• On Nov 1, 2021
    Jessica from PA Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Hello! We're planning a surprise birthday trip for my 9-year old son next year. He is absolutely obsessed with cheetahs. Is there an option for having a private safari tour at Animal Kingdom instead of the standard Kilimanjaro?

    Jambo, Jessica!

    Thanks so much for taking a walk on the wild side with us here at planDisney. Like your son, I am a huge animal lover, and I love every single minute spent at Disney's Animal Kingdom. 

    While I have not been lucky enough to book any Enchanting Extras or tours at this park, they are absolutely something that I plan to do just as soon as my kids are a little older. 

    Jessica, the following experiences sound like they are exactly what you are looking for; however, I do want to give you the disclaimer that these experiences have not yet resumed due to Walt Disney World Resorts' phased re-opening. They could re-open at any time, so I do not want you to lose hope!

    I think that the perfect fit for your 9-year-old will be the "Wild Africa Trek." This VIP tour will take your family around the safari in a way that you could never dream! Traverse the jungle on a rope bridge for a bird's eye view of the animals before hopping in a jeep to get up close and personal with some furry friends. Once your tour is complete, you will get to sample some traditional African snack foods!

    If you are looking for animal-centered experiences, check out Caring for Giants (with elephants) and Up Close with Rhinos. Both of these experiences will give you some personal time with each species while the dedicated Zoologist teaches you about their personalities, needs, and conservation efforts. 

    For a VIP tour of the Savannah by Jeep, check out the Evening Safari Experience: Savor the Savanna. This experience will take you around the property in a semi-private Jeep before stopping at an exclusive outlook on the actual savannah for a traditional African meal. Mom and dad may like the fact that beer and wine are also included in this experience. 

    Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge also offers several private and semi-private safaris including the Wanyama Safari. These tours won't have cheetahs, so I would try to stick with one of the tours inside the theme park. 

    Jessica, I so wish that I could tell you when these experiences will be re-opening, but that information has not yet been released. 

    Keep checking the "Experience Updates" page on the Walt Disney World Resort website to see which tours are currently operational. 

    Jessica, even if Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge does not have your son's favorite animals, an overnight stay would be such a special treat. Imagine his face waking up to giraffes right outside of his window before heading out to spend a magical day at the parks, or simply enjoy exploring the resort and lounging by the pool. 

    Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge also has two spectacular sit-down restaurants that are currently open. Both Boma and Sanna offer fabulous food and an amazing atmosphere. Before or after your reservation, take a walk around the grounds looking at all of the amazing African art and viewing the animals roaming the savannah. 

    I am crossing all my fingers and toes for you that the Wild Africa Trek will be up and running for your little guy's special day. 

    Have a wild time!

    Sarah B. 
thumbnail image for Sarah

Meet the Panelist: Sarah, Georgia

Hi There! I’m Sarah from Atlanta, GA. Together, my Disney-loving husband and I have two amazing kids and love nothing more than running away to the Walt Disney World Resort every chance that we get. When we are not wandering around the resorts, we love to indulge our sweet tooth with all the snacks we can find. I am passionate about making sure the magic reaches kids of all ages, from the smallest to the biggest, because we are all kids at Walt Disney World! Learn More About Sarah

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