Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sanaa Menu gets Revamped

Every once in awhile, a restaurant will change its menu a bit. I suppose we gotta keep things fresh, right? (Pun intended) Well, perhaps my all time favorite Disney restaurant did just that today. Sanaa has released a brand new dinner menu which you can view on the Disney site.

There is no longer Durban Chicken which seems odd to me. Instead, we get Chicken Vindaloo in the slow cooked in gravy portion of the menu - a go to portion of the menu for this diner. Plus, new goan crab cakes are an app. The rest of the appetizers seem similar but the menu does not currently show the option of getting all nine dips for an extra two bucks with the bread service. If that is true, that would be a huge disappointment to me. Stay tuned for confirmation.

For dessert, the coconut cheesecake has been swapped out for a banana cheesecake. Rice pudding is out and tapioca pudding is in. To be fair, I am always to full for dessert anyway so that doesn't really effect my eating here. But there ya have it. Its still a great place to head over to after a morning or a day at the Animal Kingdom, being just a quick bus ride away.

By Safari Mike

Harambe Nights Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom?

It looks like Disney is about the fire its first shot in the battle to turn the Animal Kingdom into a full-fledged nighttime destination, as Annual Passholders were sent emails about a new event called "Harambe Nights" coming this summer.  According to this is some kind of dinner show.  In just the past few hours, the independent Disney news and rumors website posted this...

Each Saturday night, Disney's Animal Kingdom will host a special event including appetizers, beer and wine, along with a new theatrical show in the new Harambe Theater. Afterwards, more food and drink will be on offer at the Harambe Nights Street party.

'Harambe Nights' will run on Saturdays, from June 7 to August 9 2014, 7pm to 10:30pm.

Two categories of seating will be available. With Premium costing $134+ tax for adults, and $94 for ages 3-9. Regular seating will cost $119+tax for adults, and $79 for ages 3-9.

Ticket sales should begin soon, along with the official announcement.

I don't want to comment too much on this until we have more details, but I thought we should at least pass the rumor along.  Certainly the existence of "Harambe Nights" is confirmed by the emails, but what it is and how much remains in the rumor mill, at least for now.

My initial thought is WOW THAT'S EXPENSIVE!  But without really knowing what you are getting in return for the big price tag it's impossible to criticize it.  Considering the timing of the event, we should know a lot more in the not-too-distant future.

by Dave McBride

A Photo for Today: Safety First

I bet you don't have to think too long to guess where this edition of a Photo for Today is from.  It seems pretty obvious...

It is good to know the Anadapur Rail Service is looking for the safety and comforts of its riders.  I mean, who would want to walk on a train in a set of crampons?

by Dave McBride

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for April 30, 2014: Bird Day and Souvenirs

Animal Kingdom Celebrates International Migratory Bird Day:  This coming Tuesday, May 6, sees Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrating another of their species specific events.  This one is International Migratory Bird Day.  Here is how the event is described on the Disney Park Blogs:

Kids can get “banded” (which scientists do to gather data for bird conservation), becoming “honorary birds” for the day, and discover how their “feather color” (clothing), “wing span” (arm length), and height compares with various bird species. Families can play a diet-matching game and learn about the many different foods that our birds eat here at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They may even get to see a bird examined by our veterinarians at the animal hospital.

So, we will celebrate  the day a bit ourselves as well by posting some bird stuff over on the Safari Mike and Photo Safari blogs.  To learn more about the migratory birds and Bird Day in general, go to the website Environment for the Americas.

New Festival of the Lion King Merchandise Ready for Opening?:  We all know about the new Festival of the Lion King theater, but what we don’t know is exactly what changes beyond the location are coming to the show as well.  We have confirmed that Disney plans on selling some new Festival of the Lion King specific merchandise, and from what we have seen of it there is potential for some nice items.  Does this mean the theater will contain a Lion King store?  We will keep you posted…

Mr. Kamal's Closed for Short Refurb:  It appears the vegetarian snack cart Mr Kamal's, found along the path between Asia and Africa, is closed for some work.  It is scheduled to reopen on May 10.  We have not heard anything about potential menu changes as a result, at least not yet.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: April 30 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday:  May 1  9am - 6pm
Friday: May 2  9am - 8pm
Saturday: May 3 9am - 7pm
Sunday: May 4  8am - 8pm
Monday: May 5  9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: May 6  9am - 7pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Festival of the Lion King - closed until July 2014
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade - scheduled to close permanently June 2014
It’s Tough To Be A Bug - Scheduled to Close from early-July through mid-August
Camp Minnie-Mickey - closed permanently

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Special Cast Member Event to be Held Inside New FotLK Theater?

