You know that saying about best laid plans? Well day 2 of our trip to Disney Social Media Moms started off slowly and frankly that’s just the way we like it; after the whirlwind that was the conference and Animal Kingdom the night before, Debbie and I had planned on having a nice, relaxing afternoon. We slept late, did a little work then met a friend for brunch.

Just as our entrees arrived, I got a text from our new friend Robin Reeve of The Man Cave Of Disney; there were two more spaces on the Wild Africa Trek and he asked if Debbie and I wanted to do. Did we ever!

A little background; I have been going to Orlando every year for the past 13, ever since we, like so many others. bought a timeshare there. One of our favorite places is Animal Kingdom; specifically Kilimanjaro Safaris where you ride in an open-air bus for a better look at African wildlife in a natural setting. But just when I thought I had seen and done it all, there was this; The Wild Africa Trek.

The Wild Africa trek is a VIP tour where you and your small group get close, really close to the animals, including the ones you would break a land speed record running from, if you saw them anywhere but here.

Our posse from left to right:
Trey Burley
, me, Debbie Mitchell, our guide, Emily,
Robin Reeve
and his wife, Ashley.

First things first: suiting up. Because we were going to be in close proximity to wild animals and in some cases, high above them, safety was a top priority. That meant vests with tethers and an earpiece so we could hear guide Emily at all times.

Once properly attired, it was time to head out. We made our way through Harambe Village, on our way to the first stop…. the hippos.

They didn’t feel like doing a whole lot, since it was hot and they were heavy. But I did learn some fascinating things about them, namely how they mark their territory. I will spare you every detail; suffice it to say it involves pooping and using their tails like a fan. Look it up.

Then it was time for the tethered vests to come in handy. You wouldn’t walk on this bridge without one, would you?

One by one, we crept our way across, hanging on to the sides..

….because this is what was just below. Or is it THESE?

Lemme check that tether one.more.time. Yep, nice and tight and that’s a good thing because we were goin’ in for a closer look.

They were even scarier from this angle. These guys, more than 20 in all, have been living together since they were babies. And just like my kids at home, that doesn’t stop them from squabbling every now and again. In fact, a few of them we bloodied up, having gone at each other a few moments before we arrived.

From there, we hopped back into our vehicle and headed out to see the elephants and what a treat that was because there are two babies in the herd.

Later we spied the cheetahs.. and they, us.

What followed next was something I’ll never forget. We pulled up to a large gazebo with three or four tables, beautifully set with checkered table clothes and something to drink for us, the parched travelers.

Emily then brought each of us a couple of tins and when we opened them, this was inside; a beautifully presented, African-inspired lunch.

We enjoyed every bite, just feet away from the giraffe, who seemed to be enjoying their lunch of tree leaves, as much as we were enjoying ours.

At the end of what could only be described as a divine break, we got back in the vehicle for more of the animals. There was the sleepy warthog..

The ostrich who was watching us as intently as we were watching her.

…and so much more. When it was all said and done, it was hands down, one of the best experiences I have ever had at Disney,  a tough thing to say since they’ve all been good.

The price of the Wild Africa Trek is not included in your admission to the park, but check the website as there are some specials running throughout the summer. If you’re going to splurge on something on your trip to Disney, I would highly recommend this be the one. You won’t be disappointed!

Disclosure: Disney paid for Team GEM to take part in the fun at Disney Social Media Moms but rest assured, these opinions are my own and hey, I always give it to you straight, don’t I?

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