Animal Kingdom’s New Wilderness Explorers


As promised, I’m planning to share some more details from the “Monstrous Summer” media event last week. I was going to include everything in one blog, but thought it might be more useful if I broke it out into individual topics. So let’s get started!

One of the projects featured at last week’s “Monstrous Summer” media event at Walt Disney World was the soon-to-debut “Wilderness Explorers” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The new program is an interactive experience that invites guests to explore Animal Kingdom in “engaging and challenging ways” aimed at deepening understanding of animals and the natural world we live in. The “Wilderness Explorer” theme is taken from the Disney-Pixar film, “UP!” — one of the main characters, Russell, is a Wilderness Explorer himself.

Disney California Adventure already has a version of the Wilderness Explorer Program at its Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, but Walt Disney World’s edition will obviously be different, due to the nature of its home park.


In the Animal Kingdom iteration of the program, guests will take an official pledge. Then, as new “Explorers,” they can wander the park at their leisure, armed with field guides that describe challenges they can complete to earn sticker badges along the way. There will be about 30 different badges available.

Imagineer Alex Wright was on hand at the media event and took a few minutes to describe the program:

According to Wright, many elements of the “Wilderness Explorers” program have already been subtly integrated into the theme park — we might have walked right past them and not noticed.

Though the activity is geared to children ages 7 to 10, it’s something that the whole family will be able to participate in and enjoy. Wright says that he expects that the first Explorers will be earning their badges very soon, within the next few weeks.

The Wilderness Explorers program will be included in admission to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Debra Martin Koma wrote about food, travel and lifestyle issues for a number of local and national publications before she fell in love with Walt Disney World on her first visit — when she was 34! She's returned to her Laughing Place more times than she can count in the ensuing years, and enthusiastically shares her passion with readers of AllEars.Net and AllEars®. Deb also co-authored (along with Deb Wills) PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, a travel guide designed for all travelers to Walt Disney World who may require special attention, from special diets to mobility issues.

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3 Replies to “Animal Kingdom’s New Wilderness Explorers”

  1. We did this today and it was brilliant! My 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter had a blast. We have 22 badges already and are going back in the morning to finish up. I have really appreciated this activity, the pirate adventure in adventure land, and the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom activities during this trip. Not that these are “boy” activities… but my son is having a lot more fun than he thought he would in “princess land”.

  2. Finally an interactive experience for the whole family to enjoy with the young children learning about important locations and animals and not just rides and shows. Disney is once again on track in the right direction, exactly the way Walt would have wanted it.

  3. We love the movie UP and we are so excited about this Wilderness Explorers program. My daughter is looking forward to earning ALL of the “badges”!!! Thanks for sharing the info °O°