Why Disney’s Animal Kingdom is our favorite park

A Safari in Africa to see the Big 5 is probably on most everyone’s wish list – nothing beats seeing the animals in their own habitat.  But not everyone can make it there or even afford it till the kids are much older and college tuition has been accounted for.  We love taking taking the kids to the city zoos where the animals are cared for well and the establishments are involved in conservation efforts like our Dallas Zoo or the San Diego zoo.  We also love visiting Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, near Dallas Fort Worth area – where the animals roam freely while you drive through in your car.  Another animal encounter we love is the The African Safari Tour or the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  It  has been designed and detailed to accurately give visitors a strong sense of being on a Safari in Africa.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom is our favorite park and the Safari Tour is one of our favorite tours in the park.

A Family Flu-cation at the Happiest place on Earth

There is another reason why Animal Kingdom is our favorite of all the Disney theme parks.  The last time we visited was a few years ago when the kids were little toddlers.   The Animal Kingdom was the only park we experienced in the one week we were in Orlando.  We were there during a Thanksgiving break and started day one with meeting all the Disney characters followed by a safari tour at Animal Kingdom.  Things went downhill from there.  Miss S was running a slight temperature before we left on the trip.  I had checked with pedestrian who gave us the clearance to go but left the decision to us.  We had a non-refundable trip booked through Expedia and couldn’t cancel, so went ahead with the trip.  Wish we had taken that trip insurance!

She was doing ok but was wiped out by the end of the day.  We chalked it up all the excitement and exhaustion of visiting the park, seeing the animals and her favorite characters.  But her temperatures kept rising and we soon found out she had the flu!  The little one started getting fussy and promptly fell sick the next day!  We took rest in the hotel between visits to the pharmacy and soup runs.  Being in a room with two sick kids, inevitable both of us caught the flu as well.  We never made it to any of the parks after that… The last day after 5 days of being holed up in hotel room, we ventured out just to watch the parade and the fireworks.  We stayed away from the crowds and closer to the exit, so we can just take a quick peek and leave.  After all we were spending a couple thousand dollars to be here.  So my memory of the Magic Kingdom is a little tainted, the happiest on earth was not that happy for us.  All we remember from that trip is meeting the Ant and getting signatures from the chipmunks.  What started as a fun vacation, turned into a family flu-cation!

Kilimanjaro Safari Tour

We were excited to be back at our favorite park…. after almost ten years!  Not being big fans of rides and crowds we were reluctant in planning a trip to Orlando but love the safari experience that Disney offers.

If you have been dreaming about seeing the animals in the wild, the Safari tour does a great job of emulating that experience. The Kilimanjaro Safari Tour is located just on the outskirts of the Harambe Village. This African-like village offers visitors food and refreshments and you can see the only live baobab tree in the park – look for it just outside the Tusker House restaurant. Harambe Village is patterned after the Kenyan coastal town, Lamu. Once you make it up the line (make sure you get your Fastpass, the tour is pretty popular) you climb aboard a modified GM truck for a drive through picturesque open plains, shady forest landscapes and rocky wetlands of the 110-acre Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Through clever design and landscaping, it seems as though there is nothing between you and the lions, or the elephants, rhinos, hippos and all the other amazing creatures. The Safari Tour is one of our favorite tour in the park.

See Also: Where we stayed in Orlando and why we loved it and our time at Pandora, the mythical world of the Naavi people.


20 Photos from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Safari tour.

Before you know it you are transported to Harambe from Orlando, Florida

Have you seen the Wildebeest migration?

A fake baobab tree but the birds don’t know it

If the 20 minute safari ride didn’t satisfy you appetite for a safari, you can also look into these additional tours.

Backstage Safari Tour

If you really love to see animals and how they are cared for, then look into Disney’s special Backstage Safari Tour. This tour shows what goes on behind the scenes at Animal Kingdom and how the animals are nurtured

Wild By Design Tour

Wild by Design tour is another behind the curtain type of tour where participants will see just how the creative team of Disney transformed the Florida landscape into one of the most popular animal destinations in North America.

Wild Africa Trek

This VIP safari takes visitors across the open savanna with close encounters of the exotic wildlife. The tours last about 3 hours and are only available through special arrangements.

Other favorites in Animal Kingdom

Kids will like the other attraction in the park like the Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Finding Nemo: The Musical, Dinosaur, Kali River Rapids, and Festival of the Lion King.

We are planning a African Safari for this summer in Kenya and Tanzania and hope to see some of these animals in the wild there.  Have you been on a Safari?


1 thought on “Why Disney’s Animal Kingdom is our favorite park”

  1. Pingback: Four Seasons Resort Orlando : Perfectly blends luxury and the Magic of Disney • Outside Suburbia

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