Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Its true. The Animal Kingdom is not the focal point of celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World. There are parties over at the Magic Kingdom, Holiday celebrations from around the world at Epcot and a new show at the Tower of the Terror.

But at the Animal Kingdom, you can certainly enjoy some fun decor. And, frankly, it is usually the least crowded park on Christmas Day. I decided to put up a few pictures of some the ways the Animal Kingdom shows its holiday spirit.

You can fun things like this Stitch scattered through out the park. 

At night, the park takes on a special look. Like the rest of the park, this one is darker and the holiday decor more subtle. 

The tree ornaments also a very different at the Animal Kingdom. Like the lion above, the decorations are very specific and well themed. 

And I just love Harambe during the holidays. Keeping with the theme of an old African town, you will find wreaths made of old bicycle tires. 

So Merry Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for December 20, 2017: Flight of Passage just got tougher to get on

More People for Avatar: In a bewildering decision by WDW, some previous benefits reserved only for Disney resort guests are being expanded to include some of the Disney Spring Resort hotels and some other non-Disney properties such as the Wyndam Lake Buena Vista and the Holiday Inn Orlando. There are eight hotels included. Starting January 1, these guests will be able to book fast passes 60 days out instead of 30 and use Extra Magic Hours. Flight of Passage just got harder to get on for Disney resort guests.

Baby Tigers: As you all know by now, little Anala and Jeda are now being seen in the Maharajah Jungle. The sumatran tiger cubs were born earlier this year. These animals are critically endangered, with less than 500 still surviving in the wild. Be aware, the cubs will not be out for the entire day at least for the short term future. As we get more information on a schedule, we will relay that.
photo courtesy of Disney
Happy Holiday
Park Hours for this week are...

Thursday December 21 9 am - 8 pm

Friday December 22 9 am - 8 pm

Saturday December 23 9 am- 8 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning

Sunday  December 24 9 am- 10 pm

Monday December 25  9 am- 10 pm  Extra Magic Hour in the morning
Tuesday December 26 9 am- 10 pm 
Wednesday December 27 9 am-10 pm

Monday, December 11, 2017

Flights of Wonder being replaced with Dug

I am a big fan of Up. Its my favorite Pixar movie and in my Top 3 of Disney animated movies. I think the Wilderness Explorers "game" is one of the very best things at Disney. And I want more Dug and Russell. But, I am not sure how I feel about this.

As we noted in our most recent episode of Radio Harambe, we were certain the rumors of the demise of Flights of Wonder were true. And yes, Flights of Wonder is ending on December 31st. A new show, featuring Dug and Russell from Up will begin next spring. I can almost guarantee that the show will be launched on Earth Day 2018, the 20th anniversary of the park's opening.

First, some good news. As we had mentioned on the podcast, we had information that the show would continue to use birds. And that seems to be exactly the case. Dug and Russell will discover the wonders of birds each day during the show. New script. Russell replaces Guano Joe, but otherwise, I figure the show will be basically the same in structure.

And that makes me happy. I love the way birds are exhibited at Disney's Animal Kingdom. You can truly appreciate the different species. And, let's be honest, the whole Guano Joe story line was unchanged for 19 years. It was time for a refresh. And I think with the test shows in Harambe and Dinoland, they were gauging general interest.

But, Dug and Russell? Like I said I love the movie and these characters. The movie, however, took place in South America NOT Asia, and I hate when Disney disregards place in their theme parks (like Guardians of the Galaxy in FUTURE world, or Frozen in Norway). Disney and Imagineering used to care about those kinds of things.

And, I don't like the fact that the birds will not be the star of the show. I really hope it doesn't turn into an UP show that happens to feature birds. It should be a way to show the public the beauty of the animals. They should be the stars.

Now, maybe using characters such as Up gets more butts in the seats meaning more people hoping to see a Dug and Russell show get a greater appreciation of birds. I hope. As you can see, this whole thing has me conflicted. I'm not sure what to think at this point. I suppose I need to see what they have planned.

But one thing is for certain. We have more proof of Bob Iger's belief that anything put in the parks has to be related to an Intellectual Property. And that is something I completely disagree with.

Safari Mike

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017's Disney Conservation Heroes

One of the cool things Disney's Conservation Fund does each and every year is take the time out to recognize some of the people on the "front lines" of conservation issue. Disney recognizes a wide range of people, too. 

photo by Aruna Mohan

You will see park rangers protecting highly endangered species. People who spend their time in local communities teaching about sustainable growth and living with species who need protection. Scientists spending months at a time in remote places to expand our knowledge. Each of these heroes receive $1500 to give to their organization. 

Take a moment and look at the list of this year's winners and description of what they are doing to help us all. 

photo by Aruna Mohan

There is Parag Jyoti Deka who has spent decades trying to save the pygmy hog from extinction. Rocio Palacios of the Andean Cat Alliance studying the elusive Andean wild cat in Patagonia. Others are out there trying to protect sea turtle or snub nosed monkeys. And Mama Grevy, but I will let you read about her. 

Its impossible to overstate the impact of these men and women, and the many others like them. In today's age, it is these heroes who fight to protect our natural resources for our kids and grand kids, and their kids and grand kids. 

By Safari Mike 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom News for December 6, 2017: Tree Climbers

Pool Closure: As is typical this time of year, Disney takes the opportunity with cold weather to refurbish some of the pools located at various resorts. From January 8 through January 19, the Samawati Springs Pool at Kidani Village will be closed for that very reason.

Climbing Everest? Nope Just the Tree of Life: Every once in awhile an awfully dumb guest decides to do something, well awfully dumb. Similar to attempts to scale the pyramid at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot, 4 - that's right 4- guests attempted to scale the Tree of Life. Needless to say, they did not reach the top, and are likely banned from the park for the foreseeable future.  In any event, don't try this at home kids.

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