Disney Bucket List

DISNEY PARKS

  1. Walt Disney World
  2. Disneyland
  3. Disneyland Paris
  4. Shanghai Disneyland
  5. Tokyo Disney
  6. Hong Kong Disneyland
  7. Go on a Disney Cruise

MAGIC KINGDOM

  1. Attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (and here are some Tips and Tricks!)
  2. Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (and here are some Tips and Tricks!)
  3. Do the “Keys to the Kingdom” Tour
  4. Watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade from the VIP area
  5. Do a fireworks dessert party
  6. Stay for the Kiss Goodnight at the Magic Kingdom
  7. See the hidden Mickey on Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid (can only be seen at noon on 11/18, Mickey’s birthday)
  8. Be “That Guy” at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  9. Be the Beast in Enchanted Tales with Belle
  10. Watch sunrise in the Magic Kingdom
  11. Attend Villains After Hours
  12. Go on a ride with a character

EPCOT

  1. Attend the Flower and Garden Festival
  2. Attend the Food and Wine Festival
  3. Attend the Festival of the Arts
  4. Attend the Festival of the Holidays
  5. Drink around the world– all in one day!
  6. Pick a pearl in Japan
  7. Do the “Behind the Seeds Tour”
  8. See the Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional at EPCOT with Neil Patrick Harris NPH

ANIMAL KINGDOM

  1. Find DiVine in Animal Kingdom and watch her perform
  2. Become a Wilderness Explorer
  3. Do the “Caring for Giants” Tour

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

  1. See Toy Story Land
  2. Get a family picture on Tower of Terror
  3. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
  4. Pilot the Millenium Falcon

DISNEY WATER PARKS

  1. Take surfing lessons at Typhoon Lagoon
  2. Spend the day at Blizzard Beach

DISNEY RESORTS

  1. Stay at Disney’s Aulani
  2. Stay at all of the WDW Deluxe Resorts
  3. Stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite or Cinderella Castle Suite
  4. Make s’mores with Chip and Dale at the Campfire Sing-A-Long at Fort Wilderness
  5. Go to the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness
  6. See the Christmas Lights at Fort Wilderness
  7. Ride the Surrey bikes on the Boardwalk
  8. Take a boat cruise during the fireworks
  9. Watch the Electrical Water Pageant

DISNEY DINING

  1. Eat at every table-service restaurant at Disney World
  2. Eat at EVERY restaurant at Disney World– the Golden Spoon!
  3. Eat in Cinderella Castle (Cinderella’s Royal Table)
  4. Do the Rio Grande Nacho Challenge at Pecos Bills (no longer offered)

MISCELLANEOUS DISNEY FUN

  1. Become DVC Members
  2. Attend a DVC Moonlight Magic event
  3. Do a VIP Tour
  4. Do an adults-only trip
  5. Go on a trip with a friend
  6. Do Disney ALONE!
  7. Stay from rope drop to extra magic hours close
  8. 4 parks in one day
  9. Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum

What’s on your Disney Bucket List??

Can't Miss things to do at Disney Parks

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 to 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 $39 (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 the 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 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 walls and boulders partially obstructed their view, 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 toward 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 and 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.

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

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