Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year to Everyone

All of us at Jambo Everyone want to wish you a Happy New Year and enjoy 2016. 2015 might have been the Year of the Construction Wall. But 2016 will see some of all that come to fruition.

A big event this year was the opening of Harambe Market

This time next year, our beloved Animal Kingdom will be a different park, with a sunset safari, a signature restaurant, AND a night capping, show stopping event.

photo courtesy of Disney

We can't wait to cover it all in the coming months. So thank you for following the last year and hope to see you in 2016!

Asante Sana

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Roundup for December 23, 2015: Menu changes and closings

Park Closures: Typically, once the holiday season is over, there are a string of refurbishments, and this year is no different. Those closures are set to begin on Monday, January 4th. We previously told you about the Kali River shutting down for 5 weeks. We now know Disney Outfitters is closing until mid-March for an extensive refurbishment, with most of the merchandise being sold at the newly opened Riverside Depot. The Maharajah Jungle Trek is being shut down for quick two week refurb.

Pizzafari Menu Update: In a classic case of "About Time Already", Pizzafari has switched from that awful frozen pizza to handcrafted pizza. The choices are cheese, pepperoni, meat lovers and Mediterranean (which has toppings like kalamata olives and feta cheese). The eatery continues to carry a meatball sub, pasta Bolognese and salads. From the reviews I have seen, the pizza is a definite and substantial upgrade.

Crowds: Yea, the park is really crowded. But on the bright side, that means the park is open well past sundown. So if you are at the resort for the holiday, make sure on one of these days, you check out Animal Kingdom after dark. Plus, Animal Kingdom does not have a lot of holiday décor, meaning its not as crowded as some of the other parks on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Take advantage of that too.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 24 8am- 7pm
Friday December 25 8am- 8:30pm (Extra Magic Hours 7am to 8am)
Saturday December 26 8am-  9pm
Sunday December 27 8am- 9pm
Monday December 28 8am- 9pm
Tuesday December 29 8am- 9pm
Wednesday December 30 8am- 9pm (Extra Magic Hours 7am to 8am)

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 21, 2015

DAK Theme Spotlight: The Anandapur Ice Cream Truck

The road to Serka Zong is busy with tourists. Many who have enjoyed the natural beauty that is Anandapur set their sights on the majestic mountains of Serka Zong not too far away. Everest is a popular destination.

So its no wonder that many small businesses have sprung up. Not just hotels and rest stops with plenty of supplies for the weary traveler. But ice cream too.

In an effort to attract as many would be mountaineers as possible, this truck is decorated to the hilt. Every inch has been covered with murals or metallic painted art, And not only is there animals like camels and tigers, but see if you can find the royal towers and tiger temple along the Chakranadi  River, i.e. the Kali River Rapids attraction.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Roundup for December 16, 2015: Some name changes

Thirsty River is Open: The Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks is now open for business. It is a full service bar, although it lacks any seating. There are some cool specialty drinks like the Pink Lotus and the Himalayan Ghost. There are draft beers including some craft beer selections on tap as well as by the bottle. There is a rather extensive snack selection although they are your typical Disney choices. However, there are some more substantive choices which are unique. There is a smoked turkey sandwich with red pepper mayo, the Banh Mi (roasted pork, pickled veggies, sriracha dressing), Som Tam (shrimp, papaya salad, crushed peanuts, chilis) and sushi. Limited but interesting.

What's in a Name?: New park maps are now being distributed. And for some reason, many of the kiosks have seen a name change. The old Gardens Kiosk is now the Smiling Crocodile. The Beastly Kiosk is now The Eight Spoon Café. The Discovery Island Kiosk is now Terra Treats. Over in Asia, Bradley Falls is now called the Caravan Outpost. And Upcountry (the margarita stand) is now called Warung Outpost. Sure, the names are a little more fun, but there has been no real changes to the selections.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 17 9am- 6:30pm
Friday December 18 9am- 6:30pm (Extra Magic Hours 8am to 9am)
Saturday December 19 8am-  7pm
Sunday December 20 8am- 7pm
Monday December 21 8am- 7pm
Tuesday December 22 8am- 7pm
Wednesday December 23 8am- 7pm (Extra Magic Hours 7am to 8am)

As you can see, with the holidays this coming week, park hours see a bit of an extension.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Episode 74 of Radio Harambe - Discovery River Boats

This week we travel back in time, way back to when Dinosaurs and Dragons prowled the river banks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as we take a look back at the Discovery River Boats. Dave and Safari Mike also discuss all the week's news from Disney's Animal Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World.