Over this past weekend, reported "Cast Members working at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will host a special event (NOT open to Guests) on Thursday, May 8, 2014".  Apparently this event is being held inside the brand new Festival of the Lion King theater.

Now, we do not have word yet on the nature of this event, or what may be discussed or performed.  What we do know, is that if this event's existence is confirmed than that means this new theater is likely beyond the "hard hat" stage of construction and into the fit-and-finish type work.  Which also means it is close to be ready and that the late-May or early-June timeframe we have been hearing for the opening may indeed be true.  We will let you know what we hear...

UPDATE: We have confirmed that cast members will be seeing the new theater on May 8, so let's hope we get some more information on the opening of the Harambe expansion then.

by Dave McBride

Thank You Disney Hipsters for 100 Ridiculous Episodes!

Some of our favorite people in the podcast world, heck on the planet, are the folks who create the weekly entertainment extravaganza called the Disney Hipster Podcast.  This week, they celebrate the 100th episode of what I consider the funniest, and the most honest, of all Disney-related shows.

And as a little token of our sincerest appreciation for all the laughs and smiles they have given us over the years, Mike and I sent them our own little "Random Segment Melange".  Have a listen, subscribe to their show, and enjoy.  Congratulations Adam, Andrew and Keith!  (Oh, and also to that strange lady who forgets my name all the time!)

by Dave McBride

A Photo For Today; Almost Time to Wave Goodbye

For some reason, I've had the music from Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade in my head the last few days.  While, I am always excited to see new ideas and designs from Joe Rohde and his team. I do think I will miss this parade a bit.

With parade's run coming to permanent close in the not-too-distant future, it's hard not to look at this photo and think soon Mickey will be waving goodbye.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Episode 27 of Radio Harambe - Listener Questions Part 2

We are back to answer the rest of your questions, well not exactly all of the rest but pretty close.  Before that however, we discuss the news from Disney's Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World, including a new pet velociraptor, a move for Viva Gaia and Epcot after hours.  Also, Dave shows just exactly how bad he is at social media, Twitter in particular, so for those whose twitter handle he butchered or critiqued, our sincerest apologies!

Thanks for listening and please subscribe to us on iTunes if you don't already.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for April 23, 2014: Kingdom Keepers and Baby Wallabies

A New Baby Wallaby Along the Oasis Trails:  Come on now, who doesn't love baby animal photos?  Today’s installment of Wildlife Wednesdays at the Disney Parks Blog has a great photo of a brand new baby Tammar Wallaby and in it’s momma’s pouch.

I know when people enter Disney’s Animal Kingdom they usually get right into commando-Disney mode and bum rush it towards their e-ticket of choice, passing right through the terrific Oasis Trails.  I know there is little I can do to convince most folks to do otherwise, so let me try it another way.  Whenever you plan to leave DAK, do so 20-30 minutes earlier than you need to and take that time to walk around the trails.  There are some terrific animals found there and it is a truly beautiful place.

Animal Kingdom Kingdom Keepers Quest to Open Soon: Ridley Pearson, author of the Kingdom Keepers series of books, announced on his Facebook page yesterday that a new version of the Kingdom Keepers Quest will “open soon” at the Animal Kingdom.  The Quest is a program that “involves problem solving, visualization, observation, creativity, math skills, language arts, and critical thinking.”  Click here to read more about it on the Disney Youth Programs page.

Character Landing Set to be FastPass+ Only?:  Those of you who listen to Radio Harambe will know how we are now obsessed with the photo updates offered by the website Orlando Theme Park News.  Usually, our obsession is totally based on the fact that they have no issues with taking dozens of photos from over the top of constructions walls, but this week’s update offered another little nugget of information.  The caption of a photo they posted of the Character Landing reads, “Character Landing will soon become a FastPass+-only experience”.  

