Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Disney Animal Kingdom News for April 25, 2018: Additional extra magic

Extra Magic Hours: Disney has added a ton of extra magic hours for the park. Beginning this coming weekend, virtually every day will have a morning extra magic hour. This lasts from April 29th until June 30th. The attractions included are the Avatar rides, Dinosaur, Triceratops Spin, Everest and on some days, the safari. At this time, this lasts until right about the time Toy Story Land opens, we will see what happens then with regards to crowds.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday April 26 9 am - 9:30 pm
Friday April 27 9 am - 9:30 pm
Saturday April 28 9 am- 10:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  April 29 9 am- 10:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Monday April 30  9 am- 9:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday May 1 9 am- 10 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Wednesday May 2 9 am- 10 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Animal Kingdom’s 20th Anniversary 

In celebration of the park’s 20th birthday, I am posting some pictures from the parks first year.

The Tree of Life looks the same but there were some different animals in the gardens surrounding it. 

In front of Countdown to Extinction, there was no iguanadon. 

And where DinoRama sits today there was Dinosaur Jubilee, a small natural history museum manned by interns from the Dino Institute.

The Safari had many of the same animals but the landscape itself looked very different.

Here wildebeest and tommies graze in a much different looking place. 

And Gorilla Falls had warthogs and these gerenuk. 

Happy Anniversary to the world’s best theme park. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Disney Park News for April 18, 2018: New Burudika CD coming and gearing up for the 20th

New Burudika CD: Wassalou is the band name on the CD, but Burudika is how Disney fans know them. Without any doubt, the best live band on Disney property released a CD awhile back. If you haven't purchased it at Mombasa Marketplace or downloaded it on ITunes then you need to. But in great news, Burudika is back in the studios and a new CD will be released later this year. According to the band, it is hoped it will be released this summer.

20th Anniversary Merch: Lots of new merchandise for the 20th anniversary of the park has been released. The actual day is Sunday April 22nd, but the merchandise has been out for a bit.

I like this travel mug.

The shirts aren't too bad either. Though I am not sure what one would do with a wooden bill baseball hat.

Up show opens: As we posted on Tuesday, soft openings of the new Up bird show have begun. Fortunately, Dave was in the right place at the right time and got to experience it. Basically, there are a lot of issues. Bad writing, birds not following directions and other hiccups. The grand opening will be on April 22nd for the anniversary.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday April 19 9 am - 9:30 pm
Friday April 20 9 am - 9:30 pm
Saturday April 21 9 am- 10:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  April 22 9 am- 10 pm
Monday April 23  9 am- 9:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday April 24 9 am- 9:30 pm 
Wednesday April 25 9 am- 9:30 pm

Up A Great Bird Adventure Begins Previews

Yesterday, April 16th saw the first soft opening of the new bird show in Anandapur at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The old show, Flights of Wonder (a personal favorite) closed just after the new year to make way for this refreshed version starring the characters from Up (also a personal favorite). Fortunately, Dave was there at the park and got into the very first preview of the show. He was not impressed.

It does not appear much has changed with regards to the theater itself. While the place was closed for several months, they did not take the opportunity to make much aesthetic change to the place.

The show itself also did not change too much. According to Dave, this version is just a little cheesier and frankly, dumbed down. Imagine Flights of Wonder but just with Dug and Russell, and a little less bird information. Also, these are not advanced characters that we have seen pop up in other shows. There is no talking. And can someone explain how Kevin doesn't make an appearance. He's a main character from the movie, he's a giant bird. IT IS A BIRD SHOW.

There is still audience participation, although some of the tricks as you can see below, have been altered.

And some tricks are taken directly from the short lived, abridged birds shows they did in Dinoland and Harambe. Here (although the bird did not cooperate) guests get ready to have a bird walk across their arms.

I did the same thing in Dinoland last year.

And, of course, some things remain. Like there is always Hope.....

