Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for July 30, 2014: Yetis, Gorillas and a Goodbye

Parking With A Yeti: There are many construction projects happening right now, and in the near future, all over Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  And construction means new guest experiences.  The Disney suits are hoping that new guest experiences means more people, and more people, therefore, means more cars.  With that in mind, construction has begun on the new “Yeti” parking lot, an extension to the existing lot.  These new parking spaces are way in the back of the lot, and will be the spots furthest from the front gate.

Celebrate Primate Day: This coming Tuesday, August 5, will be Primate Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  The gorilla exhibit along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is on of the park’s best animal habitats so it makes perfect sense to celebrate these endangered and fascinating animals.  Here is a GREAT way to celebrate Primate Day; head over the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund website and make a donation!

Goodbye Wild By Design: Here is a story I missed last week when I was trying to report while on vacation.  But I think it’s important enough to make sure it gets mentioned here.  The Wild By Design guided walking tour is scheduled to be discontinued as of September 26, 2014.  Honestly, I am not very shocked by this at all, as the tour always seemed to be sparsely attended.  But I am certainly saddened, as Wild By Design is a wonderful tour and I would recommend to any fan of Imagineering, Disney design or the Animal Kingdom to take this tour before it closes.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: July 30 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday:  July 31  9am - 7pm
Friday: August 1  9am - 7pm
Saturday: August 2 9am - 7pm
Sunday: August 3 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Monday: August 4 9am - 8pm
Tuesday:August 5 9am - 8pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade - closed permanently
It’s Tough To Be A Bug - Closed until August 11
Wild By Design - discontinued as of September 26

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Photo For Today: Going for a Drink

Our friend Scott Campbell is back with another one of his beautifully colorful images from Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Here, one of the majestic African Elephants from Kilimanjaro Safaris is heading down to the water for a needed drink on a hot Florida day.

photo by Scott Campbell (@scottacampbell)

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's Time for Another Jenn Greene Contest!

That's correct my fellow Disney's Animal Kingdom fans, it's time to win some great park merchandise!  And once again our favorite Disney Travel Expert, Jenn Greene from Destinations in Florida, has some terrific stuff for us for this contest.  You can win yourself a cute-as-heck Animal Kingdom Monkey plush, a Simba coin purse and a WDW unisex T-shirt size medium.

So how do get your hands on this lot of great DAK gear?  Easy, you need to listen to the latest Episode of Radio Harambe and answer this question...

The background music for episode 33 included a track heard in a different Disney Park other than Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Where and when in Walt Disney World can you hear this piece of music?

Email your answers to us at and the winner will be drawn from the correct entries.  You must have your answer in by 11:59pm EST on August 2, 2014.  The contest is open to anyone 18 years and older.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Episode 33 of Radio Harambe - Our Disney Must Do's

Jambo Everyone!  Radio Harambe is back on the air!  We have a lot of catching up to do and we start with the news from Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World including an update to the Rivers of Light show, changes to a couple of animal habitats and more than enough talk about Frozen.  In this week’s feature segment, Dave and Mike get ready for their upcoming WDW trip with their own list of Disney Must Do’s.

We appreciate your patience during my all-too-short short summer vacation and Mike’s disappearance into the wilderness in Tanzania.  And to reward you for said patience, we have quite the awesome DAK contest coming up, thanks to our friend Jenn Greene from Destinations in Florida.

So take a listen to the show and check this page tomorrow...

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Animal Kingdom Theme Spotlight: The Story Behind Yak and Yeti

The restaurant, Yak & Yeti, was not always a place for the public to dine as they enjoy the sites of Anandapur. The current owner of the building is a gentleman named Arjun. He was at one point a fairly well to do and well traveled merchant. But for poor old Arjun, things have taken a turn for the worse. So, what has Arjun done? He has turned his opulent and over decorated home into a restaurant and hotel.

The original structure- which is the bluish stone structure- dates back to the early 1920s when the area was a British colony. Remember, the Maharajah Jungle Trek has references to British rule, as well. As the merchant traveled across Asia making money, he added on the house. That is why the building is a hodgepodge of different styles. For example, Arjun added a marble pavilion that is distinctly Indian. It is a nice place to relax. The bar and lobby are also great spots. This area is dedicated to the people heading off on a journey either to the Royal Anandapur Forest or farther away to the mountains.

