10 Things You May Not Know About Kali River Rapids

1. Not So Fast…

Construction on Kali River Rapids began in the summer of 1997. But when the Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998, the attraction was nowhere near completion. In fact, it would be nearly an entire year before park-goers would get to “ride the rapids.” The attraction finally opened on March 18, 1999, nearly two years after construction had initially begun. But it proved to be well worth the wait!



2. Rapid(s) Research

Disney Imagineers undertook a great amount of research while developing the attraction. They traveled to exotic locations like Nepal, Bali, Singapore, Thailand, and Java for information. As a result, traces of these cultures can be found throughout the attraction, most notably in the architecture of the buildings. The Imagineers brought back a treasure trove of artifacts made by the people of these regions and placed them throughout the queue and attraction. This combination of in-depth research and true regional artifacts really make it feel as if you’ve been transported right into the heart of the Asian rainforest.



3. An Amazing Backstory

Disney Imagineers also managed to create an elaborate and wonderfully themed backstory to go along with the attraction. Long ago, beautiful statues and shrines could be found throughout this little section of jungle. But today, piles of rubble and ruins are all that remain (As you make your way through the queue, keep your eyes peeled for these scattered remnants). However, there are still some signs of human life out here in this isolated stretch of Asian rainforest. A company by the name of “Kali Rapids Expeditions” operates here, and the main goal at Kali Rapids Expeditions is not to make money but to show Guests the rainforest’s “natural beauty.” The waterfalls, trees, rocky landscape, and wildlife all contribute to this natural beauty, and education on the importance of conservation is a vital key for the forest’s survival. But we soon discover that not everyone in the area has the same agenda as Kali Rapids Expeditions. Lurking in the shadows is the ever-present threat of illegal loggers – and we’re about to face this threat head on!



4. Mickeys Abound

In the queue area, keep an eye out on your left to find three plates on the wall forming a Hidden Mickey (they’re in the room with the bicycle). Also, look above the entrance and exit doors to find a pair of golden Hidden Mickeys.


5. It Wasn’t Always Going to Be Kali…

The original name for Kali River Rapids was going to be “Tiger Rapids Run.”



6. But Where Are the Tigers?

The name was changed due to the fact that Disney thought the name might confuse or mislead Guests, as it wasn’t certain that you would actually see any tigers from either the attraction or the queue. If you’re looking for tigers you’ll want to head on over to the nearby Maharajah Jungle Trek (and thankfully you shouldn’t get too wet over there!).



7. Naming the Rafts

Each of the attraction’s rafts has their very own name, and many of the names are quite creative. They include Sherpa Surfer, Java Jumper, Delhi Donut, Himalayan Hummer, Baloo Meaway, Khatmandoozie, and Bali Bumper-Car, to name a few.



8. But What Does “Kali” Mean Anyway?

The word “Kali” means “the black one.” In addition, Kali is also the name of a well-known Hindu goddess.



9. Chakranadi

The river is appropriately named the Chakranadi, which in Sanskrit translates to “river that flows in a circle.”




10. That’s Quite a Drop!

The height of the incline at the beginning of the attraction is 19 feet, while the final drop at the end is a whopping 90 feet! That might sound like a long way down, but it’s only 20 feet more than the drop in Pirates of the Caribbean, though admittedly that one is in the dark.

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