Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite parks at Walt Disney World, and it's always at the top of my list when I'm planning a visit to Orlando. On my recent Monkey Kingdom Event press trip with Disneynature, I was thrilled to find out that we were spending TWO DAYS in the park and being treated to complimentary admission to the Backstage Tales Tour and the Wild Africa Trek. Prior to visiting Animal Kingdom, we screened Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom, and it was the perfect way to bring the magic of the movie to life!
The Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom offers a privately guided expedition in parts of the park that aren't open to the general public, close encounters with exotic African wildlife in a simulated natural habitat - and I'm happy to report that after seeing how these African animals live in the wild in South Africa, the habitat that Animal Kingdom has created for their animals is very close to what you'd see in the wild!
We began with our guides harnessing us up into our gear and posed for a silly photo...that poor little zebra didn't stand a chance against all of us hungry lions!
The Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom is a 3 hour tour that includes lunch, and it begins with a hike through the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, where you will find yourself facing the two most adorable hippos you'll ever see!
Hans and Henry treated us to a viewing of them eating lunch and even a small dung shower...thankfully, I was not in the right place to watch Henry spray his dung. That is one adventure I'm happy to miss out on!
Our next stop made me a little nervous...we harnessed up and prepared to cross a swinging bridge over a pit full of very, very large Nile Crocodiles!
I am completely fascinated by crocodiles, but I found my heart racing and my hands shaking when I realized that I would be walking directly over them...thank goodness for that harness is all I'm saying!
After crossing the bridge, you'll meet up with a guide who will explain a bit about the crocodiles and their habitat, then jump on a rugged safari ride for a drive through Harambe Reserve to see more African animals up close!
The Wild Africa Trek includes complimentary photo services, and while the photographer will snap photos of the animals and your group throughout the trip, you can also request specific photos be taken, like this fun shot of my friend Stefanie and I!
Lunch is included in the price of the Wild Africa Trek admission, and I can't think of a better way to serve it...you are driven to a hide in the middle of the Harambe Reserve with a beautiful view of the savanna! While I was on safari in South Africa, we did this same thing - every game drive included a stop in a hide near a watering hole where we were able to watch the animals while we snacked and stretched out legs. I loved that Disney really strives to provide an authentic experience!
There was a flock of flamingos hanging out in a pond nearby that we were able to watch while we ate lunch.
Oh, and lunch? It was pretty delicious!
The menu varies depending on whether you book the morning or afternoon Wild Africa Trek, but includes things like dried beef and prosciutto, smoked salmon, fig cake, yogurt and berries, chicken curry salad, hummus and pita chips, and tandoori shrimp.
A note about allergies: All of the Walt Disney World theme parks are extremely sensitive to allergies. You'll notice a little label on my lunch container - they ask before you head out if there are any food allergies and they are extremely accommodating and offer several alternatives to whatever it is you're allergic to!
My favorite part of the Wild Africa Trek was the two cheetah we saw - in the eight days I spent in South Africa, I never once got to see a cheetah!
If you are an animal lover, or even just someone who likes a little adventure off the beaten - or paved - path, I highly recommend booking the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom! It requires a separate admission ticket to Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park and cost $189 to $249 a person, and vary based on season.
Save $50 with a Special Summer Offer!
Save $50 off the price of your Wild Africa Trek now through October 17, 2015! To book a reservation, please call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.
You can find out more about the Wild Africa Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom here.
Have you seen Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom yet? It opened in theaters on April 17th and for every ticket purchased during opening week (through April 23rd), a donation will be made to Conservation International.
You can check out my Monkey Kingdom movie review here.