The various rooms which have converted to separate dining areas are littered with authentic artifacts found throughout Asia. Arjun collected them during his travels and proudly shows them off to his customers. I particularly enjoy the rooms upstairs that offer great views of the streets of Anandapur, and there are references to the fact that this place is also a hotel. You can also see that he is a big fan of Bollywood with numerous movie posters scattered throughout the rooms. As with every business and home in the district, a portrait of the current Rajah, accompanied by his wife, hangs on a wall. And apparently, the owner is a touch superstitious. He prominently displays a statue of Gamesha, the Hindu deity dedicated to removing obstacles- surely an important figure for a merchant.

by Safari Mike (@JamboEveryone)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Imagineering a River Dragon

The Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.) is certainly a widespread organization with daring adventurers both young and old. They seem to be found only in the most remote corners of the globe. And deep in the African jungle along a lazy river, not far from the Pangani forest, you can find another such intrepid man, Sir Roland F. Fairbanks. A jovial old soul who loves a good story, Sir Fairbanks has long given up his position as curator of the Museum of the Weird to undertake a search for a legend, a monster, a deity. He now lives deep in the jungle along a lazy river in the heart of the Congo. 

Fairbanks spent a great deal of time exploring the world for unique and often bizarre artifacts, some of which he still houses in his humble home, but most have found there way into the halls of his beloved museum. One such artifact was an ancient wooden statue of a snake-like creature with the head of a nasty looking fish, the river dragon, Nyaminyami. Sir Fairbanks found this rather unimportant looking statue not far from where he now lives and still keeps in a place of honor there. But, after researching the item, he learned just what the Nyaminyami was. But for the explorer, the search began in earnest after he had vivid dreams of the beast. 

So what did Fairbanks discover? The Nyaminyami is a god to the Tonga people, a river dragon. The protector of the powerful Zambezi river and along with his wife ruler of the Underworld. It can appear as a dragon,a gigantic snake with a fish head, or even a deadly whirlpool. But even this potent monster was humbled by the advances of science. More specifically, the Kariba Dam which spans the Kariba Gorge where the god once lived. He who once controlled life around the Zambezi and even the river itself was chased from his home. The river dragon was humbled, displaced, and now angered. And waiting in the forgotten waterways deep in the jungle. Sir Fairbanks, quit his role as curator, and has tracked the monster to a little distant tributary of the Zambezi not too far from the town of Harambe. He is convinced the creature is somewhere in this river. And anyone who would like to help find it, is more than welcome to try. 

The home is nothing dramatic, nothing like the great mansion of Lord Mystic or even the glorious hotel of Harrison Hightower III. Sir Fairbanks has just a humble abode with a bunch of artifacts and his small pet, an African Golden cat, Chip. Guests will enter through the front door seeing all of these artifacts as well as paintings of Sir Fairbanks and his furry companion. Many of these artifacts are related to the search for Nyaminyami. These include maps, coins, carvings, pendants and the like. Before entering the boats to help the search, guests will see the statue that Sir Fairbanks uncovered years ago as well as a beautiful walking stick given to him by the Tonga people as as sign of respect for the old explorer and his mission.

After boarding a boat, guests drift lazily down the river in search of the dragon. Along the bank, you will see Sir Fairbanks (get it?) and Chip in search of the beast. Shortly thereafter, you pass a small village that looks not only abandoned but somewhat destroyed. At that moment, there is some movement in the water and you feel a distinct bump. Some brief glimpses of shadows and odd noises in the forest keep you on edge. The forest keeps getting darker and the sounds once prevalent are now gone. Completely. 

The idea of a river dragon has always been a part of the Animal Kingdom

It is then you see a large snake-like body breach the water briefly with a large splash. And another bump. This one a lot rougher than the last. The pace of the boat picks up as you feel river flowing faster until you see the falls in front of you. Then the dragon's back can be seen cutting through the murky water heading towards you. The creature begins to break the surface just as your vessel plunges down over the falls. But this is not just an ordinary flume. After plunging down, you rise back up and then back down again, hitting a steep bank - like a whirlpool. Gently slowing you pass a shocked and contented Sir Fairbanks, as he has finally found his prize. 

