Review: A Sneak Peek at Harambe Nights in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom!

Karibuni!! Welcome to Harambe Nights!

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights

We were so excited to attend a “sneak peek” of this all-new hard-ticket event, debuting at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Saturday, June 7, and running every Saturday evening through August 9th.

While the centerpiece of the evening will be the brand new show, The Lion King –A Concert in the Wild, Harambe Nights will also feature a Welcome Reception, a street party, and an all-inclusive and wide-ranging selection of food.

Concept art for Harambe Nights

Concept art for Harambe Nights

Guests at Harambe Nights will be welcomed into Harambe Village, and into its traditions as reflected in music, story-telling, and cuisine. The primary story will be that of Simba, the Lion King, as it is told by the people of Harambe Village, allowing this well-loved story to be told in a whole new way in honor of the film’s 20th anniversary.

This event promises to be a full sensory experience, engaging sight, sound, smell, and taste. Since we here at the DFB are all about taste ;) , allow me to share a few of the culinary highlights in the order that they will be experienced in the event.

Welcome Reception

Harambe Nights will begin with a Welcome Reception where guests will have their first chance to sample the cuisine with an assortment of appetizers.

I was able to sample two of the four appetizers, including the Safari Cheeseburger Rolls with Tomato Curry Aioli. The playful presentation helped set a celebratory tone.

Safari Cheeseburger with tomato curry aioli

Safari Cheeseburger with tomato curry aioli

I also enjoyed the Moroccan Beef Kefta Meatball with Tamarind Glaze.

Moroccan Kefta with Tamarind Glaze

Moroccan Kefta with Tamarind Glaze

Of-age guests can pair with African-inspired wine and beer. I particularly liked “Goats do Roam” white from the popular South African Vineyard.

Selection of wine

Selection of wine

Selection of beer

Selection of beer

Jungle Juice — that refreshing mix of passion fruit, guava, and orange juice — was available as well.

Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice

Unfortunately, I missed the Pickled Fennel Paneer Cheese with Tomato and the Durban-spiced Chicken Tenders… but there is much more to come!

The Lion King — A Concert in the Wild

After the Welcome Reception, guests will proceed into the brand new Harambe Theater to enjoy The Lion King – A Concert in the Wild. Prior to the show, attendees will be given a special treat.

This snack is seriously one of my new favorite things on earth… LION CHOW!

Lion Chow pouch

Lion Chow bamboo pouch

Lion Chow

Lion Chow

This mix is much more complex than it appears. The sesame bits, candied pecans, raisins, dried fruit, and spiced toasted chips offer a full and surprising range of flavors. It’s sweet, salty, and mildly spicy all at once (I think it’s the candied ginger that delivers that bit of kick).

I’ve got half a mind to start a petition for a Lion Chow kiosk in Animal Kingdom – it’s seriously addicting!

Close-up of Lion Chow

Close-up of Lion Chow

Guests will be able to enjoy their Lion Chow during the performance. We were given the unique opportunity to see three numbers that will be performed in the show. Understandably, we were not able to take photographs or record this portion of the evening.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to capture the power and beauty of the performance even if cameras had been allowed. I can only say that it was a truly special experience watching these performers bring the story of “The Lion King” to new life with such talent and passion. Marsha Jackson-Randolph — the production’s director — called the production an “endeavor of love,” and it shows.

Concept Art for The Lion King - A Concert in the Wild

Concept Art for The Lion King – A Concert in the Wild

Having seen the numbers in rehearsal clothing, I can only imagine what amazing things are in store when the entire concert is presented in full costume with a 25-piece orchestra, 16-voice choir, celebrity narrator and co-narrator, 8 dancers, and pivotal moments of the film presented on screens during select moments throughout. I am sincerely excited for those who get to enjoy it.

Street Party

Once the show ends, the night continues on! Harambe Village will invite guests to join in the Harambe Nights Street Party, which will feature (among other things) live music as well as sound by DJ Khalifa, dance, street performers, glow-in-the-dark face painting (yes!), and a few of your best Disney friends.

Timon and Rafiki

Timon and Rafiki

Stilt walkers

Stilt walkers

DJ Khalifa!

DJ Khalifa

Musicians at the Sneak Peek

Musicians at the Sneak Peek

It will also feature African-inspired food, presented at stations throughout the Village.

We’ll start with the Breads and Salads Station. Fans of Sanaa’s bread service will appreciate the assortment of Naan, Onion Kulcha, and Pappadum breads.

