Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for August 31, 2016: New food items and some testing

Changes to Quick Service menus: Both Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus had some tweaks to their menus in recent days. At Pizzafari, three flatbreads have been added: the Mediterranean, the Cheeseburger, and the Pepperoni. Remaining on the menu is the Shrimp flatbread and  cheese pizza along with the pasta dish. The side salad was changed out for a tomato cucumber salad. Over in Dinoland, you can now snag a Chicken BLT sandwich which replaced the grilled chicken sandwich.

Late night coming to a temporary end: Don't forget the days where the Animal Kingdom closes nightly at 11pm are coming to close. If you have not yet enjoyed the Jungle Book show and/or being in the park that late, well it all comes to an end on Monday, Labor Day. That will be the last performance of the show and hours get reduced to 9pm. We hope this is temporary and that Rivers of Light comes fast.

Rivers of Light Testing: Speaking of Rivers of Light, work continues in the mornings on the big event. I watched them working on the floats for some time during early Extra Magic Hours this week. Hopefully, we will get more information soon on an estimated start date. This show, which was supposed to begin on Memorial Day, likely is still weeks if not months away from debuting. 

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday September 1, 9am- 11pm
Friday September 2 9am-11pm
Saturday September 3 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday  September 4 9am- 11pm
Monday September 5 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday September 6 9am- 9pm
Wednesday September 7 9am- 9pm

Sunday, August 21, 2016

AKL Artifact spotlight: Beaded Bird headdress

The Bamileke people were originally from a region called Mbam but in the 1600s moved to what is now western Cameroon. Today this tribe of about eight million are mostly farmers in that area. It is believed that the women make the land more fruitful so they do most of the planting and harvesting. The men hunt and clear the land. 

Much of the art created by these people involve royal ceremonies. Items such as headdresses are a sign of status. As some one who moves up or down the social ladder, works of art are gained or lost. Masks and headdresses are worn during ceremonies like funerals, weddings and royal occasions.

By Safari Mike 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for August 17, 2016: No more Jungle Book but still night hours

Jungle Book Alive with Magic to end: Labor day this year is September 5th, and it is also the last day of the Jungle Book show in the park. With no start date announced for Rivers of Light, Disney has decided they would rather have the new theater sit empty then continue with this production. The show received tepid reviews at best so for the time being the brand new water side theater will be empty.

Evening Hours: One concern we all had was if there was no Jungle Book show, what would happen with night time touring at the park. For a time, Disney had 7:30 pm as the official closing time throughout September. That has now changed. For the month of September, the park will remain open until 9 pm allowing guests to enjoy all of the other evening events like the night safaris, the Tree of Life projections and new entertainment offerings despite the loss of the big day ending show. No announcement has been made about October and beyond though one can only presume it will stay open until about 9 pm as we wait for Rivers of Light.

More details about Pandora soon: James Cameron and his sidekick, Jon Landau are going to Walt Disney World. D23 Destination D is holding an event at the resort on November 19 and 20 this year. As part of that, it was recently announced the creators of Avatar will be there to give a presentation along with Joe Rohde providing new details of the coming 12 acre land. Stay tuned for more information.

More from D23 in November: Disney has another presentation announced for the D23 event. It says in part:
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Evolving a New Species of Theme Park—Explore the origins and incredible evolution of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, from early concepts to up-close looks at new enhancements to be discovered at the park.
It's unclear what this entails but certainly this event has the Animal Kingdom fan covered.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday August 18 9am- 11pm
Friday August 19 9am-11pm
Saturday August 20 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday August 21 9am- 11pm
Monday August 22 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday August 23 9am- 11pm
Wednesday August 24 9am- 11pm

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wallaby baby

Late last year, the wallabies had a cute little baby. So I had to take some video

As you can see, its kind of tough to see the little joey since he spends most of his time in the pouch. These were from February so hopefully, you will see him some more now.

This last video is probably the clearest thanks to the lighting.

But the wallaby exhibit is probably one of the most under appreciated in the Oasis. Since its on the trail cutting between the two main paths, its seldom used.