I love the idea of linking the Animal Kingdom with the story of S.E.A. Currently, there are two attractions across two different resorts that feature this fictitious group of explorers- Tokyo DisneySea and its Tower of Terror, and Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Point. And, the theme behind them is a perfect match for the Animal Kingdom. The themes of exploration and discovery, and man's venturing into the "heart of darkness" fit very well. Plus, a little nod to old school Disney, like the Museum of the Weird, would just add to the fun. And there is plenty of room in this park for just such an adventure.

By Safari Mike @jamboeveryone

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for July 16, 2014; Construction and Extra Magic Hours

Lots of Construction on Discovery Island: The website has a rundown of all the construction projects currently effecting Discovery Island, including changes to FastPass Plus kiosks and animal exhibits.

With all of the changes and work going on, many animals within earshot of hammers, and other such noisy tools, need to be moved to more peaceful homes.  Luckily, Disney has “backstage” habitats for the animals at night, which can be used when needs like this arise.  It looks like the Cotton-Top Tamarins and Lemurs will be offstage while works continues.

Extra Magic Hours Moves to Sunday: This past weekend, the schedule for Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom changed slightly.  The park will now open early on Sunday mornings, as well as the usual Wednesdays.

Permits Filed for Construction Associated With Rivers of Light: is reporting on Disney filing permits to begin work at DAK on viewing areas and other projects related to the Rivers of Light nighttime show expected to be ready in 2016.  Take a look at the report.  There’s not much surprising or new in it, but it does give confirmation to what many of us have been expecting.

Park Hours for this week are...

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

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

Attraction Closures:
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade - closed permanently
It’s Tough To Be A Bug - Closed until August 11

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Next Chapter of Jambo Everyone

If you are reading this post, then you are probably aware that has undergone a bit of a change.  The old website is gone, and has been permanently replaced by this blog, which we have been expanding over the recent months.   Here you will find all of our conservation information, as well as our guides to dining, attractions, tours, and shopping as Disney's Animal Kingdom.

We have also brought all of Safari Mike's animal articles over, and put them into Mike's very own blog dedicated just to him and his furry friends.  (Ok, before someone corrects me I know some of them have feathers and such.)  And we have added a new blog specific to just our favorite photographs of the animals found at DAK.  It's called the Disney Photo Safari, and we have big plans to add many, many great photos in the coming weeks, months and years.

So why the change?  As a reader, and hopefully you have been enjoying what we do, I think you certainly should know the reasons behind the change.  To be totally honest, it's about money.  The old site, while a labor of love, was costly.  And the less we have to pay, the more we can raise for conservation.  This allows us to post things nearly for free, and who doesn't love free?  Also, this new way of doing things makes it much easier for us to post info in a timely manner.

It's true that some of the info has been lost.  But don't fear, much of it will return in the coming weeks, but that's all I can say about that for now.  More to come...

We hope you like it, and continue to take part in Jambo Everyone.  Thank you!

by Dave McBride 9@RadioHarambe)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for July 9, 2014; Gorillas, Breakfast and Soccer

Improvements at Gorillas Exhibit in Pangani Forest:  For the next few weeks, there will be limited viewing of the Lowland Gorillas along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.  In fact, you will only get to see the males, as the females and juveniles will stay in the backstage areas as work is being completed.

The Gorilla exhibit is one of the jewels of the DAK crown, so to speak.  So it is nice to see Disney giving it some deserved love.  In the meantime, enjoy the bachelors, they always wow the audiences.

The World Cup Comes to Restaurantosaurus: As the World Cup reaches its conclusion, apparently people touring the parks during matches are looking for places to watch.  With that in mind, Disney is adding viewing locations, including Restaurantosaurus in Dinoland, USA.  So if you simply must watch this weekend’s final from inside a theme park, it might as well be in Dinoland.

Pizzafari Changes Breakfast Menu: According to, we now have some new items on the breakfast menu at Pizzafari.  Take a look at this link to see the new offerings.  Personally, if I wanted a quick breakfast at the Animal Kingdom I would get something at Kusafiri, but that’s just me.

Park Hours for this week are...

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

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

Attraction Closures:
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade - closed permanently
It’s Tough To Be A Bug - Scheduled to Close from July 7 through August 11

Have A Wild Time this week!!