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Changes to Operating Schedule for Kali River Rapids at Walt Disney World

Kali River Rapids is a thrilling water raft ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.  It is an attraction where you can definitely expect to get completely soaked, but may feel grateful if you escape by a narrow miss and watch the rest of your family get soaked instead.  Disney recently made changes to the operating schedule for this attraction.  It typically has always opened with the park, but will now open 1 hour after park opening.  This means that on dates the park is scheduled to open at 9AM, the attraction will open at 10AM.  During the week of Christmas and New Year’s when the park is scheduled to open at 8AM, it will open at 9AM.  This is likely due to the decreased popularity of the attraction in cooler months when guests won’t need the cool off.  This change is already effective on the operating schedule.

The ride will also be closing for a refurbishment for a month.  The attraction will on January 3, 2017 and is expected to re-open a month later.  No major changes have been announced for the refurbishment, but we will definitely keep you posted as we learn more and know what to expect.

Please see our article below 5 Reasons Why You Should Not Skip Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom by Cassie

By Cassie

It seems I still have to convince some people that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is not a zoo, but a park worthy of their day tickets. This amazes me because it is one of my favorite Disney Parks. Disney spent 10 years in designing their fourth Park and spent over $800,000,000.00 to build it. Count those zeros guys, they were intent on building this park right, and they are still adding to it. Disney is adding a new Avatar-themed area to the park and you can see a few construction booms in that area right now. They will be adding major attractions, shops and new restaurants. They recently opened a new area of Harambe that holds new shops and the new theater for the live Lion King show. They are working on the addition of more after dark experiences too that are very exciting. I personally think there is plenty here already to draw Disney fans in. Kali is one of the major thrill rides in Animal Kingdom that you should not overlook. Here are some reasons why:

5. Keep your gear dry while you ride a great water ride. Disney knows some riders will not want to have everything drenched, so you will find short term complimentary lockers near the entrance to the attraction. In the center of the raft is a plastic compartment where you can stow some of your gear and zip it shut. The raft seats 12 and you will have the safety of seat belt to keep you in the riding position instead of a flying one when you hit those powerful bumps further on in the journey. IF you want to experience the ride, but prefer not to be soaked then please get one of the fashionable Disney ponchos in the gift shop or maybe bring a backup pair of clothes to wear after you enjoy Kali River Rapids. It is an outside ride, so it does close if bad weather sets in. Get an afternoon FastPass+ for a short wait and temperatures where you will welcome all the water you are going to be drenched with.

4. Those in your party who are too small/young to ride can still feel a part of the adventure that is Kali River Rapids. There is a 38-inch height requirement for riding but that doesn’t mean the little ones can’t have fun. Get a Rider Switch and the person staying with the non-riders can make them a part of the adventure by finding the Elephant Squirters which are on top of a bridge that spans the ride. If they can push a button, then they can use these Squirters to spray riders as they drift by. Oh yeah! These are fun for people of all ages. (Hint: practice on some rafts that come down before your targeted one to get the feel of the squirter, and wait to shoot until the raft is about one raft length away and you should be successful!)

3. You will get a conservation message, with a punch to help you remember it. The beauty of the rainforest that you begin your journey in is unmistakable, as you ascend 90-feet. The smell of Jasmine and Ginger fills the air. As you move along, unfortunately you find yourself in a deforested area where the sight is depressing and the smell of smoke still in the air. The illegal logging not only destroyed this beautiful forest but you can see that it destroyed animal habitats as well as trees and other plants and their litter is threatening the river. A logging truck has actually slid into the river threatening the environment even more. The conservation theme of Animal Kingdom plays out here in a memorable experience.

2. Please don’t miss the incredible theming the Disney Imagineers have put into this water ride. From the queue through the whole experience is a treasure trove of imagery. The queue takes you through stone ruins, an old temple, shrines, past murals representing others’ trips down the river (check out the names above each one), and into the Kali Rapids Expeditions who serves as your guide on the river. Don’t miss the thousands of artifacts in the queue and the Prayer Flags from Tibet. Listen up too, you may hear loggers cutting down trees, a foreshadowing of what you will see on your journey.

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1. This ride is fun! You will, most likely, get soaked! This is the perfect ride when Florida is bringing on the heat and humidity in the afternoon. You will fly down the Chakranadi River, a Thai name that means “the river which runs in a circle”, through rapids, tight turns, down a 25-foot drop, over bumps, taking bumps from the rocks and waterfalls, over geysers, taking on water jets, spinning the whole time and you cannot control a thing! Even in the cave you will be dripped on. The ride is a wild and wet six-minutes long. Each raft has a humorous name such as “Kathmandoozy” and “Sherpa Surfer”.

I hope that I have convinced you to try Kali River Rapids!

There are quite a few places to eat and get beverages in the area, most of them called Yak & Yeti—. There is Table Service, counter service, drink stands, and even a marketplace that sells swimwear and towels right near the entrance to Kali River Rapids. Check out the live entertainment in this area too, it is a combination of unusual musical instruments and ladies who teach native dances to the children.

Just around the corner are large restrooms and the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck that has some of the best ice cream in the Park.

About Christy Caby

I am a long time Disney addict! This love began as a child and stayed with me in my teen years. I completed the Disney College Program, was engaged and honeymooned at Disney, visited WDW while pregnant with each of our two boys, and have brought our boys since they were babies (they are now 5 and 2).