Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for June 26, 2013; Busses and Cynics

New Bus Stops Assigned at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  According to, the bus stops at DAK have been expanded and realigned a bit.  Here is our best advice for tackling this the signs.  Especially if you are like me and just sort of half-consciously wonder to your bus stop!

New Attractions Added to FastPass List In Anticipation of FastPass+ Test:  A few attractions have been added to those offering FastPass at DAK, as Disney looks to test the new FastPass+ system.  Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, It's Tough to be a Bug, and Kali River Rapids already had FastPass systems, though Bugs was not always in use nor is it required for that attraction.  But now it looks like Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo The Musical and the new Adventurers Outpost Meet and Greet will also have FastPass+

Adding the Adventurer's Outpost is a great idea, but adding the shows only makes sense in context of the new scheme.  Disney must have something on offer for FastPass+, so when the big attractions are out of passes they need to have something to fulfill their end of the bargain.  It might sound cynical, but it’s true.  DAK is not your average Disney theme park and many of the best attractions do not require any standing in line.  But they spent billions on this system so it must be implemented on the promised scale, thus when Kilimanjaro Safaris runs out of FatPasses for the day guests can be offered the essentially useless Finding Nemo The Musical instead.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: June 26 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: June 27 9am - 8pm
Friday: June 28 9am - 7pm
Saturday: June 29 9am - 7pm
Sunday: June 30 9am - 7pm
Monday: July 1 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: July 2` 9am - 8pm

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

Attraction Closures:
No closures at this time

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lost DAK Files; Noah's Ark

After getting the green light for the Animal Kingdom project, Disney imagineers began dreaming up concepts for the park. We have discussed previously some of the early ideas for the park's icon including the awesome three tiered carousel and one of the ideas behind the Tree of Life in its early stages. But perhaps nearly as important as the park's icon is the park's entrance. They say that first impressions last and Disney has always been mindful of that, whether that's the grand entrance of Epcot or hiding Cinderella's Castle from view until you enter Main Street.

At the Animal Kingdom, there is, of course, the Oasis, a very different kind of opening statement for a theme park. But that wasn't always the plan. One early concept favored by Joe Rohde himself was the idea of Noah's Ark being the entrance to the park. If you think about it, the idea makes a ton of sense. Noah, after all, was earth's first conservationist. And the story of the Ark presents an important message which many know regardless of religious denomination. The moral of that story is that animals are just as important as humans to the survival of this planet, and need to be saved. Zoos all over the world often use the Noah's Ark metaphor in promoting themselves as saving animal life. After all, the zoo is taking animals in from disaster and the destruction of their homes to save them for future generations, which is pretty much Noah's game plan, too. Disney was going to be the first "zoo" that actually had an ark.

The Ark itself would have had a big old walkway through it so all guests would be entering the park through the ark. The plan was to have animal exhibits in the ark too. In theory, these exhibits would have had smaller animals although obviously the specifics of this never materialized.

The ark, however, looks huge in the concept art. And it would had to have been. First of all, it was supposed to keep the rest of the park including the icon out of view of the guests entering the Animal Kingdom much like the Main Street Railroad Station. Also, it would have to allow all of the visitors in the park to pass through which would be hundreds of people at a single time. Finally, it was to have animal exhibits and, of course, with animal exhibits, there would need to be off exhibit, behind the scenes accessibility for the keepers. No easy feat. And I can only imagine the RFID nightmare that would have ensued.

You can probably guess why it was never built. For all of its symbolism, Noah's Ark, in the end, is a religious specific icon. Some would be offended because they don't follow the right religion and, I imagine, others who do would be offended that Disney would be making money off a religiously important figure. Frankly, I am surprised the idea even made to the concept art stage. But there you have it. It would have been impressive, but it never really had any shot at being made.

by Safari Mike (twitter: @JamboEveryone)

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Look at the Wild Africa Trek through a Kid's Eye

If you are looking for an adventurous time in the Animal Kingdom, you should check out the Wild Africa Trek. To enjoy this wild time, you have to make sure your parents book the trek before you go to Disney World. This attraction would be a great thing to do with your kids. Make sure your children are at least 8 years old. It might make your children feel like Indiana Jones looking for treasure.

First, you put your bags in a locker and try on your vest. It feels a little strange at first but you get used to it after a little while. Also, they give you a canteen (metal water bottle) that you get to keep which is a great souvenir to cherish from your trip. You also get a CD of photos that the guides take throughout the trek. You will get it in the mail after you get home. Also, before you start, they give you an ear piece and walkie talkie so you can hear the guides and don't get lost. You also get to walk over a practice bridge.

