Monday, August 31, 2015

Episode 66 of Radio Harambe - An Animal Kingdom Lodge Safari

On this week's episode, Dave and Safari Mike will take you on a safari of the Animal Kingdom Lodge as we discuss the wildlife over at the resort, all of the unique savannas you will find there, and give our tips for the best viewing of these amazing creatures.

The guys also discuss the news from Disney's Animal Kingdom, as well as the rest of Walt Disney World. And we have not one but two rounds of "Dave, Guess That Price". If you have any comments or questions about the show, please email us at Asante Sana!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for August 26, 2015: Cuteness and a Soaking

CUTE ALERT! Baby Giraffes!: The Disney Parks Blog announced today the arrival at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve of three baby Masai giraffes, “our newest giraffe calves have ventured out onto the savanna for the first time. Mara, Milo and Lincoln are 3-, 4- and 5-months old, respectively, and are doing very well in their new home.” So on your next two week safari, get your camera’s ready for some cuteness!

And as I always like to ask during announcements like this, does your favorite theme park do this? Ours does!

Now You Can Get Soaked First Thing in the Morning: The Kali River Rapids ride has been added to the list of attractions open during the early Extra Magic Hours at the park. The timing of this is what is particularly strange, as you would think the middle of the summer would be the time when this ride would be most popular and in demand. With the cooler months approaching, how many people are going to want to get soaked at 8am?

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: August 26 9am -5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: August 27  9am - 5pm
Friday: August 28  9am -5pm
Saturday: August 29  9am - 5pm
Sunday: August 30 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Monday: August 31  9am - 5pm
Tuesday: September 11  9am - 5pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Disney Outfitters: expansion work until November 2015
Pizzafari: closed August 24 through October 19
Primeval Whirl: closed August 17 through to November 12

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

DAK Theme Spotlight: Sanaa

Sanaa is one of the most beautiful restaurants in all of Disney World. And it is one of the most richly themed ones as well. It uses its decor to tell the story of its menu. The menu, you see, is a mix of African and Indian (mostly Indian) cuisines. And the theme is of an East African market where spices from the Indian subcontinent are imported.

The theme itself starts at the front desk. There are large clay pots, typically used for trade. Behind the counter, you see a large display of trays. These, too, are used in markets.

Inside the restaurant, you are in an open aired market. if you look up, the ceiling is designed to look like you are under the canopy of trees. Hanging from them are lights that look like weaver bird nests, a common species in that part of the world.

This is the only restaurant at either lodge with animal viewing. Large floor to ceiling windows are there for you to see some the critter on the savanna such as giraffe, zebra, ankole and even the crowned cranes who seem to love sitting close to the windows.

On the walls, the theme continues. The word "Sanaa" means "work of art." And they are not kidding, the walls are adorned with all sorts of artifacts from Africa. Including quite a few necklaces, which of course is what the word "Kidani" means in swahili.

We often talk about how much we love the tours at Disney's Animal Kingdom lodge. If you take wither the Sanaa cultural tour or the African Inspired Disney Designed tours at Kidani then will give you a detailed look at the place. The difference is for the Sanaa specific tour you get a talk from a cook and free food. The other tour will take you to other sections of the lodge.

By Safari Mike

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Construction updates and a new veggie option

I met friend of the show @JollyCaucusRace (follow him on twitter) and his family outside of Maelstrom one evening while watching Illuminations. Lucky for us, he is back at Disney and sent us some great photos updating some of the construction going on. First up, the show building at Pandora - World of Avatar is getting huge. 

Over at Kilimanjaro Safari, work is going strong on the hyena exhibit. 

And the baby giraffes seem to be doing well.

Speaking of babies, the bar headed geese over at the Maharajah Jungle Trek are nesting. 

The big news to us is the addition of a new vegetarian option over at Harambe Market. We have always said it seemed weird that they didn't have something vegetarian. Well, now over at the Sausage stand, they have added a grilled vegetable stack with pesto. Seems interesting.