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: April 23 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Thursday: April 24  8am -8pm
Friday: April 25  9am - 7pm
Saturday: April 26  9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Sunday: April 27  8am - 8pm
Monday: April 28  9am - 6pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: April 29  9am - 6pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Festival of the Lion King - closed until July 2014
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade - scheduled to close permanently June 2014
It’s Tough To Be A Bug - Scheduled to Close from early-July through mid-August
Camp Minnie-Mickey - closed permanently

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrate Earth Day By Sending the Planet a Present!

Happy Earth Day to all of our friends and fellow fanatics of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Today, in the spirit of Disney company, we would like to celebrate the holiday with a little cross promotion!  (Okay, maybe that was a bit too snarky for a holiday…)
On Earth Day we should think about what we can each do to help our planet and the species which inhabit it. But as we all know,  many of the world’s most beautiful animals are in critical danger of disappearing forever.  But perhaps today we can help them a little by helping the people working on the ground to save them.

So to celebrate Earth Day we ask that you make a donation, even a tiny one, to one of our Conservation Partners.  Click here to learn more.
 We have worked with and donated ourselves to these fantastic organizations.  They are run by great people working to save Cheetahs, Macaws, Grevy’s Zebras. Gorillas and Rhinos, some of our most treasured species and all of which are featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

There is real and often dangerous work that needs to be done to save these species, and that work isn’t easy or cheap.  Just a couple of bucks goes a long way.  

Thank you very much and have a Happy Earth Day!  And if the rhinos, cheetahs, macaws, zebras and gorillas of the world could thank you themselves they certainly would!

by Dave McBride

Happy Birthday Disney's Animal Kingdom!

Today is April 22, and you know what that means, right DAK fans!  It's time to wish our beloved Animal Kingdom a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  And today, it's a sweet sixteen celebration.

Our congratulations and thanks to Joe Rohde, his team of Imagineers, and all the cast members who have made these 16 years at Disney's Animal Kingdom such a treat.  So let's raise a glass of Safari Amber, Sugar Cane Mojito, Yak Attack or perhaps a Masala Chai Tea if that's your liking, to another 16 great years to come!

by Dave McBride

Monday, April 21, 2014

Thoughts on the New Velociraptor

Last week we reported on a new walk around character coming to Dinoland USA, a certain Professor Woodson from the Dino Institute and a pet velociraptor named, “V”.  This duo is apparently in a testing phase, and may only be around at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a couple of weeks.  In our previous report, we speculated on what kind of character this might be.  Was it a cutting-edge animatronic, perhaps an improvement on the former Lucky character?  The answer is, with all honestly, by no means is this cutting edge in any aspect, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just a bit cool.

image courtesy of the Disney Hipsters
If you don’t remember Lucky, don’t worry neither do most people.  Lucky is one of those things few people got to see, but many wish they did.  Lucky was, or is since I am sure he still exists somewhere, an audio-animatronic Segnosaurus who walked freely, pulling a flower cart, around Dinoland USA greeting guests.  In a word, he was mind-blowing!  He appeared at DAK only for a short time, and then made other short-run appearances in Hong Kong Disneyland and a few non-Disney events.  Since the day his schedule at DAK ended, we have been wishing and hoping for him to come back.  Lucky was that cool.

So when we got wind of this new walk around Disney character coming to DInoland USA we all got excited and perhaps a bit hopeful.  “V” is not an audio-animatronic.  It is a giant puppet, basically like a guy in a colorful Godzilla suit.  When I first saw photos of “V” my heart sank, and I thought it looked cheap and silly.  But after seeing some video footage, and hearing from a few DAK fans, I think we need to put away the memory of Lucky and let “V” stand on his own merits.

