In this article, we visit the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We’ll explore the ancient ruins and discuss the animal encounters you’ll find on the trek.
We’ll also try to walk through the exotic birds section (at the end of the trail) without being the recipient of any bird droppings. However, these kinds of things can happen in a bird aviary. Supposedly, it’s a sign of good fortune.
As you probably know, visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom is about so much more than hitting a few thrill rides and bouncing to the next park. When it comes to theming, the park is a work of art with plenty to explore.
One of the best places to explore is the Maharajah Jungle Trek, a walk-through attraction in the Asia section of the park. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to see Sumatran tigers, the rarest of all tiger species.
Before we get into the specifics of the trail, here are a few references for this attraction.
|Maharajah Jungle Trek||Animal Kingdom|
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It’s a beautiful trail with many
Maharajah Jungle Trek is a self-guided walking tour. Guests can remain in a wheelchair or ECV for this attraction. However, service animals are not allowed in some areas of the trail due to the nature of the experience. Additionally, an audio description is available for this attraction.
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Maharajah Jungle Trek’s entrance is toward the back of the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It sits directly behind Kali River Rapids, a water raft attraction.
While the Sumatran tigers are the biggest draw for the trail, several other unique species call Maharajah Jungle Trek home. For instance, there’s a Komodo Dragon, Malayan Flying Fox (bats), Water Buffalo, Lion Tailed Macaque, and various birds.
Originally, the trail was home to Malayan Tapirs, an endangered species. However, they have been absent for some time.
A sign at the trail’s entrance shares part of the fictional backstory of the Anandapur Royal Forest, where the trail resides.
“Since very ancient times, the Rajahs of Anandapur have hunted tigers in this forest. In A.D. 1544, King Bhima Disampati decreed the forest a royal preserve closed to all save his guests and built a royal hunting lodge whose ruins lie nearby. After 1948, the Royal Forest was given to the people of Anandapur. Today the forest protects not only the remaining tigers and other wildlife but is a valuable watershed of the Chakranadi River and some of the last remaining virgin forest in this region.”
Maharajah Jungle Trek usually opens with the park. However, it closes based on what time the sun sets. For instance, on the day I took this photo, it was open through 6:30 p.m. When it gets dark earlier, the trail usually closes by 5:00 p.m.
As for the best time to walk the trail, it’s difficult to say. The tigers will often be more active in the morning until about lunchtime. But I have found the trail pleasant and less busy during the latter part of the day. However, that’s usually when the tigers are napping, which can make them difficult to see.
A digital guide map is available by scanning the QR code past the trail’s entrance.
Since the trail is self-guided, you might enjoy having the trail map as a reference. When glancing at the map, the trail might appear to be a pretty lengthy walk. However, it’s only about 1/3 of a mile long, and plenty of benches are available if anyone needs a break.
You will encounter a few Wilderness Explorer stops along the trail. If your children are participating in the program, keep your eyes peeled for the WE signs.
As we start down the trail, we run into the first habitat. This area is home to the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest lizard.
She is usually lying on a large rock, taking in a little sunshine.
However, if you visit on a cooler day, you might not see her. Like most Floridians, they don’t care for cooler weather.
Next, we come across the home of the Lion Tailed Macaque.
Typically, we see two to three of these guys hanging out. When active, it’s fun to stop and watch them for a bit. A cast member is often available at this habitat. They will answer questions and share fun facts about these old-world monkeys.
Immediately past the Lion-tailed macaques, you’ll enter a smaller building. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to continue into an exhibit with giant fruit bats, or you can bypass this area and continue toward the tiger enclosures.
Inside, you’ll find information about bats and how they contribute to life in the forest. Did you know that bats are pollinators?
At the back of the room are a few open windows where you can see the bats hanging from the trees. Unfortunately, they tend to blend in with the trees. But you can see one hanging below toward the center of the picture.
Another display in this area has a Tree Monitor.
A Prehensile Tailed Skink is on the opposite side of the room.
Sumatran Tigers at Maharajah Jungle Trek
As we continue along the Maharajah Jungle Trek, it’s time to be on the lookout for a few tigers.
