Sunday, August 21, 2016

AKL Artifact spotlight: Beaded Bird headdress

The Bamileke people were originally from a region called Mbam but in the 1600s moved to what is now western Cameroon. Today this tribe of about eight million are mostly farmers in that area. It is believed that the women make the land more fruitful so they do most of the planting and harvesting. The men hunt and clear the land. 

Much of the art created by these people involve royal ceremonies. Items such as headdresses are a sign of status. As some one who moves up or down the social ladder, works of art are gained or lost. Masks and headdresses are worn during ceremonies like funerals, weddings and royal occasions.

By Safari Mike 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for August 17, 2016: No more Jungle Book but still night hours

Jungle Book Alive with Magic to end: Labor day this year is September 5th, and it is also the last day of the Jungle Book show in the park. With no start date announced for Rivers of Light, Disney has decided they would rather have the new theater sit empty then continue with this production. The show received tepid reviews at best so for the time being the brand new water side theater will be empty.

Evening Hours: One concern we all had was if there was no Jungle Book show, what would happen with night time touring at the park. For a time, Disney had 7:30 pm as the official closing time throughout September. That has now changed. For the month of September, the park will remain open until 9 pm allowing guests to enjoy all of the other evening events like the night safaris, the Tree of Life projections and new entertainment offerings despite the loss of the big day ending show. No announcement has been made about October and beyond though one can only presume it will stay open until about 9 pm as we wait for Rivers of Light.

More details about Pandora soon: James Cameron and his sidekick, Jon Landau are going to Walt Disney World. D23 Destination D is holding an event at the resort on November 19 and 20 this year. As part of that, it was recently announced the creators of Avatar will be there to give a presentation along with Joe Rohde providing new details of the coming 12 acre land. Stay tuned for more information.

More from D23 in November: Disney has another presentation announced for the D23 event. It says in part:
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Evolving a New Species of Theme Park—Explore the origins and incredible evolution of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, from early concepts to up-close looks at new enhancements to be discovered at the park.
It's unclear what this entails but certainly this event has the Animal Kingdom fan covered.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday August 18 9am- 11pm
Friday August 19 9am-11pm
Saturday August 20 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday August 21 9am- 11pm
Monday August 22 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday August 23 9am- 11pm
Wednesday August 24 9am- 11pm

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wallaby baby

Late last year, the wallabies had a cute little baby. So I had to take some video

As you can see, its kind of tough to see the little joey since he spends most of his time in the pouch. These were from February so hopefully, you will see him some more now.

This last video is probably the clearest thanks to the lighting.

But the wallaby exhibit is probably one of the most under appreciated in the Oasis. Since its on the trail cutting between the two main paths, its seldom used.

By Safari Mike

Thursday, August 11, 2016

World Elephant Day

Earlier this week, I spent some time discussing the Horns and Heroes project and the effort to project the rhino. Well, tomorrow is a celebration of the other large land mammal effected greatly by the illegal ivory trade: the elephant.

It is World Elephant Day. And the Disney Conservation Fund, through the Wildlife Conservation Society are one of many groups hard at work trying to reverse the decline.

from the safari in 1998 

Elephants from both Africa and Asia are under constant threat and pressure. Local farmers are at odds with the animals, and one of the things Disney is doing is helping to fund the construction of fences to keep elephants out of the crops. These fences hold beehives and elephants are afraid of bees. Not only does this program help protect elephants but it also increases the population of pollinators.

Habitat destruction and human encroachment is obviously just one issue. As we all know, poaching takes a tremendous toll on the wild population.

If you are at the Animal Kingdom and Rafiki's Planet Watch, you will see a display of origami elephants. Disney is hoping to display 35,000 of them.

The number is significant because, as incredible as it may seem, that is the number of elephants killed every year for ivory in only Africa.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Animal Kingdom News for August 10, 2016: Discounts

Tables of Wonderland Additions: Disney has recently added 4 new restaurants to its Table of Wonderland discount program. Both Tiffins and the Nomad Lounge are now on the list to receive 20% discounts if you purchase the card. The program is only available to Florida residents, AP holders and DVC members. It costs between $150 - $175 but a 20% quickly racks up savings, especially at places like Tiffins.

Jambo House Lobby: Earlier this week, I posted a series of photos on the Jambo House lobby and the new recent rhino sculpture display. The Horns and Heroes Project will be auctioning off these items to raise money for rhino conservation. The display will be there until the middle of September so check it out, and check out the Horns and Heroes Project as well.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday August 11 9am- 11pm
Friday August 12 9am-11pm
Saturday August 13 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday August 14 9am- 11pm
Monday August 15 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday August 16 9am- 11pm
Wednesday August 17 9am- 11pm

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Horns and Heroes at the Jambo House

First of all, a big thanks to Cassie (@DoleWhipSwirl) for the pictures of the sculptures in the Jambo House lobby. And what, you might ask, are these fun rhino heads.  

They are the work of an incredible conservation group called the Horns and Heroes Project. This group is trying to raise awareness and money for the five critically endangered rhino species that we still have left on the planet. And they do it through art work like you see here. 

Some of these sculptures are whimsical and others more dramatic or realistic. But they are part of an auction that is coming in mid September in an attempt to raise awareness of the plight of the rhino. 

I'm sure many of you are aware just how dire the situation is. There are only 5 species of rhinoceros left on Earth: the White and Black species in Africa, and in Asia there is the Greater One Horned, the Javan and the Sumatran. The latter two species can only be found in small pockets on rain forest and critically endangered.

The white rhinos above, are of the southern subspecies. There are only 3 Northern White rhinos left on Earth. Pretty soon they will all be gone. And this terrible scenario, as well as the plight of all species of the rhino, is attributed to poaching for the distinctive horn.

In attempt to raise money, the Horns and Heroes project is producing beautiful art work. You can see more about them in the plague below, and see the relationship this fantastic group has with Disney.

Even Joe Rohde himself donated a very tribal looking rhino to the cause.

The rhino is a personal favorite. These prehistoric looking animals are impressive to see, especially up close.

At the Animal Kingdom, you can see both the white (above) and black (below) species of rhino. Groups like the Horns and Heroes project are trying to ensure that we will continue to be able to see these animals in the wild.

Check out the display at the Jambo House, and better yet, participate in the auction. The display will be there through the week of September 18th. A show featuring the art work from the project will be held at the Abbey in Orlando on September 22, 2016. The proceeds will benefit the International Rhino Foundation.

I also encourage you to look at their website and follow them on all sorts of social media outlets. There are other great organizations like our conservation partner, Save the Rhino, that can use support.

And thanks again, to our friend, Cassie for the photos at the Jambo House lobby.

By Safari Mike 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Episode 91 of Radio Harambe - Listener Questions

It’s another news show as Dave and Safari Mike comment on all the latest happenings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Episode 90 of Radio Harambe - July 2016 News Special

It’s another news show as Dave and Safari Mike comment on all the latest happenings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World. They discuss some menu changes, additions to Rafiki's Planet Watch and even some Star Wars talk.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at Thank you and enjoy the show

Friday, July 29, 2016

International Tiger Day

Its international tiger day so I figured we could celebrate with some pictures of the beautiful cats on the Maharajah Jungle Trek

Tigers are one of the most endangered species in the world, with less than 4,000 cats in the wild. In some areas, like in Nepal, there has been hope. That country estimates about a 60% increase in the cat over the last few years.

The specimens at the jungle trek were of mixed background. This meant they would not be bred. Well, now we have a male and female of the Malaysian subspecies.

The picture above and below does display some of the amazing theming and decor of the jungle trek, which demonstrates the relationship between man and nature, As you can imagine, in that area of the world, tigers play an important role in myth and culture.

For fun, I decided to throw in some pictures from the incredible Tiger Mountain exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

The Bronx exhibit displays the Siberian subspecies which is much bigger and, as you can see, loves the cold weather.

By Safari Mike

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for July 28, 2016: a new site and Pete'sDragon

Pete's Dragon is Coming: Disney is, if you already didn't know, releasing a new version of Pete's Dragon and they are celebrating that release at Disney's Animal Kingdom. No, its not the return of the flying dragon from Fantasyland's opening a few years ago. Nope, they are just passing out some buttons. Because the movie involves a park ranger and the woods, you will be able to pick up a movie button and take part in a puzzle game about National Parks at Rafiki's Planet Watch. This table will debut in early August to coincide with the film's August 12th release.

A new AKL Lodge site: Are you a fan of the Animal Kingdom Lodge? If the answer is yes (and how could it not be really), then check out a brand new site dedicated just to the lodge, The site comes to you from our very good friends over at the Disney Hipsters. The site already contains amazing photos and a ton of useful information for people staying there, thinking of staying or just planning to pop in for a visit. You also may see a certain awarding winning podcast co-host on the pages there.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday July 28 9am- 11pm
Friday July 29 9am-11pm
Saturday July 30 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday July 31 9am- 11pm
Monday August 1 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday August 2 9am- 11pm
Wednesday August 3 9am- 11pm

Sunday, July 24, 2016

AKL Art Spotlight: Prestige Gown of the Babanki

Located on the floors just above the lobby of the Jambo House is this beautiful gown of the Babanki people of Cameroon. This tribe is located in the western grasslands of that African nation. Currently, there are about 40,000 members of this ethnic group. The tribe pays homage to a single king, and this gown would be worn only by one of his wives.

Like many tribes in that area, the Babanki worship their ancestors. Unlike many, they believe the spirits of these ancestors can be found in the deceased's skulls. The skulls of family members are possessed by the oldest living male of the family. It is believed that if a skull is not preserved that particular spirit may then haunt the family mostly because he has nowhere to live. Therefore, there is a lot skull iconography in their art. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for July 21, 2016: New chickens

Testing of Amphitheater: Disney is testing a new opening procedure at the amphitheater for the Jungle Book show. They are opening the theater only 20 minutes prior to the show. It is hoped that guest will spend more time on attractions and enjoying entertainment (or perhaps shopping) as opposed to finding their seats up to an hour early. This will continue to be monitored but it is anticipated that the testing will end on the 25th.

New critters at Rafikis: The Affection Section area at Rafiki's Planet Watch has seen the addition of three new species of rare chickens. You can now see Naked-necked turkens, Leghorn chickens, and Amereaucana chickens. The turkens were at point thought to be a mix of turkeys and chickens but are actually a chicken species. The Leghorn species is listed as a recovering breed.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday July 21 9am- 11pm
Friday July 22 9am-11pm
Saturday July 23 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday July 24 9am- 11pm
Monday July 25 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday July 26 9am- 11pm
Wednesday July 27 9am- 11pm