Going on a Walt Disney World Jungle Adventure
Don your safari hat and break out the walking shoes- we’re headed deep into the heart of the hottest, most populated, and most adrenaline iducing part of the planet. No, I’m not talking about World Showcase during the summer months, I’m talking about the jungle! Well, the jungles of Walt Disney World Resort, that is! If you’ve got an explorer on your hands whose imagination is as wild as Walt Disney’s, this little jaunt into the jungle is a great way to spend one of your days while you’re at the Resort! We’ll be making plenty of stops along the way, and I’m hoping we’ll discover an outpost or two, but be sure you’ve packed all of the essentials before we get going because from what I hear, it’s a Disney World jungle out there!
I visit Walt Disney World Resort with my young cousins relatively often, and even though they are aware of how fortunate they are to visit so frequently, they can’t help that their attention spans tend to wander as the days stretch on, so I always try to include an offbeat itinerary or two that will keep them going! They, like every kid, absolutely love to play pretend and act out scenes and stories from their favorite books and movies, so I knew I had to come up with a fully-immersive activity that would allow them to lose themselves in the fun of the game and distract from the heat and long hours of walking! On a recent trip, my cousins and our family took a trip to the jungle and, when the youngest boy met me in the lobby wearing a safari hat, I knew we were in for quite an adventure. The next time you’re planning a visit, spend a day traveling to the heart of the jungle and see just how far your child’s imagination will take you!
Journey to the Jungle
The jungles are home to more living species than any other ecosystem on the planet, so you and your little adventurer can expect to see tons of exotic animals on our journey! Before we head out into the unexplored, acquaint yourself to your new atmosphere walk on Maharaja Jungle Trek. This wild experience takes you straight to the heart of the jungle and as you walk beneath the canopy of thick foliage, the ruins of an ancient temple eventually become visible in the distance. The temple grounds are protected by the tribes who live nearby, so be sure to take this opportunity to learn from the various guides and information packets available throughout the walk! Keep your eyes peeled for animals like Komodo dragons and Blackbuck. If you’re lucky, you might happen upon the newest members born in this jungle- twin Bengal tiger cubs!
Now that you’ve got your sea legs- I mean, jungle legs- you’re ready to go deeper, past the explored and developed portion of the jungle, and into the wild unknown! Before you head off on an un-guided journey, the Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom is an insightfully hilarious guided tour of the most Disn-ified jungle I know: Adventureland. A hysterically undereducated tour guide takes you aboard their boat on a comical tour of the ‘jungle’ complete with animatronic animals and the wittiest corny jokes I’ve heard. My cousin’s safari hat earned him a shout out of his own from our skipper, is your adventurer next?
Ok, now that we’ve taken a guided tour, you are ready to branch out and discover the jungle on your own! The jungle experiences the most torrential and heavy downpours of any ecosystem, including Central Florida, that feed the rivers that are responsible for proving a home for fish, clean water for all of the animals and plants, and a trade route for the tribes who call the jungle home. Climb into a jungle-made raft and explore the wildest and most unpredictable waters of the Asian jungle aboard Kali River Rapids in Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Although our jungle adventures have been filled with lush greenery, rolling rivers, and plenty of animals, this attraction teaches us that the jungle and rainforests need to be protected if we want future generations to experience a day like the one you’re having right now.
Wow, all of that exploring sure made me hungry when I journeyed to the jungle with my cousins. When I suggested stopping at Casey’s Corner for hot dogs for lunch, they were very quick to remind me that hot dogs are not available in the middle of the jungle and there was no way they would eat one. Luckily for us (read: me), those knowledgeable skippers who lead the jungle cruise get hungry every now and then, so the tour operator reopened the old headquarters as an eatery for the off-duty guides! In true Jungle Cruise fashion, the walls are lined with maps and images that tell an intricate story for those who are paying attention. With whimsical taglines and ridiculous ‘memorabilia’, even those who aren’t familiar with the backstory will get a chuckle out of the lighthearted décor that give the spot its homey vibe. Adults, Skipper Canteen is one of the only restaurants at Magic Kingdom where you can order a specialty cocktail or alcoholic beverage with your meal…thank me later!
There are thousands of animals to discover in this jungle, and taking time out for a meal isn’t always in the cards when you’re trying to jam a jungle’s worth of exploring into just one day. Luckily, the Rainforest Café doesn’t require leaving the jungle at all, in fact, it encourages more exploring! In between bites, watch as the animals of the tropical rainforest come alive in a fury of roars and screeches with every thunderstorm. The monkeys overhead swing furiously on their branches while the herd of elephants stomp their feet and trumpet through their trunks. It’s a wild time! My cousins loved ending their day at the restaurant’s attached gift shop where they picked up some memorabilia to remember our day spent in the untamed jungles of Walt Disney World. What will you discover?
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!