We absolutely love Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom. So, when Disney introduced the Caring for Giants tour, Ryan and I were quite keen to sign up for it as the African elephants are one of our favourite animals to see on the safari. Caring for Giants is a partial behind the scenes tour of the Elephants and how they are cared for at Animal Kingdom. Not only is full of information, but it also includes some incredible photo opportunities. So, without further ado…our Caring for Giants review:
The tour is $30 USD per person and is 60 minutes in length. We felt the price was reasonable and worth it, and there is a 15% discount available for DVC members, but unfortunately not for Annual Passholders. While there is a cost for the tour, all of the proceeds go directly to Disney’s Conservation Fund. The fund is committed to ensuring a world where wildlife thrives and nature is treasured and protected by saving wildlife, inspiring action and protecting the planet.
You can book the Caring for Giants tour by calling Disney Reservations at (407) 939-7529. You can also book in person at the “Animal Tours” kiosk right outside the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We recommend booking this tour in advance and booking a time slot earlier in the day. The tours run daily every half an hour starting at 9:30am with the last tour starting at 4pm. We booked a 9:30am tour as we had heard that the elephants would be most active first thing in the morning before it got too hot. It turned out to be a perfect time since we were able to observe about half dozen female elephants, including the adorable and endearing 2-year-old Stella.
Check-in is at the Curiosity Animal Tour kiosk, which is located across from the Kilimanjaro Safari entrance. The day we did the tour, we had an early breakfast reservation at 8am at Tusker House. We were able to have breakfast, meet all the characters and then head over to check-in at 9:15am as it is recommended to check-in 15 minutes early.
At check-in we received name tags and met the rest of our group, approximately 8-10 people. At 9:30am we were escorted backstage to board a shuttle and be taken to the viewing area.
Disney strictly prohibits and photos or videos being taken while traveling backstage. However, once you reach the viewing area (where the majority of the tour takes place), photography is allowed and encouraged.
It’s also important to mention that Caring for Giants does not give guests the opportunity to get up close to the elephants, touch them or feed them. Guests do however get a closer view than is possible on Kilimanjaro Safaris. The description for the tour on Disney’s website states that you will be about 80-100 feet away from the elephants, and I would say that is about how close we got.
I won’t go into too much detail as we think the tour is worth doing and don’t want to give away the entire experience, so here is a brief overview of what to expect on the Caring for Giants tour.
During the 60-minute tour, a Cast Member goes over how Disney cares for the elephants. Our guide gave us detailed information about the relationships and hierarchy among the elephants. She also spoke about what kind of enrichment the elephants receive and she happily answered all of our questions. She was very knowledgeable and presented the information in a laid back and engaging manner. There was also an African Cultural Representative there to discuss how the elephants live in the wild in Africa. Our representative also spoke to the struggles the elephants face and what efforts are being made to help protect them.
The information was valuable, engaging and the atmosphere was a lot more conversational, where guests spend time with knowledgeable Cast Members.
The view of the elephants was absolutely worth the cost of the tour. For about 45 minutes we stayed at the viewing area and casually watched some of the most amazing and beautiful animals just be! It really was an incredible experience to be able to watch them simply walk and eat breakfast.
We also really like the length of this tour. It’s short enough that it isn’t a big-time commitment and it won’t eat into a great deal of park time. This makes it a good option for both first time visitors and frequent visitors.
We think this tour is also one of the best opportunities for Canadians to see elephants, as Canada is a less than ideal location for elephants, and thankfully many of the elephants that were in Canadian zoos have been relocated to other locations with more suitable climates for them.
The Caring for Giants tour is a wonderful example of what Animal Kingdom is all about. It reminds us of the importance of our natural world and how all creatures and wildlife need our protection and care. Being in the presence of such large, majestic animals such as elephants, is a really wonderful experience and for that reason alone we will probably do the Caring for Giants tour again.
If you have already experienced the Caring For Giants Tour, let us know what you enjoyed the most. You can also check out the Up Close with Rhinos Tour if you’re interested in even more animal tours.