Thursday, April 30, 2015

Harambe Market Finally Announced

So Disney has finally announced the Harambe Market that we first told mention in March of last year. It really doesn't seem that long ago but yes it is. The parks blog posted some amazing photos and pictures of the area.

Courtesy of Disney
The theme of the area is that this is an old train stop and the market is there to serve visitors from the train service as they get ready for some wildlife adventures at the nearby Harambe Wildlife Reserve. The depot even has a 1960s style water tower which you have seen in pictures from the construction site.

Courtesy of Disney

Like everything else about Harambe, theming seems to be impeccable. The area should fit right in. As we told you way back over a year ago, there will be 4 smaller counter services with lots of seating, mostly shaded.

Courtesy of Disney
The four places each have a unique menu and will be reflective of each stores' owner. The food is also based on street food from Africa, something both Dave and I said we were really hoping for in a recent episode of Radio Harambe. The food places include the Kitamu Grill serving chicken skewers and a kabob flatbread sandwich. 

Courtesy of Disney

Famous Sausages serves corn dogs of South African inspired sausages and curry infused corn batter which sounds fantastic. Chef Mwanga's has a good looking gigantic spice rubbed karubi rib. 

Courtesy of Disney
Then there is also Wanjohi Refreshments (wanjohi being Swahili for "brewer"). There will be beer on tap, lots of South African wine and other specialty drinks with the obligatory souvenir cup. There will also be shops though no word on what will be there. We anticipate the building in the concept art to the left will be a shop. 

Courtesy of Disney
To say we are excited would be a huge understatement. This is right up our alley and the Market will surely take up a notch the counter service options.

Courtesy of Disney
By Safari Mike

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for April 29, 2015: The Final Challenge and Sweaty Costumes

Final Everest Challenge This Weekend: The runDisney folks announced last last week that this weekend’s Expedition Everest Challenge race will be the final one. The Challanege, which as been an annual event since 2008, is a night time race which combines a 5k with a scavenger hunt. It takes place this Saturday May 2 and has been sold out for weeks.

There is still no word on a replacement event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you would to know all there is to know about the Challenege, check out Episode 30 of Radio Harambe, our friend KJ from tells us all about it.

Festival of the Lion King Performers Win Dispute With Disney:  The Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday that Disney must rehire a group of performers from the Festival of the Lion King who were fired for refusing to wear their costumes. The ruling stems from an incident last year, when a performance of the FotLK needed to be canceled because these performers refused to put on what they considered dirty and unsanitary costumes.

A federal arbitrator that Disney violated the terms of their collective bargaining agreement, and ordered them reinstate and award them backpay.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: April 29 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: April 30 9am - 6pm
Friday: May 1  9am -7pm
Saturday: May 2  9am - 7pm
Sunday: May 3 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Monday: May 4  9am - 7pm
Tuesday: May 5  9am - 6pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Sunrise Safari: discontinued
Creature Comforts: closed
Flame Tree Barbecue: closed until Late May 2015

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Little Ones on Safari

Our intrepid reporter on the scene Scott Campbell has sent in a couple of oh-so-cute photos from a recent trip on the Kilimanjaro Safaris. There are some babies on safari now, including this pink-backed pelican chick safe in mother's wings.

He also got a great family photo of the Sable Antelope who make their home on the savanna. You can see the little guys with the rest of the herd. Notice how the adults are all facing in different directions. Even though they live in Disney's Animal Kingdom, the instinct to keep a watchful eye out for predators never goes away.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)
Photos by Scott Campbell (@scottacampbell)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Join Warden Wilson Matua's Air Rangers!

You asked and we answered! Ever since we ran out of our Warden Wilson Matua’s Air Rangers T-shirts, people have been asking us where to get them. Well, they are back! For a limited time you can now buy them in a men's and women's long sleeve raglan. (You can also customize these to whatever shirt you like.)

We have received such great feedback on this design  that we felt in honor of Earth Day, and DAK’s Anniversary, that we would make this design available again for a limited time. Take a look at our Zazzle Store for more info and to order yours. Remember, 100% of the profits go to our conservation partners. So get one today and help us support the folks working every day to save wildlife for future generations.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Disney's Animal kingdom News Round-Up for April 22, 2015: Lemurs, Boats, and BBQ

Lemurs are Back on Discovery Island: It’s been quite some time since the lemurs were onstage at Discovery Island. But they are back! You can now find both ring-tailed and collared lemurs sharing the same habitat. They share an island, so why not a habitat too?

Our thanks and gratitude to our intrepid reporter/photographer, and the host of the Dixie Landings Radio podcast, Scott for getting these fantastic photos! He got many more, so keep checking the Disney Photo Safari and Safari Mike's blog for more of these incredible images!

Boat Landings Removed From Discovery Island Docks:  It appears the boat docks at the old Discovery River Boat landing has had the ramps removed. Now, there are simply stairs to nowhere. I was holding out hope that one day we would be able to ride along this river again, but that seems to be lost dream.

Flame Tree BBQ to Remained Closed: We have been told the work being done on the Flame Tree Barbecue is taking longer then original expected and the reopening date has been pushed back towards Memorial Day Weekend. My guess is that Disney will make every effort to have this eatery opened in time for the summer crowds.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: April 22 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: April 23 9am - 7pm
Friday: April 24  9am -6pm
Saturday: April 25  9am - 7pm
Sunday: April 26 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Monday: April 27  9am - 7pm
Tuesday: April 28  9am - 7pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Sunrise Safari: discontinued
Creature Comforts: closed
Flame Tree Barbecue: closed until Late May 2015

Have A Wild Time this week!!

