On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World I tried out the Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
It was fantastic!!!
Unlike the free NVG Safari where you watch the animals on the savanna from one of the Lodge’s overlooks using Night Vision Goggles, on the Starlight Safari you get into the back of an open-sided safari vehicle for a ride through several areas of the AKL Savanna (with a night vision monocle).
The Starlight Safari departs from the AKL’s Kidani Village’s main entrance twice per evening at 8:30 and 10:00 p.m. Guests must be at least 8 years old to participate and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Prices vary by date, but are are around $75 to $90 per person.
The Safari lasts approximately and hour and a half.
Guests using an ECV must leave their mobility devices behind at the Resort. They will retrieve them upon conclusion of the tour. This experience requires Guests in ECVs to transfer into an available wheelchair in order to participate in the tour.
You are asked to check in at the front of Kidani Village, outside next to the valet window 15 minutes prior to your tour. You are responsible for getting to the AKL yourself and should allow plenty of time to do so. If you arrive early you could have a drink in the Sanaa Lounge, or even get there in time to have dinner.
Reservations can be made online up to 2 months in advance and should be as soon as your dates become available as this is popular and slots do fill up! When checking availability, you can select the date range to see what is available for your whole trip, rather than checking day by day.
After checking in, you will wait nearby until your departure time nears.
When your guides are ready, they will distribute the night vision monocles and assist you into the back of the truck. Bench seats run along the sides and front of the bed in a U. Your Safari Guide will stand in the back of the truck bed, while the driver is of course in the cab.
I was so impressed with our guide, she was individually and intimately familiar with all the animals that we encountered on our tour, calling each of them by name when discussing them and relating personality traits of each.
The tour itself goes into the secured savanna area behind and around the resort, going through many gates designed to keep the various animals separated.
The truck headlights were on for parts of the tour and off the rest of the time. Even with the lights off there was enough illumination to see the animals who were near the truck quite well.
I only used the night vision device a few times to see animals in the dark in the distance, it wasn’t needed up close. And all of the animals were familiar with he truck, most staying right where they were as the truck drove right by them.
It was a trick taking pics through the night vision device with my phone…
I highly recommend this tour at the Animal Kingdom Lodge! It’s well worth the price if you are interested in animals or are just looking for a fun activity in the evening!
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
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