Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for September 20, 2017: Pandora Crowds Not as Expected

Minor Rivers of Light Changes: These changes are just for the pre-show. The "acolytes" who can be seen during the show on the boats, now walk among the crowd just before the show begins. I suppose this is an effort to create excitement. They'd probably be better off having Timon and Baloo doing this but so be it.

Pandora does not equal more people: Rumors are circling that Disney may soon announce some layoffs. According to some sources, Disney has not experienced any type of attendance bump from the opening of Pandora. While the land itself is obviously crowded, not many if any guests have taken a trip because of the new land. That is, Disney is cannibalizing its own attendance instead of having additional guests. This is nothing new. The same sort of issue occurred when the park opened in 1998. For that reason, as well as poor numbers from ESPN, insiders are expecting some cuts soon.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday September 21 9 am - 9 pm
Friday September 22 9 am - 9 pm
Saturday September 23 9 am- 9 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  September 24 9 am- 9 pm
Monday September 25  9 am- 9 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday September 26 9 am- 9 pm, 
Wednesday September 27 9 am- 9 pm

Monday, September 18, 2017

Episode 119 of Radio Harambe - Desert Island Disney

What would you take to your Desert Island? This week Dave and Safari Mike take their inspiration from the longest running radio show and play a little Desert Island Disney.

If you have any question our comments about the show, please email us at Asante Sana!

Tree of Life Gardens

One of the best new additions to the park in recent years was the added "roots" of the Tree of Life. 

Here, a ram's head can be seen in the Tree of Life Gardens with exhibits in the background. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Everest at Dusk

As daylight leaves, the light around Expedition Everest becomes spectacular. 

Nothing beats the park during this time of the day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for September 13, 2017: Breakfast reduction at Sa'tuli

Sa'tuli changes: I have heard that breakfast is particularly good at the Pandora eatery. Now, apparently, breakfast is being significantly changed. Starting on 9/17, breakfast will only be offered during "peak" times. Lunch will begin at 10 am during the non-peak times.

More Starlight: Starting on November 5, the starlight safari will be offered twice every day at the Animal Kingdom lodge. Guests board a safari truck to visit the animals throughout the lodge's savannas. Tour times are at 8:30 pm and 10 pm. The tour is an hour and is available only to guests 8 and older.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday September 14 9 am - 9 pm
Friday September 15 9 am - 9 pm
Saturday September 16 9 am- 9 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  September 17 9 am- 9 pm
Monday September 18  9 am- 9 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday September 19 9 am- 9 pm, 
Wednesday September 20 9 am- 9 pm

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Episode 118 of Radio Harambe - Call Him Pandora Mike!

Safari Mike has returned from his first exploration of Pandora and it is time for hosts to compare their thoughts on the new area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You will be shocked at who take which side of this debate! They also get you up to date the latest news from the park.

We also would like to apologize for the audio quality here. We had a microphone meltdown but felt the conversation was good enough to keep. If you have any questions or comments about the show, please email us at

Disney's Animal Kingdom for September 6, 2017: Crazy Expensive Tours

Moonlight Magic: This DVC event is returning to the park on September 6th and 13th. The event which is full, begins at 9:30 pm and runs until 1 am. Basically, all of the attractions are running until 1 am except the safari which shuts down almost immediately at 10 pm. There will be a ton of meet and greets plus, 2 showings of Rivers of Light with Tree of Life Awakenings going until midnight. The only place to get actual food is the Sa'tuli Canteen but many of the bars including Nomad and Dawa are open. Complimentary hot dogs and soda are available at several sites.

Ultimate Nights of Adventure: Scared of hours long waits at Flight of Passage? Have a thousand bucks lying around? Well, Disney is here to help with the new Ultimate Nights of Adventure tour. It will start on October 1 and will be available only on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays for a 4 to 4.5 hour tour. For a mere $265.19 per person (that was sarcastic), you get front of the line passes as a tour for the Avatar rides, Everest, Dinosaur and the Safari plus seats at Rivers of Light. Other than some food and drink at Sa'tuli Canteen there does not appear to be anything else as part of this tour. There are discounts available for DVC members, annual passholders and Disney Visa card holders.

Thursday September 7 9 am - 9 pm
Friday September 8 9 am - 9 pm
Saturday September 9 9 am- 9 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  September 10 9 am- 9 pm
Monday September 11  9 am- 9 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday September 12 9 am- 9 pm, 
Wednesday September 13 9 am- 9 pm

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Nomad Lounge

I just got back from 8 days at the parks. And a great 8 days it was. Part of the reason for that is the Nomad Lounge, my favorite bar/lounge in the parks.

For starters, there is the atmosphere. A way station for nomads traveling the world. With its dark interior, gorgeous deck along the discovery river and beautifully made banners hanging from the ceiling, the place oozes relaxation: a rarity for sure in a theme park, especially with the mad crazy Avatarland just across the bridge.

But we have discussed this bar many times and how much we love it. I wanted to touch a little bit on the menu. Both drinks and food.

The cocktail list is different from anywhere else in the "World." That by itself would make this a must stop since many other lounges have the standard Disney bar menu. Some of my absolute favorites are the Annapurna Zing (gin, passion fruit puree, mint and ginger beer) and the Hightower Rocks (tequila, watermelon, sweet-n-sour and lime juice). Hightower is an homage to Joe Rohde as that is the name of his fictional S.E.A. character at the Tokyo DisneySea version of the Tower of the Terror.