If you have any questions or comments about the show, please email us at Asante Sana and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Roundup for December 9, 2015: Kali Refurb and new store

Kali River Refurb: As is often the case with water based attractions, the Kali River Rapids will go down in the middle of winter for a 5 week refurbishment. The closure will start on January 5th and end on February 11th. There will likely not be any noticeable differences once it reopens.


Riverside Depot is open for business: The new store is now open for business. It adds nearly 5,000 sq feet of retail space to its adjoining store, Disney Outfitters. The merchandise is fairly typical Disney stuff including plush toys, t-shirts and other items that can be found in many places throughout the park and beyond. This store combo (Disney Outfitters/Riverside Depot) is now basically the Mouse Gears of the Animal Kingdom.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 10 9am- 6pm
Friday December 11 9am- 6pm (Extra Magic Hours 8am to 9am)
Saturday December 12 8am-  6:30pm
Sunday December 13 8am- 6:30pm
Monday December 14 9am- 6:30pm
Tuesday December 15 9am- 6:30pm
Wednesday December 16 9am- 6pm (Extra Magic Hours 8am to 9am)

Have a Wild Time

Monday, December 7, 2015

The African Wild Dogs are on exhibit

Awhile ago, we reported that the safari was getting African Wild Dogs. Well, thanks to our friend Dan (follow him for great photos on twitter @NJ_Tree) , we now know the pack is on exhibit.

Apparently, the safari drivers are not even stopping for a good look. That is likely to allow the dogs to get used to the exhibit and the steady convoy of trucks full of people in mouse ears. It is a decent sized pack (I count at least 6 animals). In the wild, they sometimes have packs numbering 20. They are highly endangered so hopefully, there will be some pups soon.

By Safari Mike

Christmas Decor

Thanks to friend of the show and blog, Jeff (@braindud92) we have some great pictures of decorations from both Kidani Village and the Animal Kingdom. Lets start with the entrance of the park itself.

As you can see, there are still lots of cranes. But the booths look good:

On Discovery Island, there are plenty of decorations too:

Signs and posts are generally covered:

They look good at night and day:

Off to Harambe for some unique décor:

The look of the ornaments is unique. And in true Harambe style, what better object to use than a bicycle wheel?

Yes, the Jambo House tree is impressive, but so is the one at the underrated lobby at Kidani Village.

I love the lion heads and hats.

The décor at the Animal Kingdom is certainly more understated than at some of the other parks. And I think appropriately so. But its still beautiful and fun. So let me leave you with the Hip Joint and what the interns like to do at the Dino Institute:

Happy Holidays Everyone

Safari Mike

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Roundup for December 2, 2015: More Fast Pass + and Booze

Flights of Wonder: This show was the only stage that was not part of the Fast Pass Plus lineup. Well, that is longer true. You can now select this wonderful show as one of your three choices. We are not sure why Disney felt the need to include this as an option. Frankly, it is never really filled to capacity so while we certainly love it, we do not recommend using a fast pass here.

Thirsty River Bar to open: Speaking of fast passes, the old FP kiosk for Expedition Everest is set to reopen as the Thirsty River Bar and Trek. It will serve beverages and snacks. It will not have seating, so it will not really be a bar, although it will serve alcohol. The drinks and, grab and go snacks are mostly to serve the River of Lights crowd as this is very close to the seating for the new night capping show. It is set to open on December 12th.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 3 9am- 6pm
Friday December 4 9am- 6pm (Extra Magic Hours 8am to 9am)
Saturday December 5 8am-  6:30pm
Sunday December 6 8am- 6:30pm
Monday December 7 9am- 5pm
Tuesday December 8 9am- 6pm
Wednesday December 9 9am- 6pm (Extra Magic Hours 8am to 9am)

Have a Wild Time

The floating mountains

Avatarland is getting closer and closer. They have recently begun the installation of the "floating" mountains of Pandora. Thanks to our friend, Jeff (follow him @braindud92 on twitter), we have some great detailed shots of the mountains being installed. So enjoy those, but first a look at the new construction wall art:

The background photo is of China, where they showed imagineers going to research what Pandora should look like. You also see the emphasis on the floating mountain that was installed here:

And no, its not really floating.