In any event, the show does need to work out a few kinks. Hence, the reason to start previewing it a week early. And here's hoping they work on the some of storytelling, as well. But, at the very least, we still get to see some cool birds. As Dave said in a text after the show: Its got a long way to go.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom for April 11, 2018: Giant Robot Suit

Pandora Utility Suit: Nothing says "Animal Kingdom" more than a giant mechanical suit. At least that's what Disney says as it is debuting as new entertainment on the park's 20th anniversary, Aprill 22nd. The suit is similar to ones seen in the film. In the movie, it was essentially a combat suit, but ACE has re-purposed the design for research purposes. It will be called the Pandora Conservation Initiative Utility Suit.

photo courtesy of Disney 

Meet Me at the Park: While not Animal Kingdom news per se, it is Disney conservation news. Disney is donating $1.5 million to the National Recreation and Park Association to support their Meet Me in the Park program.  The program attempts to encourage kids to spend more time in their local parks and you can vote on some the parks obtaining grants here. So go vote for your local park.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday April 12 9 am - 9:30 pm
Friday April 13 9 am - 9:30 pm
Saturday April 14 9 am- 9:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  April 15 9 am- 9:30 pm
Monday April 16  9 am- 9:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday April 17 9 am- 8:30 pm 
Wednesday April 18 9 am- 9:30 pm

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for April 4, 2018: Some new foods

New food items around the Kingdom: Some new food items have sprung up at Harambe Market and Flame Tree BBQ. First over at Harambe, the gigantic sausage has been replaced with a smaller pork sausage on a piece of naan. There is also a new gyro. For dessert, there is a new coconut cake covered in chocolate and filled with pineapple coconut mousse. Not to be outdone, Flame Tree released a new banana maple cake to much fanfare (and social media pictures).

Dawa Drink: A new drink has been released at the Dawa: Ngumu Jungle Juice. This cocktail is 2 ingredients, the delicious jungle juice from Tusker House plus dark rum. For those that don't know, Jungle Juice is merely POG juice which is Passion fruit, Orange and Guava juices mixed together.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday April 5 8 am - 10:30 pm
Friday April 6 8 am - 10:30 pm
Saturday April 7 8 am- 11 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  April 8 9 am- 9:30 pm
Monday April 9  9 am- 9:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday April 10 9 am- 9:30 pm 
Wednesday April 11 9 am- 9:30 pm

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom News: March 21, 2018: Dino Duck

Easter Week: Big crowds are back. This coming weekend begins the Easter season. As you can see by the hours below, the park will remain open late, as 11 pm is the latest we have seen in awhile.

Donald's Dino Bash: The new Dinoland dance party now has a start date. Beginning on May 25th, Donald. Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and other feathered characters will be on hand to meet guests. There will also be dance music for the shindig.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday March 22 8 am - 9:30 pm
Friday March 23 8 am - 9:30 pm
Saturday March 24 8 am- 10 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  March 25 8 am- 11 pm
Monday March 26  8 am- 11 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday March 27 8 am- 11 pm 
Wednesday March 28 8 am- 11 pm

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Safari Mike's Planet Watch - Rhinos

Safari Mikes is back with another Planet Watch episode, this time he talks about rhinos and the challenges they face for survival!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for March 14, 2018: Tiffins Talks

Tiffins Talks: Tickets are now available for this special event honoring the park's 20th anniversary. Imagineers and other important people to the park will give talks while you enjoy a meal at the signature restaurant. This includes Joe Rohde on April 25th. Dr. Anne Savage, the Conservation Manager and one time guest on Radio Harambe is also scheduled to give a talk on May 2nd. The event costs $165 per person and naturally includes food and beverages.

New Costumes: One of the ways Disney is celebrating the park's landmark anniversary is with new cast member costumes. You should begin to see them around the time of the actual anniversary date, April 22nd. The initial wave of changes centers around the various locations at the Oasis and Discovery Island. Additional changes will happen in the coming months.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday March 15 8 am - 10 pm
Friday March 16 8 am - 10 pm
Saturday March 17 8 am- 10 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  March 18 8 am- 9:30 pm
Monday March 19  8 am- 9:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday March 20 8 am- 9:30 pm 
Wednesday March 21 8 am- 8:30 pm

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Episode 130 of Radio Harambe - Top Ten Sounds at Disney's Animal Kingdom

We all know by now that Safari Mike likes to make lists, so today he presents his Top Ten Uses of Sounds at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Sounds a bit random we know, but it's also lots of fun. Asante Sana and enjoy the show!

