Considering the typical weather in Orlando, Florida, more often than not, you can expect to be at least a little hot during a Walt Disney World vacation. Fortunately, this is where water rides come in.
If you’ve ever been on a raft ride at another theme park, you’ll probably find that this attraction is very similar, but with the kind of attention to detail and storytelling that you’ll only find at Disney.
Before you start getting your ponchos ready, find out everything you need to know in our guide to Kali River Rapids.
Kali River Rapids Quick Facts
Description: Kali River Rapids is a raft ride that will take you through a jungle in Asia. You’ll go under (and through) waterfalls, float past some serene, beautiful nature scenes… and also plummet down a 20 foot drop. You will definitely get wet on this ride — sometimes, very wet — so if that’s your thing, you’re going to love this attraction!
Kali River Rapids is located in the Asia pavilion, though the queue can be a bit hard to find.
Just past Yak & Yeti Restaurant, you’ll find the entrance to the attraction behind the exhibit that’s home to the siamang gibbons (AKA tiny, adorable, playful monkey-like creatures). It’s also near the entrance to the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
How to Ride Kali River Rapids
Kali River Rapids has a Standby Line and a Lightning Lane. There is no Single Rider Line offered here.
Since this is a water ride, lines are typically longest in the afternoon, when the sun is at full force and the park is at its busiest — possibly upwards of 60 minutes during the more crowded times of the year. Waits will be shortest in the first two hours after opening and in the last hour or two before closing.
Since it’s outdoors, this attraction does sometimes close due to inclement weather. If it’s been raining, you may want to check out your My Disney Experience app for any updates.
Kali River Rapids is no available during Early Theme Park Entry.
Do I Need to Use Genie+ at Kali River Rapids?
The popularity of this attraction can fluctuate during the year — during the colder months, not as many people are lining up to get soaked, while in the summer, lines can get long when guests are ready to cool off.
If you’re using Genie+ at Animal Kingdom, you may want to secure a Lightning Lane for Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, or Na’vi River Journey first, and make Kali River Rapids your second or third selection.
But if you’d rather stick with Standby, you may find that prioritizing your Genie+ selections for the headliner rides at the park and hitting Kali River Rapids on the way out of the park can also be efficient.
For more Genie+ advice, check out our touring plans for Animal Kingdom.
Rider Switch/Child Swap
Since many little ones won’t reach the height requirement for Kali River Rapids, this attraction does offer Rider Switch, which allows some members of your party to take turns riding while an adult waits with the non-riding little one.
There’s plenty to do in the area while you wait for the rest of your group if you happen to be the one hanging back with the kiddo.
You can explore the Maharajah Jungle Trek right next door and visit the tigers and other animals along the trail, or grab lunch or a snack from the nearby Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafés (the chicken fried rice here is a popular pick).
Another fun tip: There is a bridge near the attraction where you can stand and squirt those riding with water. If you’re lucky, you may catch your party as they pass by!
What to Expect When You Ride
Kali River Rapids is one of the very few rides at Walt Disney World to offer free lockers to guests before they ride. These storage lockers, which you’ll find right outside the queue, are free to use for two hours.
They are first come, first serve, and you’ll be able to create a PIN that will unlock the door when you’re ready to retrieve your belongings.
These lockers are relatively small, but they should fit most items people typically carry with them to the park, including a small backpack. You may want to store any electronics here, too, to protect them from getting wet on the ride.
You may not expect a raft ride to have an impressive queue, but remember: You’re at Disney World. It’s surprisingly detailed, and though there’s no interactive queue here, there’s no shortage of things to look at as you wind your way through. This queue is outdoors, though most of it is covered to protect you from the direct sunlight.
The theme is an Asian temple that is now in ruins, and you’ll pick up on that quickly as you see the different idols that have been surrounded by offerings.
The landscaping is beautiful, and eventually, you’ll find yourself in the office of Kali Rapids Expeditions, a rafting company whose mission is spreading the message of stopping illegal logging to conserve the natural beauty of the village.
