A welcome new addition opened recently in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom: Harambe Market.
This area is located near the entrance to the Wildlife Express train and around the corner from Kilimanjaro Safaris. I’ve had the opportunity to check it out twice now and I immediately fell in love with the immersive theming, just like with the rest of the park. The food that I tried was pretty great too.
Constructed around an old colonial-era train depot and lorded over by an iconic water tower, this active marketplace showcases distinct personalities and diverse menus—created using produce and raw goods delivered daily by the local locomotive.
Here, the citizens of Harambe welcome travelers from all around the world, encouraging Guests of every age to tantalize their senses. (Disney)
There are four different food and beverage booths.
Here are the menus from each (click on the picture to look closer):
On my first visit, I tried the beef flatbread from the Grill. I really enjoyed the flatbread and the broccoli that came with it had a really refreshing dressing on it. On the second visit, I tried the ribs and the tart from Chef Mwanga’s. The ribs were very good and very large! The tart was fantastic if you like coconut, which I do! Both of these were easily split between two people, especially the ribs.
While the food is great, the best part about this new area is the theming. It really seems to expand the “story” of Harambe Village. There are posters on the walls advertising local businesses and even a show you may have seen – Festival of the Lion King. There is a small flea market set up by the train tracks with clothing and kitchen ware. You’ll even find a few hidden (or not-so-hidden) Mickeys! There is even a small garden near the entrance to the market. Below are some of my favorite details – yes, there are a few!
There is still one more store to explore. Zuri’s Sweets is by the garden and opened this week so I’ll be checking it out over the weekend. Look for a report on that soon!
The new Harambe Theatre is open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the theatre and the area around it are a beautiful new addition to the park!
Harambe Theatre, which is home to the newly reopened Festival of the Lion King Show, looks identical to it’s former layout, but boasts some improvements for this incredibly popular show.
While you cannot notice them, the major changes backstage are what makes this new Harambe Theatre so great. Now attached to the venue are rehearsal spaces and enhanced backstage areas which make the show run better from a back-of-house perspective.
You can find the new Harambe Theatre just over the bridge in Africa and to your left at the newly renovated Dawa Bar outside of the Tusker House Restaurant.
‘The Prime location of the new Harambe Theatre brings a new energy to the show and as well as the area around the area,’ says Reed Jones with Walt Disney Entertainment.
Theming is the name of the game in this new section of Harambe!
There are signs at the Dawa Bar that let you know that you have arrived at the Harambe Theatre.
Along the walls of this area are advertisements for local businesses and entertainment in Harambe.
My favorite spot in this new area, is the Festival of the Lion King marque which has a metal ‘quilt’ featuring a certain Lion we all love and some fun advertisements.
Once inside the queue for the Festival of the Lion King, you can find the wares of local craftsmen as you walk to your seats.
Also, located just before the Harambe Theatre is a new retail location where you can buy some of the new Festival of the Lion King merchandise.
New restrooms have also been built that have one of my other favorite pieces of theming!
Stroller Parking outside of the Harambe Theatre is much better than what it was at the former location in Camp Minnie Mickey!
There are plenty of spaces for strollers that are located near the exit of the Theatre, so there is less confusion and people crossing paths.
While I absolutely love this new area, I can only hope that they turn back on the geysers on Discovery River! I think it would bring a really fun kinetic to the waterway.
The new Harambe Theatre is also home to Harambe Nights this summer!
What do you think of the new Harambe Theatre and its area at Animal Kingdom?
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!
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 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.
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.”
“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”.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade floats, puppets, and performers will also be out for unique photo opportunities.
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 Place, Boma—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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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 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.
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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Professor Parker Woodson will be bringing his friend V the Velociraptor to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a ‘Jurassic Jaunt’ with guests in Dinoland U.S.A. beginning April 19, 2014!
Professor Woodson has hand raised V the Velociraptor from birth, so V is excited to be out meeting people and exploring the world all around him.
You will be able to find Professor Woodson and V the Velociraptor roaming around Dinoland U.S.A for limited time from April 19 to May 3, 2014.
Tentatively the daily 30 minute sets for their explorations are 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 4:00 pm.
While I was never lucky enough to meet Lucky the Dinosaur, I am really excited to have Professor Woodson and V the Velociraptor visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland U.S.A at lest for a little while.
And while this may or may not be a permanent addition to the area, I am certainly going to enjoy them while they are here!
We’ll be updating this post with more pictures and videos soon, so keep checking back.Follow us for more updates:
Animal Kingdom and Epcot
Connecting Families With Nature Series
Throughout the year Animal Kingdom and Epcot will be hosting Connecting Families With Nature Series of special events designed to bring attention to animals, their habitats, and what we humans can do to help them not only thrive but survive!
The events take place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot. The goal of each is to provide kids and families with a special opportunity to connect with nature, talk to our animal experts, and learn more about some of the fantastic creatures with whom we share our planet. Here’s the list of our 2014 events. Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more detailed posts shortly before each one. We hope to see you at one or more of them!
