Friday, November 29, 2013

On Stage at Flights of Wonder Video

I had the privilege of being on stage video camera in hand at Flights of Wonder. The show is a great way to truly appreciate birds. At this show, which we gave a detailed review during a recent Radio Harambe episode. Well, we love it.

I got lucky. I know when they want volunteers. And when they asked, I already had my pocket video camera in hand, standing, hand held high. Guano Joe called me out and you get to see a Great Horned owl heading right at you. Forgive my shaky hand as it gets real close to my head, and screeches.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for November 27, 2013; New Menus and Camp Closing

New Menu Items Popping Up at Counter Service Locations: We are learning this week about some new menu items coming to a few of the counter service locations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Apparently Trilo-Bites in DinoLand USA is now serving waffle sandwiches, similar to those we used to find at the Magic Kingdom.  Also, over in Africa, Kusafiri is now offering a breakfast sandwich for morning visitors.

But the big changes can be found at Tamu Refreshments in Harambe.  Safari Mike’s once favorite location now has a totally new menu, including a Chicken Curry, Vegetable Curry with tofu and a Roasted Chicken Salad.  I would imagine we have not heard the last of this from Safari Mike yet.  Check his twitter account (@JamboEveryone) for more.

Camp Minnie-Mickey Closing January 5?:  Here is what we know for certain, Festival of the Lion King will close January 5 and begin a six-mont closure while it transitions to its new theater in Harambe.  But will all of Camp Minnie-Mickey close on that date as well?

According to a report in, Disney is preparing to move all of the character meet-and-greets at the Camp to different locations around the park right around the same time, leaving the area virtually empty.  As of now, only the Festival’s closing has been confirmed by Disney so we will keep you posted.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: November 27 8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Thursday: November 28  8am -8pm
Friday: November 29  8am - 8pm
Saturday: November 30  8am - 8pm
Sunday: December 1  9am - 7pm
Monday: December 2  9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: December 3  9am - 6pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Bradley Fall snack cart is closed - no reopening date announced
Festival of the Lion King - Schedule to close January 5 until July 2014

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Some Pictures of Mosi

Remember a few weeks back when Disney put the name of its baby Masai Giraffe to an online vote?  Well, this little guy was given the name "Mosi" by Disney fans, and over the last few weeks he has certainly been the star of the show at Kilimanjaro Safari.

During the first few weeks of Mosi's time on the Safari, trucks were given the instructions not to stop near the baby, if it could be avoided.  Safari drivers were telling guests that they would do all they could to slow down enough to get everyone a photo, but that they simply did not want to intimidate Mosi or his mother by stopping.

But you can see that neither were all that concerned by the presence of the trucks.  Mosi was perfectly happy, though never too far from his mother.

Most people who have traveled the Kilimanjaro Safaris trail are probably more used to seeing the Reticulated Giraffes.  We all remember how the the name comes from the latin word for "net", due to the pattern of their spots.  But it is the Masai Giraffes now that make up most of the population on the premier attraction of Disney's Animal Kingdom.

These beautiful animals are found mostly in Kenya and Tanzania, and there are only about 40,000 of them left in the wild.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Episode 16 of Radio Harambe - Wilderness Explorers

On this episode, your hosts talk about news from Disney's Animal Kingdom, including the closing dates for Festival of the Lion King and more fallout from the Avatar construction.  In the "World News" section, we talk about lots of refurbs at the Magic Kingdom, details on a new restaurant at Epcot, and then we hurl a few verbal stink bombs at the new FastPass Plus tier system.  In our feature section, the hosts are joined by Explorer Mickey and Discoverer Meghan to get a kid's review of the Wilderness Explorers.

Remember you can also listen to us and subscribe to us on iTunes.  And if you can, please leave us a review.  We are also available on Stitcher.  Asante Sana!

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Baby Zebra Breaks the Cute Meter at Kidani Village

There is nothing better than spending an afternoon, perhaps with a refreshing beverage in hand, relaxing in a rocking chair at one of the savanna overlooks at Kidani Village.  And this last trip, the cute meter was out of control with babies!  We told you already about the baby Reticulated Giraffe at Kidani, and now it's time for some photos of the baby zebra too.

By the time we arrived at Kidani Village, this little girl had already been on the savanna for a few weeks.  And in that time, she had already earned herself a reputation as "a little troublemaker" from the cast members at Kidani.

