This week I will have the absolute honor of being among the first passengers on the new Disney Dream, part of the Disney Cruise Line. As part of the Christening Cruise, I will be joining members of the media and celebrities as this incredible new ship is christened and heads out to sea with passengers aboard for the very first time. While on board I will learn about the exciting and innovative features of the ship, my children will test out the special areas just for them, and we’ll even enjoy half a day on Disney’s own Bahamian island, Castaway Cay.
To celebrate this once in a lifetime opportunity, I’ll be Disney Dreaming all week in posts covering everything from the new Disney Dream to traveling to Walt Disney World with just one child and more! To kick this week off we’ve got a guest post from Cindy Schultz from The Mom Maven. This home-schooling Floridian is a Disney fanatic like I am, but amplified exponentially. She was fortunate enough to check out the new Wild Africa Trek, and I am fortunate enough to have convinced her to share the information with all of you here! If you want to connect with Cindy, be sure to follow her on Twitter at @MomMaven.
Wild Africa Trek by Cindy Schultz
Beginning Sunday, January 16, 2011 guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom have a new, immersive tour they can add-on to their vacation. Wild Africa Trek is the newest addition to the family of tours offered at Walt Disney World.
I was able to participate in a preview tour this week and I am still amazed at the adventure we had. After checking in for our tour we were escorted to the tour outfitters to be (gulp) weighed (trekkers must weigh between 45-310 lbs), assigned a listening device and fitted with our safety harness/vest. Once each member of your herd, a.k.a. tour group, is outfitted your guides give some instructions and introductions and then it is off into the Harambe Village and then the Pangani Forest. Next we began the bushwalk (about 1 1/2 hours of hiking through the African forest). While you are trekking through the forest your guide is telling stories and pointing out both flora and fauna and because you have your listening devise on your ear you can hear well no matter where you are in the herd.
Your first two stops are along the Safi River where you cliff-hang over the hippos who live in the river. After a bit more hiking you face a rickety looking rope bridge. The first expanse takes you over the hippos, the second over the Nile Crocodiles! After another short hike you arrive at the savanna, and a truck that will take you on the last hour of your adventure. Before boarding the truck you take off your safety harness and listening device so you can sit comfortable in the truck.
The truck takes you out onto the savanna, like on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, but you get to stop and take photos of the animals much closer than you ever get on the ride. After a short ride the truck arrives at the Savanna Station or Boma which is an elevated, covered platform where you will eat your meal while viewing giraffe, gazelles, antelope and other animals.
There are two meals available depending on the time of day a breakfast meal and a midday meal. I had the midday meal and it included Chicken Curry Salad, Tandoori Shrimp, Hummus with pita, Smoked Salmon with a Cream Cheese-Dill spread, Melon Balls with a Mint Glaze and Air Dried Prosciutto and Beef. There are also a children’s option as well as vegetarian, gluten free and other restricted diet options available.The beverage choices are water or “Jungle Juice”.
Once you have relaxed a bit and eaten your meal it is back on the truck for more animal viewing. It was at this time we got some great photos of bobcats, ostrich, white rhinos and the male lion. At the end of the tour you walk back through the Harambe Village to the tour outfitters to retrieve any items you leave in the lockers and to get your Photopass card so that you can order your photos when you return home.
I had an amazing time on the tour and I just kept saying, “My boys would love this!” Even though the tour is open to guests ages 8 and up, I do caution that there is a lot of walking through dense fern, bamboo and vine forests and not every 8 year old child is ready for an adventure of this caliber. Trekkers must wear sneakers or hiking boots and I recommend long pants and a long sleeved shirt to protect you from getting scratched during the bushwalk. The introductory price for this tour is a bargain ($130 + park admission) and if you can do this before the price goes up (February 27, 2011), I highly recommend you do. To reserve your trek call 407/WDW-TOUR (939-8687).