Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Javan Rhino

We at Jambo Everyone talk a lot about rhinos. We love them and they are in trouble. Perhaps none more so than the Javan species. There may be less than 50 Javan rhinos left in the world. They are only found in two places. Ujung Kulan National Park on the island of Java in Indonesia and Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, although if still in Vietnam there are likely less than 10 animals. Once common in Southeast Asia, poaching and habitat fragmentation have all but doomed this animal to extinction.

It may not be too late. By supporting groups like Save the Rhino, we still may save this amazing animal. It may look a lot like the Indian Rhinoceros but its much smaller. They are spread out in their jungle home. In fact, researchers have a hard time finding them. Instead, they usually just spot dung heaps. But this is actually how the animals communicate with one another since they too rarely see one another.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

A Night Ride to the Forbidden Mountain

One of the best things about the Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest. A great ride that becomes completely different at night. This video shows the ride up until the point you go backwards where the lights are completely out.

But this really gives you a sense of the mystery of the mountain and the park below. A quick look at Discovery Island and the Tree shows that. Enjoy. And if you can get there for a night time ride, make sure you do.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Red Panda

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

One of the most striking mammals on the planet is the red panda. It is called the fire fox by some, and the name seems obvious. However, it is no fox. Instead it is more closely related to the giant panda and the raccoon. The beautiful tail helps it steady itself in the tress, where it spends most of its time. The red panda has retractable claws, as well. They love bamboo, but unlike the giant panda, it will supplement that with seeds, berries and other items. Also, like the giant panda, they have a special wrist bone that helps it to grip bamboo stalks.

Habitat loss is the biggest threat. As bamboo is lost, critical habitat and food is lost to this animal. And, as you can probably imagine, the animal is poached for its coat. The pelts are used for clothing and hats. In one area of China, hats made from red panda pelts are still given to newly wed couples for good luck. Organizations like the Red Panda Network are doing their best to educate the local populations on just how special this species is.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Sea Turtles

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

I will never forget the first time I travelled to Hawaii.  It was when I was in college and after a long and exhausting journey I walked across the street to try and wake up a bit in  the waters of Waikiki Beach.  I swam far out beyond the crowds to relax and float for a few minutes in peace, something hard to find in this tourist-filled area.  I was in maybe eight feet of water and dove down under to get my face wet for the first time, hoping this might return some life to my tired eyes.  I opened my eyes and looked down on the sea floor only to be startled by something big moving beneath me!  I backed away quickly thinking it might be a ray, but as the sand cleared I could see it was a sea turtle, a beautiful, and very large, sea turtle.

For a kid from New Jersey, this was an exhilarating sight.  I tried to swim after it and catch up but, alas the turtle was a much faster swimmer than I.  For the remainder of my visit to Hawaii, I noticed the influence these turtles have in the islands, with images of them throughout the island’s artwork and even in souvenirs and the like.  They are an important symbol in Hawaiian culture and my encounter with one left a lasting impression on me.

Disney has a close relationship with Sea Turtles as well.  Since the opening of their Vero Beach Resort, Disney has been promoting and helping maintain Florida’s turtle population.  And they are not alone.  Florida has a few organization working to help keep these endangered creatures from extinction.

One such organization is the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton.  They protect an array of endangered plants and animals within their 20 acres of protected barrier island reserve including caring for more than 600 turtle nests a year within a five mile span of beaches and rescuing injured turtles and releasing more than 6000 stranded hatchlings each nesting season.  You can visit them in Boca Raton and you can also read about what they do, learn more on sea turtle conservation and donate to them by going to their website gumbolimbo.org

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Okapi

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

The Ituri forest is a dense rain forest in Central Africa. It is famous to Animal Kingdom fans as the home of one of the star of the Pangani stars, the okapi. They are hard to find. Western science did not know of its existence until after 1900 although the natives obviously knew it well. Westerners believed it to be a folk tale until proof came along. After all, who would believe a half zebra, half giraffe lived deep in the jungle. Of course, its not related to zebra at all. Instead, it merely shares a similar coloration on its hindquarters to help with camouflage in the broken light of the rain forest. It is, however, a relative to the giraffe.

Recently, the okapi was reclassified as endangered, and it is thought less than 25,000 animals can be found in their African home. Thus, its important that places like Disney's Animal Kingdom help protect the species. Our friends at the Okapi Conservation project also are important. Its managed by the White Oak Conservation Center in Jacksonville, FL and has raised more than $15 million for conservation since it started. It helps with research, education and community outreach programs designed to save the okapi.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Tapirs

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

Not a single species, but a group of animals, tapirs are personal favorites of mine. The Animal Kingdom once had a female Malayan tapir in the Maharajah Jungle Trek. But sadly, she passed away and was not replaced. Her exhibit is now occupied by Asian waterfowl like bar-headed geese. Tapirs look like a cross between a horse and rhino, and that isn't too far from the truth as all three are in the same family. They have a distinctive flexible snout used to pull off vegetation and as a snorkel as the animal loves water.

