Maharajah Jungle Trek is an attraction located in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are three different sets of trails at the Animal Kingdom. Maharajah Jungle Trek is the only trail that offers an opportunity to see tigers. The tigers on this self-guided trail are Sumatran, the rarest of all species.
This review will cover all of the animal encounters and things to do on the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I highly recommend taking the time to see all the different animal encounters on the trail the next time you visit the park.
Here are the need to know details for Maharajah Jungle Trek:
|Maharajah Jungle Trek||Animal Kingdom|
Height Requirement at Disney:
Animal Kingdom FastPass:
Seats Per Vehicle:
Disney Rider Switch:
Medium to High
Beautiful trail that offers many
different animal encounters.
Maharajah Jungle Trek At Disney
Maharajah Jungle Trek is located in the very back of the Asia section of Animal Kingdom at Disney. If you are familiar with the Kali River Rapids location, you will find the entrance for the Jungle Trek just beyond it. There are also restrooms, lockers, and several merchandise pop-ups in the area.
While the entrance is toward the back of the entire park, there will be plenty of signs in the area indicating the entrance.
On the tiger trail, you will find a variety of animal encounters. The Sumatran tigers are the big draw. However, you might also encounter a Komodo dragon, Water Buffalo, Lion-Tailed Macaque, bats, and a variety of birds.
The entire trek is themed to resemble the Anandapur Royal Forest. As you go along, there will be educational information about how the Sumatran tigers were once hunted, but now are a protected species.
When you first enter the forest there will be a guide map. You might want to pick one up if you are interested in a more educational experience. If not, it is totally unnecessary. (During this time the guide maps are not available.)
Here is a look at the guide map. It lists some of the animals you might see during your experience.
The trail is also a stop for those participating in the Wilderness Explorer program at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
I’ve completed a good portion of one with my niece and it takes a lot to get all the badges (stickers). But it’s a lot of fun and really gets children involved in learning about animals.
The first creature you will encounter (hopefully) on the Maharajah Jungle Trek is the Komodo Dragon. I say hopefully because a lot of times it has to go in early due to varying temperatures.
A good point to make here, in regards to seeing the animals, is that the best time to visit is from early morning up until 1:00 p.m. Unfortunately, that is also very valuable touring time for the headliner attractions. If you are there to see the animals, you might want to have a day where you just do these kinds of things and not worry about the rides.
The Maharajah Jungle Trek is usually open in the summertime daily until around 7 p.m. It will close a bit early in the winter, usually around 4-5 p.m. depending on the park’s hours for the day.
When I was initially working on this review, I actually got to see the Komodo Dragon in action. I had never seen this guy moving around before. This is usually what you get with him.
I can totally relate.
Up next, you will come across an exterior enclosure with a glass wall. It is home to the Lion Tailed Macaque.
These guys are really cute and worth the stop to visit and watch for a bit. This structure below is the viewing area.
Anytime you see a viewing area like this make sure to check it out. Often a cast member will be in the space to share with you a little information or help you locate the animal in the enclosure. Below, there are actually several of the macaque’s.
Immediately past this viewing area, you’ll enter a smaller building. Once you enter, you can walk through or go into a smaller enclosed area to see the hanging bats. There is a sign that indicates your options overhead.
Inside, there’s a room with several neat little creatures on display. Along with a lot of information about bats and how they contribute to life in the forest.
Inside, there will be open windows and you can see the large bats hanging from the trees. They do tend to blend in with the trees. But you can see the one hanging below dead center in the picture.
There is a Tree Monitor in a glass enclosure inside the area. The area is separated from the bats by a chain-link like fencing.
And this is a Prehensile Tailed Skink. This one might be a little difficult to see, but make sure to check him out.
Once you step back outside there is this decorative wall area. It makes for a nice photo spot with the pop of color when it’s not crowded.
Sumatran Tigers at Maharajah Jungle Trek
Up the stairs is the first of the Sumatran Tiger viewing areas on the Maharajah Jungle Trek. If you have a stroller or can’t access the stair area take a right here for a level viewing area.
Sometimes the tigers are in this area and you can see them clearly. Other times they appear to be hiding and you can just barely see them. They also nap often as the day goes on, which is another reason to see them earlier in the day.
If you see them out just put your lens up to the fence for a good photo.
A lot of times one will be toward the back of the enclosure.
Moving on you will come into what appears to be beautiful ruins. Don’t forget to look up and take in all the details. It is breathtaking here.
The whole Maharajah Jungle Trek is exquisitely themed.
As you journey down the trail you will pass through these ruins and come across another tiger viewing area. A few years back the male and female tigers that live here gave birth to twins. The babies are actually a couple of years old now and have been separated due to age and the fact that tigers tend to live solitary lives.
The next tiger viewing area you’ll encounter is right in the center underneath the flags.
You do have to see them through a glass enclosure here, but it is my favorite viewing area. It’s amazing to get to see them so up close and personal.
Often I find the glass is smudged up but there are a lot of kids around trying to get a good look. Can’t say I blame them. How often do you get to see a tiger playing a few feet in front of you?
This kind of looks like a ball at first glance, but it’s actually not. It appears to be some sort of tank. When you think about the actual weight of the tiger and strength, a ball probably wouldn’t work out for long.
Just past this area, you will find a few more walls with beautiful artwork displays. They are telling a sad story though if you pay attention to the murals.
