Becoming Wilderness Explorer at Walt Disney Word's Animal Kingdom is a dream come true for kids who love animals. And don't all kids love animals?
Your whole family will love this Wilderness Explorer experience!
If you've seen Disney Pixar's movie Up, you know Russell, the adorable boy that finally wins the heart of Carl, the old man who is the "star" of the film.
These days, Russell has become a star, too, and even has an activity at Animal Kingdom designed after him!
Both your kids (and you!) can become a Wilderness Explorer, and it's a fun way to see things at the Disney theme Parks you might have missed otherwise.
Just grab your Field Guide from the Wilderness Explorers Headquarters, which is located between the Oasis and Discovery Island.
And the good news is that you can even use the My Disney Experience App to get directions! Just search Wilderness Explorers on the home screen.
You can also stop by any of the Wilderness Explorer stops located in Africa, Asia, Dinoland, or Rafiki's Planet Watch and ask for badge guides. Ready to begin?
As we went through the program, the first step for us was to learn a little about the challenge.
You will get a badge (sticker) at each stop after you complete the challenge.
There was an official Wilderness Explorer waiting in the wings to teach us the official secret explorer call, “Caw! Caw! Roar!”
You don't truly have the right to shout out the call until you've completed the challenge, and we were going to do our best to complete it in under three hours (which I don't recommend!)
The Challenge is really meant to be a stroll through Disney's Animal Kingdom. It can take all day, or even be done over a few days.
Let's face it, sometimes unforeseen circumstances will prevent you from doing everything you want to do in a day.
Make ample space for pop up thunderstorms or tired kids in your vacation!
Be sure to take breaks now and then. If it's a warm day, have lunch in an air conditioned dining room.
Each Wilderness Explorer activity is different, so you'll make your way through the park and follow the directions at each stop.
Some of the badge stops you'll find are the Safari Badge, Dinosaur Badge, Veterinary Badge, Yeti Badge, and the Music Badge. Getting that first badge is exciting!
You'll have to find all 30 in order to complete the challenge, and at each one the Wilderness Explorer Guide troop leaders will place your sticker in your book.
There are so many unique experiences on this adventure:
- live tigers on the viewing platform in Maharajah Jungle Trek.
- hidden Mickeys on the murals in Maharajah Jungle Trek.
- take the Wildlife Express Train for a 7 minute ride to Rafiki's Planet Watch to learn about conservation.
- all kinds of wildlife encounters on the Discovery Island Trails.
We had a blast talking to the cast member Guides. They love what they do and many of them have years of experience.
To give you an idea of what a Wilderness Explorers experience challenge is like, we had to figure out what clues were available and answer questions on the one below.
Hint: There were footprints, but what kind? Often answers are found in the little details!
My recommendation is not to get so wrapped up in the challenge that you miss things.
I had to stop and look at this beautiful owl and listen to a bit of educator's talk.
These cast members often have long-standing relationships with the animals they show, so it's really fun to learn from them.
The Wilderness Explorer Challenge is so much fun, and your kids will love taking home the booklet with all the stickers! What a great souvenir!
When visiting Animal Kingdom, you may also want to check out the Wild Africa Trek, which is the VIP safari experience. It was awesome!
The Backstage Tales Tour Experience at Animal Kingdom is also incredible. This tour requires registration and an extra fee, but it is so worth it!
And for the top views of the animals, stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. There's really nothing like it!
What is your favorite thing to do at Animal Kingdom? Share in the comments below!
If you haven't seen Monkey Kingdom yet, you really should pick it up for the DVD player. Animal lovers will enjoy it and learn so much!
Come back and let me know if your family decided to get your Wilderness Explorers Badges!
According to the WDW website, the set times are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day of the week.
According to the Walt Disney World website, there are 25 badges.
After completing all 25 badges, you'll get a special sticker badge and the title of Senior Wilderness Explorer. You can continue the program on your next visit if you're not able to finish.
You will need to make sure you have comfortable walking shoes as you'll be doing a lot of it. You should also carry cold water to stay hydrated.
What's your favorite thing to do in the Animal Kingdom Disney theme park?
This article was first seen on Food, Fun & Faraway Places on April 21, 2015 and was updated June 21, 2021.