I'll be curious to see if this design will allow to rock a little, simulating floating. The details look great as you can see below.

There is a lot of stuff attaching these rocks. So I am thinking it will simulate floating.

And here is a night shot to leave you with

By Safari Mike

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Getting Ready for the Riverside Depot

We have been talking about this on Radio Harambe. The Riverside Depot is about to open to the public on December 8th.

We also know that it is not a re-branding of the Disney Outfitters but an all new shop attached to the old Outfitters.

However, we do the building's theme. Its is themed to animals in and around water. You will see fish, cranes, crocodiles and the like. All of the shops at the island have similar themes.

For example, the Island Mercantile, which is suppose to carry good from around the world, has animal designs representing critters that work like bees, camels and beavers. Disney Outfitters has animals from the four corners of the globe.

It makes sense something called Riverside Depot would showcase animals that live in or near water. Without knowing what it will sell (we are assuming at this point it will be standard Disney merch), we can't really say how much we like it, but we certainly like the aesthetic.

Thanks to friend of the blog, Jeff for these great pictures. Follow him on Twitter @braindud92

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Episode 73 of Radio Harambe - Nighttime News Special

It’s another special episode of Radio Harambe. This one is dedicated to all the news from Disney’s Animal Kingdom released last week, including a name and concept for a new restaurant on Discovery Island and lots of news regarding the Rivers of Light.
If you have any comments or questions you can reach us at or on twitter @RadioHarambe. Asante Sana and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Photo For the Day: It's all in a bench

Yes, I know Chester and Hester's DinoRama gets a bad rap. Yes, I know a lot of people hate the black top and the carnie games. I get it. I do. But there is a lot to like about the area.

2 of those things are theming and back story. And this area has plenty of it. And that includes that amazing bench. It seems innocuous enough, but its so darn cool with its shiny dinos and beaten up look.

By Safari Mike

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tiffins Coming to Discovery Island

We have known for some time now that a new sit down restaurant was being added to the area behind Pizzafari. Disney on Friday released some additional details. In short, Tiffins (which is an Indian English word for a food container used while traveling). The theme, in keeping with the name, is cuisine from the lands of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Considering there really isn't a Dino or Avatar cuisine, I am thinking it will be an African-Indian fusion. Which is, of course, the style of Sanaa. I suspect this restaurant will have similar flavors.

Photo courtesy of Disney

The place will also be a signature. So it will be high quality and naturally, high price. For Dining plan people, this will be a two credit joint. There will be outdoor water views. The Discovery River which separates Pandora from the hub is right there so that is the water you will see. I suppose you may have views of the floating mountains which are being installed now.

Disney is saying this will be open in 2016 and we are hearing Spring, which is exactly the same time frame as Rivers of Light and the Sunset Safari.

By Safari Mike

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Episode 72 of Radio Harambe - DAK Thrown Down Part Two: Expedition Everest vs. Splash Mountain

We have another Animal Kingdom Throw-Down! This time, Dave takes on Gary from the Por Favor Podcast in a debate between Splash Mountain and Expedition Everest. Before that, Dave and Safari Mike discuss the news from Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World including hyenas, elephants, floating mountains and plenty of Star Wars news as well. Dave also has a huge personal milestone at the beginning of the show!

If you have any comments or questions about the show, email us at Asante Sana and enjoy the show!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Leopard in the Land DVD release

Its the holiday season again. And this year we recommend Leopard in the Land, which releases tomorrow, November 17th on DVD on amazon.

On episode 55, we did a detailed review of the film. So go ahead and check that out. Needless to say its a beautiful film. And for a worthy cause. As I am sure you all know, this is really a film about the journey of Joe Rohde and the amazing landscape of Mongolia. 

The snow leopard is a highly endangered and extraordinary big cat found in the mountains of Asia from Mongolia to India to Nepal. Unfortunately, the species suffers from poaching for its fur, habitat destruction and, most dangerous of all, death at the hands of farmers protecting their herds. 

Enjoying a close encounter with Snow Leopards at the Central Park Zoo

The Snow Leopard Conservancy is doing its best to increase education especially to local people, and help set up habitat to save the snow leopard. So definitely pick up this film, and help the snow leopard.

