INCREDIBLE!! This is how I would describe my recent after-dark safari tour through the savannas at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was kind of like that old cowboy song, you know...." Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam, Where the deer and the antelope play ". Okay, it’s not exactly like that, but you get where I’m going. From a giraffe who practically stuck her head inside our open-air safari vehicle, to a few zebras who had no intention of moving off our path, and the giant Ankole cattle who's only concern was finishing his dinner. My family and I were amazed at the amount of wildlife we saw during our 1-hour tour.
The Starlight Safari is currently offered nightly, weather permitting, at 8:30 pm and 10:00 pm, and the cost is $75 - $89 per person, before tax. Reservations are required, and payment is due at time of booking. Check-in for the safari starts about 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour, near the valet area at Kidani Village. Valid ID is required and each guest over 18 must sign a waiver for themselves and any minors in their party under age 17. Please note that the minimum age to participate in the tour is 8 years old, and any guests under 17 years old must be accompanied by an adult. After completing the check-in process, my family climbed into the ride vehicle and were given a night-vision device which made seeing everything in the dark very clear. Each tour has 2 guides. A driver who works very hard to get your vehicle in and out of the savanna's multiple gate systems without any escapee's sneaking behind and the riding guide, who is inside the vehicle to explain everything you are seeing.
These guides work closely with the animal’s day in and day out and are extremely knowledgeable about each individual one. They know the names, personalities, and likes and dislikes of each one you encounter. They have funny stories, sad stories, and even birth stories! You name it, the guides can tell you about it! My son is very inquisitive and asked many questions and our guide was able to answer each one promptly. During our trek, we went through 3 different savannas’ and saw and learned something different each time.
Fun Fact: Did you know that giraffe eat up to 75 pounds of food per day, and to accomplish that, they must eat almost the whole time they are awake!
During the many times we would encounter wildlife, the guides would stop the vehicle and encourage everyone to get up and take a good look. With the night-vision devices, seeing the wildlife was not hard at all. This experience was definitely the highlight of our vacation and something we’d be more then willing to do again!
My family was lucky enough to be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge during our visit to Walt Disney World, but reservations are open to everyone. Keep in mind, this tour has very limited availability with only about 25 spaces between both tours. If you think this is something you'd like to experience, reach out to your favorite Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist soon and tell them you want to go on a nighttime adventure through an African game reserve!