Guest Review: Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Today, we welcome @MealTrip back to Disney Food Blog with an in-depth look — and some incredible photos! — of the opening night performance of Harambe Nights!

We enjoyed our first experience with this new hard ticket event at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom when we brought you a sneak peek from a media event recently. Now that the performance — which includes the new show The Lion King –A Concert in the Wild, a Welcome Reception, and a Street Party afterwards — is open to the public, we wanted to bring you another look at the event.

Let’s see what works — and what still needs a little work.

Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I made my way to the event location in plenty of time to check out the area for Harambe Nights before many of the guests arrived, and the set up is quite well done.

Festively-capped Cast Members greet guests of the event at the front gate of Animal Kingdom.

Cast Members Welcoming Guests to Harambe Nights

Cast Members Welcoming Guests to Harambe Nights

Here’s a close up of the Harambe Nights sign.

Welcome Sign

Welcome Sign

Let’s head in and take a look around.

Welcome Reception

As you enter the area, don’t forget to grab a program right after you check in and receive your wristband. The program contains information about merchandise, food, and the show.

Distributing Programs

Distributing Programs

It also gives you a handy schedule so you know just how the evening will unfold.

Event Program -- Click to Enlarge

Event Program — Click to Enlarge

Here’s the view as I arrived. The streets of the new Harambe Theater District are set up and ready to go before the party.

Streets of the New Harambe Street District as Guests Arrive

Streets of the New Harambe Street District as Guests Arrive

And here’s the area after 1,000 people are let in!

Streets of the New Harambe Theater District as it Fills with People

Streets of the New Harambe Theater District as it Fills with People

There are numerous beverage and food stations set up throughout the area. Here’s an example of one of the beverage stations. And yes — that’s Jungle Juice!

Beverage Station

Beverage Station

The Welcoming Party menu is somewhat light, and everything food and drink-wise is repeated at all stations, so if you’ve found one, you’ve found them all.

Welcome Reception Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Welcome Reception Menu — Click to Enlarge

The self-serve hot “appetizer” stations are well-looked after by Cast Members, and if you feel the line is too long when you walk up to one, just hang back and wait a few minutes. The crowds tend to ebb and flow, and there’s plenty of time to visit the food tables multiple times without standing in a long line.

Self Serve Appetizers at the Welcome Party

Self Serve Appetizers at the Welcome Party

Spicy Durban Chicken will be familiar to guests who have dined at Boma or Tusker House.

Spicy Durban Chicken

Spicy Durban Chicken

Also throughout the area, there are numerous [Read more…]

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…]

News! Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma Extends Brunch Hours for Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day

Great news for fans of Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

If your Spring plans include a visit to Walt Disney World for either Easter Sunday or Mother’s Day, you can take advantage of extended hours for brunch at this fan favorite restaurant!

Normally, Boma serves breakfast from 7:30-11:00 a.m. But for these two special holidays, you can book your brunch table from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 20, and Sunday, May 11.

Boma Buffet

Boma Buffet

Dinner can still be booked for the same times on both days — 4:30-9:30 p.m.

We recommend that you mark the special occasion with a glass of their amazing Jungle Juice!

Regular Jungle Juice Served at Boma

Jungle Juice!

Then wend your way through the expansive buffet. There is a bounty

[Read more…]

What’s The Best Walt Disney World Park for Dining?

There is so much to love about the parks of Walt Disney World.

What's the Best Disney World Park for Dining?

The rides and attractions. The sense of history — both in the parks, and the memories that we’ve all made in them. The incredible themeing that greets you at every turn.

But of course, what do we love the most? The FOOD!

I’m serious about eating when I’m in Disney parks. And I know you are, too! But which Disney World park is the best when it comes time for eating?

This is a question I get asked a LOT; and it’s always tough to make a choice. Sure — Epcot has the largest number of fantastic restaurants, but there are some snacks that can’t be beat in Magic Kingdom; and the other parks offer some not-to-be-missed items, too.