Naan, Onion Kulcha and Pappadum breads

Naan, Onion Kulcha and Pappadum breads

Naan being prepared

Naan being prepared

Accompaniments include Roasted Pepper Hummus, Garlic-Ginger Pickle, and Cucumber Raita. At Boma, I always love the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, but I really enjoyed that Raita as well.

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita

The salads were simply gorgeous. Even better, they were fresh, flavorful, colorful, and original.

Choices include a Watercress, Melon, Feta, and Berry Balsamic Salad and Roasted Beetroot Salad with Sunflower Seeds. My favorite was the Kachumbari Salad with Tomato, Paneer, Carrot, and Cilantro.

Watercress, Melon, Feta, and Berry Balsamic Onion Salad

Watercress, Melon, Feta, and Berry Balsamic Onion Salad

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Kachumbari Salad with Tomato, Paneer, Carrot, and Cilantro

Kachumbari Salad with Tomato, Paneer, Carrot, and Cilantro

Rarely do I feel that salads are among the highlights of a meal, but here I did.

I was really impressed with the vegetarian options available – not only at the Bread and Salad station, but throughout the selections. One example is the Spicy Vegetable Samosa (a Mango Chutney was available for dipping).

Spicy Vegetable Samosa

Spicy Vegetable Samosa

I neglected to snap a picture of the Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, but I can’t resist sharing some Disney mac and cheese deliciousness with you today!

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Moving on to the Surf and Turf Station, there are two other [Read more…]

Spotted! Musical Tumbler in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

There’s a new souvenir cup at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and it’s something you just gotta see…

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Actually, scratch that – this is something you just gotta hear, because this drink tumbler is MUSICAL!!

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Found at various locations in Animal Kingdom, the Musical Tumbler is, first of all, eye-catching. These pictures show the mug at various angles so you can see every “side” of it.

The animals found all over the tumbler bring to mind the park’s icon, the Tree of Life.

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

But what makes this tumbler truly awesome is the handle. As the sign notes (pun alert!), the handle is an “Ocarina” (a wind flute).

You can see the holes in the handle, as well as the smaller hole in the mouthpiece that you blow into to create the sounds.

Ocarina handle

Ocarina handle

But wait — there’s more! The tumbler comes with instructions on how to play two Disney songs: “It’s a Small World,” and the Lion King’s “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”!

Musical tumbler info

Musical tumbler info

Here’s the thing… I immediately thought, “Wow, that’s cool.” And I definitely thought it looked great. But I assumed it would sound like one of those plastic flutes for kids. You know, like those toddler toys that come all in primary colors and when the kid starts to play it – bless their heart – it sounds like the world is coming to an end.

Then the guy next to me bought one. Now, I have no idea whether he was some sort of musical genius with an extensive history with woodwind instruments, but I was pretty impressed with what I heard. This thing actually sounds good.

What you get in your tumbler depends on [Read more…]

Memorial Day Sale! DFB Disney World Dining Guidebook Discounts — Limited Time!

Amid events this Memorial Day Weekend, we’re celebrating the unofficial start of Summer with a great deal for you!

For a limited time, you can enjoy $5 off of our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014 by using code Memorial2014!

And you can scroll down to the end of the post for details on even more savings!

2014 dfb guide 3d cover

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014

Our fully guaranteed, comprehensive e-Book offers more than 450 full-color pages to help you plan your very best Disney World trip ever!

With reviews, tips, expert advice, and hundreds of color photographs, you’ll get the biggest bang for your planning buck! And our handy e-Book format has been completely updated for your 2014-15 Disney World vacation.

Inside the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014, you’ll find:

  • Four free, downloadable worksheets for planning your trip. These worksheets are designed to help you execute all the steps of planning the perfect Disney dining experience. And they’re reusable for all of your future trips!
  • Seven sample one-day dining itineraries to help you start the planning process. There are hundreds of dining options in Disney World. These examples, which highlight particular theme parks, touring styles, and dietary needs, will help you get an idea of what a perfect dining day might look like for you and your family.
  • A comprehensive index of bars and lounges. Disney Food Blog readers asked for this feature, and we were happy to make it happen! An often under-appreciated option for both dining and entertainment, we devote a whole index to the topic. Every single bar and lounge in Disney World is covered — and includes a review!
  • Details about how the My Magic+ Planning System and FastPass+ affect your vacation planning.
Sample Page from the 2014 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining

Sample Page from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014

  • Scavenger Hunts, Trivia, and Top 5 List updates to pass the time while you’re waiting in line.
  • Disney Food Bingo Cards — a whole new way to play with your Disney food!
  • Plus SO much more!

