Have you ever wondered how much an elephant eats? What happens when an animal gets sick at Animal Kingdom? Duh. If you want to know more about how the animals at Animal Kingdom are cared for, Rafiki’s Planet Watch is the place for you!
Rafiki’s Planet Watch Queue and Preshow
If you really want to know about the purpose of Animal Kingdom then, as Rafiki says to Simba, “You follow ol’ Rafiki, He knows the way.”
There isn’t exactly a traditional queue for Rafiki’s Planet Watch, but there is . . . A TRAIN! Yes, that’s right, a real live train! ALL ABOARD! (I’ve always wanted to say that!) Let’s head to a place where conservation rules!
Remember the back lot tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios well, this isn’t really like that–but it is sort of a backstage tour. You’ll get to see where several animals are kept. It’s a neat touch that feels like you’re getting a sneak peak the park!
Once you get off the train then you will walk the trail called Habitat Habitat over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. While this doesn’t have a lot to do with Rafiki, it is dedicated to animals. This is a perfect fit in Animal Kingdom!
When you get to Rafiki’s Planet watch the first thing you’ll do is go to the Affection Section. The is an area where you can pet and interact with the animals. They have goats (like Jeb from Home on the Range), Cows (like Clarabelle), Sheep (like Billy, Goat, and Gruff from Toy Story), and Pigs (Like our friend Pigment).
I think I might have some relatives there!
After the Affection Section you’ll walk into the Conservation Station (Rafiki loves rhyming too! Remember, “Asante sana squash banana!”).
The Conservation Station is where you get to see how they take care of the animals. You get to see veterinarian treatment rooms, science and nutrition centers, and all of those really nifty reptile, amphibian, and invertebrate windows!
Are you ready for something really cool! After you’ve learned about animals, you’ll learn to draw one! Yes, you heard me! You get a lesson in being a Disney animator!
The class lasts 25 minutes and anyone, at any skill level, can participate! You know you want to learn to draw a Disney character! You’ll get step by step instructions from a Disney Cast Member so that you can let your artistic talent shine!
Rafiki’s Planet Watch is located in Animal Kingdom back between Kilimanjaro Safari and the UP! The Great Bird Adventure.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch has already been a quiet escape from the busy streets of Animal Kingdom! It probably won’t be super busy but make sure to get there before it closes as it usually has different hours than the rest of the park!
The Animation Experience offers a Fastpass+ option but you probably don’t need it. If you happen to be there on a VERY busy day it might be worth using one of your extra Fastpasses but not your main three!
What Fastpasses are worth using your top three on? It’s so much to think about! Reach out to our friends at Destinations to Travel
When you’re near The Animation Experience you’ll see a bunch of fun panels that tell you about the True Life Adventures documentary series! The panels also teach you about times when Disney animators had to study live animals for an animation project.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch was an opening day attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998! In 2019, Rafiki’s got a big, and much needed overhaul with the Lion King characters being added in a Lion King section.
The Fine Print
Everyone can experience Rafiki’s Planet Watch together. Since it isn’t a thrill ride there aren’t any restrictions. It’s a fun experience to play with some animals, look at some cool things, and learn to draw, and you can do it all together as a family!
Dad’s Bottom Line
We used to totally avoid Rafiki’s even though The Man-Child is a big animal lover. On our first big family trip with the in-law kids we finally hopped on the train. What fun. We could have spent hours there. The Man-Child was in heaven. We only left because we had to get to the bird show (his favorite animals are birds).
I wasn’t a fan of Rafiki’s Planet Watch until I went. Now I’m a big fan.