There are some seriously awesome, edible reasons to visit each park — and I’m going to share some of my favorites with you today!

Get ready, because I want to hear your point of view, too! What’s your favorite Walt Disney World Park for Dining…and why?

Magic Kingdom

Eating your way through Magic Kingdom seems to me to be one part fantasy food, and one part pure nostalgia. It would be hard to imagine not carving our a few days on my menu for some of my favorite stops here!

Nutella and Fruit Waffle Sandwich at Sleep Hollow

For brunch or lunch, I can never pass up the chance to have a Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. Choose from Nutella (!!!) and Fruit, Spicy Chicken, or Ham, Prosciutto, and Swiss.

Seriously delicious — and enormous. I like to get two and split them among friends for a little variety.

Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich

We can’t go very far in this conversation though without discussing [Read more…]

UPDATE!: The Original DFB Jungle Juice Float in Animal Kingdom

I dreamed up the Jungle Juice Float on a recent trip to Disney World! And today, we bring you the first-ever taste test provided by guest author Julie B.! Here’s what she has to say…

I thought I’d give it a whirl with soft serve at Camp Minnie Mickey to recreate the Dole Whip style! But AJ was right to head to a closer ice cream cart (my frozen juice was a little thawed by the time I made it just to Camp Minnie-Mickey).

Jungle Juice!

The Float was quite delicious! But the soft serve was very vanilla-y, so it overpowered the juice a little.

Soft Serve Ice Cream.

The nice thing about a Dole Whip float is that little pucker you get from the pineapple juice, but since this juice is [Read more…]

My Great Idea That You Have to Try: The Jungle Juice Float in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Just outside of Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is a humble little kiosk called Harambe Popcorn. I estimate that I’ve passed right by it about a million times, give or take ten thousand or so.

I’ve noted the menu — popcorn, check. Glazed nuts (yum!), check. Assorted bevs and Jungle Juice, check check. I’ve even mentioned it to you in the Tusker House review.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

The addition of Jungle Juice — that glorious stuff that includes passion fruit, guava, and orange juice into one yummo glass —  to the kiosk is relatively new, and I’d been looking forward to getting some here.

It’s pretty great that you can now get it without booking a table at Boma or Tusker House! Here’s a pic of Jungle Juice at Boma…for comparison purposes.

Regular Jungle Juice Served at Boma

But when I finally headed over to get myself a glass a week or so ago, I was pretty intrigued by what I was given.

When the nice cast member handed over a hefty serving, I realized…it was FROZEN!

Well, not completely frozen, but slushy…the texture was a cross between a slush puppie and Disney’s frozen lemonade.

Frozen Jungle Juice at Animal Kingdom's Harambe Popcorn

Now, I have no idea if this is what regularly happens here at this kiosk. But I CAN tell you that the Jungle Juice was in one of those frozen drink tumbly things. You know, the ones that look like little washing machines?

So my guess is that they do serve it frozen as a general rule. How about that?! Have you seen frozen jungle juice anywhere else?

Frozen Jungle Juice -- Up Close

And this stuff is ah-mazing! I loved it! I would definitely be in line for more if I didn’t have to eat everything else in the Disney Parks. ;-)

My Great Idea That You Have To Try: [Read more…]

Guest Review: Wild Africa Trek (Plus Eats!) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Please welcome back guest author Alex Freeman, who’s brought us a review of the Wild Africa Trek featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. After getting an awesome view of the animals on the savanna, trekkers are treated to some wild eats! Jambo, Alex!

On December 27, my sisters and I took part in the Wild Africa Trek offered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Some of you are probably wondering why I am writing this review for a food blog, but this Disney tour includes a wonderful treat at the end.

Great views await from The Boma!

Checking In

At least 15 minutes before your scheduled tour time, you check-in at the Wild Africa Trek desk located to the left of Tusker House Restaurant. Even though I have been to Animal Kingdom many times, I did not know the area where the desk is located even exists.