Primeval Whirl is down for a rather lengthy refurb.

Finally, Rivers of Light work is continuing. Here's a look at some the seating they are putting up as well as a barge. We can't wait for the Spring 2016 launch.

Thanks again 

Safari Mike 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round Up for August 19, 2015: Sunsets and Monkeys

World Primate Day: Tomorrow Disney's Animal Kingdom is celebrating World Primate Day, mostly at Rafiki's Planet Watch. Fun activities can be found there. Today the Disney Parks Blog put out a good post about the 2 gorillas that were born last summer. The post gives you a good look at Cory and Flint, the newest members of the troop.

Work on the Sunset Safari continues: Work on the safari continues. A bypass is being built across from the giraffe barn which is just before you get to the Mandrill exhibit. The new road cuts over the hill towards the larger elephant exhibit that is near the flamingo pond. By using the bypass, you do not see the mandrills, the bull elephant exhibit, the rickety bridge and the clay pits. It is our understanding that this bypass will be the sunset safari route. It would also permit a refurbishment of the bridge that feels like its breaking as you drive over, which is sorely needed.

The Return of 5pm: Well, summer crowds must be going. As you can see by the list below, closing times are going back to 5 pm. But have no fear, Rivers of Light is coming and these 5pm close times will soon be a thing of the past.

Park Hours for this week are....
Wednesday August 19 9am-7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8am to 9am)
Thursday August 20 9am- 7pm
Friday August 21 9am- 5pm
Saturday August 22 9am- 6pm
Sunday August 23 9am- 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8am to 9am)
Monday August 24 9am- 5pm
Tuesday August 25 9am- 5pm

Check out the Kenny the Pirate for the entertainment schedule

Have a Wild Time

Episode 65 of Radio Harambe - D23 Download

We have a special D23 Download episode of Radio Harambe where Dave and Safari Mike discuss all the best stories from the recently concluded D23 Expo. With the focus on Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the guys discuss the new Avatar info, incredible images from the testing of the Rivers of Light show and the intriguing concept behind the new night time Safari.

They also touch on some other Walt Disney World news from D23, including lots of Star Wars, a new Toy Story Land at DHS and even more Frozen stuff. If you have any questions or comments, email us at

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunset Kilimanjaro Safari

There was a lot of hoopla surrounding the D23 Parks and Resorts Presentation. And rightfully so with Stars Wars land, Toy Story land, Avatar details etc. etc. etc. But hidden within the talk was some more interesting details about the night time version of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Night time at DAK

First, a name: the Sunset Kilimanjaro Safari. Disney is really harping on the angle that there will be 2 different experiences with the day and evening versions. The question is will this actually be a separate attraction for purposes of, say, making fast passes. Will you be able to book both? Currently, you cannot make 2 fast passes for the same ride.

Disney has now said what the intent is for this attraction. We have debated on the show whether there will be night vision goggles (which really never made financial or logistical sense) or perhaps bright moonlight type of lighting. The Singapore Zoo does a night time safari where the animals are bathed in what is seemingly bright moonlight. But no, Disney is now saying they are going to magically extended the orange glow of sunset into the night time hours. It will be interesting to see how that works. It is certainly going to be something new for a zoo.

Disney has also said that they will be adding new animals to the ride. We have told you previously that both hyenas and wild hunting dogs would be added. Disney has confirmed that. They also seem to confirm on the blog that these 2 animals will only be out after dark. They have not announced any other animals but we will see.

Finally, an opening date. Though we were not given a specific date, we were given a fairly specific time frame: Spring 2016. This is the same time frame as the Rivers of Light. Thus, both of these will open at least a full year before Avatar opens. It will be interesting to see how much traffic the park sees for these 2 attractions in the evening hours before we ever get to Pandora.

By Safari Mike

Friday, August 14, 2015

Avatarland at D23

Some interesting information is coming through at D23. As we all know, there is an exhibit at the convention showcasing some imagineering stuff, specifically models and whatnot from Shanghai Disney and Avatarland.