Lucky (image from DisneyWiki)

It is actually a pretty cool concept, and the execution is fun.  And far be it from me to criticize Disney for thinking out of the box, designing something new, and resisting the temptation to just pull another character costume out of the closet.  And since it seems like the concept works to some degree, how about a parade made up of similar dinosaur puppets?  A march of the dinosaurs, so to speak, might be quite the replacement for Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Animal Kingdom Lodge Artifact Spotlight: Ijo Water Spirit Mask

Over at Kidani village is this fine example of the water spirit masks common amongst the Ijo people. This tribe live mostly in the mangrove forests and creeks along the Niger river of Nigeria. It is a numerous tribe, perhaps numbering over 350,000. The people are commonly grouped into about 50 separate tribes. As you would think for people living along a major river, they are commonly fisherman and traders although they also farm yams, bananas, mangoes, plantains and other items. 

Also, as you would think among a people living along a major river, water is an important symbol in rituals and within the culture. This particular mask was used in rites to appease water spirits and protect the crops and villages. Typically, there would be tribal celebrations that lasted for days with the sole purpose of getting on the good side of the water spirits. Dancers would wear the masks as well as elaborate costumes with the best becoming possessed by these spirits. They also believe that water spirits are much like humans, flaws and all. Much of their prayer is dedicated to keeping the water spirits happy. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for April 16, 2014: Viva Gaia and a Pet Velociraptor

Viva Gaia Moves Across Discovery Island:  It appears the band Viva Gaia has been given a new area to do their thing.  You can now find them performing over by Pizzafari, in the area that was once the beginning of a path toward Camp Minnie-Mickey.  It certainly makes plenty of sense to utilize this area for something like this, considering that path will be closed for at least three more years.

When Disney released concept art for the new “nighttime entertainment” offerings coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, some of that art included a band that seemed to be Viva Gaia.  So perhaps this is in anticipation of expanding the band’s schedule and the scope of their performances.  More to come…

Who is Professor Parker Woodson and His Pet Velociraptor?:   The website is reporting today on what they call a “tip”, saying that a new “streetmosphere” offering is coming to Dinoland USA in the form of “Professor Parker Woodson from the Dino Institute accompanied by his pet velociraptor “V."  They are calling it a test, indicating they only expect this to be available for a matter of a couple of weeks.

We are working on getting confirmation on not only if the rumor is true, but also what is meant by a “pet velociraptor”.  I must admit, the idea of a pet velociraptor walking around Dinoland, like Lucky used to, is most certainly an intriguing one.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: April 16 8am - 9pm (Extra Magic Hour 7-8am)
Thursday: April 17  8am -9pm
Friday: April 18  8am - 8pm
Saturday: April 19  9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Sunday: April 20  9am - 8pm
Monday: April 21  8am - 8pm
Tuesday: April 22  8am - 8pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Festival of the Lion King - closed until July 2014
Camp Minnie-Mickey - closed permanently
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade - scheduled to close permanently June 2014

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

“It’s Tough To Be A Bug” Closing for Summer Refurb

We are getting word today on a semi-lengthy closure for the “It’s Tough To Be A Bug” 3-D attraction.  The show will be down from July 7, and is scheduled to reopen the second week of August.  I will admit, it is strange to close an attraction for refurbishment during such a busy time for Disney Parks, but such timing is not unprecedented.

When news of any attraction closure hits, the normal torrent of speculation generally follows.  Could we be getting a new film?  New animatronic elements?  We have not yet received any additional information on the plans for “It’s Tough To Be A Bug”, but the early indications are that Disney is simply doing some cleaning and updates.  If we learn anything more we will surely pass the info along.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Homage to the Old Harambe

We are all excited for the new section of Harambe. So far from what we see, it looks amazing and it appears to fit, at least aesthetically, to the Harambe we know. They seem to be keeping the spirit of the place, an old colonial fort that is now a tourist destination.

But we are losing a little part of the old place, the fishing village.  The story of this place includes the fact that it rests on the Uvumbuzi (which means Discovery) river.  And it is the river that led to the existence of Harambe as a trading port.

As I'm sure you know, many old forts and trading places rested along side the highways of the day, rivers.  And here is no exception.  The fort itself, was built to protect the merchants who were bringing in the money from river pirates. 