She was never far from her mother and fellow zebras, but it didn't take long to realize it was the "little troublemaker" who as doing most of the deciding on where and when the herd would move.  Often times if you saw the zebras walking across the savanna, she and her mother were in the lead.

There is real "magic" found at Kidani Village, and this baby zebra is just another example.  And just in case you were wondering, her favorite things to do include chasing birds, rolling in the dirt, and napping...lots of napping.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Will the Tier System come to the Animal Kingdom?

In a word, yes. Unfortunately.

For those that don't know here is how it works. You get one fast pass from Tier 1 which at Epcot means Soarin', Test Track, Maelstrom, the Character Spot and Illuminations. Then you get 2 from the Tier 2, which is essentially any ride that you would never need a fast pass for. At Hollywood Studios, Tier 1 includes Toy Story Mania, Rock N Roller Coaster, Fantasmic and, oddly, the Beauty and the Beast Stage show. Tier 2 is a little better here since it includes the Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride (which can get lines) and Star Tours.

So now that testing has moved to a second park, we can assume this may be a thing for all the parks. I would guess at a minimum this will include the Animal Kingdom. Like those other parks, there are not a lot of attractions that need fast passes. Everyone will grab the Safari and Everest and then, well, something else. I suspect that we will be getting the tiered system soon. Here are my thoughts on what will be Tier 1: Everest and the Safaris obviously since they are the big draws. I am going to guess Festival of the Lion King will be there too since they seem to be putting in things suitable for the whole family. Finally, I will assume the Adventurers' Outpost or perhaps Kali will be the last of the four.

Of course, this completely changes how one approaches fast passes. It essentially, at least at Epcot, puts you in the position of getting one fast pass only. You need to pick the one biggie you want and rope drop the rest. I will assume due to its incredible lines, most savvy Disney visitors will pick Toy Story at DHS and rope drop Sunset Boulevard. We shall see what's in store for the Animal Kingdom. And then, of course, we are left to wonder what will happen when the Avatar stuff opens.

To me, this is all a huge joke. Disney has said two things to make the guest feel like Fast Pass Plus is a good thing. They have said it will reduce your waiting in lines. I have severe doubts that this will be the case. First of all, now you will only get one "good" fast pass meaning you will HAVE to stand by any of the other E ticker attractions. Secondly, the fast passes have created bigger waits at attractions that traditionally have not had fast passes like the Haunted Mansion, Small World and the Great Movie Ride. Secondly, Disney has said that the Fast Pass Plus system will allow you to customize your vacation the way you want to. Also, a lie apparently.

The tier system means you will be able to customize your vacation the way Disney wants you to not the way you want to. Let's face it. Instead of building better rides, Disney is creating more traffic to lesser attractions by forcing you to make reservations there. If Captain EO is a ghost town, why sink money into a better show when you can just forces 1/3 of the guests to fast pass it. You say the Backlot tour is shadow of its former self, no worries more people with reservations in hand will be hopping on board the tram soon enough.

Personally, I liked the idea of the fast pass plus. Booking my fast passes ahead of time appealed to the uber planner in me. But this tier system leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. Mostly, I think its the bold faced lies Disney execs were spewing prior to this. Even the idea of reducing your time waiting in line will simply be untrue. I suspect wait times will be as bad if not worse then before. And for what? Seems to me if people will be spending more time in line, not getting on as many E-tickets as they used to, will perhaps not be as happy. Of course, the cynic in me wonders when you will be able to purchase additional tier 1 fast passes.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for November 20, 2013: Walls and Ballons

A Peak Over the Walls in Harambe: The website Orlando Theme Park News took the bold step of reaching a camera over the construction walls in Harambe and posting the photos for all to see.

The big news in these photos is that we have confirmation of something we have been hearing for some time.  This theater project is much bigger than just the new theater, but also will include the opening of raised viewing areas all along the banks of river,  wrapping around the river and extending away from the theater.  Using the construction works as a way to measure the scale in the photo, you can see there is room for quite a few guests along the river.  More on this as the project develops

Height Test Ballon’s Spotted Over DAK:  According to a report by, height test balloons were reportedly seen yesterday in the skies over the Animal Kingdom, in the area behind the Rainforest Cafe.

