Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Review of Boma

Have you checked out our Dining Guide?  We are really close to having full reviews of all the dining locations at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  New today is a review of Boma by Brooke, our foodie extraordinaire

Boma is a buffet, so bring your appetite to this place.  But unlike most Disney buffet's, Boma is bursting with interesting ethnic inspired options.  It's a great place to pig-out and party!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for March 27: Zebra's Leave Kilimanjaro Safari

The Zebras Have Left The Building:  According to a report by WDW News Today, the herd of zebras at Kilimanjaro Safari have been permanently removed from the attraction and will be replaced by Addax, a critically endangered specie of antelope.

image from the Addax and Oryx Foundation
As we have reported in the past, these zebras were having a difficult time settling in their surroundings, something not uncommon for zebras in captivity.  We are currently trying our best to get an official word from Disney on what will happen next for those particular zebras but we are not holding our breath.  Check back with us here for additional info on these guys and the new Addax coming to the Safari attractions. 

If you are a big fan of zebras, and why wouldn't you be, head over to Kidani Village where you will find a fantastic herd of zebras.

Merchandise Event Announced for Anniversary: The Disney Parks Blog reported this week about some merchandise that will be offered at DAK during the Anniversary/Earth Day weekend of April 19-22.  We can expect to see “artists and vendors such as Just Plumerias, Elemental Nursery, Photographer Carlos Cuba, Silver Designer, Tim “Bushman #1” Adebule and ACME Archives artist, William Silvers.”  We will keep you posted as more information if released.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Mar 27 8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Thursday: Mar 28 8am - 8pm
Friday: Mar 29 8am - 8pm
Saturday: Mar 30 8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Sunday: Mar 31 8am - 8pm
Monday: April 1 8am - 9pm
Tuesday: April 2 8am - 9pm

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

Attraction Closures:
No closures to report

Have A Wild Time this week!!

by Dave McBride
Twitter: davemcb1897

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Hidden Mickey Hunt in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Today is the debut posting by Jambo Everyone's Travel Partner, Jennifer Greene!  If you are looking to book a Disney vacation, and you want to help animals at the same time, book through Jennifer.  Every time fans of Jambo Everyone book with her, or even request a quote, a donation will be made to our Conservation Partners.  Click here to get started!

As the Disney Travel Agent of The Jambo Everyone Blog, sometimes I need to focus on the most beautiful park on property- Disney's Animal Kingdom.  I have realized that many have a love/hate relationship with this park. I don't get it at all, but to each his own. This park is visually stunning in a way that I have never seen at any theme park, Disney or otherwise.

We all know what a Hidden Mickey Hunt is, heck many of us do it when we aren't even in Disney. It's engrained in us to find little Mickey Ears hiding in plain sight.  I find that one of the hardest parks to find Hidden Mickeys is Animal Kingdom! You could honestly get a Hidden Mickey book and have your children scour the park for hours on end. The themes in every area are so detailed that Mickey is well hidden in Animal Kingdom.

I challenge you on your next Disney Vacation to spend more than 3 hours at Animal Kingdom. Don't read this and pretend you don't go over in the morning to ride Everest, The Safari and see Festival of the Lion King and then head back to Epcot for the night.  I know you do! I make people's Disney plans for a living I see it all the time.

Here are a few to get you started on your quest for Hidden Mickey's on your next visit: 

  • There is a hidden Mickey on the main path around the park by one of the restrooms. It is located right outside of the women's restroom that is past Pizzafari.
  • There is a frog statue with a number of circles and curves carved into it. One is clearly a Mickey.
  • When you go on the Discovery Riverboats in the Safari Village, Discovery Island. On the 2nd bridge that you go through. On the right-handed side (the bridge going to Camp Minnie-Mickey) is a Mickey head with fancy borders around imprinted on a big log.

