My husband and I have done several tours at Animal Kingdom Lodge and our hands down favorite is the Waynama Safari which we have done three times (fourth coming up in January!). You do need to enjoy animals and food as this tour is full of both!
This is a full 4 hour plus experience…
that starts with pre -Safari tea and snacks (scones, trail bars) at Jiko while you chat with other tour guests and cultural representatives (always a highlight of our Animal Kingdom Lodge visits). The biggest challenge is not eating too much here since you will have a big Jiko dinner later in the tour! The ~90 minute Safari departs at 4:00 and tours the lodge savannas – the guides are terrific and you get really close to the animals. On one trip, I took my 75 year old parents and they managed climbing into the truck and could tolerate the bumpy ride. Many interesting stories about the animals made the time fly by.
Then back to Jiko for dinner
The format is great as most of it is family style so you get to try as many dishes as you like. Appetizers and desserts are plated and had a selection of three sampling items each. Then there are endless plates of meats, fish, root vegetables, macaroni and cheese – you need a big appetite to try everything that is included. The chef comes out to explain the food and answer any questions. Specialty sunset cocktail to start off and wine with dinner and dessert is included.
Each Waynama Safari is limited to 12 people which means plenty of room in the truck and no fighting for a great viewing spot. We have seen as few as four and up to the max of twelve people as well as mix of adults and children (they did accommodate children with less adventurous food if needed). While a bit pricey at $209 (unfortunately DVC discount no longer offered), we view it as a good value because so much is included (Jiko with alcohol would easily account for over half the price). This is a leisurely paced event with checkin before 3:30 if you want to nibble at the reception, Safari from 4:00-5:30 (sometimes a bit longer) and dinner ending around 7:30/8:00. If you aren’t staying at the Lodge, you should add time to wander around the various viewing areas before the event and definitely make time to visit the gift shop (my favorite resort gift shop!) before leaving. One of my Disney traditions is an animal souvenir from the Lodge gift shop every trip – I now have a set of shelves full of awesome animals.
We highly recommend trying it
It is a terrific way to experience Jiko as you don’t have to pick just one entree to enjoy. And if you love animals the way we do, the Safari will be the perfect lead-in to dinner.