Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Mighty Men of Mouse Draft Part 2

Here is the rest of my draft picks:

Picks 154 and 155 (Rounds 7/8)

So 6 picks in and I had 4 attractions, my resort but only one meal. This is where I learned a rule I didn't initially appreciate. Extinct meals are not allowed. From the beginning of the draft, I was hoping to use my knowledge (perhaps obsession) with the Animal Kingdom to my advantage. And I knew back in the day that Restarauntosaurus did a character meal which ended about 7 years ago. A lot of character meals were gone by this point but I contemplated waiting another cycle before trying to grab Donald's Breakfastosaurus hoping most of the contestants didn't recall the meal.

Ultimately I decided not to chance it and sent in my pick. Only to be promptly informed of the rule against extinct meals. Well, its a good thing I didn't wait because there was still one available to take in a pinch - the Princess Tea Party at the Grand Floridian for lunch. I also found out there was one package that included booze and all of a sudden it was a solid pick and better than my initial selection.


For my other choice, I wanted another attraction. My theme park days should center around attractions not meals. Plus, I thought the eateries later on would be comparable to the ones that were going in the middle rounds. That is, I thought the value of meals in the later rounds would be higher than the value of the rides. In fantasy football, there usually are some valuable receivers in the late rounds but no running backs. I looked around and saw a few classic attractions still left to pick - the original Living Seas, Country Bear Jamboree, Timekeeper and Hall of Presidents. Plus, I gave strong consideration to picking the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I felt the Seas and Timekeeper were too future worldy which I already had in abundance and I wanted a varied experience. So, I went ahead and picked the country bears, Christmas edition.

Picks 198 and 199 (Rounds 9/10)

time for lettuce cups

I had long decided that I was picking Yak and Yeti for dinner, last seating, so I could leisurely stroll through a night time DAK. I would have a second floor table with a nice view. This would slightly change but more on that later.  As you will see, here is where I started focusing on the Animal Kingdom where I thought I could find some real value late. But I think I may have made a mistake. I picked the Pangani Forest trail. Considering the Jungle Trek was taking about 40 picks earlier, I thought it a solid pick. But a few picks after me, someone picked the Wilderness Explorer's game at DAK, and dammit I should have picked that.

my dining view

Picks 242 and 243 (Rounds 11/12)

One pick I had sat on for a few rounds was the Journey into the Jungle Book, a somewhat obscure but quality stage show that ran for the first year the park was opened in the Theater in the Wild, where Nemo currently plays. It was replaced by Tarzan Rocks which was taken at pick 150, and I think I got the better show.

For my other pick, I dug deep. One rule is that you can't take a complete tour when the tour incorporates a ride. That is, you can take the railroad tour but you don't get the ride on the Magic Kingdom train. Now for the Sunrise Safari, the safari ride was obviously out. But I could still take the breakfast, which is top notch and not well known. The food is from AKL not the Pizzafari where the meal is serve. And the food is quite good. Its a buffet with an omelet station, banana French toast, cheesy hash browns and lots more. Plus, 2 animal keepers from the Lodge are there and mingle with the guests. At pick number 243, with people picking breakfast at resort counters like Roaring Forks and Captain Cooks, I grabbed real value.

a pretty cool place for a buffet

Picks 286 and 287 (Rounds 13/14)

Here we are at the end game, my last 2 picks and all I had left to take was a lunch and a breakfast. And yet again, that Russ Shuttlesworth, snagged my pick right out from under me. My dream of picking the Mara for breakfast and taking my African meal out by the flamingoes was dashed. So, instead I picked my resort's counter, the Riverside Mill. Nothing fancy but nice and convenient and about as good as it gets this late.

along the Sassagoula for breakfast

For my last pick, I again used the rules and my DAK knowledge to my advantage. I knew very early on that the Lion King show from Harambe Nights had been taken, it was in round 3 actually. But the buffet was never picked by anyone. And the buffet was a big hit. It has characters, street music, and all you can drink booze. Plus, DAK at night. All I did was slide my Yak & Yeti meal to lunch and my team was done. I was not allowed the characters as that would be a separate part of the hard ticket event, but the atmosphere, the party and all the good food were mine ALL MINE and at the end of the draft. I mean the Harambe Nights buffet was taken 178 picks after Trail's End lunch, 168 picks after Biergarten lunch, 72 picks after the Rainforest CafĂ©!  It was like grabbing a thousand yard receiver in the last round - a potential difference maker.

