More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Wildlife Wednesdays: Hippos Create Magical Moments

Underwater Hippo Viewing Area at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Like the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort Cast, Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives Cast Members love creating Magical Moments for our Guests. Certainly any moment watching the amazing animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is magical, but the team works hard to engage Guests in special interactions.

One of these Magical Moments takes place on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at the underwater hippo viewing area. Guests learn how we use target training with our hippos (and many of our other animals), a technique that enables our animals to participate in their care. Through target training, for example, we can direct an animal to step on a scale to be weighed or to come to a designated spot to be visually examined by our animal care experts.

Hippo Fun Facts:

  • Nile hippos are about the same size as a mid-sized car! In fact, adult hippos weigh between 2,500 and 5,500 pounds and reach lengths of about 11 feet.
  • Hippos usually walk along the bottoms of riverbeds and spend much of their day sleeping or resting in the water. Water is important for all animals. You can offer wildlife water in your backyard by putting out a birdbath or building a pond. You can also help conserve water by using a rain barrel that collects water for use later.
  • Another way you can help wildlife is by supporting the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund when you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom. More than $3.5 million from the fund has been given to conservation programs across Africa.


  • What an incredible treat it would be to look a hippo in the eyes at such close quarters!

    Is there a certain time a day that we can plan to see the hippos participating in a target training session?

  • As an avid hippo fan, I have spent quite a while at this exhibit glued to the glass, watching them swim around and drink from the waterfall. It’s one of my favorite spots in Animal Kingdom!

    Ricky B
    Inside the Magic

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