Typically, the male tiger is housed in the first large habitat. If you look closely at the photo below, he’s in front of the pair of double doors.
Sometimes the tigers are moving around, and you can easily spot them. Other times, they are challenging to locate.
As mentioned earlier, the tigers tend to be more active during the day. On a recent visit, we caught this tiger playing with a toy designed to look like a carcass. The cast member at the exhibit said they spray it with meat and give it to the tiger as a treat.
On another visit, I saw him playing with what looked like a ball. However, as you can imagine, a tiger could quickly destroy a ball. This was some sort of metal object.
A few years back, the male and female tigers that live here gave birth to twins. It was thrilling to have the opportunity to see them. However, the cubs were eventually separated and moved to other zoos.
In addition to the tigers, the scenery in this area is stunning. Beautiful ruins are painted with murals portraying a sad story of the hunter and the hunted.
Fun fact: Each of the four Maharajah murals has a hidden Mickey!
After the first tiger habitat, we continue into a large open area. It is somewhat similar to the savanna on Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Animals are often grazing nearby. You might see Water Buffalo, Blackbuck, or Elds Deer in this area. Sometimes, you might see a cast member feeding them. If so, you’ll get to see a good deal of activity.
This is also an excellent spot to take a break.
A few water fountains are nearby.
As we continue our journey through the forest, we come across a bridge with viewing areas on each side. The bridge itself is a showpiece.
To the right side, you’ll look into the other tiger viewing area. This is usually where the female tiger is located.
Prayer flags are strung overhead, and ties are woven into the fencing.
Sometimes you might see a few water buffalo on the opposite side of the bridge.
If you see a cast member in the area, they will typically point out hard-to-see animals. Animal Kingdom cast members are very knowledgeable about the animals and encourage questions.
As we near the trail’s end, we come across another wall of murals.
If you have a camera, you might enjoy taking a few photos.
Here, we enter a smaller building, which is home to the last tiger viewing area.
This is usually the best place to see the tiger we looked for from the bridge. Often she’s against a wall in a striped pile, taking a nap.
Birds on the Maharajah Jungle Trek
So at this point, you can continue through the building into the bird aviary. This is one of the best parts of the trail. However, if you don’t care for birds, you can walk back out the same way you entered. The pathway outside continues down to the exit.
But if you elect to continue, you’ll walk through a set of plastic chains and enter the aviary. These chains keep the birds from flying into them like they might a glass window.
It’s gorgeous inside.
Bird guides are available if you need help identifying them. While it’s not an ample space, the aviary is packed with birds.
Unfortunately, you won’t see many birds if you walk through the area quickly. However, if you pause and take the time to look a little closer, you’ll start to see them.
No worries, these birds were sunbathing!
A fountain sits in the center of the bird sanctuary. It has an Arcadian feel.
Many birdhouses are scattered throughout.
Here is a close-up of a rather colorful bird.
You might even see the Malaysian Great Argus, a great bird indeed. A cast member told me whatever you do, don’t stand underneath it!
Here is another picture of it. Just look at those tail feathers!
As you exit, you’ll walk through another chain partition. Sadly, we have reached the end of our journey on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Final Thoughts on the Maharajah Jungle Trek
Overall, the Maharajah Jungle Trek is something we consider a must-do on our visits to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This is truly the kind of attraction that will enhance your park visit in the most unexpected way.
You never know what kind of positive impact this type of experience might have on your children. It’s also a place where you can slow down and enjoy things at your own pace.
You’ll want to remember that this trail will close earlier than the rest of the parks. Additionally, the animals are often more active in the mornings before lunchtime than in the afternoon.
However, anytime you decide to fit the trail into your schedule is a good time. For similar attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you might enjoy the following:
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Discovery Island Trails
- The Oasis Exhibits at Animal Kingdom
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Or you might like some of these others:
- Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom
- Dinosaur Ride at Animal Kingdom
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond
- Flight of Passage
For more of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, try these:
In the Comments
What are your thoughts on the Maharajah Jungle Trek? Will you plan this trail into your day?