Harambe as night falls

So there you have it. My 2 day trip to WDW

Resort: Princess Room at Port Orleans Riverside

Meals Day1: Sunset Safari breakfast, Yak and Yeti lunch, Hoop Dee Doo Revue
Day 2: Riverside Mill breakfast, Princess tea party, Harambe Nights buffet

Attractions: Wild Africa Trek, Body Wars, the original Journey into Imagination, Legends of the Force parade,
Country Bear Jamboree, Pangani Forest, and Journey into the Jungle Book

Frankly, I think I won, but I suggest you check out http://mightymenofmouse.blogspot.com/2014/11/big-board-for-fall-2014.html and decide for yourself.  Four out of my six meals are events not just food. My attractions are a nice mix of rides, shows, and a parade all anchored by a 4 hour tour that can't be beat. What other attraction out there is so cool and memorable that it includes a big CD full of photographs from your time there. So there you have it - my team. What do you think?

By Safari Mike

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Quick Tour of the Flame Tree Barbecue...as it once was

The Flame Tree BBQ is a very unique dining experience at Disney. The outdoor seating extends behind the building all the way down to the water front with spectacular views of Expedition Everest. Some spots are so serene and quiet that you can easily forget thousands of theme park goers are very nearby.

This video is a brief look at the pool that lies at the center of the various pagodas. Like other spots, it's soothing. Plus, the design with its ancient looking statues sets the mood of being "someplace else."

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

The Mighty Men of Mouse Draft Part 1

For those of you that follow me on twitter, I have been participating in the Mighty Men of Mouse draft. Here's the idea: 22 teams need to draft 7 attractions (which is basically anything), 6 meals (2 dinners, 2 lunches and 2 breakfasts) and a resort. Some basic rules- any attraction past or present is fair game, as long as the prior attraction is not substantially similar, i.e. both Horizons and Mission Space are ok, but only one Star Tours is allowed. Meals must be current but can be anywhere on property even that McDonalds. Resorts must be Disney, however. Swolphin yes, Four Seasons no. The goal: you are building the best 2 days for a family of four.

You can see right from the get go, that this was tough. That's 154 attractions, shows, rides, parades, walk throughs and what not. Meals? that's 132 eateries, cause you can't select a restaurant already taken for a different meal. Once Kona breakfast is off the board, well then no one can take it for lunch or dinner. I thought you might it interesting to see what I picked and why. I had what's called in fantasy sports, the "wheel." That is, I picked dead last - 22nd in the first round- but then first in the second round meaning every time I  picked I had two choices. So let's take a look;

Picks 22 and 23 (Rounds 1/2)

I play a lot of fantasy sports. Baseball, football, hockey. And in every draft that first round seems to have the most sex appeal. This should be the stars of your team, the people you build around. The 5 tool outfielder, the stud running back, the big time scorer. And its really no different when drafting a Disney World fantasy team. I am building my team around these picks. If you look at the draft board, you will see hotel suites were going fast. The first three picks were big villas at deluxe hotels. Eight of the first 16 picks were resorts, most of the deluxes were gone by the time I picked. So I tried to be a little sneaky and asked the commish, "Can I take the royal suite in Cinderella's Castle?" Nope, you can't book it, there's no check in desk- not allowed. Besides resorts, the other picks were mostly E tickets. By the time of my pick, pretty much all of the major coasters were gonzo. So what to do?

I decided and held out hope against hope that no one would take the Wild Africa Trek. Kilimanjaro safaris, tower of terror, toy story mania, were all gone early. But I would take the Trek over any of them. Let's be honest, its the best of the safari, with all the other fun over the course of 4 hours. Wouldn't you rather do that than say a 5 minute video game? You build a day around the Trek. My other pick? I was thinking a major big time meal. Victoria & Albert's was picked right before me so I had 2 choices? Hoop Dee Doo Revue or the Jiko/safari combo. I know, for me, no brainer right? Well,I went Hoop Dee Doo, mostly because I already had a major safari type pick and I wanted variety.

Nothing beats this view

Picks 66 and 67 (Rounds 3/4)

I wanted this!!

As round 3 continued to roll along and my picks got closer and closer, no one had selected Jiko and the Wanamaya Safari. I started to salivate. I would easily have the 2 best dinners around for building my theme park days. It was going to be awesome and then, that damn Russ Shuttlesworth picked it 2 picks before me. TWO PICKS! This is when fantasy drafts get interesting. What to do? Resort? Nah, all the biggies were gone and I was going to wait a bit. I decided I needed a thrill ride and all the current ones were already selected. So I grabbed Body Wars as my thrill ride. Instead of just grabbing another meal, I went attraction again and this time I wanted a family ride. I had a few choices on my short list: 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, It's a Small World, the original Journey into Imagination, and Maelstrom. Now, I came really close to taking Maelstrom. In fact, my team name was Frozenstrom as a joke regarding my annoyance of the removal of Maelstrom for a Frozen themed ride. But ultimately, I picked Figment. So this combo was very old school Epcot - Body Wars and the original Journey into Imagination. I was quite happy.

