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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Episode 97 of Radio Harambe - Blue Christmas

It's time for a blue blue blue Christmas! That's right, we have two subjects for Dave and Safari Mike to discuss today: holidays at Walt Disney World and big blue people at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The guys discuss all the latest news regarding Pandora, and then focus the World News section on upcoming holiday events.

If you have any question or comments about the show, please feel free to email us at Asante Sana!

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for November 9, 2016: Rafiki's Hours and Reopening paths

Tree of Life Path: The path behind the Tree of Life has now reopened. This is the trail that runs along the river and connects Creature Comforts to the Adventurer's Outpost. The trail is a hidden gem of the park. They have opened up the view of the water a bit but its a beautiful, quiet area with beautiful waterfalls and real close looks at the Tree itself.  Furthermore, the red kangaroos out in front of the Tree are back, as well.

Rafiki Planet Watch Hours: While the rest of the park stays open after dark now, Rafiki's will have operating hours of 10am to 5pm. The last train to that area departs at 4:30pm. We are presuming it will remain this way until the days start getting longer.

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

Aruna's Real Africa: Birding

I used to think why would you want to look at birds when there are elephants and lions and other more exciting things to be seen. But then I found out that a) there is a huge variety of birds here in SA, and b) there aren’t always elephants and lions or even zebras to be seen but there are almost always birds to be found.

Three years ago, I was what I like to call a DAK-birder, in other words my birding was similar to how a lot of people tour DAK...

...if its big...

....or colourful...

... Or it looks familiar;). ...

... or someone points it out to you...

...or it’s in your face...

then I’d see it, otherwise I wouldn’t even notice it.

But like a lot of people that finally come to appreciate DAK and all the great details and theming I now also really appreciate the great variety of birds that can be found here in SA  and also how difficult they are to photograph ;)  In fact, now I will even take photographs of birds that I have no idea of what they are and actually enjoy looking them up and trying to find out what bird they are.

by Aruna Mohan (@arunarealafrica)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for November 3, 2016: Food changes

Some Counter Service Changes: There has been a few changes to some of the counter service locations at the park. Over at Restaurantosaurus, the menu recently added a grilled chicken blt sandwich. There is also a chili cheese dog and the chicken nuggets now come with a side of southwest salad. Nearby at TriloBites, the buffalo chicken waffle is gone. In its place is a buffalo chicken chips item, which is basically the same contents of the waffle on top of house made chips.

Na'vi Ride Vehicles: Our friends at WDWThemeParks recently linked some aerial photos of the Avatar construction. The most interesting part is definitely in the construction area's parking lot. Therein lies some covered ride vehicles. Its pretty clear that these are the boats for the upcoming river journey. You can see even though they are covered, they resemble the boats in the concept art below as both have 2 rows for passengers. It also seems more and more obvious that Disney will open both attractions around the same time, eliminating rumors of different phases.

Park Hours for this week are....
Thursday November 3 9am- 8:30 pm
Friday November 4 9am-8:30 pm
Saturday November 5 9am- 8:30 pm
Sunday  November 6 9am- 7 pm
Monday November 7 9am- 7 pm Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday November 8 9am- 7 pm
Wednesday Novemer 9 9am-7 pm