Animal Kingdom is a fantastic park. We love that it is part zoo and part theme park, and we also adore all of the opportunities to learn about different cultures. One of the things we love most about Disney’s Animal Kingdom? The Wilderness Explorers program.
The Wilderness Explorers program at Animal Kingdom is a totally free mini-scouting opportunity for kids (and willing adults) of all ages. Participants are provided with a field guide which includes a map to help them find stations throughout the park. Each station offers Wilderness Explorers activity. If the Explorer completes the activity, they will be rewarded with a sticker badge to put in their book.
This is tons of fun, but unfortunately many guests pass it by, not realizing what they’re missing out on. If you’re on the fence about whether to try the Wilderness Explorers program next time you’re in Animal Kingdom park, let us tell you eight reasons you absolutely should do it.
Immerse Yourself in the Movie Up
Up is a wonderful movie, and one we’d love to be able to set foot in. In a way, joining the Wilderness Explorers in Animal Kingdom lets visitors do that. You’ll get to be a part of the club that drove Russell to find his adventure and make a wonderful friend. Maybe you’ll find adventure and friends of your own along the way!
Related: Disney World Must-Dos for Pixar Fans
Learn Something New
Obviously, Disney World is all about having fun, but what if we told you that you can learn while you’re there too? Disney World has tons of fun learning opportunities, and the Wilderness Explorers program is one of our favorites.
While going through the book, you’ll learn all kinds of new things about nature, travel, different cultures, and much more. To earn each badge you will talk with a knowledgeable troop leader and do exciting hands-on activities that will give you a better understanding of the material being covered.
Another great thing about the Wilderness Explorer program is that, like so many of the attractions in the Disney parks, it is fun for everyone in your party.
No, the two-year-old won’t be able to write out her answers, and there are some things Dad will already know, but for the most part, the activities in these handbooks can and should be enjoyed by the whole family. It’s a great bonding opportunity for sure.
Motivate the Kids to Keep Going
Walking several miles every day when visiting Disney World is tiring, especially for little legs. You can use the Wilderness Explorer stations to encourage your little adventurers to keep going. Remind them that they get to collect a badge at each station and let them take the lead, allowing them to choose the next stop based on which badge location they’d like to visit next.
See New Spots
One thing we didn’t expect the Wilderness Explorer program to do was take us to new places in the park. Nevertheless, that is exactly what it did. Some of the stations are in locations we’d never explored before, meaning we got to see more of the park once we started our mission to earn all of the Wilderness Explorer badges.
Considering how many times we had visited before trying Wilderness Explorers, we’d say this was pretty surprising. It seems the Wilderness Explorers program pushes everyone to find a new adventure!
Get a Free Souvenir
We mentioned above that the Wilderness Explorer program is a free experience. You don’t pay for the badge guide, nor do you pay for the sticker badges. What does this mean for you? Well, it means you save a little money and you get a free souvenir to take home to remember your trip, something your little one is sure to get excited about.
Related: Top Ten Walt Disney World Souvenirs
Make Magical Connections
As mentioned before, during your Wilderness Explorer adventures, you will come across several scout leaders who help walk you through the lessons in the book, as well as hands-on activities.
We always love interacting with Cast Members, and we’ve found that those connections we make are some of the most magical things about Disney World. That said, these particular interactions with Cast Members are some of the best we’ve ever had. The leaders really take the time to connect with each kid, explaining things in a way that they can understand and making the learning fun and exciting.
Be sure to take a camera so you can capture these magical moments and remember them forever.
Have Another Reason to Come Back Again
There is always a reason to come back to Disney World. For instance, when it comes to Animal Kingdom, we will always return for another ride on Avatar Flight of Passage, and head to Africa to see what our animal friends on Kilimanjaro Safaris are up to. Joining the Wilderness Explorers and setting a goal to earn all of the badges and become a Senior Wilderness Explorer gives you yet another reason to return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
You see, it would be very difficult to earn all of those badges in a single visit, meaning meeting your goal will require more visits, and taking that handbook home means you’ll have a constant reminder that you need to get back to Animal Kingdom and continue your Wilderness Explorers experience ASAP!
Ready to become a Wilderness Explorer? Grab your Wilderness Explorers hat and your sash and head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to pick up your Wilderness Explorers Handbook. We’re betting you’ll love the experience of adventuring through the park and finding badges just as much as we have!