Picks 110 and 111 (Rounds 5/6)

Yet again a couple of things I was really interested in were taken right out from under me. I really wanted either the Sanaa lunch with an animal keeper or one of the meals with an imaginer. But all were taken earlier in round 5. Then a thought occurred to me. All the big night time shows were gone- Illuminations, Wishes, Main Street Electrical Parade. I wanted the Boo to You Parade. One of the very best things ever in Disney and no one had picked it in the first 109 picks. How can that be? It seemed so strange to me that I went through the draft board a few times just to make sure I didn't miss it. Well, that's because it was not eligible once the Main Street Electrical parade was taken. Drat! So I quickly regrouped and grabbed the Legends of the Force parade from Star Wars weekends, which is almost as cool, and I selected the day Mark Hamill and Billy Dee were there. About as cool as cool can be.

Oh how I wanted this parade

 I also decided the time was ripe to pick my resort. We were down to essentially the moderates. I had very early on decided that I wanted either the pirate room at Caribbean Beach or the princess room at Riverside. Since I just picked a very boy centric parade I went the more girl centric room. Besides, Riverside is a better resort then CBR and I specified a river view. Sweet and extremely family friendly.

the view from my resort

That's it for now, the rest of my team will come in my next post

And I encourage you to check out the Mighty Men of Mouse on iTunes. You won't regret it.

By Safari Mike

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Photo For Today: The Roots of Discovery Island

Discovery Island is a colorful place. The conceit here is that you have entered an island where the people revere nature in all of its forms. These ancient nomads wandered the globe until one day they found the Tree of Life and stayed put. The magic of the tree and the bark where animals from all over the world could be seen held the people where they were and they started to build a village around it.

Disney imagineers, using that back story, decided to incorporated numerous different styles of architecture. These people supposedly traveled the world and would be influenced by these styles. Imagineers used influences from various island cultures which often use bright colors. You can see the strong influence of Bali on the island but also the Caribbean and Polynesia as well as non-island cultures like Mexico, Spain and Iran.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Merry Jambo Christmas!

Thanks to our friend Scott Campbell for sending this gorgeous photo of Christmas at the Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Photo for Today: Heri la Krismasi

We here at JamboEveryone.com and the Radio Harambe podcast would like to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. From all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas, Heri la Krismasi, Krismas ki subhkamna, UKhisimusi omuhle

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for December 24 2014; Pangani and Daisy Duck

Pangani Reopens But More Improvements Coming: With the holiday crowds coming to Walt Disney World, parts of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail which were closed the last few weeks for refurbishment have reopened to guests. These areas include the hippo underwater viewing area, the research center and the aviary.

We also learned that Disney filed a permit with the county to begin some upgrades to the Trail. The exact wording on the paper work says “Pagani Trail Overlook Graphics - Install new graphics for animal viewing”. And yes, they actually did misspell “Pangani”…weird.

Daisy at DAK for the Holidays:  It appears Daisy Duck has been added to the character meet-and-greet schedule at DAK for the holidays. She can be found on Discovery Island near the Creature Comforts gift shop until December 31.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: December 24  8am - 8pm
Thursday: December 25  8am - 8pm
Friday: December 26  8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7 - 8am)
Saturday: December 27  8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 7 - 8am)
Sunday: December 28  8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7 - 8am)
Monday: December 29  8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 7 - 8am)
Tuesday: December 30  8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 7 - 8am)

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

Attraction Closures:
Kali River Rapids: Closed January 20 to February 4
Sunrise Safari: discontinued as of December 28
Creature Comforts: closing January 5

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Boogie With the Tam Tam Drummers!

What could be better then to get ready for the holidays with some of the amazing music found at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the real heart of great live music at Walt Disney World.

Mornings in Harambe are often filled with the sounds of whistles and drums. That would be the Tam Tam drummers, who play most morning near Mombasa Marketplace in Harambe. As you can see from these two videos, the group is dynamic and, frankly, a lot of fun.

If you can check a set out. They play in the mornings on the same stage that our beloved Burudika band uses for their afternoon performances. Just make sure you are ready to dance to the beat.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Episode 46 of Radio Harambe - Jingle Jungle 5k

On this episode, we have a holiday theme! Dave and Safari Mike are joined by our friends Steve and Helen who just recently ran the Jingle Jungle 5k at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They tell us all about the race course and the entertainment provided as well.

Your hosts also discuss the news from DAKincluding some sad conservation news, another coffee update and Avatar progress, and the rest of Walt Disney World including the Polynesian, fireworks at Disney's Hollywood Studios and some Disney Springs news. Thank you for listening!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Avatar Construction Updates

Over the coming months and years we can expect quite a few “Avatar Updates” and this week is no exception. So we thought we would do our best to bring our readers up to date on where the project now stands.

