Thursday, December 29, 2016

Disney Animal Kingdom News for December 29, 2016: More Pandora

Disney Parade: One of the (few) highlights of this year's Disney Christmas Parade was the video clip showing us some more glimpses of the upcoming Avatarland. There was nothing earth shattering, but some interesting details were given. Orlando Park News put up some stills here. The 3 most interesting tidbits involve the landscape and the rides. You got quite a few looks at some of the plant life of the land as well as close ups on the floating mountains. There was scenes of executives testing out the boat ride. And we all love boat rides. Finally, there was a peek at the simulator. If you look close, it seems you can see the "banshees" lined up. The theater is very Soarin'-like but instead of seats, you have rows of what looks like bicycle machines.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 29 8 am- 8:30 pm
Friday December 30 8 am-8:30 pm
Saturday December 31 8 am- 8:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  January 1 9 am- 7 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Monday January 2 9 am- 7 pm
Tuesday January 3 9 am- 7 pm
Wednesday January 4 9 am-7 pm

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Episode 102 of Radio Harambe: 2016 Year in Review at DAK

It's time to look back at the year that was 2016 at Disney's Animal Kingdom as Dave and Safari Mike discuss all the biggest news stories and changes at their favorite Walt Disney World Park this last year. If you have any questions or comments about the show, please email us at Asante Sana and Happy New Year!

Jambo House 1 Bed Room Suite

We recently spent a few days in a one bedroom suite at the Jambo House DVC wing. And let me tell you, we love this set up as its a great and spacious room. 

First of all the balcony is huge covering the space of 2 full rooms. Want to have a few guests? This would be a great spot to relax. The bedroom itself has plenty of space. 

I wanted to give you some photos of what the room looks like to help decide if you really want to use the extra points for this place. Honestly, I think its worth it but, of course, it truly depends on the points available to you.

The bedroom is located down a small hall from the living room and kitchen across from a large bathroom. One of the best features is the laundry appliances available in the room. This means for a week stay you don't need to pack for a week. Let the laundry go while you enjoy the parks since it your room, you don't have to sit there waiting for it.

The living space has a nice table with a large screen TV.

The kitchen has plenty of space to actually cook. To be honest, we never do that on vacation but its there.

Moving to the bathroom, you can see its plenty big.

The decor, of course, sticks with the look of the resort as a whole with great dark woods and African art.

The chairs, tables and other pieces follow this aesthetic. I for one love these mirrors.

And there is always outside...

Obviously the best part of the room is the view. I mean this can't be beat. 

By Safari Mike 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for December 21, 2016: Breakfast option for the holiday

Breakfast at Restaurantosaurus: From now until the end of the year, you will be able to get breakfast at Restaurantosaurus. Basically, it serves waffles with a topping bar including chocolate, caramel, banana foster topping, strawberry sauce, and the like. Yogurt and and cereal is also available. This type of service is typical with the incredibly heavy crowds of the holiday season.

Avatarland Update: We got some new aerial views of the construction of the Pandora section of the park. You can check them out over at WDWMagic. As you can see, work on the building is moving along rapidly as they are closing in on the opening time of Summer 2017. The landscape is really starting to take shape.

New AP holder entrances: All the parks debuted a new express entrance for exclusive use by Annual Passholders. Apparently, these will only be in use during the busiest times of the year such as Christmas week, mid summer and spring break. Considering how crowded it can be to enter the park, it is a nice little perk.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 22 9 am- 7:30 pm
Friday December 23 9 am-7:30 pm
Saturday December 24 9 am- 7:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  December 25 8 am- 8:30 pm
Monday December 26 8 am- 8:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday December 27 8 am- 8:30 pm
Wednesday December 28 8 am-8:30 pm

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas At AKL

In my opinion, Christmas at the Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is about as good as it gets. The blending of  animal and African themes with Christmas decor makes for a slightly unusual festive experience. I cannot thank the wonderful Cassie (@DoleWhipSwirl) enough for taking all of these fantastic pictures. 