After you are done in the park for the day do the unthinkable--head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner and continue the hunt there!!  You won't be sorry you did as the dining is remarkable.

by Jennifer Greene
Disney World, Disney Cruise, Disneyland, Disney Hawaii, and Adventures by Disney Specialist
Twitter: @plans4disney

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Time to Get Excited About Avatar!

I have, honestly, just about reached my limit of being able to listen to and read complaints about the upcoming Avatar project at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  And this is coming from someone who publicly criticized it way back when it was first floated.  But this now seemingly universal acceptance of it as a “bad idea” is really starting to bug me.  (And yes, this includes my fellow “Jambo” writers, in case you were wondering...)

Let me start by saying I understand the issues people have with the idea.  It’s not a Disney film, it only kinda-sorta fits into the park’s theme, we would rather have dragons and unicorns, yada, yada, yada.  I get it.  That was my first reaction as well, but it is time to put them behind us and start looking at the positives.  Because there are plenty of reasons to be excited.

For one thing, the history of Disney attractions tell us there is clearly no relationship between movie quality and attraction quality.  Many of Disney’s best attractions were created with no film to base them on and some popular film/character franchises have spawned less-than-groundbreaking attractions to say the least.  (See Winnie the Pooh and Stitch.)  And a few great attractions have been born from what I considered less than spectacular films, or certainly films less popular than Avatar.  (See Cars, Song of the South and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.)  So without getting into a debate over whether you agree with my opinions on the above films, let me just say that a great attraction is a great attraction regardless of the film it’s based on.

The only common argument against Avatar I agree with is the one that says this project is the first slip on the slide towards a Disney’s Hollywood Studio-style thematic mess.  That is a scary prospect for sure.  But the reason I think there is little chance that will happen is because Joe Rohde is in charge of this, and I just don’t see him allowing his beloved DAK to have that kind of hodge-podge feel to it.  Details and theme are the pillars upon which Mr. Rohde has built his entire career.  Even in areas of DAK permanently scarred by budget cuts during development, Rohde managed to tell a story and add the detail elements he seems to demand.

But unlike the current Camp Minnie-Mickey, Avatar-Land is not at all what one would call a “low budget” project.  Quite the opposite if reports are to be believed.  And when Joe Rohde is handed a boatload of money, he comes out with brilliant, story-filled attractions like Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest and Maharajah Jungle Trek just to name a few.  The kinds of attractions that have made Imagineering so loved and emulated.  I have faith in Mr. Rohde, and the critics should too.

I would wager to guess half the folks who love the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror have very little knowledge of or love for the classic television show it was based on.  And the same can be said for Splash Mountain. My hope is the same result happens with Avatar, with the added bonus of lots of guests who, in fact, do love the movie.  While we may not be shouting with excitement over the film, we can start to be excited over another gigantic Joe Rohde project being built at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Whether you loved the film or not, and no matter your feelings regarding James Cameron, this project reflects a major investment into DAK and I for one am excited about it.

by Dave McBride
Twitter: davemcb1897

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Photo For Today: The Amazing Burudika Band!

Jungle Jim took this photo while sitting for a little mid-day rest at one of Burudika's afternoon sets.  If you are looking to just chill for a bit, check your schedule for when Burudika plays and about a half-hour before head over to the Dawa Bar and grab a drink and a seat in Harambe.

Epcot is known for its musical entertainment, but it is time for Disney guests to realize the single best place for live music in a Disney theme park is at this stage in the middle of Harambe Village.  Burudika, as well as the Tam-Tam Drummers, will blow your socks off.  They are amazing musicians, the best Disney has to offer.  Take some time and listen to these guys.  And for more info on live entertainment at DAK, head to Jambo Everyone's Entertainment Guide.

And by the way, I think it is time for Burudika to record a CD for us to buy.  PLEASE!!!

by Dave McBride (Twitter: @davemcb1897)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for March 20: Construction Walls Go Up in Africa

Constructions Walls Go Up in Africa:  According to the Disney Blog, construction walls of been erected in Africa around the area of the Dawa Bar.  Click here to see the photos and read the story.