Last week OrlandoParkNews.com had an exclusive story, along with a great set of photos, chronicling the project’s very first steel beam finally going vertical. In what is a great tradition all over the construction world, the workers added their own personal touch. It reminds of a friend of mine who worked on the construction site of the new Yankee Stadium. He used to drop his business card into the wet concrete before it was poured.

©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Scott Keating, quickly becoming every Disney fan’s favorite aerial photographer, has another shot from above Pandora. Since his last photo in early November, we can really see how much work is getting done. The website wdwthemeparks.com has the images.

Despite significant progress, it still confounds us to think it has been over three years since this project was announced and we have only just recently seen the first steel beam go up. Let’s hope this new rapid pace continues.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News round-Up for December 17, 2014: Alpaca and Some Coffee

Creature Comforts to Close January: We have spent a lot of time talking about coffee lately, and today is no different. According to wdwmagic.com, the Creature Comforts gift shop on Discovery Island is now scheduled to close its doors on January 5 to make way for what we also believe will be the Starbucks location at the Animal Kingdom. According to the report, we should expect this project to be completed early in the summer of 2015.  

Isle of Java Opens: Speaking of coffee, the new Isle of Java location has opened at the Animal Kingdom this week. This new kiosk, operated by Joffrey’s, is attached to the current Flame Tree Barbecue building. It is offering coffee, cappuccino, espresso soft drinks, and a small selection of baked goods.

Alpaca Comes to Rafiki’s Planet Watch: Safari Mike is reporting that a new animal has been added to the family at the Affection Section inside Rafiki’s Planet Watch. An alpaca can now be seen there.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: December 17  9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: December 18  9am - 7pm
Friday: December 19  9am - 6pm
Saturday: December 20  8am - 6pm
Sunday: December 21  8am - 8pm
Monday: December 22  8am - 8pm
Tuesday: December 23  8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7 - 8am)

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

Attraction Closures:
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail: Hippos, Aviary and Research Center closed
Kali River Rapids: Closed January 20 to February 4
Sunrise Safari: discontinued as of December 28
Creature Comforts: closing January 5

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mandrills on safari

The mandrills on Kilimanjaro Safari are sometimes not the easiest animals to see. Even though they are the largest of the monkeys, they often spend the heat of the day in the shade, under the brush in their exhibit.

Here is a pretty decent look at the troop. Enjoy a few seconds with these guys, especially if you too have had problems seeing them on the attraction.

By Safari Mike

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Potentially Splendid Consequence of Donald's Safari Dinner

This week we learned of a new character dinner coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. On March 8  Donald’s Safari Dinner will debut at the Tusker House, and you can actually start making reservations right now. Even though I am not a fan of character meals, I just don’t think they are a good value at all, this particular dinner may signal the beginning of a new era at the Animal Kingdom.

So if I don’t necessarily like or recommend character meals, then why is this a really important story? Basically, because of what this may mean for the rest of DAK and for the fans of this great park. Right now the Tusker House, and even Yak and Yeti, rarely seem to offer dinner due to the fact the park often closes before 6pm. But if Disney wants to get its money’s worth out of this new invetsment, they will need to offer dinner as an option to guests and that means the park hours will likely need to be extended long before we initially thought they would be.

The conventional wisdom is the park’s hours would remain at their current limited levels until after either Avatar, the Rivers of Light, or the Kilimanjaro Night Safaris opened. But everything we can gather, each of those new offerings will open long after Donald’s Safari Dinner begins serving guests. So does this mean we will have the Animal Kingdom open into the night hours even during the slower seasons? We can only hope so, and quite frankly, I don’t see them offering an expensive character dinner only certain times of the year, especially ones night tied-in to a special event of some sort.

On a strange little side note, while reservations for Donald’s Safari Dinner may be available right now Disney has not yet released the price. Lunch prices are $31.99 and up, so we can only assume it will be more. As soon as we find out more we will let you know.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Episode 45 of Radio Harambe: Bob Iger's Breathing Banshees

It was a big news week for Disney’s Animal Kingdom as CEO Bob Iger gives us some real insight into what the coming Avatar e-ticket will be like. Dave and Safari Mike also discuss the rest of the news from DAK including a character dinner at Tusker House, lots of coffee news and perhaps a scoop on hyenas at the park.

They also discuss the news from the rest of Walt Disney World, where we play another round of "Can Dave Guess the Price".  And the guys even throw in a big helping of their Star Wars nerd-dom for good measure. Asante Sana!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Where will the hyenas go?

As we first reported back in August, Disney has acquired three spotted hyenas. A few weeks ago, two of them were spotted at Rafiki's Planet Watch where they were undergoing quarantine exams. Since hearing about this, we have pondered where would the hyenas be exhibited. Would it be on the safari somewhere? An exhibit perhaps in the new section of Harambe?

photo by Aruna Mohan (@arunarealafrica)

We are now hearing that the hyenas will be a part of the safari attraction, but at night. As you probably recall, Disney announced as part of its Rivers of Light press release, a night time version of Kilimanjaro Safari. The hyenas will appparently be seen there.