The first part of the trek you walk through Harambe and learn some neat things about the village. The you go through part of Pangani and get off on a secret trail only for the Wild Africa Trek people. During that trail, you get to see the hippos up close from a ledge at Kilimanjaro Safari. Don't worry about falling in because you get hooked up to a pole. You can even lean out a little bit. A guide talks to you about the hippos and throws food out to the hippo.

The next part you get to walk above the crocodiles of the safari ride. You are very high but there is a net under the bridge and you are hooked to a line. Its a great way to see the crocodiles and is even better than being on the safari ride. The bridge looks rickety and some wood pieces are missing or look broken, but the bridge is very safe and you feel more secure than you think you will at first. There are two bridges about the same size and you can see them from the safari. Sometimes a truck will even be driving below you.

Explorer Mickey chillin' at the Boma
Then you turn in your vests and get in a safari truck for a ride. The best part is you get to pull off the road and sit there to watch the animals a couple of times. We stopped at the large savanna, by the elephants and near the cheetahs. You also get to go to the boma, which is not the same as the one at the Animal Kingdom Lodge but they still call it that. The food is good but it is different and if you have a child or children they have kid's meals. You get jungle juice which is a delicious but healthy drink. The food comes in a tin can. The boma has an overlook to see the animals near the lions. Where you eat, you can see elephants on one side and giraffe on the other.

I hope you enjoy the Wild Africa Trek as much as me!

by Explorer Mickey

Friday, June 21, 2013

Show Your Animal Pride at the Jambo Everyone Store!

The Jambo Everyone Store is dedicated to raising money for our Conservation Partners.  With those organizations in mind, we are offering some animal specific products that represent each of those species they are working to save.  And we at Jambo Everyone will donate 50% of the profits earned from the sale of these to those folks.

First up is a shirt designed to help raise awareness of the amazing Grevy's Zebra, the most majestic of zebra.  This shirt, which like all products on Zazzle is completely customizable to all sizes, colors. etc., features mom and her little one sharing some affection.  Sales of this shirt will directly assist the Grevy's Zebra Trust.  CLICK HERE to shop for the above design.

The Ara Project is working on the front-lines to save macaws in the wild, an amazing organization that needs our help.  And personally, I think we have a really gorgeous design on offer here to represent those beautiful birds.  CLICK HERE to shop for the above design

Our newest design should remind everyone of the Pangani Forest Exploration trail, and the population of gorillas that live there.  Sitting and watching the gorillas at DAK is a true pleasure, but in the wild they need our help to survive.  The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is one of the most famous conservation organizations in the world, and they do difficult and amazing work to protect our gorillas.  CLICK HERE to shop for this design.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund is on the ground in Africa doing everything they can to save each and every cheetah possible.  They have non-releasable animals they care for and they also have an impressive program of breeding dogs to help protect local livestock from coming in contact with cheetahs.  Programs like that need money, and this beautiful cheetah pictured on our design will help to remind you that your purchase went to help keep cheetahs alive in the wild.  CLICK HERE to shop for this design.

The rhino faces a critical fight to survive extinction, under constant attack from poachers.  Saving them is what Save The Rhino is dedicated to.  We have a few different rhino designs available at the Jambo Everyone Store, so shop around a bit for the one you like the most.  CLICK HERE to shop for this design

And remember the beauty of Zazzle is that all of these designs are offered on over a hundred different shirts and other products, to fit not only your tastes but also your budget.  Every purchase helps us to raise money for our Conservation Partners.  And that is what our goal for Jambo Everyone has always been, to do whatever we can to help save these animals from extinction.

by Dave McBride (twitter: @RadioHarambe)

Two New Videos Posted on the Jambo Everyone YouTube Channel

Here is a brief snippet of the Affection section of Rafiki's Planet Watch. Your kids will enjoy petting all different kinds of unique domestic animals like african pygmy goats, gulf coast sheep, and these hogs. There are brushes available but be sure to wash your hands on the way out.

