Like all of the four theme parks of the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is teeming with unique and interactive experiences. Be it indulging budding paleontologists at the Boneyard Dig Site or enlightening the curious minds of future veterinarians at the Conservation Station, Disney has cornered the market on uniting fun with educational lessons. They call it “edutainment” and anyone would agree it’s aptly named.
While the masses are flocking at high speed from attraction to attraction, downshift to first gear and take part in one of these enriching, no-wait necessary, laid-back and relaxed activities. Guests often declare these unhurried moments, the highlight of their vacations.
Perhaps the finest example across all of the Walt Disney World Resort is the Wilderness Explorers program. Based on the character of Russell from the Disney•Pixar animated film, “Up” and his quest to earn a variety of merit badges, the Wilderness Explorers generates in participants a thirst for knowledge by offering the ultimate quencher…stickers!
To begin, you’ll first need to obtain your official Wilderness Explorers field guide. Headquarters is located on the bridge between Discovery Island and the Oasis and it is here where you can pick up your guide, map and learn everything you’ll need to know about completing the challenges. (There are four other satellite locations conveniently placed throughout the park where you can also obtain a field guide- in Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Dinoland U.S.A and in Asia.)
The assignments are a wide variety of missions ranging from simple observations to acquiring an actual skill. No matter the task, to complete the challenge and earn your sticker badge, you must present your newfound knowledge to a trained Cast Member for approval and acceptance of your expertise. Have no fear; Cast Members are prepared to modify challenges for even the smallest explorers so all can enjoy the warm feeling of pride and accomplishment that comes with securing a badge.
This experience is for kids of all ages and makes for a wonderful family fun day at the Animal Kingdom Park. With over 30 challenges to complete and sticker badges to earn, this adventure could take up the better part of a full day or be completed over several days. There is no time limit, no order of challenges and can be done at your leisure. One of the best attributes of this experience is that it will lead you to areas of the Animal Kingdom theme park that perhaps you otherwise would not have ventured to.
Participating in the Wilderness Explorers is a phenomenal way to become intimately familiar with all the beauty and wonder that is Disney’s Animal Kingdom while learning some things you never knew you never knew!