With an ancestry dating back over 50 million years, tapirs are essentially living fossils having remained virtually unchanged in that time. There are five species worldwide and all are threatened with extinction. The Malayan tapir is the only one in the old world and looks much different from the 4 South American species, which are mostly a solid brown in coloration. Oddly, babies look the same in all tapir species, being ruddy brown with watermelon like white stripes for camouflage. By the way, this year saw the addition of a 5th species of tapir, as the Kabomani tapir of Brazil and Colombia was identified by scientists. It is the smallest species weighing in at about 240 pounds while the Malayan is the largest, topping out at 800 pounds.

The Tapir Specialist Group is working to help save tapirs and their habitats throughout the world.  The have been recipients of funds from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, but you can also help them by donating at tapir.org.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Polar Bears

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

If someone asked you to think of an animal that reminds you of Christmas, of course the first thing that might come to your mind is a reindeer.  But thanks to a certain fizzy beverage manufacturer’s decades old marketing campaign, the next animal we may think of is a Polar Bear.

For me, the polar bear has always been a favorite.  For as long as I can remember, the Bronx Zoo’s polar bear habitat has been an amazing place to get an up close look at these impressive animals.  I recall watching them swimming and playing and never wanting to leave.  So during this series of postings, I simply couldn’t go without mentioning them.

Polars Bears are listed as “threatened” by the Endagered Species Act in the United States.  While their numbers may not yet be at critical levels, if things do not change they will soon be.  Climate change is virtually destroying their habitat more and more every year, and unless we can stop the destruction of our polar ice caps these gorgeous bears will be a memory.

Polar Bear International is one of the conservation organizations working to save bears in the wild.  They focus on field work, as well as educational and research programs.  If you are a fellow polar bear fan, you really should check out their website.  You can donate there and even adopt a polar bear.  They also have a great online gift shop.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thank You For Helping Us Send Our Christmas Gift!

Today, after a year of selling t-shirts on our Zazzle Store, and a handful of Radio Harambe shirts, we finally raised enough money to send a small donation to each of our conservation partners.  It may have only been a few dollars, but for people working on the ground in often dangerous and difficult conditions every little bit helps.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not bragging here.  Like I said, it isn't much but its what we have and that's what matters.

We have always said, and we mean this sincerely, that the only reason we began this project was so that we could raise awareness for conservation and hopefully a few dollars along the way.  And we did that.  Our thanks to all of you for supporting us and helping us in this endeavor and hopefully we can do this again some time soon.

So from everyone here at Jambo Everyone and Radio Harambe we want to send our best wishes and blessing to those dedicating and risking their lives to save our precious wildlife for future generations.  Asante Sana!

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Red Wolf

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

Do you know what a red wolf is? Well, its a little known species of canine found, currently, in North Carolina only. Its closely related to the grey wolf we all know. They are somewhat smaller, weighing only about 50 to 70 pounds. Coloration ranges from gray to brown to cinnamon, but often with a reddish tinge, hence the name.

Like its cousin, the red wolf was hunted extensively. Even the government got in the act, offering bounties for hides to protect domestic animals. And because of that, red wolves were all but extinct when a last ditch effort to save them was enacted by the Federal government. The last few remaining animals from eastern Texas and Louisiana were captured and a breeding program was initiated . From that, a population has been reintroduced to northeastern North Carolina. Now, there are about 100 animals in the wild and 200 in zoos. Organizations like the Red Wolf Coalition are helping to educate the public about this unique species as poaching continues to be an issue. In this last year, about 10 animals have been killed illegally.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Let's Make It A Conservation Christmas; Snow Leopards

This holiday season, we thought we would celebrate by spotlighting a few species in desperate need of saving and the fantastic organization working towards that goal.  As always, we ask that you help our conservation partners, but during the season of giving we wanted to focus on a few other organizations as well. It’s our “Conservation Christmas” series!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom fans the world over hold Joe Rohde in the highest of esteem.  So for this series I felt the best place to begin is with an animal near and dear to Mr. Rohde’s heart, the Snow Leopard.  People who follow Mr. Rohde’s blog will recall how earlier this year he traveled to Mongolia to help raise funds for the Snow Leopard Conservancy by creating and selling original painting and donating all the proceeds to help save these incredible alpine cats.