Zebra make not be on the safari anymore but you can find Hartmann's Mountain zebra at Jambo House. Even in this exhibit, the zebra can be trouble makers and bullies to the other animals. They can cause quite a scene. These guys were being pretty peaceful here though.

by Safari Mike (twitter: @JamboEveryone)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Photo For Today; Don't Miss the Details

We've had a lot of talk about the incredible Maharajah Jungle Trek this week on the Bwana Blog, with Safari Mike's telling us more about the backstory to the attraction.  So I thought for this addition of A Photo For Today I would give us a another look at some of the details guests might miss on the Trek.  After you pass through the tiger area, look back at the design of the exhibit.  This looks like you came across some gorgeous ruins deep inside an Asian forest

The moral of this story is something we here at Jambo Everyone seem to talk about quite often.  It seems the average Disney Parks fanatic, and apparently more than one Disney podcast host (I promise I say that with love!), are hellbent on turning the process of touring a Disney theme park into a cardio workout.  But you need to leave the scrambling and sprinting behind sometimes when you come to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Stop and look around you.  This place is breathtaking.

by Dave McBride (twitter: @RadioHarambe)

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for June 19, 2013; Coming in Seventh!

Slow News Week As Crowds Pile Up: This time of year, the crowds at Walt Disney World start to pile up.  And that means we usually have little to report during these news round-up posts.  Disney likes to hold the “big buzz” stuff for when crowds are thin and they aren’t getting in the way of the marketing campaign for the latest uber-expensive blockbuster from the film studios.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Ranks 7th Again in WorldWide Theme Park Attendance:    Speaking of crowds, however, here is a story from a couple of weeks ago we missed.  According to Themed Entertainment Association’s (TEA) Global Attractions Attendance Report for 2012 released earlier this month, Disney’s Animal Kingdom ranks 7th in global themed park attendance.  It’s the third consecutive year DAK has come in 7th, a place above Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Here is the top 10 on the list...

1. Magic Kingdom: 17,536,000

2. Disneyland Park: 15,963,000  

3. Tokyo Disneyland: 14,847,000

4. Tokyo Disney Sea: 12,656,000
5. Disneyland Park, Disneyland Paris: 11,200,000 

6. Epcot: 11,063,000  

7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 9,998,000  (+2.2%)

8. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9,912,000 

9. Universal Studios Japan: 9,700,000  

10. Islands of Adventure: 7,981,000

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: June 19 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: June 20 9am - 8pm
Friday: June 21 9am - 7pm
Saturday: June 22 9am - 7pm
Sunday: June 23 9am - 7pm
Monday: June 24 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: June 25` 9am - 8pm

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

Attraction Closures:
No closures at this time

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Night Water Parade Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom?

We spent the last few weeks writing about some ideas we had for keeping the Animal Kingdom open at night. I know we sound like a broken record, but this park is magical at night and a very different experience. But as it stands now, there is an exodus at the park once the afternoon parade ends. The park, to keep people there until the evening hours, needs a night capping event like Wishes or Illuminations. However, as you can probably guess, that event can't be fireworks which would stress out the animals even in their off exhibit housing.

click here to listen to the Disney Hipsters Podcast
Those wishing for something like that at the park might be in luck. According to our friends, the Disney Hipsters, there is a very strong chance that testing for a new parade coming to end the day at the Animal Kingdom will begin later this summer. On episode 55 of their podcast, they shared what they had heard that , on very good authority, there will be a water parade coming. Apparently, the powers that be are close to signing off on the project, perhaps just in time to share some concept art at the upcoming D23 event.

In truth, the rumor makes a lot of sense. The park gets quiet, and Disney certainly would like to keep people in the park eating and shopping, i.e. spending money. The best way to do that is a "can't be missed" night time show. Remember when Disney cut back on Fantasmic, that park died early those evenings much like Animal Kingdom does now. And from what the Disney Hipsters have said, this would be an amazing event. The concept is a parade floating along the Discovery River. The boats/barges would have sails and Disney would use their projection technology (which they are in love with) to make those sails come to life. This is the same tech used on the castle shows and to turn Spaceship Earth into a Mike Wazowski.

One problem: viewing. There is not a lot of spaces to get a good view of the water. The best spots to see the water are the bridges and the path from Africa to Asia. And, of course, near Everest. But there are a lot of buildings blocking water views at the front of Discovery Island like Pizzafari and the Island Mercantile. Perhaps Disney would incorporate some paths and viewing areas down the by the water in that part of Discovery Island to create more space. Also, I would imagine the planned Avatarland could incorporate spots for viewing along the river that currently aren't there. Speaking of Avatar, according to the Hipsters, that project is not a part of this show. I assume the parade would be more Disneycentric, think Lion King and Jungle Book, which is ok with me.

by Safari Mike (twitter: @JamboEveryone)

Turning Disney's Animal Kingdom into a Night Destination; The Somewhat Sad Truth

Over the past couple of weeks, the staff here at Jambo Everyone have put forth a few of our ideas for turning our favorite park into a premier nighttime destination.  (Click here to read those articles.)  But even though writing those articles and having such discussions can be a lot of fun, one sad fact hangs over them; we all know most of this will never happen, at least certainly not anytime soon.

