|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Site area||4,791,600 sq ft (445,150 m2)|
|Vehicle type||Safari Truck|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2009)|
Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Resort property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It simulates an open-sided safari ride through the savanna of East Africa.
The current story is a short photo safari aboard a safari vehicle through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve in Harambe, East Africa. It is 800 square miles (2,100 km2) of natural terrain, including Ituri forest, wetlands of the Safi River valley, and the open bush country of the Serengeti Savanna. African animals on view include elephants, giraffes, antelope, gazelles, crocodiles, monkeys, hippos, lions, cheetahs, warthogs, ostriches, rhinos, storks, pelicans, flamingos, wildebeests, okapis and, since 2012, zebras. The tour guide points out animals and provides entertainment.
- Greater Kudu
- White-faced Whistling Duck
- Northern Pintail
- Sable antelope
- Greater Flamingo
- Blue wildebeest
- Pink-backed Pelican
- Common Eland
- Yellow-billed Duck
- Thomson's gazelle
- Yellow-billed Stork
- Ankole Cattle
- Egyptian Goose
- Scimitar oryx
- Red-billed Teal
- Helmeted Guineafowl
- White-breasted Cormorant
- Blue Crane
- Yellow-backed duiker
- Saddle-billed Stork
- Black rhinoceros
- White rhinoceros
- Nile crocodile
- Somali Giraffe
- Masai Giraffe
Kilimanjaro Safaris typically operates until sundown. However, during the holiday season of 1998, the safaris were continued at night and dubbed Kilimanjaro Night Safaris. Though many animals were asleep, or unable to be seen at night, the attraction had a completely different script and storyline. This "new" attraction featured additional animal sounds, reflectors hidden in the foliage to resemble animals' eyes, and an actual African dance troup, who performed around a bonfire in the area normally occupied by the attraction's elephants. Kilimanjaro Night Safaris only ran during that initial holiday season. After this time, it was deemed that the additional costs, plus the fact that animal visibility was poor (eliciting many guest complaints), made Night Safaris unfeasible to continue regularly.
In 2004, much of the savanna's drainage system had to be replaced. The attraction remained open during the rehab, with green tarps covering the construction sites to keep the animals out.
In 2007-9, the trucks were extended with an extra row of seating, allowing for more capacity. Also, the safari script/story, along with the Wilson/Jobson story has significantly changed. There is less of a story about "Little Red", and more about the animals in the Reserve and the need to find a lost elephant at the end. This led to a somewhat confused plot in which guests are searching for a lost "mother elephant" and eventually find her baby which, according to the story, had already been safe the whole time.
The ride originally featured a cast member in the role of a gun-toting reserve warden who captured the poachers and saved Big Red and Little Red. This element of the attraction was eventually eliminated. During Cast Previews of Disney's Animal Kingdom, there was a "Dark Ending" in which the safari vehicle encountered the slaughtered corpse of Big Red. This scene proved too shocking for families and children, and thus was eventually changed to give the attraction a happier ending.
Long before the safari or even Walt Disney World opened, Walt Disney wanted to use real African animals for the river attraction Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. However, due to several reasons, Audio-Animatronics replicas were placed instead.
In July 2010 it was announced that guests will soon be able to go on "guided treks" around the savannah. This will include areas that are not part of the regular ride experience.
On February 10, 2012 it was announced that the "Little Red" portion of the ride would be replaced with a zebra exhibit. It opened in the fall of 2012.
- Initially, there were a number of animal deaths from disease, toxic exposure, maternal killings and park vehicles. The United States Department of Agriculture investigation found no violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The pneumonia death of a hippopotamus caused a 40 minute closure of the ride.
- February 10, 2008, a fire broke out in the engine compartment of one of the ride vehicles.
- The attraction features custom-built GMC trucks riding washed-out, rutted roads and a bridge that tilts. The roadbed is actually constructed of dark brown-colored concrete embedded with permanent tire ruts.
- The flamingo island is a huge Hidden Mickey.
- Between each ecosystem are both chain road sensors and bars to prevent animals from venturing between sections. The vehicles drive directly on these obstacles.
- The music snippet that is heard when driving past the elephant area is called "Hapa Duniani" and is performed by the vocal group, "African Dawn."
- Smith, Thomas. New Adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will have Guests Trekking into the Savannah. July 15, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2010.
- Fickley-Baker, Jennifer (2012-02-10). "Kilimanjaro Safaris To Boost Zebra Presence, Add Savannah Space at Disney’s Animal Kingdom". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
- Jon Nordheimer (April 26, 1998). "Disney Goes Live With Its Newest Park". New York Times.
- "Disney Safari Hippo Found Dead". CBS News. Associated Press. June 4, 1998. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
- "Fire Closes Disney's Animal Kingdom Ride". FoxNews.com. The Associated Press. February 11, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
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