Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Winged Encounters A Video

Recently, Winged Encounters has moved to the front of the Tree of Life, a prime spot. I was lucky enough to grab a front row look.

As you can see, while Flights of Wonder is under construction, they are pre-showing Winged Encounters.

Many of you will recognize this routine from Flights of Wonder. But the best part of this show is of course, the flight in.

Its such a great show, and now also highlights the opening of the park.

By Safari Mike

Monday, March 28, 2016

Episode 82 of Radio Harambe - A Gastro Trip Report

Dave and Safari Mike use this episode to offer their trip report from their latest vacation to Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, and it's not the kind of "gastro" you may be thinking of. There's lots of talk about what's going on a Disney's Animal Kingdom, the usual complaining about FastPass+ and some major TMI about Dave's post-trip illness...we apologize in advance.

In you have any questions or comments about the show, email us at jamboeveryone@gmail.com. Asante Sana!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Episode 81 of Radio Harambe - News Special

This week we have an all news episode as we cover some of the biggest stories from Disney's Animal Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World. We talk about all the latest on the nighttime transformation coming to DAK, a new animal coming to the Maharajah Jungle Trek, and a fond farewell to Gi-Tar Dan.

If you have any comments or questions about the show, email us at jamboeveryone@gmail.com. Asante Sana and enjoy the show!

Monday, March 21, 2016

AKL Art Spotlight: Bamana Puppet

The Bamana, or Bambara, people are the largest ethnic group of Mali, which is in western equatorial Africa. Art is an important part of the lives of this group. There are several different types of performances involving masks. The n'tomo mask, for example, is used in male initiation ceremonies.

An they also use puppetry like the piece shown above. Performances are typically seen after important events, like a harvest. These stage shows most often revolve around domestic life and conflicts of the home. Using comedy, they tell tales of farmers, wives, and day to day to life.

By Safari Mike

Thursday, March 17, 2016

New Street Performances Announced

The Disney Parks blog today announced 2 new street parties come to the Animal Kingdom for night time partying.

Geared towards tweens, the Harambe Wildlife Parti, will showcase musicians as well as other entertainers. The post also mentions exotic foods and goods from merchants.  It is unclear if this just means things that are already there like Harambe Market and Mombasa Marketplace.

The post also mentions the Discovery Island Carnivale, invoking perhaps more a South American kind of street party. 

Food and music seem to be the core of this party but they go on to mention vibrant costumes, as well. Again, this seem a bit South American themed at first glance. The party will play out across the entire island.

Disney seems to a have learned a lesson from Harambe Nights back in 2014. The popularity of that evening offering may very well be the genesis of these new offerings coming next month.

By Safari Mike

Some details on the Sunset Safari

Disney has provided some more details on the Sunset Safari coming on April 22nd along with Rivers of Light and Tiffens. This was provided by our friends over at Orlando Park News. There is no blockbuster information but certainly some interesting details.

First of all, it will not be considered a new attraction but instead, an extension of operating hours. So what does that mean for us? The most important thing is, I think, there will be no extra fast pass possiblity. That is, you will not be able to make a fast pass for both Kilimanjaro Safari and Sunset Safari. Seems like an odd choice considering Disney's recent desire to make everything a potential fast pass.

The lights added will be used for about 4 or 5 hours, verifying recent reports that the park will be open until as late as 11:30pm on some nights. This also potentially confirms recent rumors of Rivers of Light running multiple times an evening. If the park is staying open that late, its certainly possible. Plus, the theater only holds 5,000 people so multiple performances almost seems a requirement.

Disney confirmed what we had reported awhile back, the evening version of the ride will run along a different road. At night, there will be a bypass skipping some of the savanna. However, Disney did state the stops will be longer allowing guests to spend more time at individual exhibits, which is certainly a plus. Also, there will be more lighting on the trucks themselves. 

Also, Disney stated that there will be sounds used to evoke the emotions of a real African safari. This is fascinating to me. Imagine hearing the roar of a lion while in the dark? So cool. 

Disney finally also confirmed that the walking trails, Pangani and the Maharajah, as well as Rafiki's Planet Watch and the Wilderness Explorer's game will continue to shut down at sunset. However, Disney has also stated previously that they will be increasing the amount of entertainment at night, somewhat offsetting the closure of the walking trials.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News fo March 16, 2016: New Store and a good bye

Discovery Training Company: A few weeks ago, Disney Outfitters closed. Its reopened and now called the Discovery Trading Company. The store holds typical Disney park fare as well as some higher end stuff like the Pandora and Vera Bradley lines. The Island Mercantile will start focus more on African inspired materials while the combined Riverside Depot and Discovery Trading Company essentially becomes the park's Emporium or Mouse Gears.

