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

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!