Epcot’s Wilderness Explorer!

Please tell me you’ve seen the movie UP! If you haven’t, you need to stop reading this now and go watch it. But fast-forward through the first 10 minutes because no one should have to cry during Pixar movies! Anyway, there is this little boy in the movie named Russell, he is on the hunt to get all his badges and become a Senior Wilderness Explorer!


Well, in June when we were at Animal Kingdom, I saw all these stands that said Wilderness Explorer. One of the cast members told us that you could get a book and go all around the park earning your badge, but there were 31 badges you had to earn so it was hard to do it all in one day! So I asked the obvious question that any normal 31 would ask-Is this just for kids. I was told it was for kids of all ages! I knew we would be going back to Disney in early September, so I told Scott that is the one thing I wanted to do! Go to Animal Kingdom and earn ALL the badges in ONE Day!


And we did! If you are thinking about doing this fun activity at Animal Kingdom I would encourage you to! I don’t feel like we missed out on anything and I paid attention to more things in the park by doing this! There were also some things I wouldn’t have done had it not been for the Wilderness Explorer! Here are some tips/thoughts/suggestions from our time as a Wilderness Explorer:

  • You don’t have to skip the rides or shows! Go ahead and make your Fast Pass for Expedition Everest and the Kilimanjaro Safaris. A few of the badges are earned from these rides. (If someone in your party isn’t tall enough or doesn’t want to ride Expedition Everest you can find the items you need to locate around the outside of the ride). We also made our fast past for the first showing of Festival of the Lion King. The park opened at 9:00am the day we went and the first showing wasn’t until 10, so we had an hour to start on our Wilderness Explorer book!

  • Africa is where you will spend the majority of your time! 13 badges are found in Africa, so we spent about four hours in that section of the park. This included watching The Festival of the Lion King, eating lunch, and going to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to earn those badges.

  • Get a picture with Russell and his dog Dug! We were going to go back and do this, but didn’t get a chance. Every time we walked by the line was never long, we were just in a hurry to get somewhere else. But looking back, it would have been cute to get a picture with them while we had our Badge sticker on and had our book.

  • To get a few of the badges you have to meet someone from that country! Scott loves to talk to people so this was probably his favorite part! It’s fascinating to learn about other countries and what is important to them. Like the fact that pretty much everyone we met spoke at least one other language. One guy we met knew 5! I don’t even remember Spanish from high school!
  • You do get a prize for receiving all the badges! You get a special sticker that says Senior Wilderness Explorer plus you have a special ceremony on the bridge! {Parents, or husbands, get your camera ready for that one}
  • Make your dinner reservation late enough in the day to find all your badges. We were probably done by around 4:30 or 5:00 and we got to the park when it opened normally (non Magic Hours)
  • Be prepared to say this motto to anyone who has on a badge! It’s so much fun!!!

    Haha!!! I love it!

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