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Kilimanjaro Safaris To Boost Zebra Presence, Add Savannah Space at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Today I’m happy to give you an update on one of my favorite attractions – Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Kilimanjaro Safaris To Boost Zebra Presence, Add Savannah Space at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I’ve always loved Kilimanjaro Safaris because you see so many amazing animals, but even more so, I love hearing the reactions of the first-timers around me; guests who can’t believe they’re seeing so many beautiful animals together in one place!

Beginning this spring, the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction will undergo some changes to give guests an additional opportunity to see more of their favorite animals, specifically zebra. To do so, Walt Disney Imagineering will make some creative changes to the last scene in the attraction by removing the Audio-Animatronics “Little Red” elephant and related set pieces. This area will then be reconstructed as savannah space and feature a new watering hole for live animals.

This enhancement is scheduled to begin this spring, and be completed by fall 2012. And don’t worry, the attraction will remain operational during the adjustment.


  • More animals is a great plus.Walt Disney said pay attention to detail and that aspect is dimming fast.The old theme was watching for poachers,the shakey bridge,crashed gate,Jeep sliding through right side of woods with gun fire,poachers camp,and the end with little red,live armed cast member with an airplane running at idle.Then a big cheer from the safari. Who remembers all of this? It was neat and exciting making it different than a ride through zoo. Little by little the detail fades so do away with it like everything else.History proves when Disney changes an attraction it’s never for the best. The original was always better.

  • But..but…i’ve already grown eyes for poachers and everything!!


  • I was told several years ago, upon questioning a cast member as to why the zebras weren’t on the savannah anymore, that they were removed because they tended to kick the other animals. Have seen them once in awhile since, but would venture a guess that they’ll be “sequestered” somehow from the other animals once they get their own space. Wonder why they’re such bullies?

  • Love the ride. Glad they are expanding.
    I had heard that in the original plans for Animal Kingdom, the park was going to put in an area with dragons, etc.. (look at the entrance to the park..they are up there with the other animals.)but ran out of funding. Will that ever be put in or will they now switch to Avatar?

  • LOL @ Ed from Alabama!

    Seriously though, I also thought that a AA elephant was out of place. I’ve never been to WDW but have seen videos of every attraction. However, I do understand why Imagineering created that scene. It’s a great message. However, I like the idea of seeing real animals even better. Maybe the animated AA elephant can be installed on the Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom or at Disneyland.

  • I am so excited to hear this! Zebras are my favorite! You can never go wrong with more zebras!

  • Do you know if the new area will be just for zebras? I work with some currently, and I know they can bully the other hoovestock… I hope the other animals aren’t stressed out by their presence.

    • I’ve been told it will be mainly for zebras. Some animals, such as birds, obviously can travel where they wish.

  • Could the parts that made Little Red move be transferred over to the Yeti in Expedition: Everest? Sort of an organ donor program.

    I believe that this is a great change and, as others have, after the majesty of the real animals, the story was a bit of a let down. Great job!

  • Great news! I’m glad that zebras will be more prominently featured in the ride.

  • Sweet!! I will be starting my second College Program in May, and am excited to go see this change!! This is one of my favorite attractions!

  • Glad to hear it. The “Little Red” AA was always such a silly let down after seeing the wonder of the real animals all along the safari.

  • I think this is a great move. The storyline was okay and told an important message, but it’s been hard to see Zebras lately (only from really far away after crossing the rickety bridge, if at all), so this is a great improvement to see more animals.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Kevin!

  • Yay for more animals and for being able to enjoy the elephants without worrying about the fate of Little Red!

    • The real baby elephants on the savannah are amazing anyway!

  • Anything additional you can share as far as the storyline changes that must be coming?

    • I don’t have any details yet. Keep checking back.

  • Though I love Audio-Animatronics figures in attractions, this is the one instance where one was always out of place, less impressive than the massive real elephants seen just minutes earlier on the ride.

    But will the anti-poaching message, story, and fast turns through around the water spouts still remain? Or will all that be removed with Little Red?

    Ricky B
    Inside the Magic

    • I’ve been told that the attraction will still have a very strong and prominent conservation message.

  • RIP Little Red

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