By Safari Mike 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Episode 71 of Radio Harambe - DAK Thrown-Down Part One (Kidani Village vs. Port Orleans Riverside)

It's time for our first DAK Throw-Down! (That's Safari Mike-speak for a debate between something Animal Kingdom related against something non-DAK related.) Today's Throw-Down is Kidani Village vs. Port Orleans Riverside and will be contested by Safari Mike and Scott from the Dixie Landings Radio Podcast. The moderators for the Throw-Down are Dave who is joined by Gary from the Por Favor Podcast.

Before the debate, Dave and Safari Mike discuss all the news from Disney's Animal Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World, including some new info on Avatar, a look at the size of the new sit-down restaurant coming to Discovery Island, and something called the Riverside Depot. If you have any comments or questions, email us at Asante Sana!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Hyenas are on exhibit

We are getting closer to the Sunset Safari. One step is the completion of the hyena exhibit that has been under construction. Now, the hyenas are out. Thanks to friend of the show @JollyCaucusRace (follow him on twitter, he just did the Jingle Jungle), we have confirmation of that.

Hiding out in a cave

I can't say the hyenas will always be on exhibit, but they are starting to put them out there. Generally, new animals are put on exhibit sporadically so they can get used to their new surroundings as well as the guests (and safari trucks). However, starting this past weekend, you now have a chance to see the new residents of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

By Safari Mike

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Harambe Market's not so Hidden Mickey

Ok, I have to admit I am no fan of hidden mickeys. When they first became vogue, they were kind of cute. But much like the pin craze, there has been some serious overkill. Nothing new at WDW comes without a boat load of little hidden mickey ears somewhere in the design. The days of the viking in mouse ears being unique are long gone (well, so is the viking but that is a different story altogether).  

Of course, you are probably asking, how is this one hidden? Well, "fichwa" is swahili for the word "hidden." So, there you have it, Harambe Market's very own hidden mickey. I personally love how it's not quite right, as if some kid decided to draw Mickey Mouse on the side of the wall. Perfect theming. 

By Safari Mike 

Friday, November 6, 2015

More details on the Na'vi River Journey

What is it about the Japanese D23 Expo and Avatar. The first real information on the Florida land was released there. And now, some interesting details about the boat ride were released at this year's D23 expo last night.

The information from the Parks blog, in part reads:

Pandora – The World of AVATAR will bring a variety of new experiences to the Park, including a family-friendly attraction called Na’vi River Journey. The adventure begins as guests set out in canoes and venture down a mysterious, sacred river hidden within the bioluminescent rainforest. The full beauty of Pandora reveals itself as the canoes pass by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures. The journey culminates in an encounter with a Na’vi shaman, who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora and sends positive energy out into the forest through her music

The information also confirms that this attraction and the land will be opening in 2017. There have been rumblings that Disney might be pushing to get the land open by the end of 2016. That seems unlikely.

photo by Disney

The above piece of concept art is brand new.  It certainly provides some interesting details. It shows some Nav'i along the riverbank. It also appears that those horse like creatures are a part of this. All of these promise to be state of the art AAs.

The description also contains some interesting clues. Number one, there will be a shaman using music - very similar to what the description of the Rivers of Light will have. It also seems the entire ride will be within a bioluminescent forest, meaning it will be basically indoors. Also, it means that no matter what time of day, you will be able to enjoy night time Avatar land. Disney also made a point to say that this ride is a family ride, as the other attraction is more thrilling, i.e. will have height and health restrictions.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Episode 70 of Radio Harambe - Celebrating the Disney Conservation Fund

This year the Disney Conservation Fund is celebrating its 20 year anniversary, so we thought we would offer our salute to the DCF by dedicated the final segment of this show to the good work they do. Dave and Safari Mike also discuss the news from Disney's Animal Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World, including new water buffaloes on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, a Rivers of Light update, and Dave books a cruise!

Please email us any comments or questions to Asante Sana!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

DAK Theme spotlight: The dhow

A dhow is a traditional Arabic boat, used to go up and down rivers for the trading of goods. These flat bottom vessels are perfect for plying the relatively shallow rivers of the region. This one, along the Discovery River, sits near Drinkwallah. It is trading among other things, drinks.

This particular boat is relatively new. Its a replica of one that sat in this spot beginning in 1998 and being replaced about 10 years later. The original was the largest prop ever shipped to the Florida resort. Imagineers found it in Indonesia and just had to have it.

It does add to the theme of the area. Its beautiful coloration and design are a perfect complement for the natural water way.

By Safari Mike