On each of our “mommy and me” Disney trips, my daughter and I love to try a new experience. With so much to do at Walt Disney World, it is so nice to be able to go on a Disney trip, and experience something that we have not done before. While we do have our favorites, our traditions, it’s awesome that we are going to a destination where we can check something off our “Disney Bucket List”, and see the parks in a different way. On our past trip, we decided to book the Caring for Giants Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Today, I want to share our experience with you!
We arrived at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park around park opening. We were not in a huge hurry, as we had booked the 9:30AM tour, and we really didn’t have time to do a lot before we had to check in and then depart for the tour. We made our way to Africa, and were stopped in the “rope drop” traffic right at the bridge that leads into Africa. On our way, we stopped at a few MemoryMaker photographers as the park was opening. This is one of my favorite things to do right away in the park! We look fresh, there usually are not a lot of guests in the background, and once we get our pictures taken we can get on with our day.
Once they allowed the crowd to go through, we stopped at the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe. Honestly, this is the first time we have seen them. They were awesome! They started our day in the park on a great foot! Since my daughter had her birthday button and ears on, they called her up to dance with them. So fun! After a few minutes of watching them, we moved on to the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk, just outside of the Kilimanjaro Safari entrance. We were a bit early for our tour, so we wandered around a few shops while we waited. After a few minutes, we were able to check in and get our name tags. There ended up being about 8 people in our group total. While this tour is great, I do believe you can easily get a same day reservation if you wanted to. We did book it about 4 months in advance, but there also seemed to be availability later in the day as well.
Our CastMember gathered us together, and made sure we put away our phones and cameras. We were getting ready to go backstage, and there is no photography allowed at all. As we entered the backstage area, we were behind Tusker House, and made our way to the area where the CMs for the Festival of the Lion King enter their area as well. It was very cool, but nothing super special. Our shuttle was waiting for us near where they park the Kilimanjaro Safari vehicles. We boarded our shuttle, and we were on our way to the savannah!
As we drove back to the elephants, the shuttle driver shared all sorts of fun facts. First, the elephants are called in with a signal at meal time. If the choose to come in, great. If not that is fine and they do not go out to herd them in to eat. Secondly, some of the elephants do not play nicely with each other. So in turn, they often separate them into different areas of the savannah. When we arrived on the savannah, we met another guide, who led us up the short ramp to the viewing area. As the elephants came into view, the guide mentioned each of them by name, and pointed out Stella, the baby, to us. We learned that the males isolate themselves and are sent out of the herd to live the bachelor life, as the guide referred to their lifestyle after they reach a certain age. The mothers are in charge and care for the babies.
We had a very clear view of the elephants, and even caught Stella nursing. So cute! You could also see the safari vehicles as they were taking guests through this area of the park. After our guide, Patrick, chatted with us and told us about the elephants, an African cultural representative joined our group. He was very informative! He even signed my daughter’s autograph book. So fun! One thing he mentioned was that thanks to a partnership with Disney and Save the Elephants, research discovered that elephants are afraid of bees. So, in elephant areas of the world, farmers have installed beehives along the perimeters of their properties to keep the elephants out, naturally, of areas where they could be in danger.
What did we think? Well, first the price point of this tour is great. It was only about $30 per person, and it is an hour and fifteen minutes in length. I feel this is one of the more affordable “extras” at Walt Disney World. Also, it was great for my daughter, who is 9. I think this is good for families that have a larger age range of kids, as well. Something for everyone! The timing was great, as it only took an hour out of our day at Animal Kingdom. We would rather spend an hour backstage learning something than walking the animal paths ~ which certainly are amazing. But we have seen them on a lot of trips, and this was a great hour spent in the park. Would I do it again? Maybe in a few years. I do not think it’s something I’d do on every trip. But I would definitely encourage, not discourage you, to take this tour if you are even remotely interested in it.
My best advice is to book it early in the day. I feel a if Animal Kingdom is one of the “hotter” parks, and the earlier in the day, the better. That way you have your whole day ahead of you, and you have still enjoyed an amazing tour at Animal Kingdom!