For years Cast Members at Disney’s Animal Kingdom have been told to give guests who ask the very reasonable question “why does this park close at 5pm when I paid almost $90 for the day?” the same answer.  Something along the lines of “the animals need to go to sleep”, which is clearly nonsense when one considers that animals sleeping doesn’t seem to be a concern during the busy holiday season when the park is open for three hours after dark.  But let’s not just be cynical here.  There is more to this than just snarky commentary.

There are good reasons and bad for this realization.  The good reason, well maybe only good depending on your perspective, is that in case you haven’t noticed, Disney is already sinking a boatload of money and resources into the Animal Kingdom.  The “AvatarLand” project, from what little we know about it, looks to be a huge one, incorporating not only the building of an entire new section of the park but also designing and constructing a new theater for the Festival of the Lion King.  All of these additions will add to the slate of attractions which can be open during night hours.
But the real fact of the matter is, I can see no monetary reason for Disney to change what they have.  The Animal Kingdom is an incredibly complicated and difficult park to maintain, yet it makes money and guests enjoy it.  (Despite what some podcasters would have you believe.)  Why change it to a more labor intensive and costly park?

Also, recently Disney announced an enormous expansion of Downtown Disney.  Do we really think Disney is going to create more internal competition for DTD?  During the times of year with medium to lower crowds, Disney closes both DAK and Hollywood Studios relatively early.  It saves on operating costs, but it also encourages Resort guests to migrate towards Downtown Disney or World Showcase where they can spend lots of cash on food and drinks late into the night.  Spreading those crowds out into four parks and Downtown Disney doesn’t make any sense from a numbers point of view.  And let’s face, no other point of view matters more.

The only thing we named in our series of ideas I would expect to actually see some time soon is some kind of night time parade or show.  During the busy months, Disney needs DHS and DAK to relieve the night hours crowd pressure on Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.  And with major construction projects coming to DTD, that pressure will get greater and greater.  But you can bet any such parade or show will eventually not be on a nightly schedule during slower times of the year.

So with all of that in mind, even after Avatar opens and the unnamed parade begins, I really don’t expect the operating hours at DAK to change very drastically, nor do expect anything else added for years to come.  An addition of a couple of hours to the current schedule is about all I think Disney will ever want.  So into the trash can go our ideas...

by Dave McBride (twitter: @RadioHarambe)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Story Behind the Maharajah Jungle Trek

To me, there are many things that separate Disney parks from all the other parks, even Universal. One of the biggest things is theming. Disney is chuck full of it. Everywhere. And one of the best types of theme is the back story. Many attractions all over Disney World have a back story and just about all of Disney's Animal Kingdom has one, as well. I would guess around 98.7% of the people that attend the attraction or land or eatery, have no idea there is such a story behind it. But its there in all the little details if you look closely enough. And I want to help you learn these stories so you too can better appreciate the areas of the park.

The first I want to address is the Maharajah Jungle Trek. This origin is greatly detailed and, to be fair, a little more obvious then some of the others. Mostly because there is a sign giving a brief origin story to the zoological trail.  The trek (at least where you leave the bat exhibit) is the old hunting grounds of King (or Rajah) Bhima Disampati who founded it in 1544. The good old King decided it would be a lot easier hunting for himself, and his noble guests, if everything was enclosed to keep the animals from leaving the grounds. So, he created the royal preserve with a hunting lodge.

But irony is a pretty cruel fate, and King Bhima was killed, mauled by a tiger. There is actually a mural in the last tiger exhibit depicting this. This, also, is the site of the attack. The exhibit I am talking about is the one you can see from the bridge just before getting to the aviary. But more on the aviary later.

The first display of the tigers is just past the bats. It's here where much of the hunting occurred. You see the King built these fountains to attract tigers, since they love the water so much. The overpass you stand on is where the hunter would lie in ambush raining arrows down on the tigers. Rajah Disampati is also depicted here in a fresco. You will see a hunter with a cocked bow. That's Bhima. There are three other rajahs depicted in these murals. They are the three rajahs who succeeded Disampati. They are not named but are called the Rajah who brought peace with nature (he has an ornate blue gown and carries a flower and who restores the temple after war has brought it down ), the Rajah who brought peace with man (he wears a red turban and carries what appears to be a golden birdhouse, he represents material pleasures of wealth), and the Rajah who brought peace with the animals (an old hermit holding birds, who suffers at the whim of nature and abandons the people). It is these three kings who brought peace to the place and made it a place where nature is nurtured. Of the four, only Bhima carries something destructive, a bow and arrow.

