Trip Report

Battle at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

January 1, 2009

A visual telling of the animal fight that occurred in the afternoon on New Year's Day 2009 at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

No animals were harmed in the incident, or the making of this trip report.

Today, January 1st, 2009, was a seemingly normal and peaceful day at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.  We had spent the hectic New Year's Eve celebrations the night before at Epcot, and New Year's Day itself involved visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios in the morning, lunch at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, an evening and night visit to the Animal Kingdom park followed by the rest of the night over at the Magic Kingdom.  It was busy, but that was one of the park hopping strategies that we were using during that busiest time of the year.

The coolest part was actually spending the evening and first part of the night in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park.  That park always has the earliest closing times and it's rare for it to even be open at dusk.  Being inside the park at night was definitely something to take advantage of at the time.  The park looks great at night though it's a shame that we can rarely see it that way.  I'll be posting a few dusk and night photos here at Florida Project in the near future.

But this trip report isn't about the awesomeness of being in the Animal Kingdom park at night, but rather an interesting event that occurred at its hotel neighbor, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Feeding time at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

It was mid-afternoon and the feeders had just finished putting feed (or "browse" as they like to call it) out in different areas for the African Savannah animals.  Everything was peaceful as the animals went out to their preferred areas to get some food.

Grant's Zebra and Greater Kudu Reticulated Giraffe Grant's Zebra Ostrich

As we can see, all of the animals in this part of the Savannah area around the hotel appeared to be behaving normally.  It was feeding time, and needless to say, they all seemed to be happy.

More ostrich.

After hunting for and surprised to not find any food on the concrete, the ostrich had a discussion and decided to look elsewhere for food.


An eland quietly moved into the front feeding area by one of the viewing areas in the hotel.

White-bearded Wildebeests and an Eland

The eland joined two wildebeests already enjoying the food in that feeding area.  It didn't look like there was a shortage of food.

Reticulated Giraffe

The giraffe couldn't get enough of that fresh food.


One of the ostrich decided to take a stroll on the dirt path to join the giraffe off to the right.


One of the other ostrich went over to the other feeding area with the eland and wildebeests.  Everything seemed to be fine ---- for now.

The ostrich has spotted trouble!

Uh-oh.  Trouble!

White-Bearded Wildebeests and an Eland - The battle begins.

There were a bunch of snorting sounds from the central feeding area as the eland decided to pick a fight with the two wildebeests.

A fight between the eland and wildebeests.

The eland lowered its head and tried to show the wildebeests who was boss.

One of the wildebeests is knocked to the ground.

One of the wildebeests was knocked onto its back, and the other one ran for cover.  It quickly made a 180º turn, kicking up some dust and dirt, and went back to help his friend.

Hey, buddy, are you okay?

The wildebeest helped his friend back to his feet.

Payback time!

The eland realized his mistake as the two wildebeests came back with a vengeance.

Get him!

The chase was on as the eland ran away with the two wildebeests in hot pursuit.

Get out of here!

The eland turned right and headed for the safety of the Savannah.

Were those two wildebeests in pursuit, or four of them?

Out of nowhere more wildebeests joined the conflict and encouraged the eland to leave the area.


The battle was over as the eland fled back to the Savannah.

From four to five wildebeests.

Having a superior force in its mini-herd of five animals, the wildebeests had won the battle and secured that part of the Savannah from any further aggression from the eland.

The feeding continues.

The giraffe and ostrich showed no concern about the battle that took place a mere thirty feet away.

Feeling like champions, the wildebeests return to the feeding area. Feeling like champions, the wildebeests return to the feeding area. Feeling like champions, the wildebeests return to the feeding area.

The rest of the wildebeests made their way to the front feeding area in this part of the African Savannah.

The wildebeests enjoy their food. The wildebeests enjoy their food. The wildebeests enjoy their food.

By now there was total peace in this part of the Savannah area.  The giraffe, ostrich and wildebeests were all satisfied with their food and resumed their normal grazing, browsing, and usual animal behavior.  The eland was long gone and no longer a threat to the wildebeests.


Overall, it was neat to see the animals fight each other like that from start to finish.  It was just a case of being in the right place at the right time.  The Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of my favorite resorts to visit along with the Polynesian, and between visiting that resort many times and taking many, many trips on Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Animal Kingdom theme park, I've never seen anything as interesting as what happened right here in this trip report.  Most of the animals are either asleep, eating something, or just wandering around.  This was neat seeing an actual confrontation between different species of animals, the two wildebeests reorganizing and pushing away the threat, and the rest of the wildebeests joining in and securing the area.

I don't know when the zebra and kudu left, nor what happened to the third ostrich.  One minute they were all in the area, and then the incident happened and they were gone.

This just goes to show that you never know what's going to happen when you have exhibits with live animals, especially different species.  And as always, be sure to keep your camera ready when visiting such areas.