Harambe Nights Sneak Peek

Harambe Nights Logo
Harambe Nights: Every Saturday from June 7 – August 9, 2014, with a Welcome Reception starting at 7 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. show time for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.”

Harambe Nights kicks off its ten week run at Animal Kingdom this Saturday, and we got sneak peek at what you will be able to experience during this limited run special event!

Harambe Nights Welcome Reception

When you are thinking about making the investment to purchase a Harambe Nights ticket, I would encourage you to think of your evening more in terms of a Tables in Wonderland Event rather than a Hard Ticket Event, like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, because of the quality and exclusivity of the food & beverage, merchandise, and entertainment options you will be experiencing.

Harambe Nights Welcome Appetizer

Harambe Nights begins with a Welcome Reception, where guests get a chance to spend some time in their host village of Harambe where will be greeted with a variety of appetizers like Moroccan beef kefta with tamarind glaze, pickled fennel paneer cheese with tomato, Durban-spiced chicken bites, and a safari cheeseburger slider with tomato curry aioli that can be paired with African-inspired wine and beers.

Harambe Nights Beverages

After the Welcome Reception, grab your ‘Lion Chow’, a salty-sweet snack combo of sea-salted pretzel chips, benne (sesame) crumbles, cardamom candied pecans, golden raisins, dried cherries, and candied ginger served in a beautifully made wooden roll, and head down to the newly renovated Harambe Theatre for a unique and what is sure to be unforgettable performance of “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.”

Harambe Nights Lion Chow
The Lion Chow is so yummy!!! I seriously couldn’t stop eating it!

The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” brings a bit of Broadway to Animal Kingdom as this marks the first time that Walt Disney World Parks have collaborated with Walt Disney Studios and Disney Theatrical Productions to create a full length Theatre experience to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “The Lion King”.

Harambe Nights Harambe Theatre
The new Harambe Theatre area at Animal Kingdom is beautiful!

A company of over 50 members, including a live orchestra, narrators, chorus, and troupe of dancers, help create this unique re-telling of the classic “Lion King” story through movement, music, and song where the Village of Harambe draws from their rich history of storytelling from around the drum circle to celebrate Simba’s evolving story in a way that pays tribute to their culture and the of film and stage productions.

The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” has an approximate run time of 55 minutes, and features new music and arrangements inspired by the music of the film and stage scores.

Harambe Nights Harambe Theatre 2
Details from the outside of the new Harambe Theatre.

Each week a new celebrity narrator will join the company for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild”, and the line-up of talent is exciting.

The celebrity narrators for the ten week run of Harambe Nights are:

  • June 7 – Viola Davis: “The Help,” “Ender’s Game”

  • June 14 – Avery Brooks: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “American History”

  • June 21 – Montego Glover: “The Following,” “Memphis”

  • June 28 – David Alan Grier: “Porgy & Bess,” “In Living Color”

  • July 5 – Michael Beach: “ER,” “Third Watch,” “Sons of Anarchy”

  • July 12 – Harry Lennix: “The Blacklist,” “The Five Heartbeats”

  • July 19 – Joe Morton: “Scandal,” “American Gangster,” “The Good Wife”

  • July 26 – Alfre Woodard: “Desperate Housewives,” “Miss Evers Boys”

  • August 2 – Brian Stokes Mitchell: “Ragtime,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Glee”

  • August 9 – Patina Miller: “Pippin,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”

In addition to the live performances on-stage, “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” will also utilize new screens that will show iconic clips from ‘The Lion King’ film and be used to advance the story through the performance in a dynamic way.

Harambe Nights Marsha Jackson Randolph

Marsha Jackson Randolph and Choreographer & Stage Director Warren Adams, who’s recent work on Broadway includes Of Mice and Men, Motown, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, guided us through the run through of a few numbers from “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” in their rehearsal space during our sneak peek, and it was awesome! The performance is more of movement piece with nods to iconic choreographers that catches the spirit and energy of ‘The Lion King’ film and stage production. I can only imagine how it will look when it is in its full form!

After “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” you will take to the streets of Harambe for a party like you have never experienced!

Harambe Nights Street Party Concept

Harambe Nights Street Party is a totally immersive experience,” said Show Director Forrest Bahruth. “There will be opportunities for guests to get involved, to dance, to be entertained or just to relax and enjoy the evening.”

During the Harambe Nights Street Party, the streets will come alive with your favorite Disney characters, stilt walkers, and specialty performers who encourage you to join in their traditions through some glow-in-the-dark face painting and Afro-pop music from the Harambe Nights Band and DJ Khalifa.

Harambe Nights Street Party Performers

The Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade floats, puppets, and performers will also be out for unique photo opportunities.

Harambe Nights Characters

And you can’t have a party without food! The streets of Harambe will be filled with a buffet of amazing African inspired dishes. If you’re a fan of Jiko—The Cooking PlaceBoma—Flavors of Africa or Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, chances are you’ve tried some global flavors on the menu.