Snow Leopards are listed as endangered, and the “best guess” is the worldwide population is somewhere between 2,000-7,000 cats.  But the range of these allusive creatures can be huge and estimating how many are in the wild is almost impossible.  What we do know is the largest threat they face is the same one many other endangered species face, humans.  Contact with livestock is one reason they are hunted.  But they are also poached for their fur, used for fashion purposes, and their bones, which are used in traditional Asian medicines.  It’s an all too familiar refrain in the fight to save wildlife.

On a personal note, I fell in love with these unique cats this past summer when I ventured over to the Bronx Zoo.  Earlier this year, the zoo welcomed the birth of a snow leopard cub and when we visited the cub was putting on a show for zoo guests by playing and frolicking to the delight and laughter of us all.  All the photos in this post are from that trip.  Seeing this cub really brings home the importance of saving snow leopards for future generations. If you live in the New York area head to the Bronx Zoo and see them.

So what can we do?  In the spirit of Joe Rohde we can help the Snow Leopard Conservancy in any way possible.  Head over to their website, snowleopardconservancy.org.  Their you can learn about these amazing cats, the dangers they face and what these people are doing to help.  Look around, it is really great website with loads of information and photos.  You can also send them a holiday gift by making a donation right on their front page.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Dawa Bar Revealed!

Yesterday, some of the construction walls around Harambe came down revealing its first secret, a new Dawa Bar!  Click over to wdwmagic.com to see some photos.  The new bar sits to the right of the old one, which is still in operation, right next to the Tusker House.  And if you look closely at the photos on wdwmagic.com you will see they have actually added more seats at the bar!!  WOOHOO!!!

From the information we have, the new Dawa Bar will open this weekend and we expect the old one to close at that time as well.  We are also hearing that from January to April, the area where the original Dawa Bar now sits will be walled off as workers demolish it to make room for guests to migrate along a large waterfront walkway towards the new area surrounding the Festival of the Lion King theater.  The only problem this presents is a complete lack of covered seating in Harambe for those wishing to stop for bite to eat at one of the counter service locations.

If there is one hope we would like to pass along to Imagineers it is that they keep the cannon and fort area which has been part of the history of Harambe since 1998.  It may be a small and largely unnoticed detail, but it is one of those details which tell the story of this Port of East Africa.  Also, with the new area, it will be much more noticeable and appreciated by the average guest.  Alas, we can only hope...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for December 18, 2013: Baby Animals and Zero Hour

It’s Zero Hour for FastPass Plus: Today is the day when Disney tosses its hat over the wall with regards to FastPass Plus.  Today is the day when we all start to will find out, more than ever, if this billion-dollar project will revolutionize theme parks or forever be known as “Iger’s Folly”.  Today is the day, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, when the old FastPass system will not be available and every guest, not just resort guests, will be forced to use the new system.

Dave and Safari Mike spoke in length about this on the latest episode of Radio Harambe.  Have a listen and let us know what you think.  Thankfully none of us are attending the park today. So if you are, please leave us a comment about your experiences.

Section of Creature Comforts Turned Into FastPass Plus Service Center:  With “Zero Hour” for FastPass Plus in sight, it should come as no surprise to any of us that Disney felt the need to add to the new system’s customer service infrastructure at the Animal Kingdom.  And the latest victim of FastPass Plus is the Creature Comforts gift shop.

Part of the shop has been turned into what is being called a MyMagic + service center, more likely a fun euphemism  for “complaint center”.  Guests can go there to get assistance with any issues or questions they may have.  We here at Jambo Everyone are sending our collective well wishes to the poor cast members staffing this area today.

Disney Salutes It’s Greatest Achievement:  This morning’s edition of “Wildlife Wednesdays” on the Disney Parks Blog offers a little tribute to what we think is Disney’s best achievement, helping to keep the planet’s great creatures from extinction, by looking back at all the new animal babies born at the park in 2013.

This year has been a great year for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including the birth of several rare and endangered species.  This is a subject we here at Jambo Everyone like to talk a lot about, because it is what we think separates the Animal Kingdom from other theme parks.  Asante Sana to all the cast members who helped make these miracles happen!

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: December 18 9am - 6pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: December 19  9am -6pm
Friday: December 20  9am - 6pm
Saturday: December 21  9am - 6pm
Sunday: December 22  8am - 8pm
Monday: December 23  8am - 8pm
Tuesday: December 24  8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)

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, December 17, 2013

Episode 18 of Radio Harambe - The 2013 Year in Review

Episode 18 of Radio Harambe is now available for your listening pleasure!  With the new year approaching, we take a look back at 2013 with our "Year in Review' of everything that happened it what was a huge year at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

We also discuss the news from the Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World, including another bump along the road called FastPass Plus.  You can follow us on Twitter @RadioHarambe.  Asante Sana!

A Very Merry Radio Harambe Christmas!

