Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom, Everything You Need To Know

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I’m getting old. There was a time when the aftermath didn’t figure into it at all. 

I was at an amusement park. It was hot. There was a water ride. That was all the information I needed.

Log flume? Rapids? Water ride? I was in, baby.

From Six Flags to Cedar Point to King’s Island to Dollywood to Busch Gardens and Walt Disney World and Universal and beyond, I’ve seen dozens of theme parks. And I’ve sloshed ’em all. 

I don’t know when I started to notice that walking in soaking-wet tennis shoes and leaving wet footprints on the concrete wasn’t great for the feet.

Also, at some point, I began to notice that soaked Underoos led to chafing of a powerful nature in places where it’s just hard discretely treat with a handful of talcum powder. 

Therefore, over the years, my enthusiasm for getting soaked – especially early in the day – just ain’t what it used to be.

After all, you get funny looks in the restrooms when you try to use the air dryers for anything other than their intended purposes. So I’m judicious now. I understand the value of dry clothing in a way that 12-year-old me – maybe even 30-year-old me – never factored into the equation. 


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Is Kali River Rapids a roller coaster? 

No. It’s a raft ride where you will get wet.

What kind of ride is Kali River Rapids?

More specifically, it’s a typical raging river ride you see in theme parks around the world. Located in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom, you ride past appropriately themed ruins.

There’s a temple and bamboo thickets and some shrines, and you also go through a rainforest. 

But mostly, you’re on a ride vehicle that holds six riders. Essentially, it’s a fancy inner tube with seats and guard rails. There are waterfalls and stumps and geysers and other obstacles that provide the roaring rapids required for an exciting ride. 

Read Also: Is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Closing in 2024? Addressing the Rumors

Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom
Kali River Rapids is a rafting expedition through a lush jungle in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Why is Kali River Rapids closed? 

Simply put, the winter is a good time for refurbishment on a water ride. Each year the ride shuts down for a couple of months or so while workers give the attraction a good going over. 

The average temperature in Orlando in January is a high of 72 and in February is 75. If you’re wondering, December is 75 as well.

Anyway, that means there are several days out of each month the Kali River Rapids’ rafts are running empty because it’s too chilly or not running at all. 

Is the Kali River Rapids rides closed for good? 


Any time a major theme park shuts down a ride for repairs, rumors start flying that it’s gone for good.

The Kali River Rapids ride is no different. It closes every year in early to middle January and reopens in March. This year is the same. 

But don’t take our word for it. On the official Disney website, it says:

Beginning January 9, 2023, Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park will undergo its annual refurbishment. The attraction is expected to reopen in mid-March.”

Kali River Rapids ride
Kali River Rapids Ride is a must, but you will get wet (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Is Kali River Rapids intense?

Not really. My 7-year-old daughter might find it intense. However, I think anyone who has been to an amusement park will know the deal pretty quickly.

It does end with a 20-foot slide, but I’d still be hard-pressed to call it intense. 

Is riding the Kali River Rapids worth it?

Absolutely. The Animal Kingdom doesn’t have THAT many rides and you should experience them all.

However, bring extra clothing, a poncho or a squeegee. Do what you’ve got to do or you may find yourself on the wrong side of an unexpected gift shop bill. 

On our recent trip to Universal, the family got soaked on the Popeye’s and Bluto ride, which is a similar concept with very different theming.

Our eldest daughter had not dressed wisely and they got SOAKED. Specifically, they got as soaked as anyone I’ve ever seen on a water ride that doesn’t end in a swimming pool. 

Long story short, she got a new ensemble that day. 

Kali River Rapids Sign
Guests can also spray river rafters from above the rapids (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

If it’s so great, will you ride it next time you go? 

Well. Maybe. 

It depends on the wait time, the weather and also the moisture-wicking properties of my ensemble. I’m not the kind of guy to bring a change of clothing, socks or shoes to an amusement park. 

Basketball shorts and a T-Shirt? Closer to a green light. But blue jean shorts? I’m out. 

In fact, you can find me up at the Yak & Yeti Restaurant with an order of Bang Bang Calamari where the only risk of getting wet is spilling my Pink Himalayan.

Animal Kingdom Island Mercantile
There are options to purchase dry clothing should you need them in the Animal Kingdom (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Do you get soaked on Kali River Rapids?

It is possible. There are factors at play that will dictate just how wet you will get. I presume the heaviest rider on the raft will get the wettest, but I don’t have any science to back me up.

It is possible – maybe through sheer luck – to ride without getting soaked to the bone but don’t count on it. 

I’ve seen YouTube videos of families tricking members to join the Kali Rapids Expeditions by promising they wouldn’t get very wet. Don’t be fooled. You’re going to get wet and there’s a chance you will get soaked.

Disney says guests wishing to remain dry are encouraged to pack a waterproof poncho, extra clothes or a towel to dry off. 

Lockers for mobile devices and other items you want to stay dry are located across from the entrance to Kali River Rapids and are available during your ride on a first-come, first-served basis.

I do think it’s safe to say it’s Walt Disney World’s wettest ride outside of the water parks. 

Read Also: 17 Best Mom Backpacks for Disney, Ranked

Are there any limitations on who can ride the rapids? 

Riders must be 38 inches or taller and guests must transfer from a wheelchair or ECV. It also has the typical warning about expectant mothers and those with back trouble.

It also warns anyone who has issues with motion sickness to be cautious. I have what I think are medium-level motion sickness issues and I do fine.

Did you enjoy the Kali River Rapids? Let us know in the comments!

Photo of author


John Gullion

John Gullion, Managing Editor at the Citizen Tribune, is a freelance contributor for TheSmokies.com LLC – the parent company of TheSmokies.com and HeyOrlando.com.

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