For those who don’t know, Imagineers float these balloons up to the same height as whatever structure they are planning to build.  The balloons allow them to correctly judge the sight-lines, essentially planning where exactly in the park people can see the new structure from.  This area is where the Avatar project is going, so we can assume they are testing for the new mountain being built.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: November 20 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: November 21  9am -5pm
Friday: November 22  9am - 5pm
Saturday: November 23  9am - 7pm
Sunday: November 24  8am - 8pm
Monday: November 25  8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Tuesday: November 26  8am - 8pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Bradley Fall snack cart is closed - no reopening date announced
Festival of the Lion King - Schedule to close January 5 until July 2014

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The New Theater Fallout

Tamu Tamu is one of my favorite counter service restaurants in all of Disney World. The seating around back is limited but such a pleasant place. Sure, its small and the menu is limited but everything is so good. There are currently three menu items. The slow cooked pulled beef in pita with a cucumber mint sauce has been around for a little while and I love it. The two new items, the quinoa salad and the african chicken salad sandwich are new and are both home runs. The sandwich comes with homemade potato chips which I also love.

This place hasn't always served this more unusual style of food. It has in the past been both an ice cream place and a hamburger joint. Considering its location, the limits of the the menu seem strange. Its front and center at Harambe. The first place you see. Now, the main reason it was initially an ice cream place is its neighbor, the Tusker House, which when the park opened was a large counter service restaurant. Obviously, park designers didn't see the need for two quick service places so Tamu served ice cream. Then, after Tusker converted to a sit down place, Tamu Tamu began to evolve into Harambe's counter service eatery.

And it seems the evolution may continue soon. If you have ever eaten there, you will notice the food is not served all that quickly. The food while fresh and tasty, takes a small amount of time to put together for the guest. It appears that Disney believes that will not work as hundreds of guests stream out of Festival of the Lion King looking for a bite to eat. So, to avoid massive bottlenecks, Disney will likely be redesigning the menu yet again for Tamu Tamu to offer things that can be moved quickly. Hopefully, they continue to serve items that a little unique though. It would be a shame to go back to hamburgers.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Festival of the Lion King to Close for Six Months

According to, the latest issue of the Mickey Monitor, the publication sent to Annual Passholders, states that the Festival of the Lion King will close in January 2014 and not reopen in its new theater until July, a full six months later.  I am sourcing this report because I have not yet receive my copy of the Mickey Monitor, and the Winter edition was not available online at the time of posting this article.

We had been hearing rumors about such a lengthy closure.  And while the rumors all seemed to be well sourced, quite honestly, it was hard to believe.  Why build a new theater that can't open seamlessly, or at least close to seamlessly, with the closing of the current theater?  I am sure there are good reasons, but it is hard not to blame the amazingly long amount of time it now seems to take Imagineering to build and complete a project.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Episode 15 of Radio Harambe - The Anandapur Tea Company

In this week's feature we are joined by Adam of the Disney Hipsters to discuss the Anandapur Tea Company.   And we discover that Adam is the Disney podcast community's resident tea expert.  We discuss the news from Disney's Animal Kingdom, including a casting call for the Festival of the Lion King, upcoming DVD extra on the Jungle Book, and still more news on the Avatar Project. And we also talk a bit about new things going on in the rest of Walt Disney World, including lots of Downtown Disney stuff and viking artifacts.

Feel free to contact us on twitter @RadioHarambe and find more on the Disney Hipsters by going to

Friday, November 15, 2013

Festival of the Lion King Theater Construction

Here is a long-shot photograph to give everyone an idea of how far along the construction project is on the new theater for Festival of the Lion King.  As you can see, this is a massive structure.

As you can see, the structure leads all the way down to the waterline of the river.  Here is a bit of close-up of that lower area...

Why is that significant?  Well, we know there is a new "Rivers of Light" water parade coming to that river soon and we are expecting Disney to build viewing areas along the water, though they have not officially announced that.  At first, I assumed those areas would be part of this theater project.  Perhaps I am taking too much from the photo, but that doesn't look like any guest area being built there.  However, it's early days so let's not assume too much.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for November 13, 2013: Solo Projects, Baby Okapi and the Jungle Book

Burudika Singer Releases Solo Single: The one question I get asked more than any other is about how guests can obtain music from the Burudika Band, the amazing ensemble that plays in Harambe.  Well, so far there is no news to report on a possible release from the band, but there is a terrific new solo single from one of the members, Nathi Gcabashe

Click here to check it out on iTunes.  It is a beautiful song and a great anthem of African unity.  Mr. Gcabashe also has a solo album in the works so we will keep you posted.

