Become Senior Wilderness Explorers in One Day! ~ By Guest Author Kelly

Published November 9, 2013 by Kelly of Simply Kelly Designs

Are you excited to learn some great tips on how to become Senior Wilderness Explorer in one day? This fun, interactive game has taken the Animal Kingdom Theme Park by storm and I have only heard great things about it. This fantastic post comes to us from guest author Kelly! Kelly loves to share her passion for digital scrapbooking and preserving memories. Her blog features tutorials, tips and designs to help make scrapbooking your memories easier! You can check out her blog HERE. Thank you Kelly for your wonderful contribution!

Become a Senior Wilderness Explorers in One Day! ~By Guest Author Kelly

BadgeStationsLast month we went to Animal Kingdom for the first time since the beginning of the year. We got there soon after the park opened and we stopped at the Wilderness Explorers booth at the end of the bridge leading to the Tree of Life. My 4 and 6 year olds, each received their own Wilderness Explorers handbook from Disney cast member. I was only half listening when I heard the cast member say that there was 31 badges the kids needed to earn to become Senior Wilderness Explorers. 31? I remembered there were only 5 or 6. The new Wilderness Explorers program replaced the Kid’s Discovery Club at Animal Kingdom. Kids take their handbooks to stations throughout the park to earn badges. Earning badges consisted of different activities like a scavenger hunt, reading signs for information, finding animals, etc. A Wilderness Explorers guides give each child a sticker for their handbook when a badge is earned. The sticker for each badge is different. Here is the handbook map of all the badge stations.

WildernessExplorersBadgesMap

The cast member explained to us that they didn’t have to earn all the badges that day and that their handbooks would be good for years. I think what my daughter heard was that it could all be done in a day! From that point on she was on a mission. Can it be done in one day? YES! Will you be exhausted? YES! Will your kids learn a ton of great information about animals and the environment? YES! Will you get to see all of Animal Kingdom? YES!

Here are my tips:

  • Get a fast pass. My husband made a beeline to get a fast pass for the Kilimanjaro Safaris as soon as we got to the park while the kids and I took our time getting the handbooks and taking photos.
  • Plan out your day (rides, shows, dining) so that you only have to go through each section of the park one time. We started with Festival of the Lion King at Camp Mini Mickey and worked our way around the park in a clockwise direction. In order, we earned badges in Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, Dinoland U.S.A. and then Discovery Island.
  • Bring a stroller if you have young kids. My 6 year old barely fits in our double stroller but that doesn’t keep her from sitting in it to be pushed all over the park. At the end of the day my husband and I were exhausted from all the walking but my kids were still full of energy.
  • Take time to enjoy the park. If you can’t get it done in one day, you can always come back. Beyond earning all the Wilderness Explorer badges, we also saw the Festival of the Lion King, went on the Kilimanjaro Safaris and had a delicious lunch at Yak and Yeti Restaurant. The kids spent extra time at Conservation Station and the Boneyard (Dinoland USA).
  • Keep an eye on the map in the handbook. My daughter was our navigator and she is great at reading a map but she missed a few stops so we had to backtrack once.
  • Make this a learning experience! The Wilderness Explorer guides were great at teaching the kids important facts at each station and making sure they understood. My husband and I took the time to discuss the topics with the kids and we learned extra information from reading the signs, etc.

WildernessExplorerBadges

  • Make sure your kids want to do this! Both of my kids were self-driven to earn all the badges in one day. I think both my husband and I would have preferred a more relaxed pace but the kids were having fun so we decided to go with it. If they hadn’t wanted to do it so badly, I think it would have been miserable trying to push them through the park. We have also been to Animal Kingdom many times so the kids have been on all the rides and seen all the shows.

My kids picked up their handbooks at 9:49 am and at 5:55 pm they were taking the pledge to become Senior Wilderness Explorers!

SeniorWildernessExplorers

I could tell that the sense of accomplishment and all the information they learned made this day of the best my kids have ever experienced at Disney and a day that I will never forget! Enjoy your Disney Adventure!

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