We at Radio Harambe were offered the great pleasure and honor of participating in a terrific Holiday podcast series by the Disney Dream Girls called Minxmas.  In our episode, Dave and Safari Mike take a few minutes to talk about why the holidays and Disney's Animal Kingdom go hand in hand.  Click the image below to have a listen

You can also download the show via iTunes.  Our thanks the these great girls for asking us to be part of this series.  Happy Holidays!

Animal Kingdom Theme Spotlight: Drinkwallah

The Animal Kingdom puts a theme in everything including drink stands, and Drinkwallah is just such a place. Its located just over the bridge from Discovery Island as you walk into the Asia section of the park and is right across the way from the Yak & Yeti. The menu is nothing special really. It serves chips and fruit as well as coke products including one of the few places in the park to get a frozen coke. So there is that. But theme wise, this place really shines.

Wallah, in Sanskrit, means "seller" or "deliverer." So, in this case, this is a server and deliverer of drinks. Like in many other places at the Animal Kingdom, set decorators spent a lot of time in the source countries (like India) buying items from all sorts of places to get just the right props. And inside Drinkwallah, you will find a lot of them. The place is littered with items like bottles of coke purchased from Southeast Asia to give you the feel of being in that region, or posters of celebrities from those countries. But it doesn't stop there. Check out the hood that is stamped "Anandapur Sheet Metal Co." which even furthers the back story here. Also, notice the bulletin board referencing notes from hikers and mountain climbers getting ready to travel to nearby Serka Zong.

Outside is no less interesting. There is a bike used to deliver coke products and other things to nearby businesses. The Drinkwallah, as the proprietor is called, trades in drinks so its only natural he will deliver them. And bicycles are used throughout Anandapur as they are in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Like many such places in Asia, the Drinkwallah lives in a residence attached to his shop. You will see a door that is marked for his private residence.

The establishment is also conveniently located along the river. And the Drinkwallah uses it for his benefit. Trade boats stop at his place to well, trade. And you will see two such boats docked. Originally, Disney purchased and reassembled an actual boat from Indonesia. That had to since be removed a few years ago but Disney replicated it exactly. Take a walk down by the river here. There is a little landing close to the water that is often overlooked. It has some great old statues from ancient Anandapur. More importantly, there is almost never anyone down there. A pair of small tables occupy the space but if the nearby Yak & Yeti is full, this is a good spot.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Still Time to Get Your Radio Harambe T-Shirts Before the Holidays!

So here they are, the actual shirts!  Not just a proof, but this is a photo of the real deal.  We still have a few of these left, and they really look great.  Remember, we will donate every bit of profit we make off these to our conservation partners.

The shirts are available in Adult Large and Extra Large only, and they are $24 with most domestic shipping costs included in that price.  If you are interested, email me at safariguide@jamboeveryone.com.  And just a note, you will need a PayPal in order to arrange payment.  ASANTE SANA!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fast Pass Plus Takes the Next Step at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Fast Pass Plusses have been a major topic here at Jambo Everyone and Radio Harambe. It clearly will change the way we tour the parks and book our vacations.Testing has been ongoing and, well, to say to mixed reviews might be an understatement. By some accounts, it has been a disaster. According to wdwmagic, the testing will be amped up a notch starting December 18th.

To date, the only guests "enjoying" fast pass plus options have been resort guests. Plus, you were able to use the old paper fast pass system if you chose to do so. Well, that's about to change and the Animal Kingdom gets first crack. Next week, guests from anywhere, on site or off, will be able to use the fast pass plus system. And they better, because that will be the only fast passes available.

OK. So what attractions will be in the system? Well most of them, really. The Adventurer's Outpost, Everest, Kilimanjaro, Primeval Whirl, Kali, Dinosaur and the shows, Lion King, Nemo and It's Tough to be a Bug. For those off site guests and anyone else who doesn't have a magic band to pre-book fast passes must use a kiosk specially created for dealing with fast passes. These are located at Kali River Rapids, Primeval Whirl, Everest, Creature Comforts (on Discovery Island), and right outside of Disney Outfitters, also at Discovery Island. Guests without magic bands will get RFID tickets to enter the park and use these kiosks.

Several things jump to mind. First of all, non-resort guests will have to rope drop the kiosks now, not the Safari or Everest, which seems strange to me. These kiosks and there are only 5, will likely be disasters. I wonder if it will turn out to be better just to forget them and run to the big attractions first anyway. I guess we will see.  I will also be very interested to see how quickly fast passes book for the big attractions now that everyone will be using the "FP+." Remember, the Animal Kingdom is not on the tier system. At least, not yet.

And also, why on Earth is Disney testing this on December 18th? The busiest days of the year. Shouldn't they be trying this out in, I don't know, say late January? As it is, reports say the kinks are not out of the fast pass plus system. Its not quite working right for some, it takes longer to get through the line with this system. Lines for fast passes have gotten longer than usual in some cases due to these delays.