If you haven’t been following, these are here as a new theater for the Festival of the Lion King is about to be built.  It appears all of the rumors of the new theater’s location are correct.  This is really the first concrete sign of progress in a project that will, when completed, radically change DAK.

The Zebras are Back!: According to reports, the zebra herd is back onstage at Kilimanjaro Safari.  As we reported a few weeks back, there had been some issues with acclimating them to their new surrounding but it looks now as though progress has been made.  Send us some photos of them if you happen to go on safari this week!

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Mar 20 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: Mar 21 9am - 7pm
Friday: Mar 22 9am - 8pm
Saturday: Mar 23 8am - 8pm
Sunday: Mar 24 8am - 9pm
Monday: Mar 25 8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: Mar 26 8am - 9pm

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

Attraction Closures:
No closures to report

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Caption This Photo Contest; Win A Free Animal Kingdom Mickey Mouse Disney Pin!

Today we have a Caption This Photo Contest for you!  It's your chance to win a Safari Mickey Pin from Disney's Animal Kingdom courtesy of our favorite Disney travel expert Jennifer Greene!  Just follow this link to our Facebook page and write us your best caption.

Here is the pin you win...

Now, please "like" our page when you are there and pass it along to your friends!  And don't forget, fi you go to our Conservation Page and follow the link to book your vacation with Jennifer Greene, a donation will be made to our Conservation Partners

More contests to come...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why I Am Not Thrilled About Disney Springs

We don’t often comment about Disney related topics outside the world of the Animal Kingdom, but this week’s news regarding a major renovation plan for Downtown Disney (DTD) was just too much for this WDW fan to ignore.  (Plus, I promise to tie it into DAK.)

Now, I am not going to spend too much time here commenting on what I think of the plans themselves.  (Though I will say the name sounds more like a condo community to me and that people will certainly mistakingly board a bus to the Saratoga Springs Resort as a result!)    Sure, they are impressive and DTD needs some serious work.   But they are also representative of an enormously involved and expensive project.  We are talking about building bridges, elevated platforms and parking garages here!  This is big, really big.  And I am not sure this is where I want such a huge amount of effort and capitol being spent to “enhance my guest experience”.

image copyright Disney
Maybe I would make a terrible CFO, but I personally think that as the prices at Walt Disney World continue to head closer and closer to the ridiculous, investment should be made into making the theme park experiences “more magical” and not into a a glorified shopping mall.  And what’s more, I don’t think DTD works all that well as a “magic maker” no matter how big you make it or how many high-end stores or restaurants you add to it.

Guests do not come to Walt Disney World for shopping and non-Disney dining experiences.  They may be a nice add-on for some folks, but people come for the theme parks.  How many people truly journey to WDW, spend hours in the parks and then want to go shopping and dancing afterwards until the wee hours of the morning?  They want to spend as much time as they can in the parks, they want to get there at rope drop, take advantage of Extra Magic Hours and see all there is to see.  Because, if for no other reason, they spent a fortune on their admission tickets!

Now, I know Disney has been proactive over the last few years with park expansion, and they deserve credit for that.  The New Fantasyland, Cars Land, and the upcoming Avatar addition are all certainly major in scale.  But if they are willing to pour money into expansion and construction more of those types of projects are what we as guests want and are craving.  If you think guests need more shopping and dining options then add them to the parks or to the resorts, if you must.

As far as we here at Jambo Everyone are concerned, we would like to finally see some night time specific attractions/shows at the Animal Kingdom rather than more shops I probably can’t afford to buy anything at anyway..  (More on “DAK at night” later in the week...)  And how about fixing the darn yeti, for crying out loud!