Former DAK Resident Fathers a Baby Okapi at LA Zoo:  The LA Zoo this week announced the birth of a baby Okapi, and it seems this okapi has a little of the Mouse in his blood.  He is the first okapi born at the LA Zoo and his father, whose name is Jamal, came to LA from Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

This is all part of something called an SSP, or Species Survival Plan.  Animals are moved from zoo to zoo for breeding purposes in order to keep the genetic pool strong.  Congratulations to the LA Zoo for helping to keep these rare and beautiful creatures alive and growing.

Animal Kingdom to be featured on Jungle Book Blu-Ray:  Disney is releasing the Jungle Book on Blu-Ray in February of 2014 and it appears it will include an extra called “I Wanna Be Like You: Hangin' Out at Disney's Animal Kingdom”.  Truth be told, we know nothing about what this may be.  These DVD extras are normally pretty short and silly.  But still, connecting the Jungle Book to DAK is always a good thing.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: November 13 9am - 6pm
Thursday: November 14  9am -6pm
Friday: November 15  9am - 5pm
Saturday: November 16  9am - 7pm
Sunday: November 17  9am - 6pm
Monday: November 18  9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: November 19  9am - 5pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Bradley Fall snack cart is closed - no reopening date announced

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Animal Portraits: White Rhino

As we celebrate Rhino Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the subject for todays animal portrait was pretty much a no brainer.

Happy Rhino Day!

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Celebrate Rhino Day by Saving a Rhino!

We all know the existential dangers facing rhinos.  They are being illegally hunted to the brink of extinction for no better reason than human stupidity.  If we don’t act soon, these beloved and amazing creatures will be lost forever.  In recent years, some species of rhinoceros have been obliterated from the earth, and we can’t let that happen anymore.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom features two species of rhino, the White and Black Rhinos, both found along the Kilimanjaro Safaris trail.  Both of these species face the dangers of poachers every day.  Click the following links to read Safari Mike’s article on the White Rhino and the Black Rhino to learn about them and the threats to their existence.

I am sorry to preach, and I know I say this over and over, but we didn’t start this website or our podcast to encourage people to travel to Disney World.  We did it to help Disney fans better understand the whole point of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and what makes it such an amazing place.  It is a park that celebrates the bond between people and the planet, and we can’t abuse that bond by wantonly destroying its most beautiful inhabitants.

When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened, our beloved Mouse dove headfirst into the business of wildlife conservation.  But the Mouse can’t save these animals alone.  So here is what we can do, go to and make a donation.  These guys have dedicated their lives to saving our rhinos from extinction and we can help.  You can also visit our Conservation Page to find links to them and to learn more about rhinos.

Thank you and HAPPY RHINO DAY!

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Baby Reticulated Giraffe Makes Her Debut at Kidani Village

Last weekend, a new baby Reticulated Giraffe was introduced to the savanna at Kidani Village for the first time, and she certainly stole the show.

We were lucky enough to be staying at Kidani on the day she first mingled among the other savanna residents.  For weeks leading up to her introduction she was going through an acclimation process, which meant she stayed in her barn mostly in an open air pen with her mother just on the other side of the fence from the other animals.

This gave the baby a chance to get used to the smells and sounds of Kidani Village.  But it also attracted the attention of the guests, as this little cutie, while far away from the viewing areas, was easy for all to see.  We could only hope she would make her way onto the savanna during our trip.

And that’s exactly what happened.  The day before check out, her and her mother took their first steps together out into the savanna, and it was thrilling and hilarious to watch.  Mom was never far from her side, but mom also seemed to have no problem with her little one learning a few of life’s lessons.

For instance, she was very curious about the other species.  Some of them, like the Ankole cattle or the African Crowned Cranes, didn’t seem to mind her curiosity at all.  However, she now knows not to bother a hungry ostrich, who chased her around the savanna after getting too close.  Mom just watched it all happen.  That was the last time the baby bothered an ostrich.

This is what makes Kidani Village and the Animal Kingdom Lodge so amazing.  You can keep your monorails and your giant animated sculptures.  Those are all well and good, but they don’t have baby giraffes!

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Episode 14 of Radio Harambe - The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the New

Trip Reviews!  Lots and lots of Trip Reviews!  In this episode we discuss the news from Disney's Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World, including baby animals, Rhino Day and a free soda freakout.  And then in our feature section your hosts name "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the New" from their recent trips to Walt Disney World.

Thanks for downloading!  Please write us a review on iTunes and follow us on twitter @RadioHarambe.  Asante Sana

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Changes Coming to Festival of the Lion King?

This week Disney posted a call for performers to audition for Festival of the Lion King, providing the first hint of what is to come with regards to the show...

