All Disney water rides are not created equal and Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom proves that tenfold.
From the moment you enter the queue, you know Kali River Rapids is something special. If you didn’t already feel as though you were backpacking around Asia, you certainly do now!
But what else makes this attraction such a delight are those little known nuggets that never cease to amaze us. Grab your ponchos, (or human shield!) because you will get wet and you might get soaked…
Take a Virtual Ride on Kali River Rapids
Before we begin, how about you refresh your memory on the splash of these refreshing twists and turns?
1. A Rose by Any Other Name…
If you’ve ever heard of parents having a name picked out for their baby, then promptly changing it upon meeting their little one, the Kali River Rapids backstory will ring familiar. During the inception of this attraction, Tiger Rapids Run was the original name.
Perhaps it was changed to not intimidate guests—Kali River Rapids is much more suited for this low key thrill ride.
The attraction itself wasn’t the only thing worth naming—next time you board your raft, be sure to check out if you are on the “Himalayan Hummer,” “Kathmandoozy,” or “Sherpa Surfer.”
One of my favorite things to do on Disney World attractions is to look for hidden Mickeys and concealed details in general. As you ascend to the first waterfall, be sure to check out the hidden tiger peeking behind the falls.
It’s a detail that’s not hard to spot once you’ve seen him but probably wouldn’t notice if you don’t have your eyes peeled.
There are, of course, hidden Mickeys in the queue of Kali River Rapids (the pots in the first room come together to make a perfect Mickey!), but we love being able to spot this hidden kitty on the journey itself.
3. Both Ends of the Smell Spectrum
Much like Journey into Imagination with Figment, Kali River Rapids has delightful smells and not-so-fragrant scents. Don’t miss the opportunity at the beginning of the ride to breathe it all in.
Ginger and jasmine have been added into the mist cloud to give you a whiff of authenticity that is carried through the experience.
But feel free to turn off those smell receptors when you reach the portion where the illegal loggers have their accident—a cool effect, but the smokey smell is quite pungent!
4. It’s All Downhill from Here
In the very beginning of the attraction experience, it is quite clear you are rafting upstream, and if you’re anything like me, the first time you ride Kali River Rapids, you might be expecting a Splash Mountain type plummet the entire time!
It may not seem like it, but you are actually descending downhill the majority of the ride, not only during the larger, more obvious drop at the end.
5. How Many Gallons of Water?
The drop itself is only 25 feet and is a controlled one as well. So why is it possible to leave Splash Mountain (possible, not probable!) unscathed, but come out of Kali River Rapids at the very least slightly drenched?
- You’re in a circular raft that jolts one or a few lucky riders into the crashing, splashing waves.
- The sheer amount of water that this attraction contains: 150,000 (give or take) gallons of water flow through seven pumps to ensure that not one guest leaves dry!
Of all the parks I miss during the temporary closure of Disney World, Animal Kingdom is one that continues to pull at my heartstrings.
Asia is such a phenomenal segment of Joe Rohde’s dream come true, and Kali River Rapids encompasses the culture, beauty, and divinity that is this beautiful continent.
Sure, the giant, uncontrolled drops followed by blood-curdling shrieks make for a great photo-op, but there is something to be said for the smooth steadiness of this Animal Kingdom gem.
From the hidden details, the mild descent, the would-have-been name of the attraction, the plethora of water and those delightful and smokey smells, Kali River Rapids is truly an experience for all the senses.
Want to learn even more about your favorite Walt Disney World attractions? Why not subscribe to our print magazine, where we highlight a favorite attraction every month!