Unfortunately, the logging is a real threat to the area, and you’ll even hear chainsaws in the background as you get ready to board your raft and adventure down the Chakranadi River.
The ride vehicles at Kali River Rapids are (unsurprisingly) designed to look like rafts, and they’re pretty big — each vehicle can seat 12 people, which are situated in six groups of two in a circle.
Each seat has a high back and a seatbelt you will use to buckle yourself in, and there is a round bar in the center of each vehicle you can hold onto while riding.
This means that each seat offers a similar view of the scenery… and yes, it will already be wet when you get in, so be careful of the slippery floor while boarding and exiting.
Guests using an ECV or a wheelchair must transfer to the ride vehicle. This will require a step down into the ride, though you will be able to do so in a separate loading area where you can take all the time you need. Cast Members will also have transfer assist devices available if needed.
Expectant mothers are not advised to ride, nor are those who have conditions like high blood pressure or heart, back, or neck problems that could be made worse by a fast moving attraction with sudden turns and drops.
Those prone to motion sickness may find that Kali River Rapids exacerbates their symptoms. The raft will rotate during the ride, and there are drops and turns that may make some a bit queasy (though being out in the open air can help).
For more tips and advice, check out our guide to rides that may cause motion sickness at WDW.
On the Ride
Warning: Spoilers ahead, so if you want to be surprised when you ride, you may want to proceed with caution!
Once you board your raft and set off your adventure, don’t be fooled by those first calm waters — the situation will quickly change. You’ll disappear into the mist and up a lift, surrounded by lush vegetation. Over the top, you’ll be hit with your first big geyser splash and waterfall, but remember: this is just the beginning.
As you continue winding your way through the rapids, you’ll smell smoke and discover the first signs that illegal loggers are in the area. But before you have time to figure out who the culprit is, you’ll be sent down your first hill with a huge splash!
This is when things really start to get wild. The splashes now seem to come from every direction, including from different ride elements that squirt you as you pass by.
So how wet are you going to get on Kali River Rapids? Disney’s official warning states, “You will get wet! You may get soaked!” And in our experience, that’s a warning that you should take seriously (but in the best way).
Is Kali River Rapids Kid-Friendly?
Many kids who are over the 38 inch height requirement do have fun on Kali River Rapids, but some may not be fans. Kids who don’t enjoy getting wet or splashed or who don’t like rides with big drops may want to sit this one out.
For more information on attractions that may not be fun for all ages, check out our guide to rides that might scare little ones at Disney.
If you’re traveling with a stroller, you’ll have to park it before you enter the queue for Kali River Rapids. You can find designated stroller parking just outside of the ride near the lockers.
Be sure to bring anything valuable with you; you may want to store items like cell phones, wallets, and keys in a locker where it will stay dry and safe. It’s also a good idea to cover your stroller before walking away — you never know when a pop up Florida shower could hit!
Kali River Rapids opened on March 18, 1999, less than a year after Animal Kingdom’s grand opening.
According to Undercover Tourist, the attraction was originally named Tiger River Run, which made sense since early plans for the ride included exhibits featuring live animals. But since that wouldn’t be practical for the riders or the animals who may become stressed by the ride, the name was changed after those plans were scrapped.
It was also the first raft type ride at a Disney park. Now, you can find similar rides at two different parks: Grizzly River Run at Disney’s California Adventure and Roaring Rapids at Shanghai Disneyland.
Other Fun Details
- Each ride vehicle has a fun name, like Kali Bumper Car, Himalayan Hummer, and Kathmandoozy.
- While in the queue, check out the canoe paddles hanging in the Kali Rapids Expedition room — they feature signatures of Imagineers who worked on the ride.
- The attraction features almost 150,000 gallons of water, which makes it a bit less surprising you leave so soaked!
- There were once fire effects on the attraction, but most of the time, they are no longer in use.