This is exciting news. We have wondered what a night version of the attraction would be. One question we had would be what animals would be viewed. Would it be the same as the day time version? Apparently not. It would truly be a "different" attraction if they exhibit different animals at the night version. And seeing hyenas at night would be - well awesome.

By Safari Mike

Friday, December 12, 2014

Aruna's Real Africa: Pilanesberg National Park

It has been 4 months since I have seen an elephant in the wild (the ones on the Kilimanjaro Safari don’t count ;-) and spring has been cold and rainy in Johannesburg this year... enough reason for me to want to get out of the (concrete) jungle and into the bush*. Luckily this is very easily done. Basically if you have transport all you have to do is choose where you want to go and book your accommodation, or in my case campsite.

The nearest ‘Big Five’ game reserve to Johannesburg (about 3 hours drive) is Pilanesberg National Park near Sun City, so that’s where I’m escaping to for a couple of days.

Driving in Pilanesberg

Pilanesberg is a fairly new reserve, dating from the late 70’s and quite unusual in that it was not an area full of wildlife that was then made into a reserve, rather the reserve was set up and fenced and then 6000 animals were transported to the reserve, making it the largest operation of its kind in history.

Because Pilanesberg has both wet and dry savanna habitats it is home to almost all of the mammals found in South Africa (70 species) unlike most other parks that have animals only specific to that region and habitat.

Blue Wildebeest at one of the man-made lakes in Pilanesberg

This will be my second trip to Pilanesberg,  I'm looking forward to being back in the bush and hopefully seeing animals that are not found in Kruger and with a bit of luck some of the less common animals that are on my wish list.

My trip last year had to be cut short as the car had some problems and one thing you do not want when driving in a game reserve is a car that can’t be trusted, especially as the elephants in Pilanesberg are known for misbehaving (if you want to see what can happen do a image search for 'elephant Pilanesberg car').

by Aruna Mohan (@arunarealafrica)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Get Ready to Ride a Banshee

It isn’t very often you get a scoop from a company’s CEO, but that is exactly what happened today. Speaking to Variety magazine, Disney chief Bob Iger gave us the best information so far as to what the ride experience will be like on the e-ticket attraction being constructed for the upcoming Avatar project at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here is what write Marc Graser describes.

The vessels that guests will ride upon will essentially be the banshees themselves, with bodies that move to mimic a breathing beast. The flying sequences will be brought to life through large video screens — similar to “Soarin'” — with vehicles moving with the 3D action inside a massive theater.

It is hard not to use the word “groundbreaking” here. IF this description is an accurate portrayal of what we will get, and there is no reason to believe it isn’t, this does have the makings of a game-changer for DAK. It is also good to know how far along these projects are in development. It looks like Pandora will open with at least one e-ticket in operation.

It has been a while since we discussed Avatar at DAK, and this new bit of info backs up what I have felt all along about this project. Avatar is not my favorite film, and I can think of dozens of films I would rather see at DAK. However, I sit firmly in between skeptical and excited simply because I do not think that quality of film has any impact upon the quality of attractions. And I feel in the hands of Joe Rohde, even a film I don’t like can become a “must do” for me. No matter how much you may hate the idea of Avatar at the Animal Kingdom, what Iger describes here has to have theme park fans excited.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-up for December 10, 2014: Tarzan and a Shameless Plug

Time for that Perfect Christmas Gift for DAK Fan!: As is usual for us, when it is a slow news week we always like to add a shameless plug to this update, and this week is no different! With the holiday coming fast, there is still a chance to buy the perfect gift for the Animal Kingdom lover in your life! Visit our Store Page and there you will find some gorgeous handmade bracelets and links to our Zazzle page!

What fan of DAK wouldn’t want there own “Not A Half Day Park” t-shirt?? Where it with pride at the park and you will certainly get some attention from cast members and other DAK faithful.

Nothing Says Christmas Like Tarzan:  With the holiday season approaching, bringing with it an unbelievable crush of crowds at Disney’s theme parks, it is normal for the Mouse to add some entertainment options to appease those not willing to wait on long lines. Changes and additions to the character meet-and-greets schedule is part of that, and at Disney’s Animal Kingdom it seems Tarzan will be meeting crowds during the busy season. Check out the story on wdwmagic.com for more information.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: December 10  9am - 6pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: December 11  9am - 6pm
Friday: December 12  9am - 6pm
Saturday: December 13  9am - 6pm
Sunday: December 14  9am - 6pm
Monday: December 15  9am - 6pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Tuesday: December 16  9am - 7pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail: Hippos, Aviary and Research Center closes Dec. 1
Kali River Rapids: Closed January 20 to February 4
Sunrise Safari: discontinued as of December 28

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Monkey Kingdom Coming Earth Day 2015

We don't usually talk much about Disney's film releases, but we couldn't let this one go by unnoticed. As is tradition, Disneynature will release it's new documentary film on Earth Day, April 17, 2015. It is called "Monkey Kingdom" and here is the brand new trailer released late last week...

