Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-up; January 23


Springbok Herd Added to Kilimanjaro Safari:  This morning’s Disney Park Blog postings included news of a new animal added to the Kilimanjaro Safari area of the park, the springbok.  Animal Experts have introduced 6 females and one male calf to the park, and they are beautiful!  We will be in the park next week and hope to have a few photos for you.

image copyright Disney

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Jan 23 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: Jan 24 9am - 5pm
Friday: Jan 25 9am - 5pm
Saturday: Jan 26 9am - 8pm
Sunday: Jan 27 9am - 7pm
Monday: Jan 28 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: Jan 29 9am - 5pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:

  • Kali River Rapids will be closed for maintenance from January 6 through February 15
  • Mr. Kamal’s snack kiosk will be closed from January 6 through January 26
  • The Uzima Pool slide at Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will close for maintenance on January 14 and reopen February 8


Have A Wild Time this week!!

New Attractions info added to Jambo Everyone!

We continue our efforts to make Jambo Everyone the definitive guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom, and we are nearly there.  Yesterday we added two new in-depth attraction reviews, the Fossil Fun Games and the Oasis Exhibits.


Both of these are often missed by many guests, but for very different reasons.  The Fossil Fun Games are the midway-style games found in Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama, and most guides and websites tell travelers to ignore them.  However, we are not so sure they are correct.


The Oasis Exhibits are missed by guests to the Animal Kingdom for a very different reason.  Folks tend to walk right by them, completely unaware they are even there.  But don't be one of those!  The Oasis is full of terrific zoo exhibits worthy of some time spent.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up; January 16


Wilderness Explorers Interactive Game Coming Soon to DAK:  The big news this week is the annoucment of a new interactive game based on the Wilderness Explorers from Pixar’s film “Up’.  Check out our story on that upcoming addition here.

image copyright Disney/Pixar
Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Jan 16 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: Jan 17 9am - 5pm
Friday: Jan 18 9am - 5pm
Saturday: Jan 19 9am - 8pm
Sunday: Jan 20 9am - 8pm
Monday: Jan 21 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: Jan 22 9am - 5pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:

  • Kali River Rapids will be closed for maintenance from January 6 through February 15
  • Mr. Kamal’s snack kiosk will be closed from January 6 through January 26
  • The Uzima Pool slide at Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will close for maintenance on January 14 and reopen February 8


Have A Wild Time this week!!

Become A True Wilderness Explorer!


A wilderness explorer is friend to all, be it bird, fish or tiny mole. And soon, guests at the Animal Kingdom will get to be a real, honest-to-goodness wilderness explorer. What am I talking about? Well, its basically a new "game" coming to the park based on one of the best Disney movies ever, Pixar's "Up".. In fact, its one of the best movies ever. The film is all at once touching, hysterical and quite bizarre. I love that you can meet Russell and Dug on Discovery Island. And this new interactive game is just another great way to incorporate one of my favorite movies into my favorite park.

Image copyright Disney/Pixar
According to the Disney Parks Blog, this game will send guests on scavenger hunts throughout the park to earn badges. For those that don't know (and if you don't, go get the movie on Netflix now, I'll wait), Russell is in the Wilderness Explorers a boy scout type of organization. As an explorer, you earn various badges and in this version, there will be up (no pun intended) to 30 badges to earn.

There was a wilderness explorer game that was tested back in the Fall of 2011 at Pangani Forest. In the test run, you were given a folder and binoculars and released into Pangani to earn badges. One badge, for example, was the Birding Badge, where once you found 4 or 5 birds and wrote their names on your sheet, you would then get a badge. There were different markers helping you find the place you needed to be for the other tested badge, the Hiking Badge which basically sent you through the exhibit to hike.

image copyright Disney/Pixar
The testing phase had only 2 badges and was limited to Africa. With 30 badges, you can bet the final version will take place over most if not all of the park. The "badges" in the test phase were stickers and there is no word if that will stay the case. In fact, there is no real word on how closely the final version will resemble the tested one. Presumably, it will stay relatively the same. But the tested version was very low tech, consisting of binoculars, folders and stickers. A far cry from Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom or the Phineas & Ferb game in World Showcase.

One thing is for certain, this is a great idea. The game will likely focus on the animal trails and any way to get guests excited to walk the trails and learn about animals, even if its just the animal's names, is a positive thing in my mind. Plus, its sure to give your kids (and the adults), a cool and memorable souvenir.


by Safari Mike
to contact Safari Mike use Twitter: @JamboEveryone

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shopping at Disney's Animal Kingdom

We have a few goals at Jambo Everyone, and one is to become the best and most comprehensive online guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  So today, we added our guide to shopping at DAK, with a short description of what you will find in the park's stores.


