Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Kilimanjaro Safaris Review
My wife and I just spent a long weekend at the Walt Disney World resort and being the animal fans that we are we naturally had to make the Animal Kingdom the first stop on our trip. One of the marquee rides at Animal Kingdom is the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Set on the edge of a fictitious African town named Harambe, the Kilimanjaro Safaris transports guests to Africa in 32-passenger large open-sided motor vehicles driven by a narrator. The environment surrounding the ride path is filled with the types of vegetation and wild animal species typical of the African wilderness. Excitement on the ride path includes animals in their natural habitat and a journey over an old bridge that collapses halfway across.
I was expecting an experience similar to the bus tours at the Wilds in Zanesville, Ohio and while there are similarities in the fact you are riding a vehicle through large animal enclosures the differences were striking indeed. The biggest difference is habitat and vegetation. At The Wilds you never feel as though you’ve left the state of Ohio. While riding through the 100 acres of forests and savannahs of Kilimanjaro Safaris you’ll swear you were magically transported to the continent of Africa.
The Wilds doesn’t even attempt to conceal the boundaries of its animal enclosures. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom it is very difficult to determine where one enclosure ends and another begins.
One of the biggest complaints many zoo fans have with Animal Kingdom is that Kilimanjaro Safari animals are only viewable from the bumpy ride which only pauses a few seconds near each animal.
One of the members of ZooChat created an overhead diagram displaying the Animal Kingdom safari layout. While not exact, it is pretty accurate (with the exception of the new finale featuring zebras that was recently added).
I found another Animal Kingdom safari layout map which looks pretty legit but is older and contains the original ending to the ride which included animatronics and a different storyline (and I don’t think it is missed at all).