There is no word on how long this will be in place. I have been told (by our travel agent partner) that it very well may be just one day but elsewhere I have heard it will be longer. Either way I will be interested to see what will happen.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dave's "Kill Refurb Marry" of Disney's Thrill Rides

When Safari Mike told me about the Kill Refurb Marry game, I couldn't resist.  So here we go, and you can post all your complaints in the comments section....

Kill:  The trick with the “Kill” category, at least to me, is finding that one attraction that not just needs help but also aggravates me to the point of just wanting to see it disappear. And the one that bothers me the most is Mission Space.  And it’s not because I pine away for Horizons, I don’t.  It’s because the concept of simulating man’s next grand adventure was so exciting and yet Disney missed the mark by lightyears.  I’m not talking here about the fact that they built an attraction way too intense for Disney vacationers.  That is an issue, but the real problem is the plain ridiculous storyline they came up with for it.  With an exciting concept, and a drop-dead-gorgeous show building, the experience itself is just a giant letdown.  And now we have a very expensive e-ticket with b-ticket attendance figures.  It’s time for Imagineering to blow it up and start again

Refurb:  This category is tough, especially when we consider how many attractions seem to be hanging around Epcot and the Studios well after their sell by date.  There are probably 5 obvious candidates, and that’s just in Future World!  However, we are talking thrill rides here and when I think of refurbishment, I think of Disney FINALLY actually getting it right when “plussing” an attraction.  So what thrill ride comes close but just needs that little something extra to make it amazing?  To me, that’s Space Mountain.  Disney has tried on more than one occasion to bring Space Mountain into the 21st century.  But still, we have a kind of fun, yet largely antiquated, old-school roller coaster in the dark.  But Space Mountain cab be so much more

Marry: This one was probably predictable coming from me, Expedition Everest.  And I know what you’re thinking; this is the most obvious “refurb” candidate, what with the Disco Yeti and all.  But perhaps it speaks to the state of thrill rides at Walt Disney World these days that Expedition Everest is still, broken yeti and all, the granddaddy of Disney Mountains.  Nothing on Disney property has the grandeur and scope of the Forbidden Mountain.  It is the most amazing show building, the best storyline, and clearly the most researched and detailed of all the Disney thrill rides.  Sure, it may have been better in years past, but if that were a reason not to like thrill rides than we can pretty much eliminate half of Disney’s attractions.  And Joe Rohde has vowed to return life to the yeti some day soon...

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Safari Mike's Kill Refurb Marry; Disney Thrill Rides

Our friends over at The Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind have come up with a great (and I mean GREAT) game for us Disney bloggers. Kill Marry Refurb. I think the title pretty much explains it all, but in case you don't quite understand: there is a topic, in this case Thrill Rides, and you have to pick one that you would marry (leave alone forever and ever), one that you would kill (wipe off the face of the earth) and refurb (meaning well, refurb it). We here couldn't resist playing along this month so here ya go. And as an added bonus, both myself and Dave want to play- so you get 2 for the price of 1.  Sweet deal, right?

Kill: OK. Originally, I wanted to play but limit myself to Animal Kingdom rides, of which there are 4 thrill rides, 5 if you count the Safari, which I don't. And I didn't really want to kill any of them to be honest. So I am killing Rock and Roller Coaster. The thing is a waste of time and space. Please tell me how Aerosmith fits into the theming of early Hollywood? Or how a giant guitar blends seamlessly into the aesthetic of the area? The answer to both is they don't. The whole attraction is atrocious. I thought hard about re-theming it. Perhaps an Oswald attraction, maybe Dick Tracy. But nah. Blow it up. I never go over there anyway.

Refurb: I want to refurb the Kali River Rapids. Listen I love it, but its too damn short. The original idea behind this ride was breathtaking. It was basically going to the Kilimanjaro Safaris but on water and with Asian animals. You would pass tigers, rhinos, Indian elephants and what not before the big fire and a fall. Now, I like the ride. The queue and its theming are topnotch and it really is fun. I always come off laughing. But we need to add something. The fire needs to be bigger, The ride needs to be longer and they need to add more drops. At least, one more biggie anyway. And why not go back to seeing animals during the ride. No, not tigers since you don't want them jumping into the boats and eating the guests (though that would add an element, eh?). I'm thinking an exhibit with tapirs, or perhaps another pair of gibbons. Maybe a troop of macaques, tree born animals would be easier to see from the rafts. But it needs more thrills because for a thrill ride, while certainly fun, its just not that thrilling.