And then there is the Mustang Coffee. Its a delightful mixture of coffee, Crown Royal, brown sugar and melted butter. It may sound a bit strange but if you like coffee this is amazing.

Now for the food. Chefs at the Nomad Lounge and the adjoining Tiffins have recently begun experimenting with new items. The original menu will see lots of changes in the upcoming weeks and months. One addition that I tried on its first day was the posole soup. Made from wagyu beef, hominy and chili, it was delicious and the accompanying jalapeno cornbread was a nice side.

On another day, I had the cheese plate which is always a great choice. I also was able to try another brand new item, the vegetable pad thai, which replaced the spring rolls. I loved the spring rolls, but this was just as good.

And finally, there are the churros. Easily, the best churros on property. Hands down, no question about it. They are fresh, warm and soft unlike the ones you get at carts throughout the park. Hand made right there they are accompanied by 2 dipping sauces, vanilla cream and strawberry-chili. A waitress there told us they are best when mixed. She wasn't wrong.

I'm sure everyone who reads this blog or listens to Radio Harambe is well aware of the Nomad Lounge. But next time you are there, try some of the food, you will not be disappointed. At least get the churros.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News: Baby Tigers!!!

Bambi Meet N Greet: One of my personal favorite Disney movies, Bambi, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. In its honor, you will be able to meet Thumper and Miss Bunny outside of the Conservation Station from 10:20 am to 4:30 pm. This special character interaction only lasts from Friday August 25th until Sunday the 27th.

photo courtesy of Disney 

Tiger Cubs: Disney announced the birth of a pair of  Sumatran tiger cubs. On the parks blog, Disney has releases a video of the new additions to the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Disney has also said that the cubs will begin coming out in the next few months. As you can see from the video, tiger cubs are basically helpless when they are first born. I would not expect them to be able to come out onto the exhibit until mid Autumn at the earliest. But stayed for further information on that.

Photo Courtesy of Disney 

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday  August 24 9 am- 10 pm, Extra Magic Hour 10 pm to 12 am
Friday August 25 9 am- 10 pm, Extra Magic Hour 10 pm to 12 am
Saturday August 26 9 am- 10 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning, evening 10 pm to 12 am
Sunday  August 27 9 am- 9:30 pm,
Monday August 28  9 am- 9:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday August 29 9 am- 9:30 pm 
Wednesday August 30 9 am- 9:30 pm

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for August 16, 2017: Normalizing Hours

End of Special Park Hours: The days of every night Extra Magic Hours for Pandora are rapidly coming to end. Unless Disney announces a last minute change (which is always possible), those special hours end as of Saturday August 19th. As you can see below, the park will continue to remain open fairly late, 9:30 pm, which is later than Epcot and the Studios on most nights.

New Merch at the Lodge: As reported by Orlando Park News, there is some new offerings at Ziwadi Market, which is now open from 7:30 am until 10 pm. Animal masks are available for purchase. They are papier-mache and handmade in Venice. Also, the store now has something called "Name Works" where artist uses the persons name to create a work of art.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday  August 17 9 am- 10 pm, Extra Magic Hour 10 pm to 12 am
Friday August 18 9 am- 10 pm, Extra Magic Hour 10 pm to 12 am
Saturday August 19 9 am- 10 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning, evening 10 pm to 12 am
Sunday  August 20 9 am- 9:30 pm,
Monday August 21  9 am- 9:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday August 22 9 am- 9:30 pm, 
Wednesday August 23 9 am- 9:30 pm

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Happy 5th Birthday to Us

August 10, 2012 was the beginning of a pet project Dave and I had discussed for some time. We launched this very blog you are reading.

We had a previous blog that was much more generalized - Mouse Extra. We had a good time throwing out opinions, reviews and what not. But we really sort of got tired of doing that. Dave thought it would be better to focus on one of the things we loved most about the resort, The Animal Kingdom.

Even 5 years ago, there was a wide plethora of Disney blogs and many were essentially the same, basically Mouse Extra. But we thought if you had a niche, that might interest people. And well, we LOVED the park.

As I am sure you know, I have had an interest in conservation and the work zoos do for a long time. I volunteered at the Bronx Zoo for 18 years starting when I went to college. The combination of 2 my loves - Disney and Zoos - meant I had an instant interest in this park. And when I visited in 1998, it was instantly my favorite.

A lot has changed over the last five years both personally and with the park. We started a podcast almost a year after the launch of the blog. And I have met many lifelong friends because of this.

Since we started the blog, Disney purchased the theme park rights for Avatar, which of course, sparked a lot of talk here. Harambe Market was built, and we broke the news months before anyone else (a source of great pride for us). Rivers of Light started and many other fascinating things.

So thanks to all of you that made this possible.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tiger Babies!

As we had discussed when we found out Sumatran tigers were coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom, the hope was that someday there would be cubs. That day apparently will be here sometime in August. Yes, August just a few weeks away. Sohni, the female, and Malosi have successfully bred and are due to be parents real soon. Be prepared for a lot of tiger cuteness.

Sumatran tigers are highly endangered. There are only about 400-500 in the wild, and about of 100 of those live in unprotected rain forest and not park land or other protected areas. Habitat loss and poaching are critical threats to all species of tigers.

Thankfully, this species of tiger is doing fairly well in captivity. And Disney's Animal Kingdom is part of the Species Survival Plan, a national program dedicated to ensure the genetic viability of this tiger and hopefully, one day, help reintroduce animals into the wild.

By Safari Mike