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 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for December 6, 2017: Tree Climbers

Pool Closure: As is typical this time of year, Disney takes the opportunity with cold weather to refurbish some of the pools located at various resorts. From January 8 through January 19, the Samawati Springs Pool at Kidani Village will be closed for that very reason.

Climbing Everest? Nope Just the Tree of Life: Every once in awhile an awfully dumb guest decides to do something, well awfully dumb. Similar to attempts to scale the pyramid at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot, 4 - that's right 4- guests attempted to scale the Tree of Life. Needless to say, they did not reach the top, and are likely banned from the park for the foreseeable future.  In any event, don't try this at home kids.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday December 7 9 am - 8 pm
Friday December 8 9 am - 8 pm
Saturday December 9 9 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  December 10 9 am- 8 pm
Monday December 11  9 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday December 12 9 am- 8 pm 
Wednesday December 13 9 am-8 pm

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for November 22, 2017: The end is near for Flights of Wonder

Pumpkins Everywhere: The Disney parks blog has a post all about the use of pumpkins for enrichment. Basically, enrichment is anything keepers do to try and engage the animals in captivity. It can take all sorts of forms, such as training sessions or hiding treats in exhibits. One way this is done at the Animal Kingdom is take all of those pumpkins used during Halloween festivities and let the animals play.

End of Flights: Flights of Wonder is an original attraction, dating back to the park's opening in April 1998. Recently, several rumors have circulated that the show is finished at the end of the year.  According to the BlogMickey, they have received confirmation that indeed December 31, 2017 will be the last show.  However, in further reading these reports, they seem to say a new animal show with birds will be replacing it. This seems more like a new script then something completely different. I believe Guano Joe will be leaving but you will still see many of the birds demonstrate their natural talents.

Park Hours for this week are...
Thursday November 23 8 am - 10 pm
Friday November 24 8 am - 10 pm
Saturday November 25 8 am- 10 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  November 26 9 am- 8 pm
Monday November 27  9 am- 8 pm
Tuesday November 28 9 am- 8 pm 
Wednesday November 29 9 am-8 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Episode 122 of Radio Harambe - Caring for Giants

Safari Mike just returned from a trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom and he had the chance to experience the new Caring for Giants tour. He sits down with Dave to discuss this new way to see elephants in the Harambe Reserve.

Also, the time is soon approaching when we dedicate a show or two entirely to your questions and comments. Please email any to Enjoy the show!

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for November 15, 2017: Oasis Bridge and Pulled Pork

Oasis Bridge Refurb: One of my favorite spots in the park is the suspension bridge that runs into a cave at the Oasis. Most people don't bother going that way but kids love it. Currently, the bridge is under refurbishment until December 16th.

New Food: A new food item has made its way to Flame Tree BBQ. A baked mac and cheese with pulled pork has hit the menu. It also has cole slaw and a couple of onion rings on top. The item is $9.99.

Park Hours for this week are...

Thursday November 16 9 am - 7 pm
Friday November 17 9 am - 8 pm
Saturday November 18 9 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  November 19 9 am- 10 pm
Monday November 29  9 am- 10 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday November 21 9 am- 10 pm 
Wednesday November 22 9 am-10 pm

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for November 8, 2017: Avatar models

Avatar Land Model: Over at Visit Orlando's Visitor Center, there is a large model of the Valley of Mo'ara on display. It shows in detail the attractions, the paths, the canteen and Windtraders as well as the floating mountains that don't float. The center is open from 8 am to 9 pm daily. You can find all sorts of information about the various attractions, resorts, hotels and restaurants in the Orlando area.

Carnival: Today Disney did some promoting on the parks blog (I know when don't they). Probably one of the lesser known entertainment acts in the park is the Discovery Island Carnival. This dance party with its Brazilian theme takes place every late afternoon. Latin music and colorful costumes are the backbone of this offering. Frankly, I prefer Burudika but hey that's me.

Park Hours for this week are...

Thursday November 9 9 am - 8 pm
Friday November 10 9 am - 8 pm
Saturday November 11 9 am- 8 pm
Sunday  November 12 9 am- 8 pm
Monday November 13  9 am- 8 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday November 14 9 am- 8 pm 
Wednesday November 15 9 am- 8 pm