Friday, March 2, 2018

World Wildlife Day 

It is World Wildlife Day. And this year the focus is on big cats. As we all know, Disney's Animal Kingdom has a few. Sumatran Tigers at the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Lions and cheetahs on the Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Maharajah Jungle Trek 
Big cats are some of the most popular zoo animals there are, especially the iconic lions and tigers. At the Animal Kingdom, the recent birth of tiger cubs has sparked a lot of press and social media photographs. And we often hear from the guests about being on the safari, just as the male lion roars. The fact it happens more often at night often makes that a highlight of the evening tour.

Snow Leopard at Central Park Zoo
Despite their popularity from the public at large, big cats are in trouble across the globe. As I am sure you know, when you have a beautiful coat like the snow leopard above or the rare (and my favorite) clouded leopard below, the fur industry and poaching are prime enemies. These skins are used not just for clothing, but rugs and other furnishings as well.

Clouded Leopard at Zoo Atlanta
Other parts, such as bones, teeth and claws, are also sold illegally around the globe. The biggest markets are in Asia, particularly in China, Vietnam and Myanmar. In some cases these are used for jewelry and in other instances, the products are used in traditional medicine. Regardless of the end use, poaching is a big problem for all big cats and the market is mostly generated from that part of the world.

Lion pride at the Cincinnati Zoo
Recently, China has taken some major steps to halt the traffic of ivory in its country. This should go a long way in protecting elephants. However, China has not taken a similar course for the trade in illegal cat parts. Days like today can help put the pressure on that government.

Siberian Tigers at the Bronx Zoo 
There are also conflicts with local landowners. This is true for example with the cheetah in Africa. Groups like the Cheetah Conservation Fund, have been working with local farmers for years. Livestock guarding dogs are trained and provided to the farmers. Wild cheetahs, instead of going after sheep and goats, avoid those herds. Farmers no longer feel the need to kill cheetahs on sight to protect their livelihood. A win for both farmers and cheetahs. Similarly, the Snow Leopard Trust is providing farmers with livestock insurance for the rare instance of a snow leopard kill. They are also providing local farmers with the tools to avoid depredation.

Cheetah in Africa photo by Aruna Mohan
The goal is, of course, to protect these beautiful animals for future generations as well as protecting their natural habitat. And Disney's Animal Kingdom through their Conservation Fund as well as the work they do in captive breeding is doing their part.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for February 28, 2018: Warnings for Flight of Passage

New Warnings: Disney has begun a process of handing out cards as guests queue up for Avatarland's thrill ride. The pamphlet indicates the lack of bathrooms in the queue and the issues with the seating and restraints. However, more importantly, it goes into details about safety warnings for people with heart, back and neck issues as well as people susceptible to motion sickness and who are pregnant. This is similar to Mission Space which after several incidents passed out cards and provided a less intense option. While I do not foresee a less intense option for this attraction, there have been incidents. I personally know someone who required CPR while riding this attraction. It can be intense.

Anniversary Tour: You can now start booking "A Path Less Traveled: Disney's Animal Kingdom's 20th Anniversary" tour. This limited time tour is $59 (includes a snack) and will run daily from April 1st to May 5th. The tours begin at 10:30 am and continue throughout the day. It includes the Caring for Giants tour, a trip backstage to Rafiki's Planet Watch as well as a look at the purple martins' nesting area backstage. It concludes with VIP seating at Rivers of Light.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday March 1 8 am - 8 pm
Friday March 2 8 am - 8 pm
Saturday March 3 8 am- 9 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  March 4 8 am- 9 pm
Monday March 5  8 am- 8:30 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday March 6 8 am- 8:30 pm 
Wednesday March 7 8 am-8:30 pm