The tree is absolutely amazing.

And I love the little Christmas boxes. 

Garland and wreaths are found throughout with great animal and animal print ornaments. Speaking of ornaments...

I love the style of these adornments.

Here is some more great shots from around Zawadi Marketplace.

Finally, a couple of more shots from the impressive lobby. Thanks again to Cassie for bringing a little Christmas to the blog this year.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. 

Safari Mike 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Disney Animal Kingdom News for December 14, 2016: A return

The Paroon Shark Catfish Has Returned: The trail leading up to the Tree of Life is now open. And, thankfully, we have the return of the amazing Paroon Shark Catfish. These gigantic freshwater fish are from 2 river basins in Indochina and critically endangered. So, its good to see its return. Thanks to Belle (@belle599) for the photo.

DisneyNature film: The next DisneyNature film is called "Born in China." It will focus on a giant panda family as well as a golden monkey and snow leopard family. Disney has announced that the narrator will be John Krasinski of The Office fame. Disney also has announced that donations will be made for every ticket sold, just like with past similar films. In this case, Disney will donate to the World Wildlife Fund to help protect the wild panda and snow leopard.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 15 9 am- 7 pm
Friday December 16 9 am-7 pm
Saturday December 17 9 am- 7 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  December 18 9 am- 7:30 pm
Monday December 19 9 am- 7:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday December 20 9 am- 7:30 pm
Wednesday December 21 9 am-7:30 pm

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The new Macaques

The lion tailed macaques are now out at the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Their exhibit is located just past the komodo dragon and before the bat house. A special thanks to friend of the show and blog Ken (@DisneyDad611) for these pictures of the new additions to the park.

This is a perfect example of what we would like to see come to the Animal Kingdom. An interesting animal (although to me they all are) and one that needs awareness.

The lion tailed macaque has 2 distinguishing features. One is the black tuft at the end of their tail, much like a lion, and hence the name. But there is also that impressive silver mane. One has to wonder why they are not called the silver mane macaque.

These primates spend the vast majority of their life in the canopy eating fruits, leaves and small invertebrates. They are only found in the Western Ghats of Southwest India which has been listed as one of the "hottest hot-spots" for biological diversity.

Thanks to their naturally limited range and the abundance of farms destroying habitat, they are endangered, and rank as one of the rarest monkeys in the world. It is estimated there are only about 3000 of them in the wild.

It is hoped that Disney can add to the population as they have 3 females and 1 male in the troop. In the wild, hierarchical groups usually have many more females than adult males, so this group is not unusual. But those groups do typically number around 10 to 20.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for December 7, 2016: More delay

The delay continues: Since I am really starting to get tired of writing about Rivers of Light, I can only imagine how tired you must be reading about Rivers of Light. Well, I am sorry, but the long drawn out saga continues. All hope for a holiday release of the Rivers of Light show is now over. Disney has updated the official web page to indicate the show is coming in 2017. No other details on time are given, but again, if I had to guess, I am think Earth Day, April 22 will be the opening. That would give the show a few months before Avatarland opens to find its footing. And they sure do love Earth Day openings.

The Macaques are Out: We first told you these primates were coming to the jungle trek months ago. Well, they are now out. So head on over to the Maharajah Jungle Trek, just before the bat exhibit, and see the 3 females and one male that make up this troop.

Early Closings: Please be aware, that for the rest of the calendar year, both Kali River Rapids and Adventurer's Outpost will be closing early. The meet n greet will close at 4:30 everyday, while Kali's closing times depend on the anticipated crowd levels, For example, this week the park remains open until 7 but Kali will close at 5.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 8 9 am- 7 pm
Friday December 9 9 am-7 pm
Saturday December 10 9 am- 7 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  December 11 9 am- 7 pm
Monday December 12 9 am- 7 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday December 13 9 am- 7 pm
Wednesday December 14 9 am-7 pm

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Episode 99 of Radio Harambe - An Animal Kingdom Hodgepodge

Dave and Safari Mike have a few different topics to discuss on this show, covering Disney's Animal Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World. The first topic covered is the recent Cast Member preview of the Rivers of Light and what it may mean for the future of the show. Then Dave tells about his most recent trip, including his undying love for the Nomad Lounge.

