Disney’s Caring for Giants Tour Review | Animal Kingdom

Since we go to Disney World fairly often (not as often as I’d like!), we try and incorporate new experiences every time we go.  We’ve been wanting to do a tour forever but most tours have a minimum age of 12-16 which doesn’t work with our kids since they’re 4-14, and they can be really pricey which adds up quickly for our family of 7.  I was so excited to learn about the Caring for Giants Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom because the minimum age is only FOUR and the hour-long tour itself is only $30 (and an Annual Passholder discount is offered!), so it quickly became one of our Disney Bucket List items.

Caring for Giants Tour Review

Caring for Giants is a 60-minute experience where you meet with animal specialists and observe elephants from approximately 80 feet away. We booked the tour over the phone (407-WDW-PLAY) about a month before our trip and had no problem securing the first tour of the day for our group of 9, though space is limited to about 15 people per tour, so they can fill up.

We checked in for our tour about 15 minutes early at the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk near Kilimanjaro Safari, plenty of time to sign all of the waiver forms that were required for our group. The kids found a great fan to stand under and tried to stay cool while we waited for the tour to begin.

Caring for Giants Tour discount

Our tour started right on time at 930am and it was just our group plus one other family. The first part of the tour went through the backstage area behind Tusker House which meant no photography but we did see Tusker House CMs walking around as well as the Lion King cast! After a short backstage walk, we boarded a passenger van and continued through backstage areas of Animal Kingdom, past some of the animal care buildings and night barns for the Kilimanjaro Safari animals.

Caring for Giants elephants

Once we parked at our destination, it was a short walk up a ramp to the viewing area and we were SO CLOSE to the elephants!! While we all enjoyed the view, our animal care specialist, Marc, told us all about the elephants, introducing them each by name and elaborating on their personalities.

Caring for Giants Tour

Like most kids, ours were entertained with all the “poop” talk and thought it was both disgusting and hilarious when the elephant dung was passed around.  The elephants at Animal Kingdom produce roughly a ton of dung each and every day!

elephants at Animal Kingdom

There are ten elephants that call the Safari home, three males and seven females.  Herds are matriarchal and made up of only females and young males; the adolescent males are forced out of the herd and live the bachelor life. The one adult male at Animal Kingdom lives separate from the herd and he’s often the first elephant that you see while riding Kilimanjaro Safari.

Caring for Giants tour

The kids got to try on this elephant collar, a tool that researchers use to record elephant vocalizations, though it clearly didn’t fit quite right! Research has shown that the elephants in Animal Kingdom make the same vocalizations as herds of elephants in Kenya, meaning that they speak one, universal “language”.

Caring for giants tour review

“Baby” Stella, the newest member of the herd, was born at Animal Kingdom in January 2017.  At birth, she weighed 315 pounds and now, seventeen months later, she weighs over 1000 pounds.

Disney Caring for Giants

Sweet baby Stella.  She spent most of our observation time with mom, but every once in a while she would venture off by herself though she never strayed too far away and was never gone for long.

Disney Caring for Giants Tour

From our vantage point on the perimeter of the Safari area, we could watch the safari trucks drive past the herd.  While their view was partially obstructed by walls and boulders, we had a much clearer view of the herd as it traveled around.

Caring for Giants tour review

We’ve always called Ellie, “Ellie the Elephant,” and they’re one of her favorite animals so she really enjoyed seeing them up close and personal.  While some have said that this experience isn’t really geared towards the 4-8 crowd, our four-year-old thought it was awesome. She listened quietly as we learned about the elephants and LOVED watching them play and interact with each other.

Caring for Giants Animal Kingdom

Elephants spend a lot of their day eating hay and grass, but because their digestive systems are not very efficient, their poop is filled with undigested hay.  This fibrous poop can then be used to make paper– like the Caring for Giants nametags that are made from 85% elephant poop fibers that have been cleaned and recycled!

Caring for Giants Tour Review

After chatting with Marc for a while, we met with a Cultural Representative from Africa and learned about the elephant populations there. While they used to be common, poaching and habitat destruction have made it harder for the elephants to survive and their numbers are dwindling.

Because their habitats are becoming smaller, elephants have had to move into more populated areas in an effort to survive.  However, as they encroached on farmlands, they upset the farmers who then either trapped or shot the elephants in order to protect their crops.  Obviously, this was not helping the elephant population in Africa at all, until scientists from Animal Kingdom partnered with the Disney Conservation Fund and the nonprofit, Save the Elephants, to confirm that elephants are afraid of bees and they put this knowledge to work.  By installing beehives along the perimeter of their properties, farmers were able to keep the elephants out of their crops as well as make additional money from selling the honey.  It proved to be a win-win solution for both the farmers and the elephants!!

Caring for Giants Tour Review

Baby Stella and her mom, Donna– these two were so sweet together!!  Donna is also mother to Nadirah and Luna, both of whom live at Animal Kingdom as well.

Caring for Giants Tour

Our kids (ages 4-14) absolutely loved this experience as did all of the adults.  It was the perfect amount of time to learn about these gentle giants, see them interact within the herd, and get back to the park for more fun.  Unlike longer tours, this one is perfect to do during a one-day visit to Animal Kingdom because it only takes up about an hour and fifteen minutes of your time, allowing plenty of time to explore the rest of the park.

We had a fantastic time on this experience and would not hesitate to recommend it, and I’m sure we will do it again on a future trip.  Since the main point of the tour is elephant observation, it is a different experience each and every time, something that is not always true on the other Disney tour offerings.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Save

Have you done the Caring for Giants tour??  What’s your favorite Disney tour??

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Sharing is caring!!

2 Comments

  1. March 25, 2019 / 12:07 pm

    Okay, I’m in! This looks incredible and is definitely on my list now as we’re a family of animal lovers. Beautiful pics and what an amazing experience to have!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      March 25, 2019 / 2:05 pm

      Thank you so much! We REALLY enjoyed this one and I’d love to have the chance to do it again on a future trip. One of my favorite things about Animal Kingdom is that you can do the same things over and over and it’s always something new and different because the animals have a mind of their own!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

INSTAGRAM
44   86
40   128
24   96
56   192
10   56
37   158
34   179
29   93
15   113
15   673