Disney Parks Talent Casting is seeking female vocalists for Festival of the Lion King, an African-inspired celebration of the music from the feature film. This original musical theatre production will be performed live in the NEW state of the art, indoor, 1500 seat theatre-in-the-round in Disney’s Animal Kingdom® at the Walt Disney World® Resort near Orlando, FL. This large scale, high energy production features singers, dancers, gymnasts and specialty performers. We are especially seeking performers with a diverse look for full time and part time positions beginning in April 2014.

The first thing we notice is the time frame.  Callbacks for these performers will take place right around the first of the year, with work beginning in April.  This does not mean the Festival will be closed from January to April, but it does tell us that fears of the Festival closing until summer may be incorrect.

Also, I think we can conclude from these auditions that the show may, in fact, not be the exact same show we have grown to love.  Within the posting, Disney is basically looking for performers to fill every part in the show.  One reason why they would do this is because the roles, and perhaps the songs, are going to change, forcing the current performers to essentially audition for a new show.  We will keep you posted if we here anything else

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

So What Does Disney Do With All Those Halloween Pumpkins?

If you have ever been to Walt Disney World during the week of Halloween, you really can’t help but notice the ubiquitous pumpkins.  Some of them might be plastic, but most are not and they are literally everywhere!

Whether you are at a theme park or a resort, you will find a pumpkin, and probably a few dozen of them.  They are decorated, carved and even turned into characters.  I can only imagine somewhere in Disney’s accounting records is an absolutely staggering bill for pumpkins and somewhere else is a very happy pumpkin farmer.

There so many pumpkins throughout the resort that during our trip to Disney World last week my wife looked at me and said “what the heck do they do with all of these?”  Well, I can’t say exactly what they do with ALL of them, but if you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom during the days following Halloween you will certainly see what they do with quite a few of them.

That’s right, Disney’s ridiculous piles of pumpkins become tasty treats for the residents of the Animal Kingdom.  And from what I could tell by touring the park last week, some of them really love it!

The day after Halloween, I spent the morning at DAK.  While walking up the path through the Oasis, I noticed this Babirusa absolutely going to town on a pumpkin.  It was early Extra Magic Hours and by 7:50 in the morning he had pretty much housed it.

And then there was this Mandril Monkey proudly showing off his tasty treasure to all of us on the early morning Kilimanjaro Safari truck!  So I guess we can safely say there is a nice added benefit to all those pumpkins Disney buys for Halloween.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Looking Back at Bat Day 2013

We spend plenty of time here praising the many animal celebrations Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers throughout its calendar.  So, I thought I would take the time to post a few photos from the most recent one to give those who have never been at DAK for one of these a better idea of what we are talking about and what goes on.

As is the tradition now at the Animal Kingdom, Halloween marks the celebration of Bat Day at the park, an appropriate and fun time to put the spotlight on an often misunderstood and feared species.

These events are focused at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, where you will find tons of information and activities for kids based around the animal being celebrated.  Also, wherever they are located in DAK you will usually find a cast member or animal care expert on duty all day to talk about them.

The photos here are all from Rafiki’s Planet Watch.  They had displays setup in the entire main lobby about bats, who actually are pretty cute if you give them a chance.  They are also a fascinating animal and incredibly important to the survival of their local ecosystems.

During Bat Day, many of the table had plenty to look at and play with, and lots of info to read.  They fill the tables with examples of what bats eat, plush dolls, toys and other things that connect the guest to bats.  And this is pretty much what you’ll find during any of these events.

Also, you wouldn’t believe how willing and eager the cast members manning these table  are to talk to you about these animals.  They are full of knowledge and enthusiasm for the species and conservation.  They deliver a great message to each guest.  It may not be a huge event, but I really recommend heading out there if you happen to be in the park during one of these celebrations.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for November 6, 2013: Rhinos and Limited Time Magic

We’re Back!:  Sorry about the lack of content over the last couple of weeks.  During that time, all of us at have been on vacation at Walt Disney World,  making it difficult to get new content up on the website.

But we have returned, with literally hundreds upon hundreds of photos and stories to tell.  So stay tuned to this space and to Radio Harambe for more.

Rhino Day to be Celebrated November 12:  This coming Tuesday, November 12, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will once again be celebrating Rhino Day.  According to the Disney Parks Blog, “On Rhino Day, guests can participate in special activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, including learning what rhinos eat, how we care for the rhinos at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the creative ways that the animal care team is supporting rhino conservation."