One of the criticisms often leveled at Disney's merchandising division is the lack of variety, and the difficultly in finding something unique.  And, quite frankly, how it is now nearly impossible to find something without mouse ears or any other of the standard park souvenir.  But that is always true at the Animal Kingdom.  In DAK, you can still find something really cool.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-up; January 9


Not much news this week from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to report on.  The biggest story, which reported on earlier in the week, concerns apparent plans to move the Festival of the Lion King to the Africa area behind the Tusker House.  Click here to read our report.


Park Hours for this week are back to their non-holiday-ridiculously-short schedule...

Wednesday: Jan 9 8am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: Jan 10 9am - 5pm
Friday: Jan 11 9am - 6pm
Saturday: Jan 12 9am - 7pm
Sunday: Jan 13 9am - 6pm
Monday: Jan 14 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: Jan 15 9am - 5pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:

  • Kali River Rapids will be closed for maintenance from January 6 through February 15
  • Mr. Kamal’s snack kiosk will be closed from January 6 through January 26
  • The Uzima Pool slide at Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will close for maintenance on January 14 and reopen February 8


Have A Wild Time this week!!

The Lost DAK Files: The Excavator

Disney's Animal Kingdom is, of course, the newest park in Walt Disney World. But there is still a lot of concepts that nearly made it to the park and off the drawing board but didn't. One such attraction was the Excavator.

What is that you ask? Well, it was supposed to be a major headliner in Dinoland. It was a wooden coaster that was to take place in a fossil dig site. The conceit was never fully developed. I mean, why on earth would there be a giant wooden coaster in a dig site? From the drawings I have seen, it does not seem as if the attraction was built on the bones of the fossils. There simply seems to be a wooden coaster smack dab in the middle of a dig.

image copyright Disney
The concept art does perhaps demonstrate the idea that the guest was in an out of control ore car that would not only pass skeletons but also some of Chester and Hester's roadside "attractions." It also shows the ride vehicle zipping through dino bones as well as a steel mishmosh sculpture that was apparently part of Chester and Hester's plot of land.

The coaster was built near the Boneyard. And, in fact, some of the concept art shows the coaster in the background of the Boneyard itself. It appears that Chester and Hester's Dinoland is about where this was originally intended and, thus, was its eventual replacement.  For all the backlash the area currently gets, its actually an amazing example of back story and theming. Some day I will layout the back story for you, but needless to say Primeval Whirl, Triceratops Spin and the carnival games are a testament to story telling. Chester and Hester and the old gas station are rich in details. This coaster, it does not seem, would have had quite the same richness in detail if that was built instead.


But it would have likely been entertaining and a big draw. So why wasn't it built? The most referenced reason is money. The Animal Kingdom simply ran out of it. Its certainly what cost us the Beastlie Kingdomme. And it probably effected this, as well. Countdown to Extinction was cheaper since it was basically Disneyland's Indiana Jones ride and its always quicker and cheaper to clone.

But perhaps imagineers just didn't like it that much. The theming and ride seem a little disjointed. The current set up has the Dino Institute and the neighboring Dinoland, which fit together seamlessly and really let the imagineers tell a story. This attraction, from the details we have, seemed more about thrills than theme. And lets not forget, if they did build this, they probably never would have built a second train coaster, aka Expedition Everest. So it's probably a good thing this got cut, no?

by Safari Mike
to contact Safari Mike use Twitter: @JamboEveryone

Friday, January 4, 2013

Festival of the Lion King Set for Move to Africa


Finally we have some news on the potential relocation of the Festival of the Lion King.  John Frost of the terrific Disney Blog is reporting this morning on paperwork filed by Disney leading us to the show’s future location.

In paperwork filed with the Florida water district management agency, we now know that the FotLK theater will be moved to a new plot of land in Africa. It will be to your left as you cross over the bridge, behind the Tusker House restaurant. Imagineers have been spotted in the area taking a few measurements. So its possible work on fencing in and clearing the plot could begin any day now.

So we have the “where” but still no news on the when.  A few months back, rumors suggested the attraction would be closing in early 2013, as early as January.  The new Avatar project is slated for the area now called Camp Minnie-Mickey, so FotLK has to be relocated or closed before construction can begin.  But nothing has been confirmed, so we can only assume this is not happening until Spring at the earliest.