The perfect day in photos

I asked on twitter what should I post on the blog in celebration of Disney's Animal Kingdom as today is it's 17th birthday. My friend Lisa Green (check out her podcast The Disney Exchange) suggested the perfect day in the Animal Kingdom. An excellent choice I think, although every day is the perfect day no? So I decided to do it but in pictures. So here it is: a picture expose of a perfect day. Or at least one kind of perfect day.

We begin

Until we see this 

We will rope drop:

and check out 

Then it's off to Expedition Everest and Serka Zong:

Then it's

Lunch time at Flame Tree

Off to 



While I watch 

Before enjoying 


Then off to 

Let's grab a quick bite at

And as it gets dark

And some late night shopping


But first a 

By Safari Mike


A Day to Celebrate DAK!

Today is Earth Day AND the 17th anniversary of the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Disney chose to open the park on Earth Day to signal the company's intention to enter the world of conservation, and they have certainly succeeded in that goal so far. So we thought in order to celebrate both events we would have a quick tour of some the park's most threatened species.

As we enter through the single most well-themed entrance area in any Disney park, the Oasis immediately greets us with lush vegetation and a wonderful collection of exotic animals from all over the world, including this Great Green Macaw. Thanks to habitat destruction, and the horriblly alarming number of deaths due to the pet trade, these guys are struggling in the wild.

A real tour of Discovery Island is something too many guests miss, as they make their way to one attraction or another. But the Island is filled with miraculous animals, including the incredibly fun to watch Cotton-Top Tamarins. This species is listed as "critically endangered" and DAK is doing everything they can to help them, including building a sweet new habitat.

Bare left at the Tree of Life and we make our way towards the beating heart of Disney's Animal Kingdom, Africa and the Port of Harambe.

The real Africa is home to many different gorilla species, most of whom face existential threats. At the Animal Kingdom we find the Western Lowland Gorilla, which faces the perils of deforestation, poaching and deadly diseases. These majestic animals should be near the top of your touring plan for any trip to the park. Besides being incredible to observe and photograph, they also live in a stunningly gorgeous habitat.

The most endangered species found in the Asia section of the park may also be the newest. Only in the last few months have we been able to view the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger at the Maharajah Jungle Trek. With only 300-400 animals left in the wild, this is a species which very well may go extinct in our lifetime. It may be left to zoos, like the Animal Kingdom, to keep them alive.

And like a warning of what could happen if we aren't careful, our final stop is the home of the planet's most popular extinct species, and no dino is more popular then that king of all dinos, the T-Rex. Dinoland USA just happens to be the home of a full-scale replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. You can see it just to your right as you enter the plaza of the Dino Institute.

So let us all wish Disney's Animal Kingdom a happy birthday and all of us a Happy Earth Day. Let the good work at the Animal Kingdom, and by zoos and conservation organizations the world over, continue.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Not All Synergy is Bad Synergy

We all know Disney loves to cross-market their creative properties, “synergy” to use the company word I detest. And all of us have criticized Disney for this practice almost as often as they have done it. But even though the bad examples get the most coverage, see the current destruction of Epcot’s Maelstrom in favor of “synergy”, not all “synergy” is bad “synergy”. (And I promise that is the last time I will use that word…)

image copyright Disney
In an article yesterday by Ethan Alter on Yahoo Movies regarding the new Disneynature film Monkey Kingdom Paul Baribault, vice president of marketing at Walt Disney Studios, told us that some very appropriate cross-marketing is scheduled for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Baribault revealed  “Disneynature footage will be part of the nighttime show, “Rivers of Light,” debuting at the Animal Kingdom theme park in 2016”, proving that such a concept could work very well.

image copyright Disney
Using theme park attractions to promote Disney’s films has been a cornerstone of Imagineering since Uncle Walt ran the place himself. It’s not the concept that bugs me at all, it is the blatant ignoring of the rest of the park’s theme and aesthetic in favor of promoting a film that certainly is not wanting for promotion that bugs me. But this? This is perfect.

image copyright Disney
Since it became apparent just how much change was coming to the Animal Kingdom, I have been praying that Disney would not remove or weaken the conservation message from the park. And with Avatar coming, it made the need to further that message even greater in the other new non-Pandora related stuff. We can be pretty sure the nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris will do that, but we weren't so sure about the Rivers of Light.

And seriously, could any two intellectual properties fit together better then Disneynature and DAK? The nature documentary is a genre of film Walt Disney practically invented. It is a huge part of the company’s legacy. To make the current nature documentaries a part of such a huge addition as the Rivers of Light is a terrific tribute to that legacy. Now, not to get too greedy, how about adding some clips from the True-Life Adventures as well?

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Aruna's Real Africa: The Lion and the Giraffes

On our second day we had gone out early in the morning, as recommended, and didn't see anything exciting!  At least, not till we were at the waterhole nearest camp where we saw giraffes. There were about 10 of them, and as there are only about 50 in the park this was a special sighting. But wait, what was that lying on the other side of the road... yes, it was indeed a lion!

And this is what happened:

Just sleeping in the shade...

Hey, what are those giraffe doing at MY waterhole!!

That's it, run away! I'

Unfortunately the giraffes are not that impressed..

.. in fact they're downright curious!

Not the best picture, but just showing how close you actually are to the action ;)

The lioness decided to return to her spot in the shade...

.. only a few yards from the car allowing for this nice close up!

by Aruna Mohan (@arunarealafrica)