But not all went well for the land of Anandapur. Like much of Asia, it became a colony. How do I know this? Well, there is a sign that calls this place the "Royal Anandapoor Forest", a deliberate misspelling establishing the role Imperial Britain had over the land. Like I said, most guests would never pick that up. Well, now you know. Also, on many signs, the English doesn't seem quite right. Well, that's because the locals tried translating their language to the language of their colonial leaders.  But, also like much of Asia, Anandapur regained it's independence after World War II. The people of Anandapur again controlled their beloved forest. Again, a sign lays this out to some degree for the visitor, assuming they took the time to look. Not many places set the origin tale out like that.

There are many signs of the villagers who live in the area throughout the trek. At the entrance, the locals have used old newspapers as insulation. There is a blackboard at the bats' exhibit maintained by the locals. The sign is an attempt to help the villagers (and you, the tourist) understand the importance of the animal to the ecosystem and to everyone's well being. Just before seeing the ruins of the hunting lodge, there is a tree decorated with scarves and bells. These have all been left by the villagers. The scarves and garland on the coral tree are offerings. The bells represent prayers that have been answered. Just past the Eld's deer and banteng, there is a small garden. This is a medicinal garden maintained by the locals for, well, growing medicines. Also, take a close look at the water jugs just before crossing the bridge. Here, there is potable water, a rarity in the jungle, so the villagers are constantly here to refill the jugs, sometimes even leaving a bicycle behind. And, as you cross the bridge, there are more prayer flags overhead. These flags help carry prayers up to the heavens.

Now, before I told you there was more to the aviary then just a bird exhibit. Before entering it, you have reached the tomb and sarcophagus of Ananta, the man who founded the Kingdom of Anandapur. There are carvings here that depict the story of these lands and the relationship of man and beast here. The first carving shows man and beast living peacefully. The second shows all the animals huddled under a tree for shelter, afraid of what man has become. The third shows just what he has become, cutting down a tree and scaring away animals. The fourth shows the heavens really ticked off at man which is shown by severe storms and flooding. And finally, the fifth shows man and beast again living together. The man shown in these carvings is Ananta. It is his tomb you enter just before heading into the bird area. The aviary itself was once the grand ballroom of the lodge. Look down and notice the fancy tiles on the ground. It shows that no matter what nature will reconquer what man does.

by Safari Mike (twitter: @JamboEveryone)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for June 12, 2013: Happy Father's Day!

New Gorilla Shirts Available at the Jambo Everyone Store:   This week we have a new product available at the Jambo Everyone Store.  For all of our fans of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, you can now visit the gorilla exhibit sporting this shirt and know that part of your purchase price went to help save gorillas in the wild

And remember, all of these shirts are totally customizable.  Hit the “see all styles” button and you can put this design on all sorts of apparel for men, women and kids.  And you can change the color too.  Seriously, they make a GREAT gift for Dad this Father's Day!  Speaking of Father's Day...

Father’s Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Today’s Wildlife Wednesday posting on the Disney Park Blogs is a terrific salute to Father’s Day at DAK.  Including some great video and the always popular baby animal photo!

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: June 12 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: June 13 9am - 8pm
Friday: June 14 9am - 7pm
Saturday: June 15 9am - 7pm
Sunday: June 16 9am - 7pm
Monday: June 17 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: June 18` 9am - 8pm

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

Attraction Closures:
No closures at this time

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Turning Disney's Animal Kingdom into a Night Destination; March of the Legends

Today, we continue presenting our ideas for making Disney's Animal Kingdom a spectacular nighttime destination.  Let me just mention that we here at Jambo Everyone think DAK already is a great night park.  However, we recognize the need to expand the evening offerings.  If you want to read the rest of our ambitious plans, click here.

Every Disney park uses the same tool to keep guests there until closing time, fireworks.  It is a tried and tested tool Disney has been employing for decades, and it works.  However, that tool isn’t used at all of the theme parks.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a unique challenge on its hands when it comes to building itself into a nighttime destination for Walt Disney World travelers.  Unlike the other parks where the only animals there have hydraulic fluid pumping through them, the main stars of DAK don’t exactly enjoy the sounds of fireworks exploding all around them.  So any “nighttime spectacular” is going to need to be very nontraditional in Disney terms.

