Everything You Need to Know About Wild Africa Trek
Do you love animals? Are you the adventurous sort? Do you feel fashionable in a flak jacket? Would you like to experience something that few Disney guests ever do? I’m here to tell you about one of the best tours at Walt Disney World. Here’s everything you need to know about Wild Africa Trek.
What Is Wild Africa Trek?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the most novel of all theme parks in the company’s empire. When you visit the fourth gate at Walt Disney World, you’ll interact with some of the animals at various attractions.
I’ve previously described Kilimanjaro Safaris as the backbone of Animal Kingdom. I feel this way because the giant vehicle transports guests through dozens of animal habitats. It’s one of the best ways to experience the hallmark achievement that is this theme park. It’s not THE best way, though.
Wild Africa Trek is like the deluxe version of Kilimanjaro Safaris. It’s a paid guided tour of many of the same habitats. The difference is that you walk rather than ride. Also, you get to go to places where standard park visitors cannot.
For example, when you’ve ridden Kilimanjaro Safaris, you may have noticed people walking across rope bridges high above the ground. Those lording above you aren’t cast members. Well, most of them aren’t. They’re people enjoying the benefits of the Wild Africa Trek.
The price of the tour is $189-$249 per person. That’s on the high side of tours at Walt Disney World. As you’re about to see, Disney has priced it extremely reasonably, though.
What Do You Need to Know about Wild Africa Trek?
You should think about Wild Africa Trek like a school trip to the zoo…combined with an African safari. You’ll be one of a group of “students” seeking to learn more about animal behavior. The trek will take you across much of the Animal Kingdom campus.
Your adventure will consist of several phases. During one part, you’ll walk through and even over some animal habitats. Many of these views are ones that you’ve had during Kilimanjaro Safaris, only from a different angle. You’ve paid for the privilege of getting up close and personal with the residents of Animal Kingdom. In some instances, you’ll stand closer to animals than you could at a zoo!
Animal interactions are a critical part of Wild Africa Trek. Have you ever wanted to feed a hippopotamus? You can play real-life Hungry Hungry Hippos on this tour! All you’ll need is to get strapped in (more on that in the next section) and start tossing food. If you’re lucky, you may even see some birds fly to the mouths of the hippos, who are known to share dinner with their avian friends.
Another part of the tour is the driving section. This part will feel familiar to Kilimanjaro Safaris fans, although the setup is closer to Jungle Cruise, just not a cruise. You’ll get into a special rectangular vehicle with a giant square for its seating area. No matter where you sit, you’ll have a wonderful perspective of the Animal Kingdom habitats. During your tour, you’ll listen as a cast member relays detailed information about the animals.
This brings me to a different point. Communication is integral to the Wild Animal Trek experience. During the crowded park part of your walk, you’ll receive a headset. It will allow you to hear your tour guide even in the most congested (i.e. loudest) parts of Animal Kingdom. When you’re riding in the special tour vehicle, however, you won’t need it. A cast member will literally sit with you and point out all the wonders that you should behold.
This part of the experience differs from Kilimanjaro Safaris. The cast member doesn’t have to drive as well. Someone else provides that duty. You have a zoology expert at your disposal, and they’ll display an encyclopedic knowledge of everything related to the park and its denizens.
Just as importantly, you’ll travel on different paths than during the safari. You’ll go onto roads that are historically reserved for cast members in charge of the care of the animals. You’re seeing the hidden parts of Animal Kingdom!
Disney throws in lunch during Wild Africa Trek. And the consensus opinion is that the food options are stellar. You’ll start with Jungle Juice, the legendary concoction made famous at restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This meal even includes an edible flower! Unless you’re a foodie, you won’t have familiarity with many of the flavors. As long as you like fruits, meats, and curries, you’ll be fine.
The other phenomenal aspect of the tour is the photography. Should you prefer to watch the proceedings, you won’t need to capture images. A cast member will do that for you! Once your tour ends, Disney will provide a code that allows you to look at the pictures from your trip in My Disney Experience.
The Magic Jacket at Wild Africa Trek
You’ll know that you’re doing something unusual when you arrive. One of the first things that will happen when you check in for the Wild Africa Trek is that you’ll be given a jacket. This vest isn’t there to protect you from the elements. It’s there to keep you comfortable and save you from disaster. Don’t get me wrong. Disney wouldn’t place you in harm’s way during a tour. The jacket is there for precisely this reason.
At various points during your tour, you’ll enter situations that are slightly precarious without some kind of support. Your jacket has hooks on it. Their purpose is to harness you. In the event that you stumble or fall, the harness will prevent you from anything untoward happening. And I have to say that I’ve watched a LOT of Wild Africa Trek videos. EVERYONE trips at some point. I even saw a cast member who works on Kilimanjaro Safaris take a dive and scrape up her leg.
Why is tripping so likely? At times, you’ll cross rope ladders. The steps on these ladders are spaced out a fair amount. And the people creating Wild Africa Trek videos are often more focused on their phones than their next step. I struggle to understand this behavior since some of the walks are literally above crocodile ponds. Friendly suggestion: don’t film your walk across a rope bridge. That’s how you become a cautionary tale in an Indiana Jones movie and/or crocodile food.
The vest does more than save you from falling into a den of crocodiles. It also secures your belongings. Even though you shouldn’t whip out your phone as you cross a bridge, you will still want it with you in case of emergency texts. Okay, let’s be honest. It’s probably dating drama. Whatever the reason, your jacket has a hook that will connect to your cellphone, too! No matter what happens, your device is safe, just like you.
Finally, the vest comes with a water canteen, one that you’ll get to keep as a souvenir! Anyone who has spent any time at Animal Kingdom understands that this area is humid. You must stay hydrated during your three-hour tour. Disney officials know this and throw in the water bottle to maximize your comfort. You should secure the canteen to the vest. Otherwise, you could lose your water while climbing stairs, something else that happens a lot.
By the way, if you doubt me about the tripping/livestreaming, watch this video. I’ve queued it to a spot where the person crosses the bridge. You’ll see what it looks like and what kind of view is possible during your trek. Then, you’ll understand why you shouldn’t livestream it.
Wild Animal Trek is one of the best tours available at Walt Disney World. It allows you to see and experience Animal Kingdom in a way that’s otherwise impossible. You’ll feel like a cast member when you enter restricted areas. At other times, you’ll lean on the expertise of one of the most informed people at the park, allowing you to ask all of the things that you’ve wondered about it over the years. It’s THE best way to appreciate the brilliance of Disney’s most impressive theme park.
PS: You can feel good about your VIP tour of Animal Kingdom. Disney directs part of the money that you spend on Wild Africa Trek to a charity. In fact, you get to pick which charity out of several options. A cast member will ask you to choose your favorite from the list. You’re not just having the time of your life on Wild Africa Trek! You’re also helping with animal conservation! It’s just another reason why you should book this tour!