I’ve met Cinderella at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, sang the Circle of Life with Simba in the Serengeti, and scuba’d in Nemo’s Great Barrier Reef. But I have never felt so engrained in a Disney movie as I did on Tiger Safari in Ranthambhore National park in Northern India.
Entering Ranthambhore through old stone archways, you get an odd feeling, like you’re entering an ancient abandoned kingdom left for Sher Khan to rule. Scattered around you are 10th century forts now used to provide shade for its 4-legged inhabitants instead of safety for its 2-legged ones, and the colorful, out-of-use hunting lodges from the 1700s you pass would be the perfect Airbnb for King Louie. Needless to say Baloo the sloth bear was just as loveable in person, and nicely unaffected by his fame. We even saw Ricky Ticky Tabby the mongoose who was too busy eating a frog to realize he was in the wrong movie all together. Passing by the waterfall roots of banyan trees and glistening lakes, you feel like this place has maintained some of its Disney Jungle Book magic that’s often hard to find.