After piracy was no longer a threat, the river was used as a beach and remnants of the beach remained.  One sign near the old Dawa bar mentioned no swimming due to currents.  It appears the river was getting rough, and swimming became dangerous.  Now the river bank is for fisherman only, and most of them are out fishing for the day.

For those who did the Wild Africa trek before construction started, you were able to walk through the village. Well, unfortunately, judging from the pictures I have seen, it appears the fishing village is likely extinct.  Perhaps it will be moved but if not I leave you with these pictures and story about this little nook of the park.

By Safari Mike

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Episode 26 of Radio Harambe - Listener Questions Part One

It's time for another episode of Radio Harambe, and this one is all about the listeners.  We talk about the news from Disney's Animal Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World.  And then we answer our first set of Listener Questions, sent in earlier this week by you guys.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for April 9, 2014: Good News and Dragons

A New Dragon Makes a Home at the Animal Kingdom:  Recently, a new Komodo Dragon has been seen along the Maharajah Jungle Trek.  For years the same dragon called the Animal Kingdom home, but not long ago that animal passed away, and now we have another dragon in the lair.

According to information gathered by our friends Keith and Jamie of the Disney Hipsters Podcast, the Komodo Dragon we see now is on loan from Zoo Miami for the summer.  However, Disney is getting three of their own, two males who won't be displayed because they are less than 40 pounds, and a female that will be on display.  The idea will be to breed them, which would be great achievement for the Animal Kingdom's zoological staff.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Opens Sunrise Safari to All DVC Members Staying at AKL:  How about some great news for Vacation Club members who enjoy the Animal Kingdom Lodge?  You don't get much better than this, the Sunrise Safari is now open to any DVC members staying at the Animal Kingdom Villas.  WOOHOO!!

For years, this tour, which has received almost entirely positive reviews, was only open to those staying Concierge Level at the Lodge. Most of us without the ability afford such expensive accommodations were shutout.  But that has all changed, and now at least this popular tour is open to a few more folks.  For more information on the Sunrise Safari, visit our Tours Page.

Park Hours for this week are...

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

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

Attraction Closures:
Festival of the Lion King - closed until July 2014
Camp Minnie-Mickey - closed permanently
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade - scheduled to close permanently June 2014

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Kill Refurb Marry: Animal Kingdom Drinks

This month in Kill Refurb Marry is Animal Kingdom drinks, and frankly, how could I not participate. I mean if I could pick anyplace in the world to sit back, relax and have a beverage (the adult kind or not) it's the Animal Kingdom. There is a lot I love about this place and drinking is one of them Of course, that means the big problem is what to bump off.  

Kill: Like I said I had a heck of time coming up with a kill this month. Then my wife reminded me about the episode of Radio Harambe where Adam from the Disney Hipsters came on to discuss the Royal Anandapur Tea Company which is a cart that supposedly specializes in tea not far from the Yak and Yeti counter service. He taught us a lot including how the cart itself can't make the teas right. So lets get rid of that. Now, I think this area is a great spot for a tea place.  So a little tea store with well brewed teas would be great. And maybe some good pastries too. And keep that awesome back story which is tied into the Expedition Everest queue. But an awesome sit down little counter service place would be a lot better than this kiosk. 

Refurb: I love the Yak Attack. I do. Its great on a hot day. But I am generally not a frozen drink kind of guy. I like my margaritas on the rocks, not as a slushie. So maybe this wouldn't be so much a refurb, but at least give me an "on the rocks" option. I would drink that all day, except when it was time for....

Marry: This one was easy as pie. This drink would win the Kill Refurb Marry of drinks at Walt Disney World. Ladies and Gentleman I give you the sugar cane mojito at the Dawa Bar. I like myself a good mojito and this slightly sweet one, is the best. Now, I am a big Dawa bar fan anyway. Sitting in Harambe with the hustle and bustle just off to the side of you, and if you are lucky the Burudika Band playing not far away, adding the best drink to this great spot is an easy win for me. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Restaurantosaurus: The Back Story Part 2

The back story is quite evident inside, as well. Tour all the various rooms. The Quonset Hut is the vehicle maintenance room loaded with tools, hubcaps and oil cans. If look carefully, you will see some the cans are for Sinclair Gas which was the brand used by Chester and Hester. There is a lot to see here as the students have taken the old place and as a joke, turned a lot of it into references to their daily lives: digging for dinos. There are grease painted dinosaurs and dinosaurs made from automobile parts. There is also the nearby plastering room which sounds exactly what its supposed to be. 

