Rafiki's Planet Watch - will it open again?

Hi all,

Does anyone have any news on whether this attraction is going to open again seasonally? I’m looking specifically at the second week of April which I’m assuming is busy with Spring Break and nearing Easter crowds.



According to Disney, yes it will re-open, despite a lot of confusion when it closed. Word is they are sprucing stuff up, probably adding more meet and greets, nothing too major.

But there again, Horizons was only ever “temporarily closed”, so too was 20K Leagues… so we won’t be totally sure until they announce a date.


I’m still waiting for that to re-open! :slight_smile:


It was SO much fun! I knew we were only about 3 feet under water, because if you looked up out of the window you could see the surface of the water, but it was so much fun to pretend! I wish I could take my kids on it and experience what I got to as a kid.


Agreed. However, I do see why Disney couldn’t actually recreate the ride easily. How would you make it realistic and still handicapped accessible? I’m sure it could be done, but it would be a big investment. I think they would be more inclined to make such an experience virtual instead, where the portholes look out at video projections, a la the Hogwarts Express or something. It would be a good thing to do in Epcot with The Seas pavilion.

This was one of my favorite rides as a kid!

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I don’t remember, but I’m guessing it wasn’t handicap accessible before, correct?

Well, I was quite young, but as I recall, you actually had to climb down through the top of the sub.

Well I’m sure you’re right…

apart from the fact that the Beast’s castle and Enchanted Tales with Belle and Under the Sea are all sitting on the “sea” :joy:


I think I remember walking down stairs at the front of the sub.

My mom almost had a panic attack on that ride. She has some claustrophobia, but thought she would be ok because we weren’t that far underwater. Nope, she was trying not to freak out.

Me too! I have distinct memories of it as a child.


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I am not sure that I remember the WDW version correctly (rode it as a kid, but that was years ago). However, I have ridden the DL version (Finding Nemo Subs) within the last year and, yes, you do walk down a spiral staircase. There is one at each end of the “sub.”

Wildlife Express Train: Africa Station 10/22/18 Spring 2019?
Wildlife Express Train: Rafiki’s Planet Watch Station 10/22/18 Spring 2019?
Kali River Rapids 1/7/19 3/23/19

I got a typically vague response from Disney but it did include the following:

“We hope that the re-imagining of this attraction comes to a conclusion soon” which is more committal than a lot of other answers I’ve had from them :joy:

However the next sentence suggested I should just visit the Affection Section instead which I thought was PART of the planet watch and if the train isn’t running how do you get there?!

It isn’t the biggest problem ever, I’m looking for things to fill out the middle of our AK day as our FOP FPP isn’t 'til 6.55, but it does influence whether I decide to try and modify our EE FPP to a different time.

Have you heard anything new about this reopening? It was one of my favorite parts of AK, so I’m really hoping it reopens to help spread out the spring break crowds.

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Hi, no I haven’t heard anything and it just says “empty schedule” when I check on the date we’re going to visit.

It would be great if it is open as I think my 11yo would be really interested, and from everything I’ve read it sounds like a good break from the crowds when it’s hot, but I’ll just check closer to our trip and work around it either way.

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No specific date is given. But from the article:

Rafiki’s Planet Watch, the Affection Section and the Wildlife Express will all return to operation, along with a few enhancements in celebration of The Lion King.


Thanks. Summer will be too late for us unfortunately :disappointed: But then they said SGE would open in the fall and it’s opening August which is still summer in my book. But then I call it autumn anyway so what do I know?! :rofl: