Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom News: Musical Acts leaving, new parties, and sponsors

Musical Acts Gone: Two acts that have been providing entertainment at the Animal Kingdom for some time are leaving this month. The duo, Chakranadi, has stopped playing in Anandapur. Over in Discovery Island, The Sunset Serenatas, an act playing a Paraguayan harp is also leaving the schedule. No replacements have been announced.

Party for the Planet: Every year, on Earth Day, Disney celebrates the planet and the Animal Kingdom's birthday with a little party. This year it will be a lot bigger and longer since it is the park's 20th birthday. New food items will appear at the various food booths, dance parties will begin and get ready for Tiffins Talks. At that restaurant, you will be able to learn more about the animals of the park while enjoying your meal. As part of the special anniversary, a new Donald Duck takes over Dinoland party will begin, as well. 

Wild Africa Trek Sponsors: Otterbox, who makes various phone cases, have become the official sponsors of this tour. While it is not believe the tour will be effected in any way, new signs have sprung up. Otterbox has already released a Magic Kingdom design on sale at the parks and it is anticipated more designs will follow shortly.

Rafikis' Tour: Speaking of tours, a new tour has begun at Rafiki's Planet Watch, and the best part is, its free. The tour is 30 minutes and takes you to some backstage areas. You will get to see 2 of the following 4 areas: the hospital, the science center, the nutrition center or the invertebrate

building. This seems like a terrific idea to allow guests to get a sneak peek at some of the machinations of animal care. The tours are first come, first serve with sign ups at a table at the Planet Watch. Each tour can accommodate 16 guests.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday February 22 8 am - 8:30 pm
Friday February 23 8 am - 8:30 pm
Saturday February 24 8 am- 9 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  February 25 9 am- 8:30 pm
Monday February 26  9 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday February 27 8 am- 8 pm 
Wednesday February 28 8 am-8 pm

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Safari Mike Debuts New Planet Watch Podcast

We wanted to talk more about conservation, since that is what this is all about! So Safari Mike decided to go podcasting on his own and create a short little show about conservation. In this first episode, he talks about Pandas.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for February 7, 2018: Bring on the Caballeros

Bring on the Caballeros: Two of the three caballeros are now appearing on Discovery Island. Every night (until at least May 8th), Viva Gaia performs during the Carnivale dance party in the hub of the park. Jose and Panchito are now joining in the party. Sadly, Donald was not invited.

We have a name: The replacement show for Flights of Wonder, which closed on New Year's Eve, has been given a name. It is called "Adventurers' Meet UP! A Great Bird Adventure." The opening date will be in time for the park's 20th anniversary which is April 22, 2018.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday February 8 9 am - 8 pm
Friday February 9 9 am - 8 pm
Saturday February 10 8 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  February 11 8 am- 8 pm
Monday February 12  8 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday February 13 9 am- 8 pm 
Wednesday February 14 9 am-8 pm

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Episode 128 of Radio Harambe - Ten Things You Never Knew About Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is not only an amazing thrill ride, but it is also one of the great examples of what Imagineering can do. In this episode Safari Mike brings us 10 things we never knew about Expedition Everest...although Dave did know a few. Asante Sana and Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for January 24, 2018: Baby hippos and purple birds

Hippo Baby: As we all know by now, the park welcomed the birth of a hippopotamus a couple of weeks ago. Unlike the tiger cubs, the hippo has been immediately visible "on stage" in the Kilimanjaro Safari exhibit. In fact, staff has not yet examined the new born so the gender is unknown. Tuma and Henry are the parents and it is the first hippo birth in 13 years. While the baby will be in the exhibit, be warned it may be difficult to spot it, so good luck.

photo courtesy of Disney

Purple Martins: Purple martins are a beautiful migratory bird that nests in WDW area. The birds migrate from the Amazon rain forest and are now starting to come to Disney World to nest. The flight is about 6,000 miles. For more on the preparations Disney makes for the birds' arrival click here.

photo courtesy of Disney 

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday January 25 9 am - 8 pm
Friday January 26 9 am - 8 pm
Saturday January 27 9 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  January 28 9 am- 8 pm
Monday January 29  9 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday January 30 9 am- 8 pm 
Wednesday January 31 9 am-8 pm

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Baby Hippo at DAK 

Well, the Sumatran tigers now have some competition as there is a new baby animal at the park. A hippo!

Hippopotamuses are popular zoo animals for sure. And Disney does a great job displaying them where you can see them where they really shine: underwater. Even still, hippos though incredible impressive are not generally considered to be cute. That is, except baby hippos.

Fiona, recently born at the Cincinnati zoo is a social media star. A baby hippo at Disney would likely generate similar love from twitter, facebook and the like. Though a baby hippo would have to compete with the new Sumatran tiger cubs.

Unlike the tigers who highly endangered, hippos are listed as Vulnerable, which means unless conservation improves they will be listed as endangered in the future. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 125,000 to 150,000 hippos in the wild but they are subject to unregulated hunting. Zambia and Tanzania have the largest populations. Like the tiger, the hippo is part of a SSP or Species Survival Plan wherein zoos across the country cooperate to ensure a healthy captive population. 

The Mom, Tuma, and her new calf should be visible in the exhibit right away. Unlike tigers, hippos are not born helpless. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Review of the the Bird show at Harambe

Remember the bird show in Harambe.We do and we talked about it during the recent Year in Review episode of Radio Harambe.

The Harambe show was really just a short, lite version of the Flights of Wonder show. There was a similar show in Dinoland. I still wonder if Disney plans on doing something like this again. Heck maybe while Flights of Wonder is being converted into the Up show.

Harambe is typically much more crowded than Dinoland. So its little wonder this show was much more crowded than its Dinoland counter part. It also took place on the main stage in the middle of the fictional town.

This show used three to four birds much like its Dinoland counterpart. Here, we had an owl and a ground hornbill fly over the town. Also, they brought out the African grey parrot who counts to 4, a standard on the Flights of Wonder schedule.

These did show birds doing what they do best. And its very impressive having an owl fly over your head or a colorful toucan whiz by your ear.

I do hope Disney does more of these kinds of shows in the coming months. They are only about 10 minutes but do a nice job getting people impressed by birds. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

There has been perhaps no bigger year in the history of Disney's Animal Kingdom then 2017, and in this episode Dave and Safari Mike will look back at it all.

From the opening of Pandora to the birth of endangered tiger cubs, 2017 will not be forgotten any time soon. Asante Sana and enjoy!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Its true. The Animal Kingdom is not the focal point of celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World. There are parties over at the Magic Kingdom, Holiday celebrations from around the world at Epcot and a new show at the Tower of the Terror.

But at the Animal Kingdom, you can certainly enjoy some fun decor. And, frankly, it is usually the least crowded park on Christmas Day. I decided to put up a few pictures of some the ways the Animal Kingdom shows its holiday spirit.

You can fun things like this Stitch scattered through out the park. 

At night, the park takes on a special look. Like the rest of the park, this one is darker and the holiday decor more subtle. 

The tree ornaments also a very different at the Animal Kingdom. Like the lion above, the decorations are very specific and well themed. 

And I just love Harambe during the holidays. Keeping with the theme of an old African town, you will find wreaths made of old bicycle tires. 

So Merry Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for December 20, 2017: Flight of Passage just got tougher to get on

More People for Avatar: In a bewildering decision by WDW, some previous benefits reserved only for Disney resort guests are being expanded to include some of the Disney Spring Resort hotels and some other non-Disney properties such as the Wyndam Lake Buena Vista and the Holiday Inn Orlando. There are eight hotels included. Starting January 1, these guests will be able to book fast passes 60 days out instead of 30 and use Extra Magic Hours. Flight of Passage just got harder to get on for Disney resort guests.

Baby Tigers: As you all know by now, little Anala and Jeda are now being seen in the Maharajah Jungle. The sumatran tiger cubs were born earlier this year. These animals are critically endangered, with less than 500 still surviving in the wild. Be aware, the cubs will not be out for the entire day at least for the short term future. As we get more information on a schedule, we will relay that.
photo courtesy of Disney
Happy Holiday
Park Hours for this week are...

Thursday December 21 9 am - 8 pm

Friday December 22 9 am - 8 pm

Saturday December 23 9 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning

Sunday  December 24 9 am- 10 pm

Monday December 25  9 am- 10 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday December 26 9 am- 10 pm 
Wednesday December 27 9 am-10 pm

Monday, December 11, 2017

Flights of Wonder being replaced with Dug

I am a big fan of Up. Its my favorite Pixar movie and in my Top 3 of Disney animated movies. I think the Wilderness Explorers "game" is one of the very best things at Disney. And I want more Dug and Russell. But, I am not sure how I feel about this.

As we noted in our most recent episode of Radio Harambe, we were certain the rumors of the demise of Flights of Wonder were true. And yes, Flights of Wonder is ending on December 31st. A new show, featuring Dug and Russell from Up will begin next spring. I can almost guarantee that the show will be launched on Earth Day 2018, the 20th anniversary of the park's opening.

First, some good news. As we had mentioned on the podcast, we had information that the show would continue to use birds. And that seems to be exactly the case. Dug and Russell will discover the wonders of birds each day during the show. New script. Russell replaces Guano Joe, but otherwise, I figure the show will be basically the same in structure.

And that makes me happy. I love the way birds are exhibited at Disney's Animal Kingdom. You can truly appreciate the different species. And, let's be honest, the whole Guano Joe story line was unchanged for 19 years. It was time for a refresh. And I think with the test shows in Harambe and Dinoland, they were gauging general interest.

But, Dug and Russell? Like I said I love the movie and these characters. The movie, however, took place in South America NOT Asia, and I hate when Disney disregards place in their theme parks (like Guardians of the Galaxy in FUTURE world, or Frozen in Norway). Disney and Imagineering used to care about those kinds of things.

And, I don't like the fact that the birds will not be the star of the show. I really hope it doesn't turn into an UP show that happens to feature birds. It should be a way to show the public the beauty of the animals. They should be the stars.

Now, maybe using characters such as Up gets more butts in the seats meaning more people hoping to see a Dug and Russell show get a greater appreciation of birds. I hope. As you can see, this whole thing has me conflicted. I'm not sure what to think at this point. I suppose I need to see what they have planned.

But one thing is for certain. We have more proof of Bob Iger's belief that anything put in the parks has to be related to an Intellectual Property. And that is something I completely disagree with.

Safari Mike

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017's Disney Conservation Heroes

One of the cool things Disney's Conservation Fund does each and every year is take the time out to recognize some of the people on the "front lines" of conservation issue. Disney recognizes a wide range of people, too. 

photo by Aruna Mohan

You will see park rangers protecting highly endangered species. People who spend their time in local communities teaching about sustainable growth and living with species who need protection. Scientists spending months at a time in remote places to expand our knowledge. Each of these heroes receive $1500 to give to their organization. 

Take a moment and look at the list of this year's winners and description of what they are doing to help us all. 

photo by Aruna Mohan

There is Parag Jyoti Deka who has spent decades trying to save the pygmy hog from extinction. Rocio Palacios of the Andean Cat Alliance studying the elusive Andean wild cat in Patagonia. Others are out there trying to protect sea turtle or snub nosed monkeys. And Mama Grevy, but I will let you read about her. 

Its impossible to overstate the impact of these men and women, and the many others like them. In today's age, it is these heroes who fight to protect our natural resources for our kids and grand kids, and their kids and grand kids. 

By Safari Mike