Marry: I am going back to the Animal Kingdom here. Oh Dinosaur how do I love thee, let me count the ways. This is really an indictment of the whole area not just this ride but to me its close to perfect. The ride is fun. Yes, it was a bit louder and scarier back in the day, and yes, I did like that. But they have recently amped up the effects to some degree. The queue itself is phenomenal, one of the most underrated at the Mouse. Then add in the side bits like the great Dino Institute store, and the nearby Cretaceous Trail and Restarauntosaurus, you have a winner. Besides who doesn't love Dr. Marsh? To be honest, I almost picked Maelstrom here, but this is Jambo Everyone after all. I should be marrying an Animal Kingdom ride. Besides, when we get married I'm legally changing its name to Countdown to Extinction.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for December 11, 2013: Kali, Coffee and Another Shameless Plug

Kali River Rapids Closed for Refurb: It appears Kali River Rapids closed last week and is scheduled to reopen Saturday.  All of the water attractions need yearly work, and it looks like Disney is getting this done before the crowds swell for the holidays.

It looks like this is perfect timing too, and interesting.  We often find water rides going down in January, when the weather tends to cool down quite a bit and attendance is low.  But Disney’s Animal Kingdom is about to go through a period of closures and construction and the Mouse will need Kali up and running.

Joffrey’s Offering Animal Kingdom Inspired Coffe Blends:  Joffrey’s is the official “Specialty Coffee” supplier to Disney World and a couple of weeks ago they announced they would have some park inspired blends available to purchase online.  Among those offerings we find the “Jiko” and “Flavors of Africa” blends.  There are only seven different flavors offered, and it’s good to see two of them are DAK inspired.

Did You Get Your Radio Harambe T-Shirt?:  It's a slow week for news, so you know what that means...shameless plug time!  As we announced on the podcast, we now have a very limited supply of Radio Harambe t-shirts available for purchase.  The design is based on the condition of Safari Mike's shirts after a trek through the wilderness.

We only have Adult Large and Extra Large available and every penny we make off these we will donate to our Conservation Partners.  You will need a PayPal account to arrange payment, and I should be able to ship these before the holiday, assuming all goes according to plan with the manufacturer.  If you are interested, you can email us at safariguide@jamboeveryone.com

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: December 11 9am - 6pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: December 12  9am -6pm
Friday: December 13  9am - 6pm
Saturday: December 14  9am - 6pm
Sunday: December 15  9am - 7pm
Monday: December 16  9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: December 17  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
Kali River Rapids - Closed December  2-14

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Amazing Burudika Band

Today we have a new video of the Burudika band now up on our You Tube channel. This band brings a lot of life to Harambe. We love grabbing a drink and seeing a set.  Next time you are in the Animal Kingdom, make sure you do just that.

Both tunes they play are by the great Senegalese musician Vieux Diop. The first song they play is called "Afrika Wassa" and the second "Banana".  Diop has a couple of albums available on iTunes and if you like these songs you will love them.

by Safari Mike and Dave McBride

Monday, December 9, 2013

Touring Disney's Animal Kingdom at Night

With Christmas, there comes crowds. Lots of crowds. But this does bring the added benefit of extended hours and during the holiday season that means hours at the Animal Kingdom will continue well after dark. On Christmas night, this year, the park closes at 9 pm, giving you about four hours of night time touring.  And, as you probably know, we love the park after the sun goes down.

The Animal Kingdom at night becomes a dark and mysterious place, especially around Discovery Island and Asia. Make sure you hit these spots towards the end of the night. Especially, Everest. The low light used at this attraction really changes the experience. It's like a different ride. The queue too takes on a much different look. And the rest of Serka Zong exemplifies the mysterious quality of the park at night. I particularly like the Tangled-like lanterns that hang just above your heads along the path. It all combines to make you feel like you are in a far away place, which is, I suppose, the point.

Dinoland USA, however, is much different. Its bright, well at least Dino-Rama. But it has such a great look about it. And riding Triceratops Spin or Primeval Whirl both give you a fun, bird's eye view of the area. A personal recommendation: Grab a rum lemonade from the nearby Restarauntosaurus. Harambe, too, is a great spot to take your time and enjoy the setting. This will generally be less crowded. At dark, both the Kilimanjaro Safari and the Pangani trail will be closed, so until the Lion King show opens, there really is nothing to draw crowds. But go anyway. And try to catch an evening performance of the amazing Burudika band. They tend to have a late show or two.

Now, like I said, animal exhibits close. So if you want to do the safari, or walk the trails, its important to find out exactly when they close. In the winter, that is often 5pm when its dark. Don't think you will be able to walk the Maharajah Jungle Trek at night. You can't. Another thing to watch out for: Kali River Rapids. As you probably know, you get wet, real wet. And at night, in December, you will also like get cold, real cold. Keep that in mind.