We ventured to Rafiki’s Planet Watch for the first event in the year long series on March 4th to celebrate ‘Springing Forward’ a few days early by celebrating frogs, toads and other amphibians.
Once we arrived, we were greeted by Cast Members and found all sorts of great games, activities, and special examinations we could watch.
The first thing we did, as we listened to Guitar Dan, was to make our very own Toad Abode for the frogs and toads in our yard to be comfy as Cast Members told us about frogs that were native to Florida. You know that I HAD to have a few Mickey’s on there!
Once inside we were able to try our hand at several games (who knew I could standing jump 7 ft!), watched an examination of a frog, and learned ways that we could do our part to help frogs.
Did you know that, according to some estimates, as many as one-third of the known amphibian species are threatened by extinction because of loss of habitat, climate change, pollution and disease? To find out more about Disney conservation efforts, visit www.disney.com/conservation
These Connecting Families With Nature Special Events are a great way to make your trip to the park extra special, and I know that we will definitely be going to more throughout the year. We had so much fun!
If you want to join in the fun with us, here are the upcoming 2014 events for Connecting Families with Nature! You always want to keep in mind that dates subject to change:
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
- March 4: Spring Forward for Amphibians Day — Just a few days before we adjust our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time, we’re “springing forward” to celebrate frogs, toads and other amphibians.
- April 22: Party for the Planet in celebration of Earth Day — Every day is a Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as guests and cast members join together to celebrate the wonders of nature, but, on Earth Day, there will be even more natural magic. Included is a celebration of the release of Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure “Bears,” in theaters April 18, which showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons.
- May 6: International Migratory Bird Day — Time to celebrate of one the wonders of nature – bird migration – and the ways we can help protect birds on their journeys.
- May 20: World Turtle Day — Turtles are fascinating creatures, and really cool dudes, too – just ask Crush! Both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate turtles with special activities.
- June 10: Pollinator Day — butterflies, bees and other pollinators are the stars of this celebration.
- July 29: Big Cat Day — It’s all about the largest cats, like lions and tigers – cats to whom you wouldn’t want to say, “here, kitty, kitty.”
- August 5: Primate Day — The perfect place to find out what a 400-pound gorilla and a one-pound cotton-top tamarin have in common.
- September 23: Elephant and Rhino Day — Learn fun facts and important conservation information about magnificent and endangered elephants and rhinos.
At The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot:
- April 22: Earth Day Celebration — It’s an ocean of fun at The Seas on Earth Day as this Earth Day celebration focuses on marine animals.
- May 20: World Turtle Day — See the magnificent sea turtles swim by in the main aquarium and find out what each of us can do to keep turtles safe in the wild.
- June 4: World Oceans Day — Join Nemo, Dory, Crush and the rest of the gang in celebrating the wonders of the oceans.
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Some of my favorite Christmas trees in all of Walt Disney World are the Animal Kingdom Character Christmas Trees that can be found in Animal Kingdom’s Camp Minnie-Mickey, and with Christmas less than a week away and the closing of this area coming up quickly I wanted to make sure I shared these Character Christmas Trees with you!
Scattered around the Camp Minnie-Mickey, these Character Christmas Trees are designed to include iconic details and ‘personal’ touches from characters that meet (or have met) in the Camp Minnie-Mickey area of Animal Kingdom.
What I especially love about these trees is that they aren’t as polished and perfect as most Christmas trees you will find around Walt Disney World! They really make you feel like the characters chose these decorations personally and on purpose to represent them and their story.
The Animal Kingdom Character Christmas Trees ‘homemade’ feel and attention to detail make them feel authentic and genuine instead of staged and perfect. I always feel like I find new details, a new favorite ornament, and even a new favorite tree every year.
I love how Pluto’s tree is full of ornaments made of dog bones, his collar, some of his favorite toys, and even his dog house!
Goofy’s tree is sure to warm your heart with memories from some of his iconic shorts and special ornaments from Max, This tree is adorable!
Minnie’s tree is topped with her polka dot bow and full of red and white details and her iconic white daisies. I’m absolutely biased when I say that this is my favorite tree!!!
The Lion King inspired Christmas Tree is full of masks from the story and details that make The Lion King show at Animal Kingdom so fabulous!
Meeko’s Christmas Tree is full of his favorite treats and a portrait of him. It’s a cute tree!!
Timon and Pumbaa’s tree is a definite mix of their personalities! You’ll find portraits of them on ornaments throughout the tree and some of their favorite grubs and insects crawling on the tree’s bows and branches.
The Brother Bear tree is full of bears, paw prints, and their favorite foods and details. It’s a great tree!
Lilo’s tree is full of records, her dolls, and a Hawaiian flower garlands. This tree is definitely the most colorful!!!