The best part? [Read more…]

News! Dole Whip Arriving at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Um…GET THIS!!!!!

Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom’s Africa offers two things: Cold Drinks!

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

And Good Eats!

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Well, things  are about to get a little colder and good…er (?!?). Because starting THIS WEEKEND, Tamu Tamu Refreshments is serving up DOLE WHIPS!!

Dole Whip!!

Dole Whip!!

DOLE WHIPS AT ANIMAL KINGDOM?! WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?

That’s right, friends… you read correctly. Just as Dole Whips have departed the Pineapple Promenade at Epcot with the ending of this year’s Flower & Garden Festival, they’re making their arrival at Tamu Tamu Refreshments!

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Here’s the scoop! No floats here, a la Aloha Isle – the ultimate Dole Whip location. BUT you will have the option to spike your Dole Whip with alcohol (if you’re 21-or-over, of course)!

Choices are the same as at the 2014 Flower & Garden Festival’s Pineapple Promenade booth: dark rum or coconut rum.

Dole Whips with rum at Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival

Dole Whips with rum at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival

Based on the prices, we’re thinking sizes will be similar to the [Read more…]

Review: “The Glacier” in Animal Kingdom’s Asia

While visiting Animal Kingdom several weeks ago, I noticed something unusual on the path from Expedition Everest in Asia back to Africa’s Harambe Village. This random mini bar had popped straight-up out of nowhere!

Bar on Asia pathway

Bar on Asia pathway

I had to check it out because, even though it’s just a small, portable stand, the cloth decoration covering it is detailed and eye-catching, much like just about everything else in Animal Kingdom.

Cloth decorations

Cloth decorations

Vibrant cloth

Vibrant cloth

The menu is small, simple, and custom made for those 21-and-over, with two mixed drinks (The Glacier and Kali River Tea) and two beers (Kingfisher Premium Lager and Singha) to choose from.

Menu

Menu

On my most recent trip I decided to give this new spot a quick stop. With the FL heat really kicking in, how could I go wrong with something called The Glacier?

The Glacier

The Glacier

The Glacier is a pretty simple beverage, really: lemonade mixed with raspberry vodka. The sign mentioned the drink being blended — which to me always means frozen, like a blended margarita. But there is no blender in sight at this tiny kiosk, so in this case “blended” just means mixed and served on the rocks at the moment. (This may change at any time.)

Glacier on the rocks

Glacier on the rocks

And, of course, it comes with [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast Wrap at Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

A couple weeks back, I told you all about my up close encounter with the Warm Colossal Cinnamon Roll at Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery.

It’s a cinnamon roll that’s as big as my HEAD!

But during that same visit, another item piqued my interest — a fancy schmancy breakfast wrap! Because who doesn’t love a great on-the-go breakfast option in the parks? I had to get it.

The Hot Breakfast Wrap

Whether I’m looking for a quick breakfast or an afternoon snack, Kusafiri is a great stop. There’s always something new to try here! And aren’t the food visual aides the tops? Making a decision is so much easier when you can see an example of what you’re getting.

Menu and Breakfast Options

Menu and Breakfast Options

But upon checking out the menu, the Hot Breakfast Wrap immediately caught my eye. After all, for all of my talk about sweet treats to start the day, I know a protein-rich, less sugar option will keep me going for long hours of fun in the parks.

And this really sounded interesting to me — way more so than the run of the mill breakfast sandwiches you usually see. Goat Cheese? Spinach? It’s practically a health food!

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

This is how the wrap came to me. Look at all the earth-friendly goodness happening here!

Hot Breakfast Wrap -- Wrapped!

Hot Breakfast Wrap — Wrapped!

Upon opening the brown parchment paper that enveloped the wrap, I was greeted by a [Read more…]

News! Harambe Nights Special Event to Debut in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Did you know that this year marks the 20th anniversary of The Lion King film? For those who love this beautiful Disney movie, we have some amazing news: Disney’s Animal Kingdom is marking this special event with Harambe Nights!

This hard-ticket event features The Lion King – Concert in the Wild, an updated version of one of Disney Parks’ most popular stage shows set in the all-new Harambe Theatre!