One more word to the wise, its dark. If you or someone in your party has difficulties visually, this may be an issue. Even if you don't, it can be difficult to navigate. This again is especially true at Discovery Island. You can actually walk around the dark paths here but there are no animals to see. The tamarins, flamingos, and what not are off exhibit. The Tree of Life is, like everything else, under low lights creating a mysterious presence, albeit a beautiful one. The stores will be open, of course. And walk around the Flame Tree BBQ. All the pagodas are lit, with different colors. Some green. Some red. All beautiful.

Speaking of eating, even when you don't have extended hours, if you get the last seating at Yak & Yeti, you will often be done after dark. While you don't get to enjoy Everest or Primeval Whirl at this point, you do get to see the place. So take your time and take some photos. In any event, Yak & Yeti is a good spot for a meal. Its often quiet later on. And we love the bar for an adult beverage. The place has a great aesthetic, so soak it in. Be advised that some of the other, smaller places to eat like Tamu Tamu or the kiosks will often close earlier than the park itself so keep that in mind if you are looking for food on the go.

Then there are the shows. Flights of Wonder will not play after dark. You have been warned. The other two often will, but try to see those earlier in the day. They, like Its Tough to be a Bug, do not take advantage of the ambiance of the park at night. Also, crowds tend to peeter out as the late afternoon and evening progress. And all three gobble up people, so you need not worry about seeing them while it is more crowded.

A couple of other things to consider: The Wilderness Explorers interactive game typically shuts down at 6pm no matter what. At least, so far anyway, so until further notice you will not be able to play this during the evening hours. Character greetings are a toss up at this point. Check your schedules but they often do not go until the late night either. Shops, however, as you might have guessed are typically some of the last things to close.

Well, there you have it. If you are lucky enough to get a few hours of night touring in, I hope that helps you plan out those few precious hours so you really get to enjoy it. The best plan, I think is to try to ensure you hit Dinoland and Everest last. Frankly, as the crowds just about disappear, you can probably ride Everest over and over again. Of course, when Avatarland opens and the River of Lights starts, all bets are off.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Episode 17 of Radio Harambe: Holidays at Disney's Animal Kingdom

It's the holiday season here at the Radio Harambe studios!  We are high above the savanna, keeping an eye out for Santa's sleigh and talking about our tips and suggestions for touring Disney's Animal Kingdom during the busy holiday season.

Before we talk about the holidays, we bring you the local news, including more Avatar blueprints leaked, changes to counter service locations and the exisitential dangers facing okapis in the wild.  Safari Mike than brings us news from the rest of Walt Disney World, where he is starting to feel a bit better better about his Norway meltdown from a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks for downloading and enjoy!

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

New Video: Giraffes at Kilimanjaro Safaris

Giraffe are one the highlights of the Safari at Harambe. Here's a quick video as we go past some. They are so graceful and are a highlight of the ride for many guests.

Check out our YouTube Channel for plenty more animal and ride-through videos.  We will be spotlighting a few of our newer videos this week...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Radio Harambe T-Shirts NOW AVAILABLE!

We now have a VERY limited supply of Radio Harambe t-shirts, pictured, for sale to our listeners.  They have a "distressed" look to them designed after what most of Safari Mike's shirts look like after a trek through the jungle.  The shirts are available in Adult Large and Extra Large only, and they are $24 with most domestic shipping costs included in that price.

We are always looking for new ways to raise some funds in any way we can for our Conservation Partners, so all of the profit we make off these shirts will be donated to those organizations.  It may not be much, but every little bit helps.   And when I say limited, I mean limited.  I have only about a half-dozen of these, but if there is alot of interest I can certainly make more available in the future.  If you are interested, email me at safariguide@jamboeveryone.com.  And just a note, you will need a PayPal in order to arrange payment.

African Inspired Disney Designed at Kidani Village

We love the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It's our favorite resort. Obviously. And one of the reasons we tout it as such is all the amazing things offered by the resort, much of which is free, like night vision goggles and stories around the campfire. This past trip I got to try another of these offerings at Kidani Village, the African Inspired, Disney Designed tour. Its certainly under appreciated. We were the only ones who did it.

The tour started at 4:00 in the lobby of the resort. To me, its perfect timing. We finished morning touring, relaxed around the pool for a bit and were still an hour or so away from dinner and night time touring. It also only lasted about a half hour which was also perfect, Just the right amount of time to keep you interested and give you a real flavor behind the culture of Africa that "inspired" the tour.

Annabella, who went by the nickname Tiny, started the tour in the lobby and then outside to see the wall of lanterns. Why the lanterns? Light is a sign of welcoming. She also showed my favorite rooms in the resort, the King's library which is just off to the side of the lobby. You will notice there are no books. Well, that's because in this culture, stories were passed along orally not by written word. That was how the history of the people and their stories are passed from generation to generation.

