Big Changes Afoot at Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris; Potential Refurb in January

This post has officially been dumbed down due to massive complaints about the direction of it previously, so here it is short and sweet.

Strong rumors indicate  that early next year, in either January or February, KJS will be closing for an extensive refurbishment and when it re-opens, it may very well contain no remnants of the storyline it once held.

Currently, guests are set to embark on a two week safari through the savanna aboard SIMBA-1, only to have their trip cut short when other touring vehicles come across signs of poachers.

This is not the first time the story has been minused, however. In the original, version of the attraction, ‘Big Red’ was physically represented as the fallen victim of the poachers. Determined to be too family unfriendly, the faux corpse was removed from the attraction and ‘Big Red’ turned out okay (so they tell us) before the attraction opened to the public. A few years ago, the storyline was thinned out even further.

So what provoked these rumored changes? Sources have given us several rationales, but none of them really seem to make sense from an operations perspective. The only other change we know to be occurring is the new tour that will be offered to guests  as first announced on the Disney Parks blog. Although that tour was said to be launching later this year, we have been assured that its success depends on the changes in the attraction so it’s not actually likely to begin until early next year. From what we understand, the tour does stand to benefit from the proposed changes to the attraction.

Update #1 – 9/1/10: Stitch Kingdom reader Tonya offered the following on our Facebook page:

‘We were there the end of August. I was asked to take a short survey. They asked questions about the length of the ride, how many animals did we see and if our children enjoyed it. All they would tell me is that they are thinking about changing the ride like making it longer.’

Update #2 – 9/1/10: This is 130% speculation on my part, but I just want to say it for the sake of it being said. If this pans out, I believe it’s a good chance the safari will go in the way of automated spiels that will be triggered as the vehicle passes through certain areas, just like Living with the Land and the Backlot Tour have done and the Planet Watch Wildlife Express attempted to do.

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13 thoughts on “Big Changes Afoot at Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris; Potential Refurb in January

  1. Oh oh. How long will this refurb last? Taking my mother down there on February 11.
    She has never been to Animal Kingdom and seeing the safari is the NUMBER ONE thing we intend to do.

    Help! Anyone know?

  2. Intriguing. I know that the Safari has NEVER had an actual honest-for-goodness closure for rehab since the park opened. I have a close family member who works for the Kiliminjaro Safari co., and while he has been very involved in the new hard-ticket tour, he hasn’t given me beans about a Safari rehab. I’ll have to twist his arm.

  3. I think the canned spiel idea is a bad one. The best guide we ever had on the safari seemed like an escapee from the Jungle Cruise! Keep the personal touch!

  4. Or perhaps by making the safari “longer” they were referring to how the safaris are now a good five minutes longer and include a dozen complete stops.

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