This is good news for the DAK fanatic, as many who were not exactly thrilled about the addition of Avatar to the park were dreading a possible permanent closure of the FotLK.  But now we get the best of both worlds.  We get a huge and expensive park expansion while also seeing FotLK moved to where it should have been located in the first place.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is the Yeti real?

It's Thursday, so that means Safari Mike has sent in another of his telegrams from somewhere in the wilderness back to us here in the Jambo Everyone home office.  He has made it high into the Himalayas to research and report on the mountains' most elusive indigenous creatures, the yeti.


As the editor of Jambo Everyone, I do understand some may question the very existence of the yeti.  It is a controversial issue to be sure.  But as far as I am concerned, if Safari Mike says it is real, that's good enough for me.  And if Safari Mike is in fact able to read this blog from wherever he may be, thanks for tip about train travel.  From now on I will stick to airplanes when traversing the Himalayas.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up; January 2


The holidays are almost behind us now, which means the crowds will start to dissipate and so will the park hours.  But at least until the end of the coming weekend you will get a few more of those rare chances to enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom after dark.   Also, we have some closures coming at both at the park and the Animal Kingdom Lodge so take note of those refurbs listed below.


Also, the park’s holiday themed Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade runs for last time today at 3:45pm, which means Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade returns tomorrow at the same time.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Jan 2 8am - 8pm
Thursday: Jan 3 9am - 8pm
Friday: Jan 4 9am - 8pm
Saturday: Jan 5 9am - 8pm
Sunday: Jan 6 9am - 8pm
Monday: Jan 7 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: Jan 8 9am - 5pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:

  • Kali River Rapids will be closed for maintenance from January 6 through February 15
  • Mr. Kamal’s snack kiosk will be closed from January 6 through January 26
  • The Uzima Pool slide at Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will close for maintenance on January 14 and reopen February 8


Have A Wild Time this week!!

Disney’s Animal Programs Works with New England Aquarium to Aid Sea Turtles


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Dec. 28, 2012— The Seas with Nemo & Friends welcomed some new swimmers recently, with the addition of eight Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles suffering from hypothermia after a recent cold snap in New England.

As a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, Walt Disney World Resort is one of several organizations working with the New England Aquarium to provide medical care for the weak sea turtles after the New England Aquarium sea turtle hospital reached capacity. Disney’s Animal Programs’ team members picked up the sea turtles and provided thorough medical assessments including x-rays and blood tests.
image copyright Disney
Sea turtles are vulnerable to cold weather and frigid waters that lower their body temperatures and slow their metabolism, which could lead to life-threatening comas.

“The team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate and conserve turtles and tortoises every day,” said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president, of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks. ”Over the years, our animal care team has nursed more than 300 endangered sea turtles back to health and released them back to the wild.”

Currently, Disney’s animal care experts are focused on increasing the turtles’ body weight and strength for open water swimming in the ocean. According to the care team, the sea turtles are eating well and recovering nicely. The ultimate goal is to release them into the wild, under direction of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In addition to caring for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, Disney’s Animal Programs Cast Members have transported cold-stunned loggerhead sea turtles to other rehabilitation centers in Florida.

Did you know?
     -Disney’s Animal Programs often is called upon to help distressed animals. Disney animal care experts help to support the rescue and rehabilitation of hundreds of injured and orphaned animals every year.
     -Since its inception, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has directed more than $1.1 million to sea turtle conservation efforts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Back and Wishing Forward; Little Red and


Looking Back at 2012:  My top story from 2012 is the final farewell to Big Red and Little Red, and the addition of  zebras in their place at Kilimanjaro Safari.  It may seem insignificant when looking back years from now, but the Big Red and Little Red storyline was always the one thing that kept Kilimanjaro Safari from being what in my mind is the perfect Disney attraction.  It always seemed somewhat shoehorned into the ride from the beginning, and since they cheapened it with the removal of the cast members role it had been bordering on ridiculous.  It was always a terrific experience, and bringing and anti-poaching method is certainly the right thing to do.  But Disney never got it right, and it always felt like an afterthought.

 
Enter the zebras, and within this new herd is a truly powerful conservation message.  Look close and you will find a solitary Grevy’s Zebra, the largest and most endangered species of zebra. (Check out Safari Mike’s article on the Grevy’s Zebra to learn more.)  So instead of just telling us about conservation, Disney is instead doing something about it by helping to sustain these magnificent animals.
A Wish for 2013:  As for 2013 my wish is simple, to keep the spirit of the addition of this Grevy’s Zebra going by making more additions just like this one.  I am all for a big expansion, even if it means giant blue people.  But what I really want is to see more animals, especially endangered ones, added to the park’s family.

by Dave (Twitter: @davemcb1897)