There was lots to see at the lobby, as well. I was particularly curious about the farming equipment behind the front desk. Apparently, that was currency in that part of the continent. It was essentially a barter system. Also, notice the proverbs written in the stone on the walls and even the paths. All of them are accompanied by little butterflies. Butterflies, you see, bring messages from the gods. Without this tour, you would never know.

Our guide then led us down stairs to Sanaa where Mandisa, who is from Durban, South Africa, took over. We toured the restaurant and even stepped outside briefly. Sanaa itself is beautiful and rich in artifacts, more so than its Jambo House counterparts, Jiko and Boma. For example, on the wall in the bar are numerous beaded jugs. Each is patterned after an African nation's flag.

I cannot recommend this tour enough. Its free so you really can't go wrong. But, more importantly, you really get a feel for the resort. There is so much to see, that a half hour is not nearly enough but you get a great sense of what the artifacts are really about- especially the King's Library and Sanaa. And each guide brings their own background to the tour, so each time you go you may get something a little different. Kidani is essentially a museum dedicated to African folk art. On this site, you will see posts focusing on some of these artifacts. But it can't compare to seeing these pieces in person and getting the stories from the land from the people of the land.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Avatar Blueprints Leaked?

Over the holiday weekend, I came across two websites which claim to have seen more blueprints of the e-ticket attraction coming to the new Avatar area at the Animal Kingdom.  Theme Park Insider and the Yahoo Movies UK site are the two I found and they are practically identical in their reporting, however neither actual publish the blue prints nor do they specify how they came across them.

Here are a few bullet-points what we learn from these reports, and my quick thoughts on them as well

  • The entire area will be called “World of Pandora”.  I would have thought just “Pandora” would have done the trick
  • The E-ticket’s building will be four or five stories tall, getting upwards of 80 feet high.  Most likely the “floating mountain” design
  • The plans call for four theaters, with 3 ride levels in each theater.  It’s hard to tell if the capacity is bigger than Soarin’, but let’s hope so
  • There will be a pre-show area
  • We still have no specifics on ride vehicles, but it appears the vehicle will be suspended from the ceiling.  
  • despite the size of the theater, they are taking elaborate measure to make sure all riders exit in the same area...hello gift shop!
  • for those who have actual been to Universal,which I have not in 20 years, apparently this is more like the Simpsons Ride than it is like Soarin.

To be honest, there isn’t much here that we didn’t already know or assume to be the case.  This is a major investment on Disney’s part and it has to be in order to appease the critics who are not happy with the very idea of it.  It will be interesting to see if these blueprints ever surface in the media.  My guess is if these reports gain momentum and are accurate, that may just be the next “leak” to come down the pipeline.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Disneys' Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for December 4, 2013: Joggers and a Mystery Building

Expedition Everest Challenge Registration Opens December 17:  Runners looking to register for the Expedition Everest Challenge 5K event can do so starting December 17 at noon.  The event runs the weekend of May 3-4 and Disney describes it as “an adrenaline- driven, thrill-packed weekend of a great run on a breathtaking course in Disney's Animal Kingdom® Park”.  You can also run the event with a partner in a “Trek Team”.

This event combines an endurance run with a scavenger hunt, and the course goes through Disney’s Animal Kingdom at night, always a treat.  The Post-Race Party includes access to a few attractions, and there are also events for kids during the weekend.  Go to rundisney.com to learn more

New Festival of the Lion King Theater Construction Photos: The website orlandoparksnews.com enjoys posting pictures from behind Disney’s construction walls.  And last week they posted photos of the Festival of the Lion King theater construction site, which they have done before.  The photos show not only a massive theater building going up, but also a significant waterfront area developing.  The most intriguing photo comes from the 2nd photo from over the walls, the 12th photo down the page.  Here, we see a structure going up away from the theater along the waterfront off to the left.  And for the life of me, I don’t know what it is.  Any guesses?

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: December 4 8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Thursday: December 5  8am -8pm
Friday: December 6  8am - 8pm
Saturday: December 7  8am - 8pm
Sunday: December 8  9am - 7pm
Monday: December 9  9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: December 10  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!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Photo for Today: Blurring the Boundaries

One of the big themes discussed on the Wild By Design tour is the concept of blurring or hiding the boundaries around the animals throughout Disney's Animal Kingdom.  The idea is to make visitors not think about cages or confinements, but to think about animals in their natural surroundings.  This photo below is probably the best example of that idea you will ever find.

While it may not look like it, there actually is a barrier there between predator and prey.  We know that as guests, and it appears from their casual relaxing that the blackbuck in the background know that as well.  But the guest can occasionally get a peek into the real world with amazing exhibits like this.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)