I also recognize DTD is in bad need of help, but it is certainly in no need of expansion as far as I can see.  Half the property is empty whenever I go there.  Vacationers only trek there for the World of Disney store, which let’s face it, is the only reason worth fighting the traffic and poor bus service.  And most of the time that store is a chaotic mess!!  You want to do your guests a real favor?  Expand that store to a near ludicrous size so people can navigate it without feeling like rats in a cage!  Make better use of the space you have and save some cash for, say, a new panda exhibit at DAK?? (wink, wink!)

by Dave McBride
Twitter: davemcb1897

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for March 13: Theater Construction Beginning Soon?

Festival of the Lion King Theater Construction to Begin Soon?:  It appears, at least from the world of “unnamed sources”, that construction on the new permanent theater for the Festival of the Lion King should begin any day now.  We have said this a few times before, but if this timing is correct I believe it to be good news for Animal Kingdom fans.  Many were worried construction of the new “Avatar-Land” where Camp Minnie-Mickey now stands would spell the end of the popular stage show.   But instead, it looks like Festival of the Lion King is here to stay.  Let’s hope the show gets a bigger and better theater.

While I generally don’t like to trade in the rumor mill on the News Round-Up, with this being a slow news week I figured I would pass info along.

Early Risers Take Note of Another Potential Sunrise Safari: A quick peek at the park hours for next week shows us that Disney Resorts guests will have the opportunity to see Kilimanjaro Safari at 7am.  If you are an early riser, this might be a good day to put DAK into your schedule.  Also, with the change of the clocks, sunrise is later so even the upcoming days with a normal 8am opening offers nearly the same opportunity.

These early morning safaris are often incredible as the animals can be very active, even those perpetually exhausted lions!

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Mar 13 8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Thursday: Mar 14 8am - 8pm
Friday: Mar 15 8am - 7pm
Saturday: Mar 16 9am - 8pm
Sunday: Mar 17 9am - 7pm
Monday: Mar 18 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: Mar 19 9am - 7pm

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

Attraction Closures:
No closures to report

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Photo For Today; Primeval Whirl

Today's "Photo For Today" is called "Looking Up At Extinction".  It was taken by yours truly and I am fairly certainly Safari Mike is in that car screaming his head off!

by Dave McBride
Twitter: davemcb1897

Monday, March 11, 2013

Expedition Everest Front Row Ride-Through Video

What is scarier than riding a runaway train uncontrollably speeding through the himalayans while be chased by a gigantic yeti?  Doing all this while holding on to your smartphone with a clearly panicking Safari Mike screaming in the background!  That's what Jungle Jim did earlier this year in order to document his ride on Expedition Everest.  Enjoy!

Have you seen our YouTube channel yet?  We only have a few things up, but we have many videos yet to be uploaded so you might want to subscribe so you stay alerted to new videos from Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Saving a Lovely Little Cheetah Named Rainbow

I would like to take this chance to gush a bit over one of our Conservation Partners, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and give you just one example of the great work they do and why they can use our help.

Namibian farmer keeping our orphan cheetah alive
Back in early February, Dr. Laurie Marker and her team at the CCF in Namibia received a call from a local farmer who picked up a clearly malnourished female cheetah cub from the side of the road.  The farmer brought the cub back to his farm and did everything he could to keep the cub alive.  Thanks to him, we have one more gorgeous cheetah in the world!

Rainbow heading to the CCF
The CCF team were called and they drove out to the farm to see the cub and hopefully take her back to their facility.  On the way there, Dr. Marker and her team saw a breathtaking rainbow over the Namibia countryside.  It was only appropriate to name their new cub Rainbow.

Dr. Laurie Marker (left) and the CCF team helping Rainbow
When they found Rainbow, she looked to be about 15 weeks old and weighed only around 11 pounds.  The farmer had her for a week and had managed to get her to eat a bit.  It stands to reason that without this farmer, Rainbow would easily have starved.  He kept her safe and alive, but being orphaned at such a young age she would never have survived on her own in the wild.

a healthy and happy Rainbow
And that’s where the CCF comes in.  They picked Rainbow up and brought her to their facility for medical treatment and nourishment.  And now, as you can see from the photo, it’s a few weeks later and she is looking absolutely gorgeous!  She is up to nearly 20 pounds and is certainly as photogenic as can be.  It is a fantastic story and one we will try our best to update as she progresses.