This is one of my favorite places in the park. It’s very peaceful, educational, and gives you that feeling that you are kind of on a journey that maybe you didn’t expect. Kind of like me and this website.
The Maharajah Jungle Trek also has a variety of florals and greenery.
After finishing the two main tiger viewing areas you will come out into a round open pasture-like area. It is somewhat similar to the savanna you see on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Here there are often a variety of animals out grazing. If you see a cast member that is feeding them make sure to get a good look. It’s a popular time to catch a good view of some of the animals up close.
Let me tell you, if you really dedicate your day to seeing the animals and all the non-ride items it has to offer, you are going to have an amazing time. Now I can’t say that to everyone. But I have a feeling if you are reading this, then the unexpected moments you’ll have here will blow you away. It’s a take your time and enjoy yourself kind of place.
This savanna area is also where you will find the Wilderness Explorer activity. Note the “WE” emblem on the sign below. This is actually a good stop for anyone with some easy to digest information. Did you know that tigers are losing their habitats at a high rate due to population growth and a few other factors?
Here is another look out to this viewing area before we move forward.
Next on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, you will come across a bridge that has separate viewing areas on each side. The bridge itself is a showpiece.
There are Prayer Flags and ties in the area which are part of the Asian culture. You will find them throughout the trek and the Asia area of the park.
On the left-hand side of the bridge, you will probably see some Water Buffalo.
On the right-hand side of the bridge is an additional viewing location for the tigers. I rarely see any tigers from the bridge, but there will be another window viewing area coming up to check.
If you see a cast member out 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.
A note here is that there is typically a large body of water or an unseen barrier between you and these types of animal encounters. There is also a similar feature around the lion’s den on the safari that you might not notice because you are so busy trying to spot a lion. Tigers do swim, but here you are in a raised area on the bridge.
Moving on down the path you will find a grey, cement-like wall with additional murals.
This is also a nice place to stop for a break if needed. There are actually benches here and there along the entire route. The Maharajah Jungle Trek is approximately a third of a mile long. But if you take time at all the stops, someone in your party might need to take a break along the way.
After this area, you’ll enter another small building.
This will be the last tiger viewing area. The tiger is usually up against the wall in a striped pile taking his daily nap. On this day, he wasn’t too difficult to find. Stretch.
Birds on the Maharajah Jungle Trek
Our last stop before coming to the end of the Maharajah Jungle Trek will be a walk through the bird sanctuary. This sanctuary is quite pleasant and there are many birds involved. The first thing you’ll see after entering the space is this display showcasing the different birds.
Normally, there are bird guides that you can pick up and carry through this area to help identify them. It’s not a large space. However, the sanctuary is packed with birds. If you glance around you might see a few of them. Take a moment, pause, look closer. You will see what I mean.
It’s really beautiful, especially when the sun is shining and its rays are peeking through the protective branches above.
This little fountain in the center has an Arcadian feel. When I’m in this bird sanctuary I’m actually reminded of that more modern-day Great Expectations movie with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke. It reminds me of the wrongly suspected benefactors rather eccentric backyard in Florida.
Anyway, there are a lot of birdhouses and nests in the sanctuary.
Here is a close up I was able to get of a rather colorful bird one day.
This bird below is huge! And it really blends in with the area. The cast member told me whatever you do, don’t stand underneath it!
I might as well tell you I’ve seen three different people that have been the recipient of little bird-y accidents in this area. One of them was my son. I even have a picture, but it’s probably not a good idea to share. Word is in Italy, it’s considered good luck to be the recipient of bird droppings.
Here is another picture below of that large bird on a sunnier day. Look at those tail feathers! You do not want to be underneath this one in the event it decides to drop any unwanted presents.
And here are four different birds, all in one setting! I know you are probably still worried about the whole bird accidents thing. I have laughed so hard about it I’m probably way overdue.
As you exit, you’ll walk through this chain partition. The chains are meant to help protect the birds from flying into them as you exit.
If you ever have a chance to watch Feathered Friends in Flight at Animal Kingdom, you might learn that birds are highly trainable, but not very smart in general. If you think about it they do have tiny brains, so it makes sense.
Don’t forget to return your guides before exiting the area. There are several stations return stations like the one in the picture below.
Final Thoughts on the Maharajah Jungle Trek
For my family, the Maharajah Jungle Trek is a must-do on the majority of our visits. We are fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time in the parks. Sometimes we rotate between the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and this one when we can’t make it to both.
If we were visiting as the average guest with limited time, we would for sure prioritize both trails on our Animal Kingdom day. As mentioned above, the best tip I can give you about visiting this trail is the earlier the better if you would like to see “active” tigers.
The Maharajah Jungle Trek also closes earlier than the rest of the park. The times should be posted for the day at the entrance and on the daily times guide that’s available at the front of the park.
While visiting the park, you might also be interested in spending some time at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. That area of the park has a petting zoo-like experience called Affection Section. It’s really great for children.
And one of my other favorite activities is touring the Discovery Island Trails and seeing the Tree of Life up close and personal.
If you would like to know more about conservation at Walt Disney World you can visit the Disney Conservation Fund page found here. The company participates in numerous conservation funds and projects throughout the globe to help preserve and grow animal populations.
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PS–Don’t forget to wear a hat on the Maharajah Jungle Trek trail…..I’m kidding…kinda.