One of the main things they are showcasing for Avatar is the backstory. That is apparently the idea will be that a intergalactic travel company Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE for short) is beginning travels to the far away planet. They even have some awesome travel posters.

I particularly like the evening poster which highlights the difference between daylight Pandora and nighttime Pandora.

This difference is even translated to the model of the land itself.

Take a look at the "day time" Pandora

The above shot is actually taken over the "base" which will be the shopping/eating area of the land. The idea is this is home base for ACE before heading out on trips. You will see more on that later in this post but first a night view of the model...

The floating mountains are huge - which makes sense since they will hold the Bansee Soaring ride. I have to say it looks fascinating. And Disney gave you some models of the animals too.

Here are some looks at the various critters.

Many of these you will recognize from the movie, assuming you have seen it.

They also handed out a booklet giving you some details.

They are really pushing the travel agency back story which I like. It reminds me a bit of the Dinoland back story with the Time Rovers and Dino Institute. Notice how they talk about an expedition base. Read that to mean: counter service and gift shop.

Who will learn Pandoran? I need my hands on one of these brochures, I like the way they give you some of the highlights of your trip. Can they really pull off floating mountains? Glow in the dark forests? The attractions will likely be great but if they can float a mountain, well that will be a "wow" moment. Now for a map and some pointers. 

Again they reference a lodge which will give a built in excuse for architecture. We all have to eat, drink, shop and use a rest room. I wonder if Marshall Lamm will be Avatarland's version of Dr. Seeker? I have heard from our friend Jeff (who you should follow on twitter as @braindud92) that there was a film that was quite cheesy but really played up the guided eco tour theme.

Read this part above carefully. Yes, its pimping a cool satchel for sale at D23 but it also might give you a hint of what to expect. A shaman singing by a river? A trumpteting hammerhead (one of the featured critters)? Are these scenes for the river cruise? Secret caves? Yes please. I sure hope there is a lot of nooks and crannies to explore.

Again, thanks to Jeff for all of the photos and the details for this exhibit at D23.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Elephants in Culture

Today, August 12th, is World Elephant Day. So I thought it would be a perfect time to talk a little about the elephant in culture. This, of course, is an important aspect of the theme behind Disney's Animal Kingdom. The park's theme is not really conservation or zoological education. Those surely are part of the theme, but the theme is even broader: The relationship between man and the natural world.

Statue of an elephant at the Boma on the Wild Africa Trek

And elephants are an important aspect of this. It's no secret that elephants are big, intelligent and unique. They are caring of their young and each other.  It should not come as a surprise that where elephants occur naturally (Africa, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent) they are an integral part of the culture and mythology.

on the bridge leading to Anandapur

Ganesh is the Hindu elephant god. He is the remover of obstacles, the patron of both art and science, and even the god of beginnings. With such broad domains, he is one of the most revered deities in Hinduism. Buddha often references elephants in his teachings.

wall d├ęcor in Harambe

Obviously, the animals were domesticated and even used in war. We all know the story of Hannibal crossing the Alps on elephants. We have heard the history of Alexander the Great's conquest of the Middle East into even India fighting elephant cavalries.

The maharajahs used elephants

In Africa, elephants are well respected and even in some cultures feared. Tribes in some places would migrate away from herds avoiding them as much as possible. Other cultures believed the spirits of their ancestors were carried by elephants. Each tribe has a different take, but in all circumstances they were a fundamental part of life.

Even Mickey and Minnie are impressed

Today, elephants are some of the most popular zoo animals. They are the highlight of any African safari. People love them. They love to watch them. Despite all of this, poaching is on the rise and the species is in trouble, so on this day, we should reflect on how important they are to the culture of humans.

By Safari Mike

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Photo for Today: What's Up There??

Imagineers decided when making Expedition Everest they would put a few little hints as to what you might find while during your journey on the Anandapur Rail Service. Let's just say they decided not to be very subtle about it...

