A couple of months ago my lovely friend Sue did a guest post about the backstage tour Caring for Giants, which took you behind the scenes with the elephants in Animal Kingdom. Her experience sounded so cool, and I love Animal Kingdom so much, that I decided to book it when I visited Disney World in September! Though the tour is the same that she did, I thought you might be interested in hearing a second perspective on it.
This tour is about an hour long and takes you behind the scenes with the elephants so you can get closer to them and learn more about them. You get to spend a lot of time watching them and seeing how they interact. Jason and I checked in by Kilimanjaro Safaris and were given name tags. There was only one other couple on our tour, which was nice because it meant a lot of one on one time with our guides. We were initially led to a backstage spot where we got on a bus to take us back to where the elephants were.
We had a nice view of the Savannah and could see many of the elephants at any given time. Baby Stella was out and about, and she was a ton of fun to watch. We learned about each of the elephants and our guide told us their names and about their personalities. It was entertaining to watch one of them stick their trunk way up in the air to try and get at the leaves higher up on the trees! The guides were amused and said they don’t see that very often.
We probably had about 30 minutes at the Savannah just watching them and listening to what our guides had to tell us. We were allowed to ask questions too, of course. I’m sure what you learn will vary on who you get and what is asked, but we learned some fun facts while there. For just one example, they talked about how there is the story that elephants are afraid of mice. We learned that this is actually a myth, but elephants are quite afraid of bees!
Towards the end of the tour we were introduced to Phil, who was a cultural representative from South Africa. He had lots of things to tell us about his home country. He even spent a few minutes teaching us some words in his native tongue of Zulu – which is a language made up of different clicks and sounds. It was challenging!
To finish the tour they discussed the importance of protecting the elephants, especially when they are poached for their tusks. As we left and headed back toward the bus they gave everyone buttons and informed us that the entire fee for the tour would go towards Disney’s conservation efforts with the elephants. This is outstanding news.
I love Animal Kingdom because it is a unique theme park where you can do things you wouldn’t be able to experience anywhere else. Caring for Giants is another one of those things. And unlike so many places that are just getting greedy with money, Animal Kingdom is still focusing on education and conversation. This absolutely warms my heart.
I know that people who don’t really have an appreciation for animals in the way that I do would probably find this tour slow and boring. But if you are an animal lover, like learning, or even just taking pictures, I would highly recommend Caring for Giants. It only takes an hour out of your day, it’s relatively inexpensive ($30, and it goes towards a good cause!) and something special to do in Animal Kingdom.
Would you be interested in doing the Caring for Giants tour?