I know we tend to sound like a broken record when it comes to these events, but we love them.  They are not the typical less-than-subtle Disney marketing ploy or some excuse to sell more pins and vinylmation.  They are just a simple and fun way to recognize our planet’s most amazing and endangered habitants.

More Limited Time Magic at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  It appears the trend recently for the Limited Time Magic promotion has been moving towards the Animal Kingdom.  This week, guests were able to sign up for a backstage tour of the park.  Here is how Disney describes it...
Each afternoon at 1 p.m. (ET) from November 4-8, 2013, a group of lucky guests will be invited to join us for a special walking tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. During each session, you’ll have a chance to tour backstage animal housing at the park and our state-of-the-art animal medical center. There may even be an opportunity to see some of the animals in the backstage environments.
Nice to see this offered, but this does sound exactly like the Backstage Safari.  However, I don’t want to get snarky here.  The work that goes on behind the scenes to make Disney’s Animal Kingdom happen is mind-boggling and any chance for more guests to develop an appreciation for that is a good thing.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: November 6 9am - 7pm
Thursday: November 7  9am -7pm
Friday: November 8  9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Saturday: November 9  9am - 7pm
Sunday: November 10  9am - 7pm
Monday: November 11  9am - 6pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: November  9am - 5pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Bradley Fall snack cart is closed - no reopening date announced

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates Diwali

We talk often about the small events Disney’s Animal Kingdom holds that are often missed by guests.  Events like Bat Day, which was celebrated on Halloween, are a staple in the parks calendar.  But every once in a while the Animal Kingdom will also host a cultural events as well, and they are often practicality unannounced.

Just this past Sunday, the Animal Kingdom celebrated the hindu holiday Diwali in the Asia section of the park.  The “Festival of Lights” is a major holiday celebrated in many countries, including India, Nepal and others.  Besides the religious aspect, it is also a festival filled with family, music and cuisine.  

These are subtle events, but surprising and fun.  The decorated shrine pictured here was located between Flights of Wonder and the Yak and Yeti.  Also, down near Mr Kamal’s snack cart we found a culinary demonstration where a Disney chef was discussing and showing how to make samosas.  There was also some special music and other little additions to the events throughout the day.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Animal Kingdom Theme Spotlight; Flame Tree BBQ

Each building at Discovery Island is themed and Flame Tree Barbecue is certainly no exception. In fact, it probably goes farther than any other building in the area. Here, its the predator/prey relationship that forms the underlying theme. Like much of Discovery Island the design is Balinese in nature although there are influences from Spain, Iran and the American Southwest. 

At the front of the building there are several whimsical carvings that set the theme up. A bat hovers over a butterfly. Frogs sit on snake heads. The front sign features an owl clutching a pair of rabbits and a crocodile about to snag a fish. All very colorful. And the designs are such as not to be gory or too much like a "nature documentary." I like the rafters with ends of rhino heads. These rhinos are covered with birds who eat the insect that pester the rhino, an unusual example of predator and prey. 

But that's the front building where you order. The real highlight of this place is the back where thee are numerous pagodas set up for dining. Each one is themed after a particular predator/prey combo. One features spiders and butterflies, while another is themed to an anteater gobbling up ants. Owls hunts rabbits at another spot. One pagoda is themed to eels preying on crabs. One area features eagles catching snakes and a nearby building has snakes, in a turnabout is fair play moment, eating mice. The farthest of the buildings features crocodiles eating fish. This last one is down by the river and offers great views of Everest and the Forbidden Mountain in the background.

These themes are carried out all throughout each individual pagoda. Paintings adorn the ceilings, like one where ants are scurrying back into their mounds to avoid the anteater. The posts are sculpted to look like the animals whether that be an eel, eagles, or a snake with a mouse in its mouth. Windsocks adorn each spot and again are painted to match the animals whether that's an owl pulling a rabbit out of its hole or crocodile biting down on a fish midstream. Lamps keep the theme going too, like an anteater plunging its tongue into an anthill. My favorite little piece of theming? The tables and chairs. The tables, where you put your food, are decorated with the prey, while the chairs show the predators.

The pagodas cover a huge area. Each has plenty of seating and its own condiments bar. One borders a beautiful pond covered with fun stone statues. The crocodile pagoda sits far away for the bustling crowds of Discovery Island on the water. It offers fantastic views of Everest with the screaming only faintly heard. 

by Safari Mike (twitter: @JamboEveryone)