Need something fun and FREE to do at Walt Disney World? Have the kids complete the FREE Wilderness Explorers Guide at Disney Animal Kingdom – now updated with Pandora – The World of Avatar! Post sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own
FREE Wilderness Explorers Guide at Disney Animal Kingdom
Of all of the Disney World parks I have ever visited, I am least familiar with Animal Kingdom. So when I was told that we would be experiencing the Wilderness Explorers Guide, I had the blank DUH look on my face. But now finishing up this amazing journey for Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom, it is one of the best family experiences at Disney Animal Kingdom, and possibly the best in all of Walt Disney World. This best kept secret at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is being explored today so you can experience the amazing FUN the Wilderness Explorers Guide has to offer. I’ve got 10 reasons for you to check out the Wilderness Explorers Guide at Disney Animal Kingdom, and it begins with FREE.
1. 100% FREE
You combine Disney with free and you get awesomeness. That’s right, the Disney Animal Kingdom Wilderness Explorers Guide is a 100% free experience that’s included with your Disney Animal Kingdom Park ticket. And believe it or not, a form of this experience has been around for 15 years! Look what we’ve all been missing! This handbook allows your family to explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new way with tons of great experiences to make your visit signature Disney memorable. Just pick up your guide at any one of the 9 Troop Leader Locations (the one on the walkway to the Tree of Life at the front of the park is most popular) and head into adventure!
2. Ultimate Scavenger Hunt
So I’d like to think of the Wilderness Explorer’s Guide as the Ultimate Disney Scavenger Hunt. Using the booklet (or just your eyes), you can locate 31 different locations throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Each location is marked by a wooden circular badge sign (which I noticed how much kids loved pointing them out to their parents) and a person with a bright orange satchel. Each badge station has a task (or a few tasks) to complete to earn an official Wilderness Explorers Badge for your handbook. When the task is complete, the guide then places the badge into your booklet has a fun keepsake. Different tasks = different badges, and definitely great incentive for your kids to collect them all!
This program combines a multitude of different activities to create the ultimate learning experience for kids. We’re learning about animals, and conservation, and cultures all at the same time. Your family will hike the trails, dig for fossils, study gorilla behaviors, listen to animal sounds, learn how veterinarians care for animals, explore cultures from around the world. Even as an adult, I learned quite a few new tidbits of info, with the cultural stations as one of the my faves!
One of the best experiences with the Wilderness Explorers Guide is the conversations you have with Disney staff along the way. These folks are trained to interact with YOU and bring you the best possible experiences. You can just tell how much everyone just loves talking with families, especially the kids to help steer them in the right direction to complete the task. Their bubbly and lively and love what they do. This is awesome for kids too who want to have that personal interaction and attention from a Disney cast member. Just another way that Disney makes their experiences special.
5. Explore All of Animal Kingdom In A New Way
With 31 badges to grab, you bet that there are lots of locations throughout the park. Disney Animal Kingdom spread out these badges wisely in hidden and more prominent places throughout the park to help encourage you to explore some places you may have never strolled through at Animal Kingdom. I can definitely say that I was able to take in more of the scenery, the architecture, and the Disney moments tucked into each station. No longer focused on finding the next ride, the Wilderness Explorers Guide makes you stop and smell the flowers (literally). And look at this gorgeous picture I got of the Tree of Life on my adventure!
6. Safe for Everyone
While recommended for ages 7-10 years old, the activities in this experience are 100% safe for everyone in the family, even my toddler. I know that my 2 year old daughter would love to help her brother complete the tasks in the booklet. And there’s no scary Yeti monster or roller coaster awaiting you, just a fun walking tour of the theme park!
7. Family Based
My favorite part about the Wilderness Explorers Guide is that this booklet encourages families to communicate, interact and brain storm together. Each task opens the door to family togetherness, and all without the help of technology! Disney strategically made this experience technology-free so everyone can get involved “the old-fashioned” way. And I LOVE that! Kids are leading parents in the Disney plan making. Families working together to solve the next puzzle. It was awesome to watch the excitement on kids’ faces and pride on the parents’ faces when a badge was earned.
8. There Are Rewards
Not only do you receive one of 31 different Wilderness Explorers Guide Badges throughout the park, but when the whole book is complete, there’s the ultimate reward! A special badge, The Senior Wilderness Explorers badge awaits you at one of the 9 Troop Leader locations. A little ceremony commences too to celebrate!
***UPDATE! As of Summer 2017, there are now 33 badges to earn during the Wilderness Explorers Guide! 2 new stations are now open in Pandora – The World of Avatar. Kids can now earn their botany and ecology badges here.
9. Keeps Families Coming Back Year After Year
It would be difficult to collect all 33 badges in 1 day, and that’s ok! This guide encourages families to come back year after year and complete more badges. They just bring their book back with them and pick up where they left off! And the culture stations are constantly changing too, so kids love going back and seeing what culture is represented. Just like a little book of memories, the Wilderness Explorers Guide has become a great Disney family keepsake.
10. It’s fun!
As you can guess, all of these amazing qualities of the Disney Wilderness Explorers Guide = one thing, FUN! But not everyone knows about this amazing and free experience. In fact, only 1 on 5 guests are currently on the Wilderness Explorers Guide bandwagon. Getting a taste of the FREE Wilderness Explorers Guide at Disney Animal Kingdom is an amazing memory unto itself and fun, new way to experience the park. I really enjoyed learning, interacting and seeing so much more of Animal Kingdom than I would have otherwise. In a few hours, I as able to collect 11 of the 31 badges in my book. But I seriously cannot wait to bring my son so he can earn his own badges. His love for exploring and animals culminates in this one book. I know he would LOVE the experience!
I hope you and your family will consider stopping at one of the Troop Leader locations next time you’re at Disney Animal Kingdom and get exploring with the Wilderness Explorers Guide! Already around for 15 years, I’d love to see this program continue for many more.
And if you’re looking to explore more of the amazing animals and adventures that Disney has to offer, be sure to check out Disneynature’s latest movie Monkey Kingdom, now in theaters! Bringing animals and their natural habitats to life, Disney has an amazing way of weaving stories and genuine behaviors into a memorable movie experience. 3 years of filming in the making, I know you’re family will love it!
Get a glimpse of how powerful this movie is as we gear up for Earth Day! Check out my full review, including my thoughts on whether this movie is safe for your little ones. Have you been following along with my #MonkeyKingdomEvent adventures? Check out my amazing Disney experiences so far!
- Disney’s Wild Africa Trek
- Exclusive Interview with Disneynature Ambassador Dr. M. Sanjayan
- Monkey Kingdom Movie Review
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