Wild Africa Trek at Walt Disney World – Part 1

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As part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration that I attended at Walt Disney World, we were given a choice of optional activities for Saturday morning.  I had already read about a new attraction at Animal Kingdom called the Wild Africa Trek.  I’m a huge fan of the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride at Animal Kingdom.  The Walt Disney World Wild Africa Trek is an opportunity for a private, extended tour of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve and its animals. So, when I saw that the Trek was one of the options for Saturday morning, I clicked so fast.  After I was finished, I checked and it had taken me three minutes to read the lengthy email and fill out the form requesting the Trek.  I guessed it would be a popular choice, and kept my fingers crossed that I was quick enough.  When the confirmation email came, that said I would be able to experience the Wild Africa Trek – WOW!  I was so excited!!!

The Trek begins at Animal Kingdom, Disney World, with an introduction and explanation of the attraction.  A Disney crew member cautions that it is not recommended for those with a fear of heights, balance or significant health problems.   Before you set off, there is a small sample of the bridge crossing, so you can determine if it’s something that will bother you.

The size of the tour groups for the Wild Africa Trek are kept very small.  Our group had 9 guests and the 2 tour guides.

Wild Africa Safari Trek Group

Then we all went to “suit-up” in our Trek gear.  The staff weighs you to determine the correct size for you.  Only the staff can see the scale, if you are reluctant to share your weight!  I joked because as a Nutrisystem blogger, my weight is on the internet weekly for the world to see!

Now we look official and ready to go!

The gear transforms you from a city kid into an official Trekker!  Every guest wears a vest with a long cord that is attached to the vest on one end and carabineer.   Later one end of the cord is attached to a safety line, so you can get up -close-and-personal with wild animals without danger of falling.  It was surprisingly comfortable and only attached to the safety line for a few special viewing areas.

The cord is attached on one end to your vest, and the other to a safety line.

We were only allowed to take with us anything that could be attached to the vest with a strap or carabineer.  The tour guides also act as photographers and take pictures for us, so I happily left my iPhone camera in the provided locker.  We were also given a water bottle to hang the vests.

Touring the Pangani Forest

The vest had straps that went from front to back around your bottom.  A tip I’d read before I went – wear longer shorts, the short ones will ride up!  On the topic of wardrobe, you are also required to wear closed shoes for safety, no sandals or flip flops.  After taking the hike through the woods?  This is a good requirement.  You are also give an earpiece that allows you to hear the guides, even if you are in the back of the line and they are in the front.  They fit over your ear and are very comfortable.  You can adjust the volume to meet your own needs.

We walked through Pangani Forest toward where the Kilimanjaro Safari leaves.  Many people turned to look,  I’m sure wondering who was this group walking around, obviously “geared” for an adventure.

More about the Trek itself in my next post tomorrow!  Coming…. crossing a rickety bridge over hungry (well, they looked hungry to me!) crocodiles; a gourmet meal on the savanna; and tips if you are going on the Trek!

Don't they look hungry? *shiver*

For more information about the Disney Wild Africa Trek ,visit www.disneyworld.com/wildafricatrek.

Disclosure:  I attended the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration conference.  Although I paid a fee to attend, as part of the conference, I received complimentary items, special discounts, and other benefits.  Disney never requested that I blog about the experience but I love sharing things that make me feel lucky with readers, and this definitely qualifies as something that made me feel lucky!

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