Caring for Giants Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
What is it?
Caring for Giants is a tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that was first offered in March 2017. The experience is an hour long featuring a brief introduction, a backstage drive out to the elephant area of the Kilimanjaro Safari, approximately 30 minutes of viewing time, then the trip back to Harambe. The number of tours per day vary but can be up over 10 with one departing every half hour. Each tour is limited in size by the bus that takes you to/from the viewing area, which is approx. 14 guests. The bus and viewing area are both accessible for wheelchairs/ECVs.
How much does the tour cost?
The current cost is $30 per person ages 4 and up. Children age 4-17 must be accompanied by an adult. Disney Vacation Club and Annual Passholders can receive a 15% discount.
How to book?
As of May 2017 you can book the tour by calling 407-WDW-TOUR, stopping by the tour check in area at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or visiting a guest relations or hotel concierge for assistance. There is no online booking option for tours at Walt Disney World.
I booked a 10am tour, the first of the morning on the day I was going. I arrived at Animal Kingdom around park opening at 9am to ensure I would be on time. The Kilimanjaro Safari wait and ride time would have made it too close to check in time so I opted to stroll through a nearly empty Gorilla Falls which was a pleasant way to start the day. I checked in at 9:45am. You show your ID and are given a waiver form to sign and then your name tags and directed to a spot to wait.
Once everyone was checked in around 10am a cast member came over and gave us a brief introduction including safety instructions and a warning about no backstage photography. We then walked backstage at the parade gate in Harambe and back to a waiting shuttle bus. This bus can best be described as an airport shuttle bus style. It was black and had no markings on it. The bus boards in the same lot used for the Express Transportation buses which is an overnight parking & training lot for the Kilimanjaro Safari trucks. On the way out to the overlook you drive backstage around the Kilimanjaro Safari. You head off the paved road and onto a gravel road through a gate near the elephant barn and are taken to the new viewing area.
We arrived about 10:15am and were introduced to a guide who walked us up to the first viewing area. There he introduced himself and some of the elephants that were in view. Most were down further so we moved up the walkway to a second viewing area and spend most of the tour there. We were free to roam around the viewing area.
Our guide talked about animal care, elephants in general, as well as answered questions. He then turned the speaking over to a second cast member who was from Africa and she spoke about elephants in Africa and how they were working to co-exist with locals. We were all given Disney Conservation Fund Buttons since the proceeds from the tour were donated to the fund.
About 10:45am we were told to take our last pictures then headed down the stairs to the shuttle bus for the return trip. We returned to Harambe where we had departed to end the trip.
The booking experience was the biggest negative for this tour. It took us over an hour on the phone (most on hold waiting for someone to make the reservation). Why are tours not integrated into online booking yet? Also note tours are not integrated with myDisneyExperience so you do not see your tour in there either which I thought was poor.
I would have liked to have seen a button or pin designed for this experience vs a generic conservation fund one. Other tours have had unique ones over the years. Lastly I would have liked to have seen the shuttle bus themed a bit.. the other tours all have vehicles with a custom look. Seems this should too.
I really enjoyed this experience and the tour met my expectations. You were given a good amount of time out on the savanna to watch the elephants and you did not feel rushed at all. With the small group size it felt very personalized and open. I also liked how you could listen to the cast members as you observed or you could just zone out, roam around and enjoy the view. The price point of $30 felt “reasonable” by Disney tour standards. I appreciated how the focus of the tour was the animal experience and not food or other activities. Keeping the tour minimal also keeps this cost point at this more moderate rate than most of the other tours/experiences. The integration of the viewing area into the savanna is well done and does not have a substantial impact on the attraction guests’ view from the passing trucks. It is less intrusive than the Wild Africa Trek locations which I think is a plus. If you enjoy watching animals and hanging out on the Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom you should consider this tour.
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For more pictures be sure to visit my full picture set.
For more information on this tour visit the Official Walt Disney World Webpage