For years, we have been hearing rumors of a possible candlelight night parade at DAK.  I happen to think those rumors might be on to something good, but let’s expand it a bit to really make something impressive.  Let us bring back to the Animal Kingdom the lost feel of Beastly Kingdomme, but this time let’s bring those mythical creatures to life in a torchlit parade around the Tree of Life!

It’s called the March of the Legends, and the story is very simple.  After spending a day seeing the best of what the natural world has to offer, as the sun goes down on the Animal Kingdom the creatures of legend come out.  Gas fire torches along the parade route come on as the lights go down, perhaps even an Illuminations-style pre-show narration might be in order.  The music begins as Legends come out of hiding.

One thing I have come to learn about the current creative direction at Disney Parks, you simply must have some sort of Disney character in a parade, or at least something to do with a Disney film.  This appears to be non-negotiable, so I won’t ignore it here.  And it just so happens that one Disney classic is filled with great mythical creatures, Fantasia.  So Sorcerer Mickey leads the way, up on a float conjuring up a spell that allows us mere humans to see the creatures of legend.  Behind him march the famous brooms, and a float with centaurs, where perhaps you can use real people inside a centaur costume, and an animatronic pegasus.

In fact, legendary creature floats will be the overarching theme in this parade, the aesthetic features the defines it.  Picture a float a bit like Simba’s in Festival of the Lion King, only here it is an oversized pegasus with flapping wings and moving limbs.  And that’s just the first of many.

Speaking of Disney films featuring a few mythical creatures, well a whole franchise of films really, how about featuring a section inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean?  I’m thinking of two floats really, one a boat captained by Davy Jones with tentacles of the Kraken coming out from beneath the hull.  And the other featuring mermaids.  If we absolutely must have Captain Jack Sparrow on there, I guess I can live with that...

I won’t bother naming each float and character because that would take forever, but here are just a few more ideas to give you a better impression of what this ideas will look like...

  • Perhaps a half-dozen white horses, real horses marching, made to look like unicorns?  (And no, you don’t have to glue a horn to their heads.  A simple plastic horn attached to the halter can create the illusion in low-lighting situations
  • A float with a giant griffin, flapping its wings and screeching with delight!
  • walking trolls in between floats, not unlike those found in Epcot’s Norway pavilion
  • A float filled with animatronic gargoyles, with glowing eyes

And all this will obviously be set to music, but will also take place under low lighting levels while torches glow along the parade route and characters carry lanterns and torches in the parade depending on which is appropriate for each character or scene.  The mood is just a bit dark, much like the World Showcase Promenade during Illuminations, to keep an air of mystery around these creatures.  They are, after all, the stuff of legend so we don’t want to reveal too much detail, allowing Imagineers the space to visually play a bit.

And now for the finale...Safari Mike is about to jump out of his seat...the section we have all been waiting for, the most popular mythical creatures of all dragons!  The biggest float in the parade will have a fire-breathing dragon surrounded by a treasure befit a legend.  With wings flapping and green eyes glowing brightly, can you imagine the awe of seeing a dragon coming down the parade route?

But that’s not the end.  When all is said and done, and the legends make their way off stage, before the lights come up the narrator will return and instruct guests to look up and see if they can spot the dragon flying away into the night.  That’s right, we finally will put that flying dragon that made such a stir on the opening of New Fantasyland to good and permanent use as it flies over the park bidding guests a good night.

by Dave McBride (twitter: @RadioHarambe)

The Perfect Father's Day Gift!

I can't think of a better Father's Day gift than the gift that also help conservation organizations working to save wildlife!  And where can you get such a wonderful gift?  Easy, (Okay, perhaps this is something of a shameless plug but I am serious!)

Dad can always use a styling new t-shirt, right?  And especially if he plans on heading to Disney's Animal Kingdom anytime soon.  How good would pops look sporting the shirt above around the park for a day?

And since most folks don't have the option while vacationing at Walt Disney World of doing laundry, what happens when he goes back to DAK for the second or third time during his trip?  We got that covered.  How about this hat?  (I have one and it is really a great item!)
Maybe Dad loves social media or is a text-a-holic?  We got him covered there too with these really cool iphone covers!  You'll find other great items including Ipad mini covers too.