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for November 30, 2016: Rivers of Light previews

Mixed Reviews for Rivers of Light: This past weekend saw cast member previews for Rivers of Light. Fittingly, the first performance had a technical glitch that required a reboot of the entire show. Generally, I saw somewhat positive reviews. It seems the big criticism is the lack of a cohesive story and a final "wow" moment you typically see in night time shows. Universally, the show received high marks from a technical standpoint including the constantly moving floats and lotus flower fountains. The visuals on the water screens are allegedly superior to what we saw at the Jungle Book show. Also, many praised the preshow fire fly effects. Finally, everyone seemed to love the score. Still no word though on an opening date.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday December 1 9 am- 7 pm
Friday December 2 9 am-7 pm
Saturday December 3 9 am- 7 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  December 4 9 am- 7 pm
Monday December 5 9 am- 7 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday December 6 9 am- 7 pm
Wednesday December 7 9 am-6: 30 pm

Friday, November 25, 2016

Episode 98 of Radio Harambe - News From Pandora

The recently concluded Destination D brought us plently of news to talk, and some we were hoping to talk about, including a whole lot of news regarding Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom and not much news on Rivers of Light. Dave and Safari Mike will discuss it all, including a full serving of DAK news and a pretty large helping of news from the rest of Walt Disney World as well. If you have any questions or comments about the show, please feel free to email us at Asante Sana and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for November 23, 2016: Reopenings

Dinosaur Reopens: After several months, Dinosaur has reopened with more than just a mere sprucing up. Here is a video of the new effects including a video effect of running dinosaurs and some additional laser effects. Other upgrades have been made as well. For example, the baby  Hadrosaurs move, audio effects during the chase scene have been improved, and now there is more lightning and meteors.

Flame Tree Pagodas: Also reopening is all of the outside seating areas of the Flame Tree BBQ. The Orlando Park News has some nice photos of the covered walkway between all of the seating areas. While I was concerned this would effect the serene aesthetic of the area, it seems to blend in well and not be overly obtrusive. So while the food quality has gone down in recent years, it is still a pretty place to eat.

Rivers of Light?: Fresh of the disheartening lack of any information about Rivers of Light at the recent Destination D event, word from WDWMagic is that there will be cast member previews coming this weekend. Frankly, I am not sure what to make of all of this anymore. We keep hearing its ready, but maybe Disney has decided to hold off opening it until we get closer to Avatar being open. Certainly, if they were going to begin showing this for the holidays we are almost out of time. I suppose at this point we just need to wait for some kind of announcement.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday November 24 9 am- 7:30 pm
Friday November 25 9 am-7:30 pm
Saturday November 26 9 am- 7:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  November 27 9 am- 7 pm
Monday November 28 9 am- 7 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday November 29 9 am- 7 pm
Wednesday Novemer 30 9 am-7 pm

Monday, November 21, 2016

What we learned about Pandora

As you are all aware, there was a big Destination D event at Walt Disney World this weekend, and a lot of news came from this event. Most of the big stuff was about the future of Disney's Animal Kingdom, and mostly Avatar stuff. As you know, there were 2 different Animal Kingdom related talks. The first included James Cameron and gave quite a bit more detail about the upcoming land.

bridge to Pandora

The second talk was by just Joe Rohde and discussed the evolution of the park itself. For example, guests learned that Harambe means "lets all work together" and was the name of a boat used by imagineers during research trips in Africa. But lets take a look at we learned about the upcoming project, Pandora - World of Avatar.

