While in Orlando for Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom press event as a complimentary guest of Disney, I experienced something brand new to me - I've been going to Walt Disney World for over 10 years, so finding something new is a pretty big deal! I went on the Backstage Tales Tour at Animal Kingdom to find out what happens behind the scenes with all of these incredible animals, and just what goes into caring for them.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums? I didn't know this before the Backstage Tales Tour!
On the Backstage Tales Tour, you'll be taken behind the scenes of the exhibits to tour the facilities where the animals are cared for. You literally go behind the exhibits - only accessible during this tour unless you're a Disney cast member - and meet some of the animals face to face!
The tour begins at the front gate, where you guides will meet and greet with your party and explain what their roles are at the park.
There are over 1,500 animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, representing 250 different species.
During the Backstage Tales tour, you’ll explore the animal-housing areas and find out how these animals are trained to go into their "barns" at night.
You'll visit the Animal Nutrition Center and learned about how nutritionists prepare four tons of food for the animals at Animal Kingdom each day! You'll also tour the state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, where animals are brought for veterinary care not just from the park, but from all over Orlando!
The tour is about 3 hours long, and you'll stop halfway through for a visit to the Animal Programs Administration building and learn how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation and animal well-being. We watched a video on Whopping Cranes and efforts to rebuild their population and had a fun little Disney snack and be given a fun water bottle that you get to take home with you!
While on the Backstage Tales Tour, we visited the barns of a black rhino, elephants and Komodo dragon. The elephants were out in their exhibit, so we didn't get to see them up close, but the black rhino and Komodo dragon were really cool! I had no idea that Komodo dragons were actually yellow and orange - when you see them on tv, they always look brown because they burrow in the dirt and get dirty.
We also visited the veterinary hospital, but there were no animals being treated that day. I suggest that you do not schedule this tour for a Wednesday, as that is the only day of the week that the veterinary hospital does NOT treat animals.
Things to Know About the Backstage Tales Tour at Animal Kingdom
The tour is about three hours long, so wear comfortable walking shoes.
No photos are permitted once you go behind the scenes - the only place you can take photos is in the Aviary and walking TO the behind the scenes entrance, which is part of the regular park experience and open to everyone.
Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult (18 years of age or older) and guests must be 12 years of age or older to participate.
A portion of the Backstage Tales Tour proceeds is donated to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
You can find out more about the Backstage Tales Tour at Animal Kingdom here.
Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom is open in theaters nationwide! You can read my full review here, but I will give you the condensed version - it's adorable and you will love it!