antelopes, and elephants.

But what is the best trick for riding the popular safari ride? Well, get to the Park early for a start!


Credit: Disney Tips

Our biggest tip for getting the best experience on Kilimanjaro Safaris is to get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for rope drop. 

When the Disney World theme park opens, instead of heading to Avatar: Flight of Passage in Pandora, break away from the crowds and walk straight to Africa.

There, you’ll find the area empty, with the safari attraction typically being a “walk-on ride.” We’ve always winded our way around the queue area and got straight on – and sometimes even managed to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris twice before the wait time increased!

The other benefit of riding the safari this early is that animals are at their most active. This is when the Animal Kingdom Cast Members feed the giraffes, wildebeest, zebra, elephants, and more, and the weather is cooler, and so the savanna is teeming with incredible photo opportunities.


Credit: Disney Dining

On our most recent visit to Walt Disney World, we woke up early and managed to get on the safari within 5 minutes of the theme park opening. We were lucky enough to see hippos outside of the water, the younger elephants play fighting with each other, and hear the lion roar on top of its “pride rock”! And that was just during one safari!

While everyone else in the Disney Park has run over to Flight of Passage in Pandora, you can calmly enjoy the beauty of the grasslands and enjoy seeing the long line of Guests after you exit.

So, if you want to guarantee the best chance of seeing animals more active with little to no wait time, try to get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at rope drop – you won’t regret the early alarm!

Recently, Guests on Kilimanjaro Safari were evacuated backstage through the wildlife enclosures when a vehicle broke down along the safari route.

Guests can also check out the thrilling Starlight Safari tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is bookable for after-dark safaris.

More on Kilimanjaro Safaris


Credit: Disney Tips

Walt Disney World’s official description of the famous theme park attraction Kilimanjaro Safaris reads:

A Truly Wild Adventure

Explore the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, home to 34 species living in 110 acres of picturesque open plains, shady forest landscapes and rocky wetlands. Your rugged safari vehicle is driven by an expert guide, who helps point out animals and shares fascinating wildlife facts during this extraordinary 18-minute expedition.

Unique Animal Encounters
Spot a shy hippopotamus nestled in a still pond. Behold a regal lion sunbathing on a rocky perch. Drive past a gentle giraffe grazing on the tall trees or wave hello to a swinging baboon. Other amazing animals you may encounter include rhinos, cheetahs, crocodiles, elephants, hyenas and zebras—and so many more!

Since animals have minds of their own, every expedition is a unique and unforgettable experience. Be sure to keep your eyes open and have a camera ready—you never know what you’ll see on a Kilimanjaro Safaris outing.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at