And the great thing about the Jambo Everyone Store is that all of these items are customizable.  You can go there and find hoodies, tanks, long sleeve shirts, you name it.  And you can change the colors and styles to what suits your liking and budget.  Plus we have lots of designs to choose from, such as this Macaw design above that will give Dad a nice tropical look!

PLUS, 50% of the profits will be donated to our Conservation Partners, while the other 50% will help cover the costs of Jambo Everyone and all of our future plans!

by Dave McBride (twitter: @RadioHarambe)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How Would Mystic Point Look at Disney's Animal Kingdom? Part Two

Last week, Safari Mike opined on his desire to bring a new and elaborate version of Mystic Point from Hong Kong Disneyland to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Today, Mike builds on that idea even more.

In my last post on the topic of making the Animal Kingdom a night time park, I discussed bringing the incredible Mystic Point from Hong Kong to Florida. In Hong Kong, its a "miniland", but at the Animal Kingdom, I would make it a full fledged land dedicated to the exploration of the turn of the century. This would expand and emphasize the idea of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.).  It was these pioneers that discovered the world for us, the ancient civilizations and the natural wonders that form the backbone of the park's theme. And one areas of exploration, even today, is the world's oceans. And what better explorer than Captain Nemo.

So the other half of Mystic Point would be Captain Nemo's secret base and dock. The queue would be a homage to the early explorers of the seas with references to the captain himself. But the ride, in my mind, would be different. This would not be your father's 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, or even the one at Tokyo DisneySea. This would be a thrill ride.

At Tokyo, they don't actually put you under water. Instead, they fill the portholes with water to make it appear that you are indeed submerged. I would combine that with the what we are getting at Snow White's Mine coaster, that is a coaster wherein the cars can move to heighten the experience. That seems like a perfect way to make you feel as if you are underwater. And I would also begin the attraction as a dark ride type of experience as you explore the seas. Looking out your portholes, you will see all kinds of interesting sea critters. But in the Jules Verne novel, there are two things that I would want to include to make the attraction exciting: the kraken and the maelstrom.

I envision a meeting with the giant squid that stops your car in its tracks and, using the new technology, make it feel like you are being tossed around, perhaps even springing a leak. This battle would take a few moments and would damage the sub cutting its power supply. Then its in to the maelstrom, plunging you (with no power and in the dark) into the whirlpool, before the power comes back on pushing you through and back to the secret base.

Once you were done, you would be led into Captain Nemo's Treasure room. The nearby Mystic Manor has its Garden of Wonders so here we have a Treasure room, with a similar idea. The room/attraction would have treasures recovered from shipwrecks and sunken cities. It would be mingled with some of the living treasures of the sea. Like the unusual, rare animals at the Gardens of Wonder, the Treasure room would have unusual animals from the sea. I would love to see things like an octopus, wolf-eel, an exhibit of jellyfish, cuddle fish, puffer fish, and colorful reef animals. I would not have anything too large, i.e. expensive, like an enormous shark tank. That's what the Living Seas are for. This is more of an unusual animal area, and smaller in scale.

Plus, unlike their land brethren, fish do not need to go "off" exhibit for the evening, making this a possible later in the evening attraction too.

by Safari Mike (twitter: @JamboEveryone)

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for June 4; Pollinators and Wine

DAK Celebrates Pollinator Day: That’s correct, today is Pollinator Day.  And even though it may not be the most popular of holidays, it probably should be!  Pollinators are certainly among the unsung heroes of the planet.  So if you are in the park today, head over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch where, according to the Disney Parks Blog, “guests can view live bees (very safely, of course!) and learn about the important role they play in pollination. Guests also can try on a pair of insect wings, follow the paths different pollinators take in a fun game, and learn how to create a pollinator garden.”

And for a little more appreciation of these little guys, check out Brooke’s column from yesterday and then next time you duck out of the way of a bee, say thanks!

Tables in Wonderland to Offer South African Wine Tour at Jiko:   The latest of the Tables in Wonderland member exclusive events is what they are calling a “tour of South Afican Wines”.  For more info, check out

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: June 5 9am - 6pm
Thursday: June 6 9am - 8pm
Friday: June 7 9am - 8pm
Saturday: June 8 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Sunday: June 9 8am - 7pm
Monday: June 10 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: June 11` 9am - 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, June 4, 2013

Celebrate Pollinator Day!

Tomorrow, Disney's Animal Kingdom is celebrating Pollinator Day and I would like to honor my favorite pollinators of the world.  There are many different pollinators including bats, hummingbirds  & butterflies.  But the one I am most fond of is the honey bee because without them, we humans would starve.  We'd die out.  We would cease to be.