Other then the fact that these particular monkeys are not featured at Disney's Animal Kingdom, it is nearly impossible not to see the connection between park and film. In just the few short glimpses we get of the ruins, we can easily see where Joe Rohde and the imagineers drew their inspiration for Anandapur. Nature documentary are as much a part of Walt Disney's legacy as anything, and we applaud Disneynature for keeping that legacy alive.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Theme Spotlight: The Adventurers Outpost

In May of 2013, a new meet and greet opened for Mickey and Minnie. The move was in part due to the closure of Camp Minnie Mickey. So the meet and greet replaced the old Beastly Bazaar gift shop near the entrance to It's Tough to Be a Bug.

The outside remained unchanged, but inside the old gift shop was gutted and a new themed meet and greet greet has arisen. This is the home of the world traveling couple.

As you wait in the queue, you notice pictures of the globe trotting couple. Whether, they are investigating an ancient asian ruin or on a safari, there are plenty of snapshots for you to enjoy.

There are also some fun signs. This notice of adventures basically outlines the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction sandwiched between the outpost and the Pangani attraction. And then there is this sign to keep you bust while you wait:

There are all sorts of little nuggets about the rest of the park - whether it;s Expedition Everest or the Boneyard in nearby Dinoland USA. There are pictures of the replica of the T-Rex Sue found near the Dino Institute as well as a photo the ruins near the siamang exhibit in Anandapur. And make sure you read the notes, too. My favorite might the business card for Gupta's Gear, an homage to the queue of Everest.

Those last two signs are right before you get to the main feature of the Outpost: Mickey and Minnie. The room where you meet them is just as fun, with all sorts of artifacts. Not to mention the amazing back drop loosely based on the park's map, complete with Serka Zong, the Tree of Life, the ruins shaped like the forbidden mountain, and Dinoland.

So when you do head for this fun little meet and greet, like everything else at the Animal Kingdom, make sure you take in the details.

By Safari Mike

Monday, December 8, 2014

Black Necked Swan video

The Oasis is a beautiful place. Unfortunately, many blow right past it in the morning. That's a mistake. You will the quiet serene of the place.

In the center of the Oasis are two great pools filled with waterfowl. This is a gorgeous black necked swan from South America. Although it is the smallest member of its genus, it is still the largest waterfowl on the continent.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Aruna's Real Africa: Happy World Cheetah Day!!

The 4th of December is World Cheetah day. In 2011 I was lucky enough to do volunteer work at a project that specialised in Cheetahs. The current focus is on breeding but there are plans to breed cubs that will be raised by the mother and not have any human contact and so will be able to be released in the wild.
There are less than 1000 cheetahs left in South Africa and populations in other countries are dwindling as well (for more information check out the website of the CCF) so maintaining a diverse population, even if it is in captivity, is very important.  As cheetahs have a very limited gene pool (it is believed that all cheetahs today have one common ancestor, meaning they are all related) breeding is very difficult. Many animals are infertile and then of course there is the question of attraction. In the wild cheetah cubs stay with their mother for a relatively long time, meaning that the females will only have 2-3 litters in their lifetime, further contributing to declining numbers.

At the project they had an ambassador cheetah called Caine, he really enjoyed being around people and would purr loudly when stroked (cheetahs are the only big cats that purr by the way)

Cain enjoying a cuddle

To keep the cheetahs fit and active they had a run twice a week.However, not all the cheetahs were active participants, I think there was only one time that I managed to get a decent photo, as quite often they would give up half way or decide it wasn't worth the effort ;-)

Fergie at the cheetah run (see how he uses his train as a rudder)

One of the aspects of the work that most volunteers weren't too fond of was meat preparation but as cheetahs are not vegetarians it had to be done.

Jemima enjoying Sunday lunch
While volunteering at the project I also took my first trip to the Kruger park, I knew that this would not be my last visit as at the time I was in the process of moving to South Africa.

I will be visiting the Kruger park again this weekend and will be tweeting about it, follow me @arunarealafrica

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for December 3, 2014: Coffee...and Coffee

Permits Filed For Starbucks Construction?:  Yesterday, Disney filed a “Notice of Commencement” to begin construction on a project being called “Creature Comfort Kiosk Installation”. It seems a permanent “kiosk” is going to be built next to Creature Comforts and from all the information we can gather it appears as though this will be the location for Starbucks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom…because, ya know, nothing gives you that “transported to a far off adventure” quite like a cup of overpriced brand-name coffee. (Today’s snark is free of charge!)

