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Kilimanjaro Safaris (facts, history, & video)

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Kilimanjaro Safaris (facts, history, & video)

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom is like you’re on a real-life safari, but at Walt Disney World.

Guests board a safari truck, as they learn about conservation, the importance of taking care of animals, and, of course, getting the chance to see amazing creatures, like elephants, hippos, and giraffes.

Quick Facts

  • Location: Animal Kingdom, Africa
  • Height Requirement: None
  • Description: Safari vehicles that are driven by guides who really do drive (no tracks) and they are very knowledgeable about the animals. As you go, the drivers give you lots of info based on what you see along the ride and sometimes have to stop to wait for animals to clear the path.
  • When to Visit: Typically at opening/within the first hour.
  • Recommended: Definitely
  • Tip(s): Visit first thing in the morning after the park opens. Not only does the line get really long really fast, but the animals do seem to be out more in the morning. The earlier you arrive at Animal Kingdom, the easier it will be to get on this ride without a wait.
  • Genie+, Individual Lightning Lane Selection, or Virtual Queue: Kilimanjaro Safaris is available with Genie+.
  • Scheduled Refurbishments
elephant on kilimanjaro safaris at animal kingdom

Everything You Need To Know About Kilimanjaro Safaris

Location

You can find Kilimanjaro Safaris in the heart of Africa. Here’s the location on the map.

kilimanjaro safaris location on animal kingdom map

Height Requirement

There isn’t a height requirement for Kilimanjaro Safaris. If you’re curious, we do have a guide on height requirements for attractions at the other theme parks and water parks.

Rider Switch & Single Rider

You cannot use Rider Switch for Kilimanjaro Safaris. There also isn’t a Single Rider Line available.

History

Kilimanjaro Safaris first opened in 1998, the same year as Animal Kingdom. Actually, both the attraction and the park opened on April 22, aka Earth Day.

Animal Kingdom is the largest of all WDW theme parks. It spreads out over 500 acres, which also gives the animals plenty of room to roam and live.

The attraction itself spans 110 acres with the Harambe Wildlife Reserve serving as home to 34 species. Your guide drives around as they gives facts about the animals you encounter along the way during the 22-minute journey.

rhino on kilimanjaro safaris

When the ride initially opened, there was a poachers storyline and even a rickety bridge that threw some excitement into the mix. But, both of these elements were removed and now there’s more of a focus on the actual animals and the importance of conservation.

Former Imagineer Joe Rohde is responsible and to thank for not only breathing life into Kilimanjaro Safaris, but Animal Kingdom as a whole. Without him, this park wouldn’t be is what is today.

There’s no doubt Kilimanjaro Safaris is a fantastic experience and the closest thing many will ever get to experiencing an African safari.

Queue

The Kilimanjaro Safaris queue is outdoors, with part of it shaded. While there isn’t an interactive queue, the line is themed to the attraction. You can even hear the safari trucks driving by as you walk through.

Motion Sickness

Kilimanjaro Safaris is far from a thrill ride, but it can get rough at times with the trucks bouncing up and down along the paths and bridges. Sometimes you might even have to brace yourself, so you don’t slide in your seat.

If interested, we have a guide on motion sickness that’s filled with information and tips, so feel free to check that out.

Ride Vehicles

Kilimanjaro Safaris ride vehicles can fit a total of 35 individuals. Each row can seat three to five guests, depending.

kilimanjaro safaris ride vehicle

You aren’t buckled in, but there is a door on the right side of each row that closes for security and safety purposes when you’re on the ride.

Is It Kid-Friendly?

Overall, Kilimanjaro Safaris is kid-friendly. After all, it doesn’t even have a height requirement. It should be fun for most kids to see the different animals. And, don’t worry, there aren’t any dark or scary moments.

That said, the ride can get rough at times thanks to the the paths, bridges, and the safari vehicle itself. This could be either fun or upsetting to little ones. But, for the most part the ride is kid-friendly.

Be sure to check out our full guide on several other things that might scare little ones at WDW.

zebras on kilimanjaro safaris

PhotoPass/On-Ride Photos

Your photo isn’t taken on Kilimanjaro Safari.

If you want more information on this, be sure to check out our PhotoPass and how Memory Maker works guides.

Video

Feel free to take a virtual ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Keep in mind that each time you ride is different, because you never know what animals you’ll see or how they’ll act. This makes the attraction super unique.

Other Fun Details

  • Easter Eggs: Pay attention as you drive by the flamingos for a fun Hidden Mickey.
  • Play Disney Parks: N/A
  • Movie Connections: The ride isn’t based on a movie, nor are there any upcoming movies inspired by the attraction.
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