WDW Ride Guide Podcast

The WDW Ride Guide Podcast is an unofficial Disney podcast dedicated to exploring Walt Disney World one ride at a time. The sheer number of Disney rides make it nearly impossible to cover them all in an average family vacation. Add to that the incredible variety of storytelling throughout each park and it quickly becomes clear that every Disney rider will have a different favorite. The goal of our weekly podcast is to make it easier for you to plan ahead for the rides you don’t want to miss!



Backstage Pass – Caring For Giants

I’m very excited to be sharing my experience on the Caring for Giants tour with you today!  This was actually the last item on our last trip and it turned out to be a great way to cap things off.  As with most tours, there are some extra guidelines you need to be aware of before booking the tour yourself.  Be sure to check Disney’s website for a full list.  For now, here are the…

Know before you go essential facts:

  • The tour is located in the Animal Kingdom
  • The tour is 60 minutes long
  • Participants must be 4 years of age or older to participate
  • Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult (18 years of age or older)
  • Guests using an ECV must leave their mobility device onstage where they will retrieve them upon conclusion of the experience.  Guests must walk by themselves, or be assisted by a member of their party in a courtesy wheelchair to participate in this experience.
  • Food is NOT included
  • The fright factor is 0 out of 5
  • The tour usually has ten offerings per day, starting at 9:30 am, and concluding at 4:00pm
  • Disney’s Caring for Giants Tour is $30 per person, plus tax.
  • Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-PLAY
  • The tour began operating on March 12, 2017

Before we get started, be sure to check out the podcast for a full description of our experience.  The pictures below only tell part of the story!

Your tour begins at the Curiosity Animal Tours check in stand.  This outpost is located across from the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris back in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Be here at least 15 minutes before your scheduled start time.  Oh, and go to the bathroom before you get started!  No restroom breaks during your 60 minute tour.

You personalized name badge will be waiting for you when you arrive.  You will get to keep the badge as a souvenir, but you do have to return the lanyard.  Pay close attention to the material used for making the paper of your badge.  No spoilers, but you may want to have some Purell handy after handling!

After walking backstage (sorry no pictures allowed) you board your air conditioned shuttle and take about a 7-minute ride around to the back of Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Upon arrival you will discover you are now behind the elephant enclosure from the ride.  A long viewing platform has been built at the back of the enclosure, complete with lots of shade and even some benches if you need a break.  Don’t stay seated long though, there are lots of great elephants to take in!

The elephants actually feel closer than they appear in this picture.  You are normally about 80-100 feet away from the magnificent animals.

In addition to viewing the elephants your Disney Cast Members do a fantastic job of educating you about all aspects of the African elephants that call the Animal Kingdom home.

Including, elephant dung!  That’s right, you can even hold a piece of elephant dung.  Don’t worry, this one has been petrified.  It looks and feels more like a fossil than, well you know…

There are two ends to the viewing platform and the Cast Members will make sure you are positioned in the best spot to see the elephants.  We only spent about 5 minutes on this end of the platform before moving down for closer viewing.

One of your Cast Member Tour Guides will be a Cultural Representative from Africa.  In addition to having a really cool accent, they teach you all about the plight of elephants in their home country and what is being done to help care for these giants.  They only talk for a few minutes, but are available to answer any questions you have throughout your time with the elephants.

Pretty cute family portrait huh?  Watching the personalities of each animal on display is one of the most fun aspects of this tour.  You have about 40 minutes back at the elephant enclosure, but the time goes by fast when you are having fun!

Our guides were so friendly and helpful.  They took as many pictures as we wanted, and made sure everyone in the group got a great shot with our new elephant friends in the background.  Oh, did I mention it was my birthday?  Pretty cool way to celebrate!

So, would I recommend this tour?  Absolutely!  It is currently one of the less expensive tours available, doesn’t take too much time out of your day, and provides a unique look into both the park and its elephants.  Once you are on the viewing platform you can take as many pictures and ask as many questions as your heart desires.  Plus, this experience will appeal to a wide age range of visitors.  Anyone with an interest in animals will appreciate the closer views of the elephants and the expertise of the tour guides.

As far as going backstage, this tour won’t spoil the magic as much as some others.  If you have listened to my episode on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour you know I love that tour as well.  However, that tour will definitely show a side to Main Street U.S.A. that some may prefer to leave unspoiled.  With the Caring for Giants tour, you are mostly exposed to trees and some operational buildings backstage.  Other than seeing Pandora in the distance, there is very little that breaks the illusion of what you normally see in the park.

For all those reasons I think it is also a great place to start if you have never been on a backstage tour.  Once you experience Caring for Giants you should have a good idea of whether or not you want to tackle some of the longer, more expensive tours in the future.

If you have been on the Caring for Giants tour I would love to hear from you!  Did you enjoy it as much as I did, or are there any pieces of advice you would share with your fellow riders?  You can message me on our Facebook page at facebook.com/wdwrideguide.  If you haven’t been yet and still have some questions please let me know that as well.  I’d be happy to help you decide if your next trip is the time to add this tour to your plan.

Thank you so much for joining me today.  I’m excited about sharing another backstage pass with you next time when we explore the Family Magic Tour.  For now, thanks again for checking in, have a great week and make each day a ride worth taking!

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 2018-07-23  20m