Rainbow is feeling better and the camera loves her
So, let’s do what we can to help the CCF.  This work is not easy and it’s certainly not free.  We invite you to head to our Conservation Page and click on the CCF’s logo to go to their donation page.  Also, they have a great store full of fantastic Cheetah related merchandise and the proceeds go straight to the fund.

So if you do choose to help, a big “Asante Sana” from all of us!!

by Dave McBride
Twitter: davemcb1897

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for March 6: Tons of Cuteness!

Tons of Cuteness!:  Last week we reported on a new baby gibbon recently born to the DAK family.  On today’s Disney Park’s Blog there is also news of a baby Saddle-Billed Stork chick recently hatched to a pair of parents who have called Disney’s Animal Kingdom home since 1998.

image by Disney
Wild Africa Trek Launching Point Moved:  In case you missed it, we also reported late last week about a change in the location of the meeting and launching point of the Wild Africa Trek tour.  Could this be another hint of the changing face of DAK?

Early Risers Take Note of Another Potential Sunrise Safari: A quick peek at the park hours for next week shows us that Disney Resorts guests will have the opportunity to see Kilimanjaro Safari at 7am.  If you are an early riser, this might be a good day to put DAK into your schedule.  These early morning safaris are often incredible as the animals can be very active, even those perpetually exhausted lions!

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Mar 6 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: Mar 7 9am - 7pm
Friday: Mar 8 9am - 7pm
Saturday: Mar 9 9am - 8pm
Sunday: Mar 10 9am - 8pm
Monday: Mar 11 8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Tuesday: Mar 12 8am - 8pm

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

Attraction Closures:
No closures to report

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Extinct DAK Files: The Dinosaur Jubilee

Disney's Animal Kingdom is fast approaching its 15th birthday.  Despite its relative youth, the park has a few attractions and shows that are now extinct.  And one of my favorites is the Dinosaur Jubilee.  This attraction was there for opening day and was a late add on to help add "things to do" with a park that essentially had two rides and a few shows.

The Jubilee was essentially a tent located where you would find Primeval Whirl now.  You would walk out of Countdown to Extinction and head to Chester and Hester's shop.  On the other side of that, there was a big tent housing Dinosaur Jubilee.  The tent was nothing fancy, for sure.  It had the look of something thrown in at the last minute and something that could go at any moment.  Essentially, this was supposed to be where the scientists of the Dino Insititute showed off some of their finds.  In the tent, the displays included triceratops skulls and full skeletons, extinct fish over head, a plesiosaur, a pteranodon and, of course, a t-rex as well as other dinosaurs.  The full skeletons were kept in poses similiar to what you would see at a Natural History museum, and there were ferns and other plants from the era mixed in with the models.  These were not, after all, real fossils.  Those were next door at the Fossil Preparation Lab.

In 2000, the name of the attraction changed to Dinosaur Jubilee 2000 in honor of the milleunium.  This didn't have nearly the backlash as the changing of EPCOT Center's name.  With the name change, it added some interactive versions of a mammoth and a sabre tooth tiger that were not skeletons.  It was not enough to keep the place open.  By the end of the year it closed to make way for Dinorama which opened to the public in Fall 2001.

To be honest, I would love to see something like this make its way back to Dinoland, USA.  It would make sense to "show off" some of the Dino Institute's finds.  I would love to see some educational exhibits done with Disney charm and wit.  The old Jubilee offered guided tours by the students of the Dino Institute, which is a fun way for the CMs to mix with guests which they do so well at Animal Kingdom already along the paths that have living animals.  Dinoland is also an amazing place for little tidbits of humor (if you don't believe me check out the board near the Boneyard), and a guided tour or talk would do so well.  Disney imagineers could also extend the fun they have in and around this section of the park.