By Safari Mike

Thursday, August 11, 2016

World Elephant Day

Earlier this week, I spent some time discussing the Horns and Heroes project and the effort to project the rhino. Well, tomorrow is a celebration of the other large land mammal effected greatly by the illegal ivory trade: the elephant.

It is World Elephant Day. And the Disney Conservation Fund, through the Wildlife Conservation Society are one of many groups hard at work trying to reverse the decline.

from the safari in 1998 

Elephants from both Africa and Asia are under constant threat and pressure. Local farmers are at odds with the animals, and one of the things Disney is doing is helping to fund the construction of fences to keep elephants out of the crops. These fences hold beehives and elephants are afraid of bees. Not only does this program help protect elephants but it also increases the population of pollinators.

Habitat destruction and human encroachment is obviously just one issue. As we all know, poaching takes a tremendous toll on the wild population.

If you are at the Animal Kingdom and Rafiki's Planet Watch, you will see a display of origami elephants. Disney is hoping to display 35,000 of them.

The number is significant because, as incredible as it may seem, that is the number of elephants killed every year for ivory in only Africa.

By Safari Mike

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Animal Kingdom News for August 10, 2016: Discounts

Tables of Wonderland Additions: Disney has recently added 4 new restaurants to its Table of Wonderland discount program. Both Tiffins and the Nomad Lounge are now on the list to receive 20% discounts if you purchase the card. The program is only available to Florida residents, AP holders and DVC members. It costs between $150 - $175 but a 20% quickly racks up savings, especially at places like Tiffins.

Jambo House Lobby: Earlier this week, I posted a series of photos on the Jambo House lobby and the new recent rhino sculpture display. The Horns and Heroes Project will be auctioning off these items to raise money for rhino conservation. The display will be there until the middle of September so check it out, and check out the Horns and Heroes Project as well.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday August 11 9am- 11pm
Friday August 12 9am-11pm
Saturday August 13 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Sunday August 14 9am- 11pm
Monday August 15 9am- 11pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday August 16 9am- 11pm
Wednesday August 17 9am- 11pm

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Horns and Heroes at the Jambo House

First of all, a big thanks to Cassie (@DoleWhipSwirl) for the pictures of the sculptures in the Jambo House lobby. And what, you might ask, are these fun rhino heads.  

They are the work of an incredible conservation group called the Horns and Heroes Project. This group is trying to raise awareness and money for the five critically endangered rhino species that we still have left on the planet. And they do it through art work like you see here. 

Some of these sculptures are whimsical and others more dramatic or realistic. But they are part of an auction that is coming in mid September in an attempt to raise awareness of the plight of the rhino. 

I'm sure many of you are aware just how dire the situation is. There are only 5 species of rhinoceros left on Earth: the White and Black species in Africa, and in Asia there is the Greater One Horned, the Javan and the Sumatran. The latter two species can only be found in small pockets on rain forest and critically endangered.

The white rhinos above, are of the southern subspecies. There are only 3 Northern White rhinos left on Earth. Pretty soon they will all be gone. And this terrible scenario, as well as the plight of all species of the rhino, is attributed to poaching for the distinctive horn.

In attempt to raise money, the Horns and Heroes project is producing beautiful art work. You can see more about them in the plague below, and see the relationship this fantastic group has with Disney.

Even Joe Rohde himself donated a very tribal looking rhino to the cause.

The rhino is a personal favorite. These prehistoric looking animals are impressive to see, especially up close.

At the Animal Kingdom, you can see both the white (above) and black (below) species of rhino. Groups like the Horns and Heroes project are trying to ensure that we will continue to be able to see these animals in the wild.

Check out the display at the Jambo House, and better yet, participate in the auction. The display will be there through the week of September 18th. A show featuring the art work from the project will be held at the Abbey in Orlando on September 22, 2016. The proceeds will benefit the International Rhino Foundation.

I also encourage you to look at their website and follow them on all sorts of social media outlets. There are other great organizations like our conservation partner, Save the Rhino, that can use support.

And thanks again, to our friend, Cassie for the photos at the Jambo House lobby.

By Safari Mike 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Episode 91 of Radio Harambe - Listener Questions

It’s another news show as Dave and Safari Mike comment on all the latest happenings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at