Harambe Nights Plate

During our sneak peek at Harambe Nights, we also got the chance to sample these great dishes and my biggest piece of advice is to come hungry!!!

The Harambe Nights Menu Includes:

Fresh Cooked Breads, Salads and More

Harambe Nights Salads
The assorted salads were a great palate cleanser between all the savory and rich spices of the Harambe Nights Menu. The ingredients were fresh and crisp!
  • Watercress, melon, feta and berry balsamic onion salad
  • Kachumbari salad with tomato, paneer, carrot and cilantro
  • Roasted beetroot salad with sunflower seeds
  • Creamy mac ‘n cheese
  • Spicy vegetable samosa with mango chutney
  • Traditional naan, onion kulcha and pappadum breads
  • Roasted pepper hummus, raita and garlic-ginger pickle


Surf and Turf

Harambe Nights Lamb Shank
The on-stage-seared lamb chops with tamarind pomegranate sauce was tender, but the sweet and earthy potato medley side was amazing. I **may** have gone back for more potatoes…
  • Mango, radish, lime and mustard seed salad
  • Watermelon, cucumber and fennel salad
  • Coriander chutney roasted potatoes
  • Line-caught corvina filet with goan curry sauce
  • On-stage-seared lamb chops with tamarind pomegranate sauce

Slow-cook Action Stations

Harambe Nights Eggplant
This was my favorite dish that I tasted at Harambe Nights Sneak Peek! The vegetarian eggplant tikka masala curry was spicy while still retaining the taste of the eggplant and it was served over creamy goat cheese pap that was tender and creamy. It was perfect!
  • Fork-tender peri barbecued pork
  • Vegetarian eggplant tikka masala curry served over creamy goat cheese pap
  • Butter chicken thighs
  • Vegetarian legume wat served over basmati rice


Harambe Nights Dessert
These bits were equal parts amazing and wonderful, because the texture and taste were spot on! It was the perfect sweet and slightly salty combination with a kick of coffee.
  • Golden pineapple with toasted coconut
  • Apple slices with Amarula caramel sauce
  • Ripe melon with minted lime yogurt dip
  • Rice pudding, dried fruit compote and pistachio gremolata
  • Caramel salted Tanzania chocolate Kenya coffee bite
  • Chai cream with zebra stripes
  • Ice cream bars
Harambe Nights Samosas
The Spicy vegetable samosa with mango chutney are one of my most favorite dishes ever! You can never go wrong with the hot and spicy vegetable filling combined with the cold and sweet mango chutney!

There will also be Lion King merchandise and collectibles that have been exclusively created for Harambe Nights that will be available for purchase during the event.

Harambe Nights Merchandise
Photo: Disney
Harambe Nights Merchandise Coin
Photo: Disney
Harambe Nights exclusive tshirt
Photo: Disney
Harambe Nights exclusive watch
Photo: Disney

Harambe Nights will end with a special finale to bid “kwaherini” to a magical evening that could only happen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Harambe Nights is scheduled for every Saturday from June 7 – August 9, 2014, with a Welcome Reception starting at 7 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. show time for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.” You should note that tickets for Harambe Nights first Saturday, June 7, are sold out.

Harambe Nights Wristband
A wristband is required to enter the special event. To retrieve your wristband, please show your event ticket at the Main Entrance. If you are already inside the park prior to the start of the event, you can show your ticket to a Cast Member at the entrance of Harambe Village instead to receive your wristband.

Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax, and also includes complimentary parking for the event starting at 4:00 pm. Great seats are still available for all nights, but capacity is limited.

For tickets, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call (407) 939-1319.





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Maleficent Review With Gail


Maleficent, from Walt Disney Pictures, is out in theaters now, and I got to see an early showing in 3D. While this review is relatively spoiler-free, but there are bits of pieces of plot here and there so be warned!


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first thought about seeing Maleficent, and had toyed with the idea of watching Disney’s 1959 classic movie Sleeping Beauty again before I went to refresh my memory on the original story in order to appreciate this re-imagined screen play.

I am glad that I chose not to do that, because despite the comparisons this movie really stands by itself and flips whatever you expected of it.

Maleficent is the first 3D movie I have seen in the movie theater, and I’m glad it was as the effects were amazing and the scenes just beautiful!


When we first see Maleficent, she is a young girl, queen of the fairies (played by Isobelle Malloy & Ella Purnell) and despite animosity between their kingdom and the humans, she befriends a young boy who wanders into their land. Their love blossoms over the years, yet it was not meant to be. Soon his drive and passion to one day be King takes over, and their bond is broken.

Without giving away too many spoilers, the link between the animated Sleeping Beauty and this re-imagined story, cross over at the christening of the King and Queen’s daughter, Aurora. Yet here we are given a more plausible and heart wrenching reason as to what motivates Maleficent to curse Aurora in the first place.

It is at this point that Maleficent places that curse on Aurora, that on her 16th Birthday, she will prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a coma like sleep. The only thing that can awaken her is true love’s kiss.