My son (with the plush guitar) enjoying Gi-Tar Dan

Goodbye Gi-Tar Dan: Longtime entertainer Gi-Tar Dan officially played his last time at Disney's Animal Kingdom on March 11th. Dan used to play in Camp Minnie Mickey near the exit for Festival of the Lion King, where he entertained the masses (including a memorable day for my family and then 2 year old son). He since moved to Rafiki's Planet Watch. I, for one, will miss Dan. However, as we know, Disney has already said they will be adding entertainment offerings soon, especially at night.

photo courtesy of Disney

Its all in the Costumes: the Disney Parks blog had a post today covering the highly detailed costumes of the 2 shamans that star in the upcoming Rivers of Light. The shamans are named Aseema and Aditya, whose names translate roughly to water and the sun. Of course, since this is the "rivers" of "light", those make obvious sense. Each shaman has an acolyte, who joins their master first in the village (one of the 2 amphitheaters) and then down to the water to light the lanterns. The details of the costumes show a very southwestern Native American feel to them.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday March 17 9am- 7pm
Friday March 18 9am- 7pm
Saturday March 19 8am-  67pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday March 20 9am- 7pm
Monday March 21 9am- 7pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday March 22 9am- 7pm
Wednesday March 23 9am- 7pm

Have a Wild Time

Monday, March 14, 2016

Black Swans on the Oasis

Black swans are beautiful birds. This waterfowl is common in its native Australia and once was found in New Zealand, as well. However it was exterminated there. Still, their graceful and bold appearance has led some to introduce populations in other parts of the world, particularly Europe. They have also been reintroduced into New Zealand.

Here at the Animal Kingdom, these birds can be found in the Oasis. The stark black plumage and red bill make it stand out.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for March 9, 2016: Night touring both at the park and lodge

More Night Touring Information: TravelWeek in Canada recently posted an article with some interesting information on the expansion of park hours. The article, of course, mentions Rivers of Light. But it also indicates that night time events, such as the Sunset Safari, will begin about 15 to 20 minutes after sunset. In the summer, that could be pretty late indeed. The article goes on to say that Disney officials have stated the park will stay open as late as 11:30 on some nights. That's right, nearly midnight. It also mentions a new street party with musicians, storytellers and acrobats.

Starlight Safari: The night safari has been going for some time at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It takes guests out in a truck with night vision goggles. There has been 2 changes. First the name, which is obviously an attempt to distinguish it from the upcoming park offerings. But also, it is now available to everyone not just AKL guests. The tour is about an hour and costs $70.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday March 10 9am- 6:30pm
Friday March 11 9am- 6:30pm
Saturday March 12 8am-  6:30pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday March 13 9am- 6:30pm
Monday March 14 9am- 7pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday March 15 9am- 7pm
Wednesday March 16 9am- 7pm

As you can see, park hours have been pushed back a bit for the upcoming week.

Have a Wild Time

More details on Rivers of Light

Yesterday, the Disney Parks Blog hosted a live chat with 2 of the people behind the upcoming Rivers of Light, Michael Jung and Mark Renfrow. There was not a ton of new information but a few interesting tidbits did come out. The 2 shamans who "host" the show are Ashima, the embodiment of water, and Aditya, the embodiment of fire and light aka the sun. The show will feature over a 100 floating lanterns on the water. Some of the lanterns are really more like barges including those for the 4 spirit guides: Tiger, Elephant, Turtle and Owl.

The unique score was recorded at the famous Abbey Road in London and the video chat did give you a little taste of the music. There is an original song composed by Mark Mancina (who worked on the music for The Lion King, Brother Bear and Tarzan, among other non Disney projects) and a score composed by Don Harper who has been involved in several Disney projects such as Lion King 1 1/2 and National Treasure.  

The seating will be the best place to enjoy the show but it will be possible to view at least some aspects without being in the stands. However, there are a lot of seats- about 5,000 of them. The amphitheater is divided into 2 sections, each being a "village" and integral to the show.

This picture shows the 2 distinct "villages"

 Also, the show will be a fast pass plus option although it is unclear if it will be such out of the gate. We still do not know the length of the show or if it will be shown on more than one occasion per night.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lion Tailed Macaques

As we reported little over a week ago, significant work was being done on the Maharajah Jungle Trek at the old tapir exhibit. The tapir had passed away about 6 years ago and since then the exhibit has housed bar-headed geese and sarus cranes. Those birds are back in the large exhibit just past the tigers, again accompanying the Eld's deer and blackbuck.

The cranes, geese and ducks have returned to the large prey exhibit

We now are hearing that lion tailed macaques are coming to the new area. We had speculated that based on the work being done, it was likely a type of primate, and this is a nice choice.

First of all, they are striking. The manes give them a unique appearance. But more importantly, they are highly endangered. The species are found in the southwestern corner of India, and have suffered greatly due to habitat destruction for coffee and tea plantations as well as timber. They have also been hunted for their fur and flesh. Currently, there are less than 3000 in the wild.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Work on the Maharajah Jungle Trek

Anyone been on the Maharajah Jungle Trek recently will see some major work being done to one of the exhibits. Its the old tapir exhibit which is in between the Komodo and the bats. For years (since the tapir passed away), it has housed some Asiatic ducks and Sarus cranes, which have been moved back to the large exhibit of blackbuck, Eld's deer, and water buffalo.

As you can see, this is major work. This is tarp currently covering the glass which will surround the exhibit. What does that mean? Typically, it means something that can easily get out. Like perhaps a species of primate. Also, they are obviously working on the rockwork with this scaffolding. Will they be adding trees and other arboreal structures for an animal such as a monkey, or even something like an orangutan? Maybe. Another possibility is a predator of some type, like a leopard. But we should be getting an announcement soon.
By Safari Mike