The Wilderness must be explored! What better way to explore the wilderness than at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Collect badges (stickers), knowledge, and experience Animal Kingdom from the eyes of a Wilderness Explorer.
The Wilderness Explorer program is from the movie UP! Russell is a Wilderness Explorer who is trying to earn his last badge-helping the elderly. Instead of doing something around Carl’s house, Russell is a stowaway on Carl’s adventure to South America.
The first step to becoming a Wilderness Explorer is to pick up a booklet. You can pick one up as you cross the bridge to Discovery Island. If you miss it or decide to pick one up later you can always pick one up from a Wilderness Explorer Troop Leader around Animal Kingdom.
Once you pick up your booklet you need to be inducted. You need to recite the motto: “A Wilderness Explorer is Friend to All, be it Plants or Fish or Tiny Mole” and then you are off to collect your badges. In order to collect your badges you will make stops throughout the park and take part in a very short educational talk and answer a few questions in your book. Once you have answered the Wilderness Explorer Troop Leader’s questions you will earn a badge (sticker) to put in your book.
The Wilderness Explorer stops are located all around the park. As you make your way through the park you can stop and do them. Each stop only takes a few minutes. However, the Troop Leaders are only there during certain hours, so make sure you check the MyDisneyExperience App and the time guides once you are at the park.
While you are out becoming a Wilderness Explorer be sure to check out the other UP! attractions. You can meet the most famous Wilderness Explorer, Russell. Russell meets with Dug at Discovery Island. UP! A Great Bird Adventure is a 25 minute show featuring Russell, Dug, and many of their feathery friends.
Once you have made your way through Animal Kingdom and collected all the badges make your way to the Wilderness Explorer post. You will then be promoted to Senior Wilderness Explorer and be given the official badge (sticker) to match.
My kids and I went with some friends with the goal being to become a Senior Wilderness Explorer. While we have done many of the badge stops, we had never completed a whole booklet. So, one hot Saturday afternoon we sent off on our adventure. We picked up our booklets and were on our way. We started in Dinoland USA and made our way around Animal Kingdom ending in Pandora. The booklet is laid out so that the badges go in order. You can start anywhere, but the book follows a logical path making it so you aren’t searching from one side of the park to the other and back again.
It took us almost three hours to get all the badges. We had to scramble at the end because the Troop Leaders were packing up for the day. We were able to get the last badges in just as they were closing. Lucky for us, they were still handing out booklets and were still there about fifteen minutes after the official closing time.
We had a great time learning all about nature, animals, and our environment. We saw a few things we might have not taken the time to enjoy if we weren’t focused on the badges. However, this does take time to do. Can you work it into your schedule? Absolutely. Is it something you should make sure you complete when you go to Animal Kingdom? Maybe. It really depends on how much time you have, age levels of those participating, and wait times for the day.
I would encourage any Wilderness Explorer, regardless of age, to pick up a booklet. Do as many badges as you want as you come across them. Enjoy all that Animal Kingdom has to offer. It’s a wonderful park full of life. If you can’t get it completed, well, then I guess you will have to come back for those last badges.