Isle of Java Closes for Move: This is the apparently the coffee edition of the DAK News Round-up. According to OrlandoParkNews.com, the Isle of Java kiosk closed after park hours on Monday night in anticipation of a move to the Flame Tree Barbecue area. This could be the Safari Cantina project we discussed last week, but here’s hoping it’s not. I, for one, would much rather have something like a bar rather than yet another coffee location.

Park Hours for this week are...

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

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

Attraction Closures:
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail: Hippos, Aviary and Research Center closes Dec. 1
Kali River Rapids: Closed January 20 to February 4
Sunrise Safari: discontinued as of December 28

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Walls down around the Tree

As we discussed in episode 44 of Radio Harambe, some of the walls have come down around the Tree of Life. Or perhaps, more accurately, they have been pushed back creating a bigger open space. Our friend, Nick (@NCucerzan) has some photographs of the area.

As you can see, its a wide open space. Plenty of room for some entertainment options, such as Viva Gaia. The rock work at your feet is quite detailed and made to look very old.

There seems to be a clear difference. I am not sure why just yet, or even if this will be the final appearance. There will likely be some changes as they continue to work on the area. Its fairly barren at this point. Although there is this cool sign:

Anyway, before we go, here is a look at the water tower coming to the Harambe Market. I'm starting to love the look of this thing.

We will get more pictures in the future. And as always, thanks Nick!

By Safari Mike

Monday, December 1, 2014

Episode 44 of Radio Harambe - Blue Sky Holiday

It is another big week for news at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and in the local news section Dave and Safari Mike discuss it all. Topics include changes coming to the Flame Tree Barbecue, more on the Harambe Market and lots of construction updates. In the world news, the guys gush over a new deal between Disney and TCM.

In the show's feature section, it is time for a "blue sky" session as the hosts offer up their best ideas for additions to the park for the holiday season. Thanks for downloading!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Animal Kingdom Construction Update

With so much construction going on at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it looks like it is time for another “construction update”. I have a feeling this may very well be a reoccurring column here for the foreseeable future.

We told you last week about work soon to take place on the Flame Tree Barbecue. The counter-service location is scheduled to close from early January until April of 2015. At first, we assumed this was simply going to be the addition of more covered areas, as much of the existing tables and walkways are exposed to the elements. Well, this week it seems we may need to revise that assumption somewhat. Yesterday, Disney filed paperwork with Orange County to begin work on a project called “Safari Cantina”, which will be part of the Flame Tree.

So what is the “Safari Cantina”? If I were to wager a guess I would say it was some kind of bar, probably something with an open-air layout much like the Dawa Bar in Harambe. We know for certain the area just in front of the Tree of Life will eventually be home to some sort of nighttime entertainment, so what would be better than someplace close by to grab a drink? (For whatever it’s worth, the name “Safari Cantina” is also used as a cast member eatery at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.)

We also have a little update on the Water Tower which is part of the new Harambe Market. OrlandoParkNews.com has some great photos over the construction walls giving us our first look at the beautiful detailing being applied to the tower. It looks as though we are getting something very different from what we saw on the concept art, but in a good way. Also, we can see just how close the market is to the Wildlife Express train. As I have said before, I really do hope the train becomes part of the aesthetic of the market. Such a beautiful train can really add to the theme of Harambe and is currently largely missed by guests.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Disney's Animal kingdom News Round-Up for November 26, 2014: Elbow Room, Openings, and Animals

Discovery Island Construction Walls Move Back:  Finally we have a little elbow room  in Discovery Island, as Disney has moved back the construction walls in front of the Tree of Life. This is the old location for the cotton-top tamarin exhibit and now is essentially nothing more than open space.

If we go back a bit to this above piece of concept art released by Disney a few months ago along with other depiction of the new nighttime ideas coming to the park, we can see exactly what this space if for. You can plan on having some sort of live musical entertainment in this area in the future.

Pangani Sections Reopen Just for Thanksgiving: According to OrlandoParkNews.com, sections of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail have been temporarily reopened to guests during the busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But as soon as the crowds subside, the Aviary, Research Center and Hippos area will close again to continue the work being done. Get there before December 1 if you want to see them because a timeline for reopening has not been announced.

Disney’s Animals Get a Website: Have you seen the new section of the Disney website called “Disney Animals”? It is basically Disney’s attempt to put some basic animal information out to guests. There are ten different categories of animals including species from throughout the Disney company, and not just those featured at the Animal Kingdom. There is some info about each animal, the work Disney is doing for those animals and a little something about what we can do to help.

