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!
On May 3rd, I ran in my fourth Expedition Everest Challenge. This race will always be special to me for a few reasons. First, it was my very first runDisney race back in 2011. My mom and I ran in a mother/daughter team and we had a blast. Of course I was hooked on races after that and have run in 11 others since then (plus I’m signed up for two more this year).
Also at that fateful race in 2011, I met some very special friends. I knew a bunch of people that I knew from Twitter were also running so I thought it would be a great time to meet some of them in person for the first time. One of those people is now my fiancé, Cliff! In fact, we got engaged at the Everest Challenge race last year. So, I guess you can see why this race is important to me. It’s one that I will always sign up for, even though they’ve significantly raised the price in recent years.
The Expedition Everest Challenge is a night race and features a 5k course through Animal Kingdom with a few obstacles along the way. After the 5k comes the scavenger hunt where you have to make your way back through the park while solving clues given to you at certain checkpoints. You can run the race in teams of two or as an individual. My mom and I always run this together and I think we make a pretty great team!
Since this is a smaller race with an after party going into the wee hours of the morning, we like to drive ourselves to the start. We got there around 8:00PM because we always like to get to races early. Only problem with that this year is that it started raining pretty steadily. It was also a little chilly for us Floridians! So we sat in the car for a while. Once the rain let up we headed to the staging area to check our bag and hang out to people watch. There are always some pretty great costumes at this race!
When it was time to go to our corrals, we said bye to Cliff (mom and I were in H and Cliff was in E), and headed to our pens for more waiting. There were 6 minutes between corral starts so we had a lot of waiting….in the cool damp weather. The DJ and hosts did a pretty good job at keeping us moving though.
At 10;42, Corral H was off and we began the worst part of the race: running around the perimeter of the Animal Kingdom parking lot. Towards the end of this section, we hit our first obstacle: hay bales. You always have the option of running around the obstacles. Mom usually does because she injured her knee the first year.
Finally we made it to the park entrance and Mile 1! At this point we also merged with racers who had completed the 5k and were beginning the scavenger hunt portion. This was the only time we really ran into congestion because the scavenger hunt people were stopping on course to solve clues. Once we got more into the park, there were separate lanes set up for runners so it got better.
We continued through the park, past the Tree of Life and headed toward Africa. Once in Harambe, we turned right to go to Asia. Usually right after this point we head backstage, but this year we kept going through Asia and past Everest to backstage near the Nemo theater. Loved this change!
Once backstage, we soon hit our second obstacle: tires! (and mile 2!)
Running backstage is kind of a blur because there aren’t any familiar landmarks to orient myself with. About a mile later we rounded a corner and saw our final obstacle: a cargo net to crawl under.
Just after that was the finish line for the 5k and we received our first clue and a cool marker/flashlight combo!
The scavenger hunt brought us back into the park. There were 5 total clues. We had a little trouble with the first two, especially the second one. The last 3 we solved pretty quickly and we finished the hunt in about 30 minutes. I edited the pictures of the clues so you can see if you know the answers. I’ll post the answers at the end of the post. If you click on the pictures, you can see them bigger.
You had to use clue 4 as a template for clue 5:
Once we received our awesome compass medals, we met back up with Cliff and headed back into the park for the after party!
Food was first on the agenda. Then we caught part of the awards ceremony in Dinoland where we were introduced to the yeti. We also paid a quick visit to our engagement spot!
Soon we decided we were tired and ready to head back to the hotel.
I would definitely recommend this race to anyone looking for a different runDisney experience. We always have a great time and being in Animal Kingdom at night is a treat itself. Also, each year it seems runDisney makes small changes that keep improving the experience. I will, of course, continue to run it as long as it is being offered. See you next year, Yeti!
Clue Answers: 1 – green flag (which is on the right side of our bibs “flag the right color”). 2 – one (in the word done) and three (combine the end of “both” and the beginning of “reenergizes”). 3 – things that keep you warm. 4 – punch out scarf, mittens, fire, blanket, boots, and coffee. 5 – hold up 4 fingers (1+ 3 from clue 2)
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.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the things I am looking forward to this year as it is almost time to spring forward.
This year I am hoping to participate in at least one race per month, and doing more local races too. This weekend I will be walking the 5K for the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. Next weekend I will probably also walk the Best Damn Race 5K in downtown Orlando near Lake Eola. April I think will be the 5K that goes through Legoland and the rest of the year is up in the air.
Spring Training is about to shift into high gear. Teams are practicing and I’ve got tickets to see my Braves play the Cardinals at home next month. I hope to catch at least one other spring training game and to make it to Atlanta once this year.
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is starting in a couple of weeks and this is always a fun special event. Last year I got to meet one of my HGTV personalities, David Bromstad. I look forward to trying to see him again this year and to try out some of the new food offerings.
I would love to get to Busch Gardens as it has been almost a year since I last visited, despite this being the closer theme park to where I live. I need my coaster fix and to feed some kangaroos too.
A first for me this year will be to visit Universal Studios Mardi Gras. I haven’t been to Universal since 1992 other than a few trips to City Walk over the past decade. I am long overdue and hope to finally get to taste butterbeer and maybe one of those giant donuts from the Simpsons.
Summer will bring the return of Summer Nightastic at Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, both of which are a lot of fun. I would like to get back to SeaWorld to see their Viva La Musica celebration.
