Photographic and Animal Viewing Tips


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Where can I see the animals?

Disney has "animal spotting" signs posted throughout the park. Your best spots for sightings include The Oasis, The Tree of Life Gardens, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and Kilamanjaro Safaris in Africa. Guests can interact with some smaller animals at Rafiki's Planet Watch's Affection Section.

Animal Kingdom also has animals and trainers strolling throughout the park at different times during the day. This allows guests to interact personally with the creatures and learn about people that work with them.

Try touring Africa and Asia first. Optimum animal viewing time is very early in the morning and then again late in the evening. Also, don't miss The Oasis.

Try doing the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride first thing in the morning while crowds are still filing into the park or as early as possible in the day. By mid-afternoon, many animals are napping and/or less active, making them harder to spot in the wild. Taking the safari ride at different times during the day offers viewing of different animals. Don't bother asking the safari drivers to stop the vehicle on the savanna for photos. It's not in the script.

Optimum viewing time for the animals in Pangani Forest is early morning. Fans of "The Lion King"'s Timon and Pumba can see live Meerkats on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and live warthogs on the safari.

Rafiki's Planet Watch offers hands-on learning for kids at The Affection Section, an animal petting area, where children can pet sheep, pygmy goats and other animals. These animals look like domesticated animals, but are, in fact, endangered and minor breeds. The goats, for instance, are San Clementes from the island off California. Parents of younger kids may want to take their strollers with them on the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch, as there is a hike from the train station to the exhibits.

Asia is the place to get great pictures of raptors and other birds of prey.

The Tree of Life Gardens contains many Cranes and other water birds. Also a great place to photograph the carved animals on the Tree of Life.

And, the Oasis contains many Macaws, birds, a Two-Toed Sloth, Tree Kangaroo, Capybara, and more.

Other Photographic Items

Don't forget to photograph all the beautiful lush vegetation, flowers and trees as well as the waterfalls and pools. There are 850 different species of trees, 2,000 different species of shrubs, and 260 different species of grasses in the park.

Street performers make an excellent addition to your album.

Panoramas - The are numerous places to shoot panoramas. Start with the bridges.

Photography Tips

Try to shoot your photos early, especially your animal pictures, preferably between 7 and 10 am or wait until late afternoon, e.g. 4 pm until sunset. You'll get better color and the animals are more active.

Kilimanjaro Safaris Photography Tips

Kilimanjaro Safaris is your best bet for animal photos, but the ride is bumpy. If your camera allows you, shoot at a high shutter speed and be ready for some sharp turns and surprises along the way.

If you have a 35mm camera with interchangeable lenses, try a zoom lens, which allows you to photograph animals far away and then up close a moment later. If you don't have a zoom, your best bet is a fixed 85mm to 105mm lens.

Use a 400-speed, color-print film. It captures action better. (It's sold in the park if you forget to bring film or run out.) Bring lots of film between the animals and the Tree of Life you will use many, many rolls and it is cheaper to by film off property.

If your camera has automatic settings, use them. Then, you don't have to worry about technical things and can frame the animals nicely and quickly.

If you missed some of the animals on the safari, take the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. You may be able to find them here.

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail Photography Tips

If you missed some of the animals on the safari, you may get a chance to photoraph the odd-looking okapis and plains animals as their roaming areas abut the trail.

Don't forget the cute Naked Mole-Rats. They are well lit but if they are active keep your shutter speed up! Also, remember to angle your camera so the flash will not reflect back into your camera.

Between the Naked Mole-Rats and the Hippos you are walking in an aviary. Stop, take your time and photograph the beautiful birds.

You can take close-up photos of gorillas through through a big glass window. Take your time to frame your shots. If the gorillas are not there you may find them on either side of the bridge later on the walk.

Take your time with the Hippos, they will eventually swim up to the glass.

The trail is also an excellent place to photograph the cute Meerkats. Don't forget to look for the Dik-Diks in the same area as the Meerkats.

The Tree of Life Gardens Photography Tips

Take your time and wait for the cranes and other water birds to show you their best side.

The Oasis Photography Tips

I recommend, for your first visit, to photograph The Oasis during midday. The birds and especially the colorful Macaws will still be photogenic at this time and the sun will reall show their colors. You may have to come back later to catch the Two-Toed Sloth, Tree Kangaroo, and Capybara at their best.

Don't miss out on photographs of the lush vegetation, waterfalls and pools.

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