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By Florida Diva
    Safari Jeeps  Photo by Florida Diva

This attraction is by far one of the most interactive and unique experiences at Walt Disney World, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is where you’ll find it.

 No matter how many times you venture into The Savannah, you’ll never have the same trip twice. The ride itself is the largest of any Disney attraction, encompassing 100 acres of the 500 acre park. This is Disney’s largest space for a ride and is home to some of the more aggressive and rare species that help make up the 1700 inhabitants of Animal Kingdom.

The experience begins as you walk through the jungle, entering African style huts, and thatched roof shelters along the way. There are informational videos and jungle sounds to help create the magical atmosphere that Disney is famous for. As you enter the boarding area, or ranger station, you’re greeted by safari fashionistas that quickly help you find a seat on the canopied, 32 person, open air jeep. After an informative and entertaining briefing by your guide, you’re off to explore the African landscape.

It’s a bumpy ride at times, and can be difficult to hear the guide occasionally over the oohs and aahs of fellow passengers as they spot an animal and point it out to the rest of their party. However, it’s all part of the experience and adds to the excitement and anticipation. When you add the crackle of the jeep’s radio that warns of trouble ahead, your driver takes action and zips you to the next part of the attraction. It is all artfully separated from one another to prevent natural, predatory behavior and keep riders safe.

                                                            Baby giraffe, arm’s length from Jeep.  Photo by Florida Diva

Catching glimpses of zebras, crocodiles, baboons, hippos and ostriches is not uncommon and it provides some extraordinary photographic opportunities. This is Disney, however, and it’s not long before you’re pulled back into the adventure that they’ve created for you. Driving quickly through The Savannah, the jeep erupts into delightful laughter as you bump and speed your way through rut filled roads and abandoned camps. Whenever you enter another species habitat, the jeep slows once again to ensure you don’t miss a thing. Eventually, after emerging triumphant from the mission you’ve been given, the approximately 20 minute ride comes to an end. This is where you find yourself, regretfully, back at the ranger station.

The brilliance of this attraction is that these animals are free to roam and so each ride is different from the last, ensuring a whole new adventure every time.

Ride Restrictions: Any age can ride, but pregnant women, people with back or neck problems, or heart conditions shouldn’t ride. The ride is wheelchair accessible.
Diva Tips: Keep your camera in sports or action mode as the drivers rarely stop just when you’d like, and if they do, it’s not for long. This will help you get great shots without the blur.

Use Fast-pass or ride later in the afternoon.