Winged Encounters: Up Close with Macaws in Animal Kingdom

Winged Encounters: Up Close with Macaws in Animal Kingdom

Winged Encounters is one of the very best animal experiences in Walt Disney World. Officially titled “Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight,” this mini-show allows guests to get up close with six species of South American macaws: blue and gold, blue-throated, green-winged, hyacinth, scarlet, and military. Just how close? I’ve been brushed by macaw wings a few times. These brilliant animals are not afraid of humans.

The show goes off once an hour, minus a break for lunch. If you’re standing near the Tree of Life and hear some majestic music, head for the stage area. The stage is a large piece of driftwood covered in branches and animal carvings. It looks like an extension of the Tree of Life.

Winged Encounters in Disney's Animal Kingdom

The macaws fly in from their home a half mile away. A few may perch in trees, but most will make their way to the stage. Cast Members will feed them peanuts and share information about the birds. My favorite: “Macaws don’t make good pets. They’re loud and they live a really long time.” Cast Members also discuss conservation efforts. Unfortunately, macaws aren’t doing well in the wild. Some species are critically endangered due to deforestation.

Macaws flying near Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life

Winged Encounters is a chaotic, awesome scene. The macaws rarely sit still as they hop or fly from perch to perch. If you want photos, go for quantity over quality. The birds are unpredictable, so taking plenty of photos will increase your chances of getting a few great ones. If you’d like to film, tap the white circle (iPhone) or camera icon (Android) to snap pics without interrupting the movie.

iPhone screen showing video controls

The show’s finale is pandemonium as the flock takes off seemingly all at once. If you’re standing close, you’ll feel the wind from their wings. Most will fly home immediately, but some might linger in the park. I saw a pair hanging out in the Maharajah Jungle Trek tiger habitat in April.

Macaw flying in Animal Kingdom

If you’re interested in learning more about Animal Kingdom’s macaws, I recommend watching Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Disney+. Katelyn and her team do an incredible job training these wild animals.

Experiences like Winged Encounters are what makes Animal Kingdom such a unique park. I highly recommend taking the time to see these amazing birds up close. 10 out of 5 stars.

Winged Encounters photo gallery

Five macaws flying overhead in Animal Kingdom
Macaws perched in a tree
Macaw being fed in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Two macaws perched near the Tree of Life
Macaw eating a peanut in Animal Kingdom
Disney Cast Member feeding a macaw during Winged Encounters
Blue-and-yellow macaw in Animal Kingdom
Macaws perched in Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaws and Cast Member at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaw at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Two macaws in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Two macaws in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Macaw flying in Animal Kingdom
Two macaws perched near the Tree of Life
Blue and yellow macaw
Animal Kingdom's Winged Encounters
Winged Encounters macaw at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaw at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaw eating a peanut at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaw at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaw at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Macaw preparing to fly in Animal Kingdom
Macaw flying away from a Disney Cast Member
Macaw flying after being fed by a Disney Cast Member
Macaw flying in Animal Kingdom

Winged Encounters takes place at the Tree of Life every day at the following times:

  • 9:15 AM
  • 10:15 AM
  • 11:15 AM
  • 1:15 PM
  • 2:15 PM
  • 3:15 PM