Disney World Animal Experiences Worth the Extra Cost

Starlight Safari
Credit: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is the renowned go-to for awesome animal experiences that come as part of the Park’s all-inclusive package deal. At the cost of the regular admission price, you get to enjoy a vast array of animal-laden encounters that would be otherwise difficult to come by.

From one-of-a-kind attractions like the impressive Kilimanjaro Safaris, which brings the best of scenic African safaris to your convenient Florida location, to eye-opening, interactive activities and onsite monitoring on-location at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, it’s no secret that the Animal Kingdom is the ultimate place to flock to in order to take in some of the most enticingly exotic offerings designed for families to share in together.

Credit: Disney

While it’s easy to be awed by all that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park has in store for visitors, it isn’t altogether shocking, especially given the fact that the Walt Disney Company has an enduring commitment to going above and beyond in providing exceptional Guest experiences.

This includes everything, from state-of-the-art attractions to a savory food scene, and of course the best of the best in premises-based accommodations. On that last note, and in getting back to the uncontested animal experiences narrative, it should be noted that Disney’s Animal Kingdom also has a Resort localized to the Park’s wild theming.

We’re of course referring to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge—a Deluxe Resort that also has villas in addition to a wide range of room designations. And yes, this location too is host to many exotic resident animals and comes with its own impressive set of wild onsite encounters to behold.

Animal -Kingdom-Lodge
Credit: Disney

Related: Behind the Scenes at Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

While it goes without saying that the basic offerings to be enjoyed throughout Walt Disney World Resort can hardly be described as basic by anyone’s standards, it is also true that there are plenty of extras out there designed to enhance Guest experiences to an even more elite, esoteric standing.

And the extras that you can elect for at both Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park as well as at Animal Kingdom Lodge boast so many wildly wonderful opportunities you can’t help but agree to the extra costs that are involved. Here are five phenomenal animal experiences that are absolutely worth the extra cost to partake.

5. Savor the Savanna

If you love Kilimanjaro Safaris then here’s something new to try—a privately led Park safari experience that also lets you delight in food and drink as well. At roughly the cost of $174 a person (not including tax), limited numbers of Guests are allowed VIP access into the Animal Kingdom’s intriguing savanna for a privately guided immersive tour, which starts out at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, letting you experience secluded views that are otherwise off-limits.

Along the way, your knowledgeable guide will enlighten you with intriguing tales of the unique creature inhabitants throughout the reserve. Questions are encouraged.

Credit: Disney

Related: Savor the Savanna Returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2022

As we mentioned earlier, refueling food is provided as part of the package, with delectable samplings of mouthwatering African-inspired cuisine picks paired with selected regional libations. Because this tour is available to all Guests ages 8 and older, a valid ID is required of anyone looking to try the alcoholic offerings.

Also in full disclosure, take note that this excursion drives you along a rugged ride via a safari vehicle. The entire experience takes place within a two-hour duration, and all Guest participants come away with a commemorative keepsake in addition to memories to last a lifetime. Click here to learn more about Savor the Savanna.

4. Up Close with Rhinos

If you’re just wild about rhinos then consider this exotic behind-the-scenes encounter that lets you get up close and personal with Animal Kingdom Park’s own famed white rhino inhabitants. Starting at around $45 a person (not including tax) Guests get to embark on this hour-long guided backstage tour, led by knowledgeable caretakers who will share with you fun and interesting facts along the way.

It’s the ultimate chance of a lifetime for anyone who simply adores rhinos and wants to learn more about them.

Credit: Disney

Related: Up Close with Rhinos Returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2022

This experience is available to all Guests ages 4 and older. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult aged at least 18 years. Do take note that this is an outdoor experience that takes place in both rain and shine, and participants are encouraged to wear comfortable closed-toe shoes. To learn more about this awesome extra, visit the website.

3. Caring for Giants

Perhaps you can’t get enough of those gentle giants we call “elephants” or maybe you want to learn more about these enormous creatures with those excellent memories. That’s where this backstage touring encounter comes in.

With prices starting at around $35 a person (not including tax), why wouldn’t you want to seize this most spectacular opportunity to meet and mingle with them under the guidance of a trained caretaker, learning about the day-to-day involvement in their maintenance and upkeep? However, even though this experience lets you get closer to these colossal creatures than any other Park encounter, you will only ever be around 80 to 100 feet away from them at any time.

Credit: Disney

Related: Caring for Giants Returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2022

Like Up Close with Rhinos, Caring for Giants is offered to Guests who are at least 4 years of age and runs for an hour. Attendees under 18 must be accompanied by an adult aged 18 or older. Again, this is an outdoor experience, with Guests strongly advised to wear comfortable closed-toe shoes. For more details click the following link.

2. Starlight Safari

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park isn’t the only place to find an awesome safari experience. If you head on over to Animal Kingdom Lodge, for example, you can sign up for a wild moonlight excursion that lets you experience some of the more nocturnal activities of Africa’s natural world.

With prices ranging around $89, a person (not including tax) gets to set off under the cover of night for a ride within an open-sided safari vehicle for eminent animal encounters from well over 30 species native to the African continent.

Credit: Disney

Related: Starlight Safaris Have Returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

 All Guests ages 8 and older are welcome to participate in this most exceptional private nighttime excursion, which lasts around an hour and offers two outings nightly. During the ride, Guests will be provided with a nighttime vision device to help them better see the sights under the cover of darkness. For more details on all that the Starlight Safari entails, go to their website.

1. Wild Africa Trek

This is perhaps the epitome of extra animal experiences to delight in at Walt Disney World Resort. Admittedly the most expensive and longest on our list, signing up for this three-hour privately led tour is the ultimate wild way to do Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

Led by knowledgeable and friendly Cast Members, your journey will entail plenty of walking along grassy pathways, rugged rides aboard a safari vehicle, and even crossing a rope bridge among other adventures. And from the unique access points allotted to you with this experience, you will be witness to otherwise unknown views and vantage points of the Park’s many creatures.

What’s more, complimentary photo services will capture magical memories of your outing as you go, providing you with a special photo code for accessing and downloading all the photos that were taken.

Credit: Disney

Related: Wild Africa Trek in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Returning Soon!

Because the experience spans several hours, snacks and refreshments are also included as part of the deal. Menu items change regularly, but all are enticing, exceptional cuisine picks, sure to keep you fueled along the way.

This experience is open to Guests ages 8 and older, with all participants receiving a special souvenir in addition to all else that is included with this experience. The cost for the Wild Africa Trek is around $199 a person (not including taxes). Follow this link to learn more about this most optimal experience.

In addition to all those we’ve highlighted here, there are numerous other experiences for animal enthusiasts to delight in that are still currently unavailable. Most notably are the Wanyama Safari that has been offered as a dining package at Jiko—The Cooking Place in the past and opportunities to Dine with an Animal Specialist at Sanaa. Both can be found onsite at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and we look forward to their return.

Experiences are forever evolving at Walt Disney World Resort, so it’s always best to stay current with all offerings at any given time, as well as price ranges, which are also known to vacillate. It’s also imperative that if you are hoping to pursue any extra cost experiences at Disney World that you plan accordingly and make all reservations well in advance.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.

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