The recreation room is called, funny enough, the Hip Joint. The theme is obvious with the wall covered in badminton rackets, croquet sets and other games. And there is a lot of hidden gems to see here. First of all, you see all sorts of awards being given to various students over the years. The Zip award went to the student who worked the hardest and gotten nothing to show for it in terms of money. The Golden Trowel award goes to the student with the most finds over the year. The Golden Boot award went to that intern that travel the farthest in search of bones. On one wall, you will see rocks. You see each student brings a rock from home and leaves it on this wall painted with a message. The whole room really has the feel of a grad student rec room. 

Next to the rec room is the Airstream trailer. Some booths have been set up here for your dining pleasure. And, as you can imagine, there are juke boxes. The songs on the playlist though have a very distinctive theme. Songs like "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "All Dug Up," "I am a Rock," and "All Those Years Ago" are just a few of the choices. Books line the shelves with similar titles like Stone Deep and Skeleton Crew

This is, after all, a food place. And it has always provided food to the students, even before they opened it up to the growing tourist industry of Diggs County. Look for a door with loads of locks on it. In the old days, the Institute tried to limit the food being used here. But hungry hard working students kept breaking in, so all of those locks are actually broken. Signs nearby tell the story of how the Institute has given up. The note references a cooler. Well, remember the roof and the chairs, there is a cooler there. 

Restaurantosaurus: The Backstory Part 1

The story of Restaurantosaurus goes back many years. The building you see was actually at first a fishing lodge just off the old Diggs County Route 498 (remember Animal Kingdom opened in April 1998). It was a quiet respite for anglers with the only nearby business being the gas station owned by Chester and Hester. One day, however, an amateur paleontologists discovered a fossil. After taking it to some friends, it became apparent the place could be an important scientific find. They bought the simple lodge in 1947.

Over time, it became a visitor's museum, the first Dino Institute and, now, a club house for students. At first, as tourists began to move in, the professors wanted a little visitor's center to help teach the people about what was being found here. As more and more finds were made, they were added to the center. Thus, it became a mini-museum. This is the big room with most of the fossils and wall mounts. Indeed, many of the artifacts that were placed there years before still can be found on the walls and shelves of this room. Eventually, the finds grew too numerous for this small room and another museum the Dinosaur Jubilee was eventually opened (although that is gone now). Eventually, the Institute itself grew too large and amazing technological advances were being made. So the new Institute, dedicated on April 22, 1978 (exactly 20 years before the Animal Kingdom opened) opened, and the old lodge was left to the students.

The building is both the dormitory and the commissary for the students at the nearby, state of the art Dino Institute. Now, the students and the Institute itself are looking for a new flow of case, so the student cafeteria has opened to the public. The students, being who they are and looking for a little humor where they can, have changed the simple "Restaurant" sign and added an "osaurus." Look around and you will find a lot of added "osaurus"es. They even added a counter simply called Dino-Bite to sell ice cream to passersby. 

From the outside, the lodge looks like a hodgepodge of history. There is the water tower with suction cup arrows. The students living here have developed a game of sorts, firing the arrows at the tower. They have devised a clever way of getting the arrows down through a bucket system. All along the outside of the old lodge you can see how the students have made the place "campy." Also, if you look on the roof, you will see how the students spend some spare time in lawn chairs next to a cooler. Some of those chairs are directly across from the water tower that acts as target practice. 

There is a lot of student touches throughout the inside rooms, as well. One map displays where you will start digging and if you keep digging where you will pop out on the other side of the planet. Another street sign on towing cars has been "converted" to warning on the dangers of meteors. And then, there is Hawaiian shirt which is referenced in several places both in and outside of the building. A pterodactyl, which is a holdover from the museum days, has a "I (heart) flying" necklace. 