The King, in fear of his daughter’s life, sends her off to a secret location in the woods to live with 3 flying pixies who are to raise her and bring her back to the kingdom one day after she turns 16 and no sooner. Maleficent, with her sidekick Diaval, a raven she saved from being killed earlier in the story that she changes from raven to human and other forms, find the house Aurora is hiding in and they begin watching from afar.


Eventually they end up meeting in the forest, and the moments between them as Aurora grows up, are some of my favorite parts of the movie. Aurora at 5 is actually played by Jolie’s daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt. The interactions between them are both beautiful, yet chilling, marred with the knowledge that Maleficent put this curse on Aurora years earlier.

The final part of the movie I will let readers experience first hand, as the twists and feelings of the scenes were visually and emotionally stunning. I wasn’t expecting quite the array of emotions that I experienced watching this movie, and I really feel like Angelina Jolie did a wonderful job as Maleficent! Jolie reportedly hand-selected Lana Del Ray to cover the original film’s song “Once Upon A Dream” (based on Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz).

There are some fight scenes within this movie and strong imagery within the characters of the story, so while I recommend parental advisory for young or sensitive viewers, I do think families will enjoy discussing the comparisons and differences between Maleficent and the animated Sleeping Beauty Classic.

Maleficent selfie

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Red Bull BC One Qualifier Returns to Full Sail University

Red Bull BC One

B-Boys will Spin for the win at

Red Bull BC One Orlando Cypher

** Head to Head Competition Returns to Full Sail University on June 7 **

The Red Bull BC One qualifier returns to Orlando this year, where the best b-boys in the South will come together to fight for the top spot and the right to represent North America in France for the finals.  On June 7, iconic Full Sail University will serve as host to an event filled with spins, flips and dynamic dance.

Last year marked the biggest year yet for Red Bull BC One, with its eight past champions competing against eight new challengers.

Millions tuned in from around the globe to watch the battle go down in South Korea, where Seoul’s own Hong 10 took home his second World Champion belt.

Cypher season kicked off February 28 with the first event held in Cairo, Egypt and is now coming to the South for the Orlando Cypher on June 7.

Red Bull BC OneThroughout the year, the Red Bull BC One Cyphers is searching out the best B-Boys far and wide to earn a spot in the World Final.  Sixteen B-Boys will go head to head in each country in knockout battles to their nation at one of six Finals, which will be held this year in the USA, Brazil, Algeria, Finland, Croatia and Taiwan.  The Finals champions will go on to compete on France’s stage in November. Find the full Red Bull BC One Cypher schedule online.

Red Bull BC One was founded in 2004 in Biel, Switzerland.  Over the years, the championship has moved from Germany to Brazil, South Africa, France, the USA, Japan, Russia and South Korea. Today it remains a key event in Hip Hop culture, helping to push the art form forward while respecting the original format of one-on-one battles.

Redbullbcone.com represents the largest online network of B-Boys and fans; and the event is home to the biggest Facebook community in the scene, with more than 1.2 million fans. The Finals and World Final will be live-streamed at redbullbcone.com.

Some of the 16 Red Bull BC One Orlando Cypher participants include:

Unnex, Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Hip-hop culture has been part of his life since 2008.  Unnex started break dancing when he was 16 years old, but was first introduced to the dance form at the age of 12 by watching the movie Beat Street.  He is confident, determined, intelligent, energetic, spontaneous and charismatic.  Unnex considers his style undefined, because he likes to battle and dance by free styling.

Zao, Miami, FL
Zao’s (zay-oh) real name is Daniel Montenegro.  He is 26 years old and was born and raised in Miami.  Hi started break dancing at the age of 14, while in 9th grade.  Zao was given his name by two childhood friends – because he would wear his favorite band T-shirt to practice every Friday. The lettering of the shirt reminded them of a Bboy style shirt with the name on the top back. Zao is currently dancing & training to inspire others around him to become involved in dance.

Sweet P, Houston, TX
Hailing from Haiti, Sweet P lived in Houston most of his life and began b-boying at the end of middle school.  He learned the art of dance from four amazingly-talented performers, who taught him the foundations of a broad range of dance styles.  Sweet P doesn’t really dance in a crew, but calls the people he dances with family.  Groups that he has collaborated with include the Inertia Dance Co., History Dance Co. RAD Crew, Jungle Brothers Crew, The Dirty Nation, Thug Bunnies, Groovernadez, Beat Geeks and all of the other individual dancers I’ve danced with.

Jose, Houston, TX
21-year-old Jose Cardenas has been dancing for more than six years.  The Houston native is a crew-member of Hazardous Zombies. “I just hope people enjoy watching the way I dance,” says Cardenas.

Tung Fu, Orlando, FL
Tung Fu is no stranger to the Bboy scene. The 22 year-old started breaking in 2005 and has since dominated competitions in both the US and Europe. Tung Fu represents The MF Kidz crew from Orlando, FL.

Chrizo, Miami, FL
Charlie Chizo was born and raised in Miami, where he started dancing around 2003.  Chizo’s crew affiliation is the Flip Side Kings.

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