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for August 5, 2015: Closures and Happy Gilmore

Pizzafari Closing for Extended Remodel?: Pizzafari on Discovery Island is now scheduled to close August 24 and remained closed until October 19th of this year. We are assuming this work is being done in preparation of the new sit-down restaurant being built within the same building as the current counter-service.

We still are not entirely sure what this new restaurant will look like. Many have been assuming a “signature” level location will go in the Avatar area, but it is entirely possible this will be the place. Avatar doesn't lend itself well to a restaurant, but since the location of Pizzafari is only steps from the entrance to Pandora, perhaps there won't be any sit-down dining location in the new area. We will have more on this as information comes out.

Primeval Whirl Closing This Month for Refurbishment:  We also learned this week that Primeval Whirl, the spinning coaster in Dinoland, will be closing from August 17 through to November 12. From what we understand, this is nothing more than an extended maintenance project. But if you were hoping the end of looking at construction walls in Disney’s Animal Kingdom was coming soon, you can keep hoping.

This Just In…Adam Sandler Has Great Taste in Resorts: Say what you will about Adam Sandler, but you can’t deny this guy has great taste in resorts at Walt Disney World. While most celebs default to something on the monorail loop, Mr. Sandler goes for something far more exciting! Good Choice Adam!

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: August 5 9am -7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: August 6  9am - 7pm
Friday: August 7  9am -7pm
Saturday: August 8  9am - 6pm
Sunday: August 9 9am - 6pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Monday: August 10  9am - 7pm
Tuesday: August 11  9am - 6pm

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

Attraction Closures:
Disney Outfitters: expansion work until November 2015
Pizzafari: closed August 24 through October 19
Primeval Whirl: closed August 17 through to November 12

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Avatar info coming to D23

According to friend of the show, Jeff, who is @braindud92 on the twitters, Disney has provided some details on the Avatar section of the D23 exhibit on its app. It states:

"Another area of the pavilion celebrates the Avatar project at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Once guests go through a separate entrance, they encounter representatives from an Eco-Tour company, which has partnered with Disney's Animal Kingdom to bring people to the distant world of Pandora, home to the Na'vi, an indigenous people that have a deep connection to the natural world. Eco-Tour guides are there to show models. images and exhibits of what visitors to Pandora will find on their future visit."

work on the bridge to Avatarland

An interesting paragraph. For certain, it appears guests to D23 will get to see the models used in various Disney released videos. You could possibly even reenact the photos of Joe Rohde and James Cameron as they look at the models. It also appears there will be concept art (i.e. images) there, but who knows if it will be the same art we have already see. Let's hope there is something new.

Finally, the conceit of the area: Disney's Animal Kingdom is working with a new tour company to get you to Pandora. Very interesting, but there is no word as to whether this concept will actually be used in the park itself or if its just for the D23 exhibit. It certainly does sound like something that would eventually be used for the park itself with the tour company being similar to Chrono-Tech and the time rovers over at the Dino Institute.

Often the entrance to a land is a gateway of some type and here it might be the headquarters or office of this eco-tour company who is sending you to this land. It works for me.

By Safari Mike

Photo for Today: The Riverbank

One of the most aesthetically pleasing bodies of water in any theme park is the Discovery River. Couple that with one of the most aesthetically pleasing icons, the Tree of Life and, well

The combination of sunlight, greenery and water makes for a great picture, doesn't it?

By Safari Mike

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Episode 64 of Radio Harambe - Saluting Cecil and Big Cats

Last week, Disney's Animal Kingdom celebrated Big Cat Day, and we thought we would do the same on this show. We also wanted to take some time discuss the awful death of the incredible Cecil, and offer our salute to the lion who lost his life at the hands of a hunter. So in this week's feature section, Dave and Safari Mike discuss the loss of Cecil, big cats around the world, and some additions to the park they would like to see involving these impressive felines.

They also discuss the news from the Animal Kingdom including some possible Avatar news coming at D23, and the departure of an old friend at the Oasis. Dave also tries his hand at another round of "Guess the Price". If you have any comments or questions, please email us at Asante Sana!