Rooms have been added on to the old lodge over the years as the needs have changed and the Institute has grown. And that story is told throughout the eatery. For example, in the older room a very old fashioned pay phone is bolted to the wall. In the "newer" rec room, imagineers have placed another pay phone, but this one is more modern reflecting the idea that the room that phone is in is indeed much newer. 

Imagineers have also placed a portrait on the wall. This is Clarence P. Wilkerson, and his picture hangs in what was at one time the museum. He was an early benefactor of the Institute. Across the room are numerous other photos of men hard at work. There is also a picture of another man walking amongst dinosaurs, AudioAnimatronic dinosaurs. Of course, its Walt Disney himself and his dinos from the World's Fair and then Disneyland. 

By Safari Mike

Monday, April 7, 2014

We Need Your Help With the Next Episode of Radio Harambe

Hello my fellow Disney's Animal Kingdom lovers!  I am writing to you today to ask you for your assistance with the next episode of our podcast, Radio Harambe.  What we want to do is have a show dedicated to our listeners, one where you guys decided the topic.  So if you have any questions, or any topics you would like us to discuss, please write them in the comment section here or you can email us at

And just to up the ante a bit, our next winner of a brand new CD from the Burudika Band, aka Wassalou, will be chosen from those whose questions we read on the show.  But get your entires in FAST!  You have only a few hours as the contest closes at 6pm Eastern Time on this Wednesday April 9.

by Dave McBride

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Roundup for April 2, 2014: Food changes, Lion King and more

Price Increases around the World: As we reported on twitter on Monday, there have been some price increases on the food at counter services. For example, the price of the amazing jalapeno cheese pretzel went from $4.49 to $4.99. A piece of fruit, like a single apple or banana, is now $1.89, which is up from $1.49. Soda also went up twenty cents.

Lion King continues to progress: Our friends over at Orlando Park News posted a photographic walk through of the Animal Kingdom which shows some great pictures of the construction site and how far along its coming. Go check it out. The theater looks like an old dilapidated fort. It fits right into the old Harambe feel, and looks a lot like the area behind Tamu Tamu.  It also shows a more work along the river front including what looks like more old fortifications. And as the theater is coming along splendidly, we are hearing some interesting news. First of all, I am hearing that the show will have new elements including NEW floats. And, under the category of "About Time," there will be show specific merchandise including a kids' mug at Tamu Tamu. We will keep you posted with all of that information.

Dinoland Dance Party Extended: It seems perhaps the Dinoland Dance Party that has been going on since Camp Minnie Mickey closed in early January is becoming popular. Up until now the party was being performed daily at 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm. It appears on select (i.e. busy) nights a 3rd show at 5:30 pm will be added. It remains to be seen if this a permanent addition but this is certainly a good sign.

Parks Hours for this week are....

Wednesday: April 2, 2014 9am-8pm (8am Extra Magic Hour)
Thursday April 3, 2014 9am-8pm
Friday April 4, 2014 9am-8pm
Saturday April 5, 2014 8am-8pm
Sunday April 6, 2014 9am-8pm
Monday April 7, 2014 9am-7pm (8am Extra Magic Hour)
Tuesday April 8, 2014 9am-7pm

Attraction Closures:
Festival of the Lion King: scheduled to reopen in June 2014
Mickey's Jamming Jungle Parade: scheduled to close June 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New meet and greet coming to Dinoland USA

Two different forces have come to together and now a new meet and greet is heading Dinoland USA's way. First, the intense popularity of the Long Lost friends week during Limited Time Magic have made obscure characters a serious commodity. Just ask Slim and Gypsy about that. Second, Camp Minnie Mickey, the focal point of character meet and greets is gone, spreading the love of these attractions across the Animal Kingdom landscape.

So, Disney is getting ready to spring some old "friends" back at us at DinoRama. Those silly, campy dinos will be coming back, meeting folks out front of Chester and Hester's near Primeval Whirl. It not T-Rex and Roxie but the later Carnotaurus (the brown one) and Conniesaurus.

The times for this will likely be later in the afternoon so as not to conflict with the dance party that happens in the early afternoon. We are hearing start times at 2 pm with they characters stopping around 5 pm. That, of course, is not set in stone - no pun intended.

By SafariMike