Honestly, Disney is just waving at this idea and not going in as far as they can. They could really do much more, including adding more species to this page and even including some great animal info to the in-park app experience. But the good thing is we've got you covered. Have you seen Safari Mike’s animal page? There are dozens and dozens of species covered there and some great photos too.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: November 26  8am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 7 - 8am)
Thursday: November 27  8am - 8pm
Friday: November 28  8am - 8pm
Saturday: November 29  8am - 8pm
Sunday: November 30  9am - 7pm
Monday: December 1  9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Tuesday: December 2  9am - 6pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail: Hippos, Aviary and Research Center closes Dec. 1
Kali River Rapids: Closed January 20 to February 4
Sunrise Safari: discontinued as of December 28

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

One Part of the Sunrise Safari we will miss

There's a lot we will miss about the Sunrise Safari as it gets ready to be retired in a few weeks. There is the elongated version of the safari and the backstage looks at the park and even a glimpse into the construction at Avatarland. But perhaps, most surprisingly we will also miss the food at Pizzafari.

That's right, the breakfast served at Pizzafari was quite good. Now before you think I've had a few too many Tusker ales while writing this, Pizzafari is just the place the meal is served. The food, like the tour itself, is a product of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. And when the tour is over and you have finished with your last look at the addax, you are marched over to Pizzafari, which is known (at least to us) more for its fun look than its gourmet food.

You are introduced to your chef who in turn introduces your meal, which is not your typical eggs and bacon. Think more Boma breakfast than Chef Mickey's breakfast. There was, of course, beverages like coffee and tea as well as fun juices like guava juice. The food was actually stellar with things like cheesy hash browns, roasted potatoes with african spices, and a spicy sausage and potato casserole not to mention the most amazing banana French toast. Throw in an omelette station, a yogurt and oatmeal station and you have the makings of a quality breakfast.

Unfortunately, it appears the breakfast will soon disappear. As we said on a recent Radio Harambe episode covering the tour, its likely there will be a new incarnation of the sunrise safari, and hopefully this solid meal will be brought along too.

By Safari Mike

Monday, November 24, 2014

Episode 43 of Radio Harambe - The Excavator

It was a big week for news at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Dave and Safari Mike discuss it all, including new concept art for the Harambe Market, a new restaurant coming to Discovery Island and a major refurbishment for the Flame Tree Barbecue.

They also discuss the world news and in the feature segment Mike opens the Lost DAK Files and tells us about the Excavator. Thank you for downloading and please follow us @RadioHarambe. Asante Sana!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thoughts on the Harambe Market

It has been nearly 8 months since Safari Mike first reported that Disney were building an open air market in Harambe behind the Mombasa Marketplace along a new path leading towards Asia. And the construction project has practically been in full view of guests for nearly as long. Well, we finally have something official in the form of concept art. At the risk of sounding smug, it looks like Mike got it spot on all those months ago!

Okay, let’s put the gloating to the side and talk about the picture. The long and short of it is the Animal Kingdom is getting a new outdoor counter service dining location called Harambe Market. It will feature a variety of ethnic cuisine available at a few different walk-up windows. There will also be produce carts, much like you see now outside of Kilimanjaro Safaris. Harambe Market will offer different covered seating throughout the area making this a very interesting place to eat.

I think it is also not insignificant that this rendering pictures the Market at dusk, with atmospheric lighting throughout the area. The Animal Kingdom is transitioning into a nighttime park and this new dining location certainly is part of that concept. The idea of a variety of counter-service African-inspired entrees available for dinner in such a fun and open location is terrific, and if done right, could be a great destination before Rivers of Light.

Some of the other things worth noting is the apparent involvement of the Winged Encounters show in this rendering. Could this mean it is moving to Africa, perhaps to a permanent and purpose built location? Such a decision would make plenty of sense considering the quality of the show and its current temporary looking location. We also see the “Water Tower” we reported on a few weeks back. This tower can possibly signal the addition of the Wildlife Express Train’s involvement in the backstory of the market. Finally, we have a new building which we still can not identify. In this picture we see just the side of it with no indication of what it might be. However, we do know there will be new merchandise locations in this area and it seems that is probably the best assumption to make.

I am certain some people will be disappointed there is no plan for any additional attractions here, but I do not share that disappointment. Harambe is the greatest “Epcot Pavilion” imagineers have ever created and what I think Harambe Market does is add to the incredible theme and atmosphere and give people a reason and a place to sit and enjoy it. Harambe is soon going to be huge, to say the least, and I can not wait to spend much of my day here. Plus, Africa already has plenty of big ticket attractions. While I would certainly welcome a new animal exhibit somewhere here, just the fact Disney is bringing more authentic cuisine to Harambe, and not turkey legs and hot dogs, is reason enough for us to celebrate.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)