HN11

Your ticket for this event includes a special Welcome Reception in Harambe Village with appetizers and “African-inspired” wine and beer.

The event continues with seating for a private performance of The Lion King – Concert in the Wild – featuring a guest celebrity narrator with a live orchestra and choir. The whole thing includes dancing, dramatic light effects, and accompanying moments from the film.

HN2-613x292

Your ticket ALSO includes an After-Party in the streets of Harambe Village with an all-inclusive buffet featuring African cuisine and gourmet desserts, live music and dance, specialty merchandise, Character Greetings, and a special finale to cap off your adventure!

HN3-613x368

We’re thinking this is going to be much more involved [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Martinis!

Happy Friday!! Today we have more great photos to share, courtesy of Disney Food Blog Readers! We love to show off the talents of folks who post their gorgeous photos on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the awesome Martinis you can sample at Disney restaurants. So without further delay, let’s check out some delicious drinks that are perfect for the weekend!

Martini Flight at Hollywood Brown Derby

Photographer: Imsoscared

Can’t decide between the Shelby Mayer, the Honey Darling, or the Dorma Nesmond Martinis at Hollywood Brown Derby? Then I’ve got great news — you don’t have to! With this cool Martini Flight, you can try all three — and maybe even share a little.

And now, you can also get the flight at the new Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge as well!

Martini Flight at Hollywood Brown Derby

Martini Flight at Hollywood Brown Derby

Cherry Shaved Ice Martini at Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Photographer: Natasha Joyan

Is it a cocktail or a dessert? Who cares! I say let’s call the Cherry Shaved Ice Martini at Yak and Yeti Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom a little bit of both.

Shaved Ice Martini at Yak and Yeti

Cherry Shaved Ice Martini at Yak and Yeti

Lemon Martini at Carthay Circle Lounge

Photographer: V No Privacy

Did someone say lemon?? Because I absolutely love the tart stuff! And this [Read more…]

You Won’t Believe This Snack!: Warm Colossal Cinnamon Roll at Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I was swinging by Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery in Disney’s Animal Kingdom the other day and two things on the breakfast menu caught my little eye…

First up — the hot breakfast wrap sounded like a yummy, protein-y mix of goodness to fuel my park day (and I did get it, though I’ll tell you all about it in another post); but THEN…how could I ignore the next item on the menu?

Warm Colossal Cinnamon Roll???? For NINE DOLLARS?!??!?!

OK, so A) When you use the word “colossal,” you better mean business, and B) Seriously?? Nine dollars???

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

Usually when I’m at Kusafiri, I sample their cupcakes or their Paw Print Brownie. But this time…well, you know what happened.

Warm Colossal Cinnamon Roll

Warm Colossal Cinnamon Roll

I took this picture to show you the size of this thing. The roll is big enough to [Read more…]

Top 5 Restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park in Disney World when I’m in it. The themeing is incredible. I could wander around just looking at things there for days! But the other thing that keeps me coming back to Animal Kingdom again are some seriously awesome restaurants. This place has it all!

Let’s take a look at some of our favorites — and what sets them each apart from the crowd.

Top Five Animal Kingdom Restaurants

Tusker House

If you haven’t booked a meal at Tusker House, then you’re missing out.

This sprawling restaurant sits on the main thoroughfare in Harambe village within the Africa section of the park. And with some of the best immersive themeing anywhere at Disney World, it’s hard to take in all of the intricate details and imagineering here with just one meal.

Tusker House -- Outside View

Tusker House — Outside View

But it’s not just the surroundings that are interesting. Tusker House has some incredible food as well. Inspired by the flavors of Africa, you’re in for a treat, whether you’re dining for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We especially love the Spit-Roasted Meats. And taking advantage of the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet may save you on other meals during the day.

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

But if you’re still looking to add a character dining experience to your list of advance dining reservations, be sure to book the breakfast or lunch, as characters don’t appear at dinner.

Eating a big breakfast will fill you up -- and cost less than dining big later in the day!

Seeing Your Favorite Disney Friends in Safari Garb at Breakfast and Lunch is Super Fun!

It’s always a kick to add pics Mickey and Friends in different outfits, and at Tusker House, they’re dressed to go on a Kilimanjaro Safari with you!

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Looking for something exotic with an Asian twist? Then check out Yak and Yeti Restaurant. You can’t miss the big purple building in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom!

Themed as a grand home that’s been converted to a hotel, guests to the town of Anandapur are guaranteed to find

[Read more…]