Coming soon, hopefully, will be the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom. This new coaster will be something between the thrill level of the Barnstormer and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but with some dark ride elements I’m hoping similar to Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.
Late spring into summer brings the return of the beloved Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Last year I missed out on Hyperspace Hoopla in its entirety and I won’t let that happen again this year.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom I am looking forward to the new nighttime spectacular that should be arriving sometime this summer. I also really want Festival of the Lion King to come back soon, but I know it is still a few months off.
July will bring the WWE Raw live in Orlando from the Amway Center. I hope to see this and compare it to my recent experience for WWE Live.
Also in July will be the Destination D event at Walt Disney World for D23. I hope this is as fun if not more so than the event in 2011.
Of course the fall will bring back the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot that this year is extended to even more of September. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starts up again in September into October. November and December will see Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom as well.
One of the things that is on the back burner, but I’m still trying to work into my schedule is a trip back to Disneyland sometime in the next few months or so. Also, a cruise, or two, will be happening this year!
What events are you looking forward to this year? Did I miss any of your favorites?
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!
Mickey’s tree is full of some of his favorite things about Christmas! You will even find his Santa Ears!
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.
Pocahontas has decorated her tree with her favorite flower, mocsasins, and more of her favorite things!
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!
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 email@example.com.
RETURN TO OZ IN THE ALL-NEW SPRING ISSUE OF DISNEY TWENTY-THREE
ON STANDSFEBRUARY 12
A Dazzling Behind-The-Scenes Look At Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful,
The 15th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and
Never-Before-Seen Concept Art from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen
The spring issue of Disney twenty-three, the flagship magazine of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, hits stands February 12, loaded with articles to delight both Disney fans and the general public. The cover story, “A Great and Powerful Odyssey,” gives readers an exclusive tour of the land at the end of the road of yellow bricks in Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful releasing in theaters this March. The article features interviews with stars Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Zach Braff. In addition, there’s a sneak peek of 2014’s Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, which offers a new take on the legendary Sleeping Beauty story.
The Emerald City theme continues with a second story illuminating the many connections between Disney and Oz, including Walt Disney’s early attempts to bring Oz to the big screen. The story includes rarely seen images from the Walt Disney Archives and a fond look backatDisney’s 1985 release Return to Oz.
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we sit down with Imagineer Joe Rohde as he reflects on the evolution of Disney’s wildest and most spiritual park.
“Frozen in Time” includes concept art from the upcoming film Frozen, due in theaters this November. Walt Disney Animation Studios brings an ice-covered world to life as Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) seeks to reverse a curse put on her kingdom by a cold-hearted snow queen (voiced by Idina Menzel), who also happens to be her sister.
Disney twenty-threealso offers the latest on exciting new projects from the world of Disney and a look at some celebrated classics. The spring issue:
Celebrates the 30th anniversary of Disney Channel from the original show Good Morning Mickey through theHigh School Musical trilogy;
Reveals the secrets and hidden delights to look out for when exploring New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom ;
Catches up with Bob Baker, a legendary Los Angeles puppeteer whose exquisite artistry is threaded throughout Disney history;
Tells the story of master glass craftsmen, the Arribas brothers, who now have art in 14 (and counting) different Disney park locations around the globe.
The Disney discoveries do not stop at the end of the publication this spring. In conjunction with the release of this spring issue of Disney twenty-three on February 12, www.D23.com will feature original and exclusive stories that complement the contents of D23’s glossy magazine. Only available on D23.com:
An exclusive Q&A with Brian Henson about his first film, Return to Oz;
An off-road tour of Kilimanjaro Safaris with the head zookeeper in celebration of Disney’s Animal Kingdom 15th anniversary;
An in-depth look at Disney Channel’s schedule, stars, and shows and an exclusive look back at the first day of programming as the Channel turns 30.
Disney twenty-three is delivered directly to the doorstep of all D23 Gold Members, along with a special gift. The gifts for this issue are reproductions of vintage Disney Valentine’s Day cards, which will be attached exclusively to member issues. This special gift will be received by members just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Beginning February 12, Disney twenty-three magazine will be available at retail locations across the country for $15.95, and can also be purchased online at DisneyStore.com and throughout the Disneyland® and Walt Disney World® Resorts.
D23: The Official Disney Fan Club celebrates the remarkable past, present, and future of Disney, taking its name from 1923, the year Walt Disney founded his world-famous company. D23 brings its members a host of exclusive benefits, including a weekly e-mail newsletter; an array of discounts and special offers; and exclusive, member-only special events.
Disney fans can join the world’s only Official Disney Fan Club by visiting www.D23.com or select shops at the Disneyland® Resort, the Walt Disney World® Resort and www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow “DisneyD23” on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
The Yak And Yeti Bhaktapur Market, located right next door to the Yak and Yeti Restaurant in Animal Kingdom, is a really fun place to find unique gifts with an Asian flair.
You can find anything from funny t-shirts to handmade scarves at the Yak and Yeti Bhaktapur Marketplace. And the thing that I really love is that all of the prices are really affordable, the merchandise is made with quality materials, and that you will be able to find a little something for anyone that is hard to shop for.
I hope that you enjoy this look at the Yak and Yeti Bhaktapur Marketplace merchandise!