1. We learned a little bit more about when the land will actually open. They have announced the opening as "Summer 2017" which is a bit earlier than I expected. We also got confirmation that, at least so far, the entire land will open at once including both attractions.

2. The timing of the land will be about a hundred years after the events of the movie. In fact, some of the concept art shows abandoned and rusting items left behind during the war. As seen in the bridge above, the old days of the RDA, which brought the war to Pandora, have started to be overtaken again by nature, much like the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

3. The floating mountains will be covered in vines, Na'vi totems, and bioluminescent life forms. The entire land will be called Mo'ara Valley. The mountains float thanks to a substance called unobtanium. You will be able to walk around the rain forest of the valley that surrounds the mountains. The bioluminescent life forms spring to life after sunset. This will be true throughout the land.

4. The Flight of Passage attraction combines the Avatar program with banshees, meaning, I guess, guests become part of the program. To avoid dangers, you will be assisted by a Na'vi.  You will straddle a banshee and use glasses to enjoy the 3D experience. It will be thrilling and you will not only enjoy vistas of the jungle but also fly through waterfalls and over the ocean. The queue will feature interactive fungus that lights up.

5. Conservation will be a big key to the back story. To that end, there will scientists working to conserve the natural resources of the land. There was also discussion at the event about some of the animals native to the planet.

6. The will be a store called Wind Traders, which is named after one particular tribe that travel the planet trading with others. The Na'vi do not use metals but instead weave, and much of the artwork hang from walls and trees. You will be able to buy not only art work but supplies from ACE. Also, there will be plenty of plush if the concept art below is any indication.

courtesy of Disney

7. Food will be served at the Satu'li Canteen which will adopt the three foot long food items eaten by the natives to guests. Other than saying this food will be "alien" I have no idea what this might mean. The aesthetic though looks fun.  There will be a lot of interesting Na'vi artwork at the place.

courtesy of Disney

8. There will be no walk around Na'vi. They will only be found in the 2 attractions.

Courtesy of Disney

9. Pongu Pongu will be the bar. Specialty drinks will be served and the bar itself is made from pieces of junk left from the century old war.

10. The Na'vi River Journey will feature the Shaman of Songs an amazing AA figure that blows all prior AAs out of the water. She is connected to the consciousness of the forest known as Ewya. This ride will take you through a rarely visited area of the Na'vi's home. A video of the figure was shown which is linked here.

And, finally, one disappointing thing was the lack of Rivers of Light information. It was not mentioned. Not one single time. And, obviously, the rumors of a presentation of it given to all the attendees proved to be incorrect.

I, for one, am starting to believe Rivers of Light is not in our immediate future after all. Its quite possible Disney has decided to hold off on the show until we get closer to opening on Pandora next summer. We might be looking at an Earth Day or Memorial Day 2017 opening.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for November 16, 2016:

Rivers of Light demo: Initially reported by Orlando Parks News, Disney apparently presented a showing of Rivers of Light this past Sunday after midnight. The music was heard by people outside of the park itself. It was likely for executives to preview the presentation. This does go hand in hand with rumors circulating that Destination D patrons this coming weekend will also get a preview of the show. As you may recall from prior posts, there is a presentation by Joe Rohde on the past and future of the park followed by an unspecified event in a park. They have promised new information on Avatarland stuff. We will see if the sneak peek at Rivers of Light is also in the cards. Stay tuned.

Christmas is Here: The usual eclectic holiday decorations have made their appearance at the park. At the Animal Kingdom, look for animal themes and decor made out of unusual items like old cans and bicycles. Of course this year, there will be a few hours of after dark touring where the decorations are lit up. Enjoy.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday November 17 9am- 7 pm
Friday November 18 9am-7 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Saturday November 19 9am- 7 pm
Sunday  November 20 9am- 7:30 pm
Monday November 21 9am- 7:30 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday November 22 9am- 7:30 pm
Wednesday Novemer 23 9am-7:30 pm