While there are many different ways to keep a Walt Disney World Resort trip fun and exciting every time you visit, one of my favorite ways is through guided tours. This time around, my family and I decided to take the Caring for Giants tour located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This tour focuses on learning more about the African elephants that can be found in the park while getting an up close and personal look at the elephants themselves.
This tour lasts 60 minutes and costs $30.00 per guest. All guests must be ages 4 or older, but if they are under 18, must be accompanied by an adult. Check-in for the tour is located at the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk, which can be found next to the entrance of Kilimanjaro Safaris. You must check in fifteen minutes before your tour is scheduled to start. If you don’t show up or cancel up to two days before the tour, you will forfeit the total price paid for your tour. Guests must be able to leave their ECV onstage. If you have mobility issues, there are courtesy wheelchairs that can be set up in advance for use. There is an allergen warning for this tour, as you go backstage and pass by dust and hay.
After checking in, we received name tags and met with a Cast Member named Connor. He asked us to put away all phones and cameras for the time being and then proceeded to take us backstage. After a short walk, and passing some vehicles that were parked backstage that were used for Kilimanjaro Safaris, we loaded onto a small shuttle bus. We then passed a bunch of pens that are located on the backside of Kilimanjaro Safaris, as we made our way to the elephant area. Connor was quick to point out which areas we were passing, even slowing down so we could see the giraffes eating.
After arriving at the elephant area, we were passed off to a Cast Member named Hallie, who was a bit of an elephant expert. After a short walk up some stairs, we were overlooking the entire African elephant area on the safari, and we were allowed to take out phones and cameras at this point. I was able to get some pretty good shots of all of the elephants while Hallie taught us about the elephants located on the safari. Currently, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has 10 African elephants: 7 girls and 3 boys. We managed to see four of the girls while we were on the tour: Fiki, the 900-pound matriarch of the herd; Luna; baby Stella; and her mom Donna.
Honestly, this tour could be worth doing just for the photo opportunities alone. Being from 80 to 100 feet away from these gorgeous creatures is awesome, and you’ll come away with far better pictures than you’ll ever get while riding Kilimanjaro Safaris. Cast Member Hallie was also standing by, helping guests by taking pictures with their personal phones and cameras. There’s also a Caring for Giants photo board you can use as well.
We were soon joined by another Cast Member named Marvellous, an African cultural representative. He then began to teach us how many African elephants were disappearing from the continent; some not even being found in the northern regions anymore. He was able to point these out with a map he provided. With the help of Disney and their conservation fund, they’ve been working to try and save the elephants from poachers and providing them with a safe habitat to live in. They’ve even developed a very interesting technique by using bees, but I won’t spoil it in case you decide to take the tour yourself.
If you’re looking at the picture above and asking yourself, “What’s that giant hard rock and what does it have to do with elephants?” Well, it’s actually hardened elephant dung. This was used as an example in showing how in Africa, they are using new and creative ways to preserve their environment by using all of their resources. In fact, elephant dung is commonly used in their paper. Remember those name tags I mentioned that we received at the start of the tour? They were given to us as souvenirs and were made of 85% elephant droppings. It is certainly a unique souvenir with a good story!
Is this tour worth it? It absolutely is and is a steal at $30.00 a guest. If you’re new to guided tours or thinking about taking one, I highly recommend this one as a start. It’s quick, interesting, and will give you a sense if you would like to do longer ones in the future, like the Keys to the Kingdom. I know that I personally learned a lot about elephants after taking this tour, and have come to appreciate them more. Every time we pass this area while riding Kilimanjaro Safaris, I’ll always think back to this tour.
To book the tour, you can visit the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk or call 407-939-7529. If you find yourself having questions, feel free to drop a comment below! Or, if elephants aren’t your thing, check out the “Up Close with Rhinos” tour.
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