Chip and Dale’s tree is full of acorns and details from the shorts that have made them so lovable! These mischievous chipmunks really outdid themselves!
You’ll find all sorts of great details from the 100 Acre Wood on this Tiggerrific Christmas Tree!
Baloo and King Louie share a tree that is sure to make any Jungle Book fan smile!
The Country Bear’s tree is full of moonshine, portraits of performers from Country Bear Hall, and music notes.
There’s no doubt as to who this Character Christmas Tree belongs to!!!
Animal Kingdom’s Camp Minnie-Mickey will be closing in January to make way for construction to continue for Avatarland, and I can only hope that is not the last time that we see these Character Christmas Trees!
For some of my other favorite things about Animal Kingdom, make sure you check out the video we made earlier this year for the park’s 15th Anniversary!
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In addition to the opening of the new Allergy Friendly Dining Kiosk, there were several new menu and dining changes at Animal Kingdom!
Let’s start our food journey in Harambe!
Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery will now be open for breakfast instead of Tamu Tamu.
And as you can see from the Kusafiri menu, they’ve added a few new items!
The Warm Colossal Cinnamon Buns, Elephant Ear Pastry that feature a dark chocolate dip, African Spice Cake, and Danish Chocolate Twist which are very similar to the chocolate croissants that you can find around Walt Disney World are the standouts on the menu additions.
The Cinnamon Buns are still being worked on, so you will need to ask if they are available.
As you walk from Harambe to Asia, you will want to take a stop at Kumal’s Kiosk for some really tasty new eats!
The falafel sandwich is served with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber yogurt sauce wrapped in a pita and come with your choice of chips or apple slices. I was excited to find that the falafel patties were deliciously crispy on the outside while still creamy on the inside. I will definitely be ordering this again!
The samosas are a great value!!! In an order you get 5 medium size vegetable samosas, a side of mango chutney, and a carrot & raisin slaw. Samosas are quite possibly one of my most favorite things to eat, and these have a great taste and hint of cinnamon that really takes the flavor up a notch! The mango chutney is tasty, but I wasn’t a fan of the slaw as it made the samosas a little soggy. Next time I order them, I am going to hold the slaw!
The hummus at Kumal’s is more that just a sabra cup that you can find around the park! There is a scoop, probably around a cup, served in a container that has baby carrots and pita triangles. It looked really yummy!
Traveling around Animal Kingdom, and heading over to Animal Kingdom my first stop was to peek at Tril-O-Bites!
Tril-O-Bites is now offering desserts instead of turkey legs. If you are on the lookout for turkey legs, you will want to head over to Flame Tree Barbecue.
There were also a few changes over at Restaurantosaurus!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this tour of new eats and treats at Animal Kingdom…now if you’ll excuse me I need a snack now!!! 🙂
A new Allergy Friendly Dining Kiosk has opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and it will greatly improve the experience of guests visiting the parks who have food allergies & intolerances!
The Allergy Friendly Dining kiosk, located on Discovery Island next to Adventurers Outpost, the Disney Parks Blog indicated that it would be called the Gardens kiosk however there is no sign up yet.
The Kiosk is full of absolutely amazing information! Guests can stop and chat about food allergies or intolerances (especially gluten or wheat, lactose or dairy, peanuts and tree nuts, shellfish, soy, fish, eggs and corn) with Cast Members who have been specially trained.
There is also a book that has information about almost every snack and food option offered in the kiosks around the park, and even copies of the wrappers for you to read in most instances, so it really takes a lot of the guesswork and waiting for information out of your day.
You can even pick up a pamphlet that has great information about the quick service restaurant options that are perfect for those looking for allergy friendly dining options.
It’s VERY important to remember that this information will help direct those with allergies to the best restaurants to accommodate your needs, it’s still extremely important to still speak with a manager or chef at the restaurant after you are seated.
If you get hungry from all this talk of food at the Allergy Friendly Dining Kiosk, you can pick up some great snacks. You can pick up items like popcorn, desserts, chips, hummus with vegetables, granola bars, and they even offer a gluten-free beer.
Vegan sweets from BabyCakes can also will be found at the kiosk!!! These all-natural, organic goodies that are made without wheat, gluten, dairy, casein, and eggs are not only kosher but delicious beyond words. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to have Babycakes in Animal Kingdom!!! These cookies are a sweet treat for anyone!!!
The Gardens Kiosk is open daily from 9 am-3 pm, so make sure you drop by! I promise you that their knowledge and care for detail will absolutely blow you away! This is an amazing addition and improvement for those affected by food allergies and intolerances.
Here is some really good info to keep in mind from the Disney Parks Blog…
While this is the only park with a kiosk, guests with food allergy concerns can always speak with a manager or chef at many Walt Disney World Resort restaurants, who will do their best to accommodate. For more information, visit Disneyworld.com to review special dietary requests, or send an email 14 days prior to your visit with specific needs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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