Honey bees play a huge part in our every day lives that most people don't even realize.  One-third of all the food we eat is directly or indirectly derived from honey bee pollination.  These little guys are responsible for the survival of 95 types of fruit.  And they are hard workers.  The most industrious worker bee can pollinate up to 2,000 plants in a single day!

But they're in trouble.  Colonies are dying out in droves.  CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder, is a mysterious epidemic affecting these creatures.  Some people attribute this to be the effects of habitat loss, immune system damage, and the over use of pesticides.  While other theories have included that cell phone/Wi-Fi signals are affecting the bees.  A 2007 study performed in Switzerland found that the signals confused bees in flight, they became lost and could not find their way back to the hive.

However, there are ways we can help our bee friends.  Many websites are devoted to their conservation and offer helpful tips such as planting pollinator gardens, building bee boxes, and limiting or avoiding the use of pesticides.  And Disney is also offering helpful tips and fun activities tomorrow, as well.  If you're near the Animal Kingdom be sure to visit Rafiki's Planet Watch for fun events devoted to the pollinator.  There will be live bees on display for public viewing, demonstrations on how to create a pollinator garden, as well as fun games and activities the entire family can enjoy.

by Brooke (twitter: @Brooke1248)

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Review of the New Wilderness Explorer's Game at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Today is the debut article by guest writer  Megan Stump.  Today gives us a detailed review of the new Wilderness Explorers game at Disney's Animal Kingdom, as well as some great photos.  Here's hoping this is the first of many great articles to come from Megan!

"The wilderness needs to be explored! Caw caw! Roar!" The Wilderness Explorer call is one of the first things you need to know to become a Senior Wilderness Explorer. On opening day of getting to earn badges, my friend Jeff and I were the first two guests in Animal Kingdom to get to that level! We came prepared in scout shirts, and with a quick lesson, we were off.

As soon as you enter the park, there is a kiosk that will provide you with a Wilderness Explorer handbook, a pencil, a Wilderness Explorer sticker and a short explanation of what will be going on.  We first headed over to Discovery Island for our first badge, but we found out later, that as of now, that area doesn't open until 10.  No worries! Off to the safari to complete our first badge.  In the front of the book, there are pictures of several animals that you can check off as you see them.  You really have to do the safari and both trails to see the most.  At the end of the safari we had a chance to earn the safari badge, and the cultural badge.  When you get the cultural badges, that involves you speaking to a Cast Member about their country.  Our CM was excited to tell us about South Africa, and I learned they have 11 different languages!

Earning badges is so much fun!  Each is different, sometimes you have to search for clues, sometimes you have to talk with someone to find out the info needed for the badge. The experience itself is really designed for kids ages 7-10, but we saw older kids playing and of course us big kids are welcome to play!

Just like other interactive games, there are specific stations you have to look for. In this case there are two different kinds of stations.  The first could be found almost anywhere, but there is a handy map in the handbook to help you out. Look for Cast Members with a fancy orange satchel! These satchels are pretty awesome. They have a picture of the badge you are earning and the strap is actually a badge sash. I not so secretly hope they sell these eventually! The Cast Members are either wearing normal costumes, or a Wilderness Explorer uniform.  They were near attractions, merchandise carts, and one was by the bridge that connects Asia and Dinoland.

The second is actually a Troop Leader station.  These stations have troop leaders in uniform and a satchel as well, but most of them were accommodating larger groups. My favorite was earning the Forestry badge and Animal Call. Troop Leader Veronica taught the badges as a whole class, so we earned them together. It was a continuous lesson though, so if you came in at the end or missed one, you just did the next and participated the second time through. I learned so much without realizing I was learning! No matter which station you're at, you will earn an actual badge (well sticker) for your handbook. If you miss it coming in the park, any Troop Leader station has books you can start with.

I wouldn't hesitate to play this again-at a slower pace. It really is designed for you to take your time and enjoy the park, while having some fun on the side.  Of course we had a challenge-Jeff had to be at work in the afternoon and we wanted to see if we could finish.  You could do that too, but why not enjoy the park! We were even told that they want guests to come back with their handbooks, whether it be next week or a year from now. Believe me, I will be earning more badges next time! Kids will love this, and're sneaking a little education in too! Bonus all around.


By Megan Stump, contributing writer to Jambo Everyone (twitter: @megadis13)