There are outside tables for people who want to bring food from other quick service places and eat in a relatively quiet and peaceful atmosphere.

Outdoor Seating

Once you check-in, you are reminded of the Trek conditions (you must be over the age of 8 and you must be between 45 and 310 lbs).

Also, you are given a waiver to sign, which not only covers a variety of medical situations, but also permission for Disney to use any pictures they take of you in their promotional materials.

Trek Logo.

After everyone is checked-in (which was 11 people for our tour), you are greeted by your two Trek guides. Our Trek guides were named Lonnie and Paul and they were absolutely fantastic — hilarious, informative, and very friendly.

We followed both of our guides through a gate that led us to uncharted territory for the general public.

Trek Guides!

Gearing Up

In this area, you are given a locker to hold any of your personal belongings. You are not allowed to bring anything besides a camera (as long as it has a wrist strap that can be attached to your harness). Everything else, including your phone, must be stored in the locker.

You are then weighed and given a suitable harness, which they help attach to you. This harness includes a gear loop (which will attach you to the bridges), a souvenir water bottle (which you get to keep), and a headset so that you can hear both of the guides even when they are not right beside you. This headset was an absolute necessity when we were in the middle of a crowd.

Get your Trek gear!

Once you are strapped to your harness, you are asked to practice walking across a suspension bridge. This bridge is much [Read more…]

Guest Review: New Breakfast Offerings Come to Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness

Today, we bring you news of a fun update to one of our favorite spots in all of Walt Disney World — Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground!

Thanks to DFB reader Stephanie for sharing with us a couple of new (and very welcome!) additions to the breakfast buffet at this much loved Fort Wilderness restaurant!

Normally, we stay at Port Orleans when we visit Walt Disney World, and we absolutely love heading over to Trail’s End for their breakfast buffet on our “no-park days.” But this weekend, we actually stayed in one of the Fort Wilderness cabins following the Wine and Dine Race weekend.

For breakfast, we took our rented golf cart over to this family-favorite spot.

We were thrilled to find two new items on their buffet, including a brand new Build Your Own Yogurt Parfait Station. I thought other DFB readers would enjoy seeing them as well!

Build Your Own Yogurt Parfait Bar

First, they have both Plain and Blueberry Yogurt in jelly jars ready to grab.

Yogurt in Jelly Jars

Next, they offer both a [Read more…]

Photo Tour: Animal Kingdom’s New Sundowner Celebration

We’re excited to bring our readers more details about the new Sundowner Celebration, taking place in the Animal Kingdom from 3 p.m. each day until park closing.

Festivities will continue until “at least” the end of June, so plan your adventures accordingly!

Sundowner Logo

Don’t vacate the park in the late afternoon if you can help it — there’s lots to do before the sun goes down! Click the pic below to see a larger version!

Intro to the Festival -- click for larger version

Harambe

Jambo! In Harambe — Animal Kingdom’s African Village — you’ll find a street party going on featuring the Burudika entertainers and the Tam Tam Drummers.

Harame Street Party Sign - click image for larger version

The wine walk is available every day in June. You’ll get four tastings for $8 and six tastings for $11. Or, try the non-alcoholic fruit juice tasting for [Read more…]

You Know You’re Eating In Disney World When…

Let’s face it. There are a few foodie experiences at Walt Disney World and Disneyland that we don’t normally find at our hometown restaurants!

We thought it would be fun to put a few “You know you’re eating in Disney World when…” thoughts together, and we’d love to hear your additions!

Leave us a comment with your own “You know you’re eating in Disney World or Disneyland when…” experience! ;-)

You Know You’re Eating In Disney World When…

There are strangers eating in the back seat of your car.

Who's in the Back Seat?!?

You memorize the color of the soap in the bathroom while your kids willingly set the table.

Setting the table

You can’t wait to take a bite out of a mouse ear.

That's better!

You get bragging rights for eating dinner while watching fireworks.

Fireworks and castle from Narcoossees

You ask a yellow bear if [Read more…]