Animal Kingdom Archives

June 7, 2013

Henna: That'll Leave a Mark!



Now and then, I've thought about getting a tattoo -- nothing too flashy, but maybe just a small flower or butterfly, discreetly placed on a shoulder or inside the wrist. I've never actually committed to such permanent body art, though, partially because I'm a bit leery of the pain and needle involved.

What I have done several times, though, is indulge in getting temporary henna "tattoos," like those popularized by the Indian and Middle Eastern cultures.


Henna is a plant that grows in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and across other hot, dry regions in Asia. Its dried leaves are ground into a powder and mixed with other ingredients to make a paste which, when applied to the skin, will stain it in much the same way that a used teabag will stain a surface its left on. No needles are involved in the process, making it an easy and relatively inexpensive alternative to true tattooing, which can be painful to both the skin and the pocketbook.

At Walt Disney World, there are two places you can get a lovely henna tattoo -- in the Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, and at the Mombasa Marketplace in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The latter location is where I've had henna tattoos done a few times over the last year. The process is quite quick, and completely painless.

First, choose your design from a book chock full of photos that show not only the patterns, but suggested placement. Prices range from $15 for less complicated patterns up to $35 for the more intricate designs.






Once you choose your design, the cast member at the henna station will write an order for you, which you must take inside the shop so you can pay in advance. Take the receipt back out to the henna artist and have a seat.

Henna artists are skilled in drawing intricate patterns with the paste, which is applied with a type of pen -- sort of like a gel pen.



I'm so impressed with how quickly these artists work, and they do it all freehand. Obviously, they've had loads of practice, but they move swiftly and confidently, creating beautiful swirls and flourishes without mistakes.


Before you know it, your hand (or arm or leg or whichever body part you've designated for your henna) is decorated, and possibly even sprinkled with a little glittery "pixie dust." (That's a Disney touch -- I'm not sure whether traditional henna artists ever accent their work with glitter and jewels.)

The entire procedure from design selection to the application of the henna takes less than a half-hour (unless, of course, you have to wait for other customers for your turn with the henna artist). As I said before, there's no pain involved -- the paste has a strong odor, but it doesn't sting the skin when it's applied. There's just the light pressure of someone painting or drawing on you. (NOTE: If you have very sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, you may want to check with your doctor before getting a henna tattoo -- or perhaps test a very small amount of the paste on your skin to determine if you have a reaction.)

The henna paste must stay on your skin for several hours (the henna artists suggest at least eight) to really "soak in" -- the longer you can leave it on, the deeper the stain penetrates, and the longer the design should last. As the paste dries, it cracks and then gradually flakes off, revealing the henna "tattoo," which is initially rather orange in color. It darkens over the next day or so to a deep reddish-brown.


How long the stain lasts depends on a number of variables. Thicker skin, like that on the palms of the hands, holds the stain longer. Also, keeping the henna area moisturized, using body lotion or baby oil, may help it to last a little longer. Conversely, if you swim in chlorinated water, which tends to dry the skin out, the henna may fade more quickly.

With time, your dead skin cells flake off, and the dye fades away. As you can see, this henna had really faded after about 10 days.


The henna tattoos I've gotten have generally lasted about two weeks, despite my efforts to prolong them, but the henna artists I've spoken to say they've had the tattoos stick with them as long as a month.

As I said, that's not been my experience. For example, there's no trace of the latest henna tattoo I had -- it was applied at the end of April.



Guess that means I'm ready for another, the next time I'm in the World!

May 2, 2013

Animal Kingdom's New Wilderness Explorers


As promised, I'm planning to share some more details from the "Monstrous Summer" media event last week. I was going to include everything in one blog, but thought it might be more useful if I broke it out into individual topics. So let's get started!

One of the projects featured at last week's "Monstrous Summer" media event at Walt Disney World was the soon-to-debut "Wilderness Explorers" at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The new program is an interactive experience that invites guests to explore Animal Kingdom in "engaging and challenging ways" aimed at deepening understanding of animals and the natural world we live in. The "Wilderness Explorer" theme is taken from the Disney-Pixar film, "UP!" -- one of the main characters, Russell, is a Wilderness Explorer himself.

Disney California Adventure already has a version of the Wilderness Explorer Program at its Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, but Walt Disney World's edition will obviously be different, due to the nature of its home park.


In the Animal Kingdom iteration of the program, guests will take an official pledge. Then, as new "Explorers," they can wander the park at their leisure, armed with field guides that describe challenges they can complete to earn sticker badges along the way. There will be about 30 different badges available.

Imagineer Alex Wright was on hand at the media event and took a few minutes to describe the program:

According to Wright, many elements of the "Wilderness Explorers" program have already been subtly integrated into the theme park -- we might have walked right past them and not noticed.

Though the activity is geared to children ages 7 to 10, it's something that the whole family will be able to participate in and enjoy. Wright says that he expects that the first Explorers will be earning their badges very soon, within the next few weeks.

The Wilderness Explorers program will be included in admission to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

July 1, 2009

Picnic In The Park - Animal Kingdom

by AllEars® Team Member Jack Marshall

I have always thought that Disney's Animal Kingdom had some of the best food available in any of the parks. Picnic In The Park (PITP) is no exception.

First offered back in April, PITP is definitely a trailblazing meal option for Disney. The basic idea of the program is to select from two tiers of healthy food selections - tier 1 is sandwiches and tier 2 is meats. Details on what the selections are can be found on our Picnic In The Park page.

The process starts when you place your order at the Desk located to the right of the Island Mercantile building.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

Orders must be placed a minimum of one and one half hours prior to picking up but you can order your picnic anytime between park opening and 1:30 p.m. for pick up anytime between 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The food is prepared in the kitchens of Tusker House. Pick up is done at the window of the Kusafari Coffee Shop and Bakery.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

Recently, I dined with two friends and we selected the rotisserie chicken option for three people. The bill came to $29.99 ($31.94 with tax). We ordered our picnic at 10:15 a.m. and picked it up at 12:45 p.m. There are 16 suggested picnic spots throughout the park. We chose the Dawa Bar for its accessibility, closeness to Kusafari Coffe Chop and Bakery and the umbrella tables that kept the spot cooler and dry.

The meal comes in a green reuseable cloth bag.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

The tier 2 meal for three consists of your entree, two sides to share, a dessert for each diner and a water for each.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

Our rotisserie chicken was supposed to include 6 pieces but we got 8. I don't know whether it was a mistake or not but it was definitely not wasted.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

Four our two sides, we chose mashed potato and gravy and macaroni and cheese.These came in pint containers (16 ounces).

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

We all selected different desserts. Shown here are the cornbread and the brownie.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

The final dessert was a crisped rice treat.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

The drinks were 12 ounce bottles of water and were the only option. Additional items like soda could be purchased individually if desired.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

Finally, all the necessary plates, napkins, plastic utensils, mayonaisse and mustard were included as well.

Animal Kingdom Picnic in the Park

I found the meal to be very good. It was heavily seasoned and was quite hot when we sat down to eat it. My dining companions also enjoyed their meals. We did notice that several things were lacking, notably butter or margerine for the cornbread and wet naps to clean up after eating the chicken. But these were minor things.

As of June 27th, 2009, Picnic In The Park has expanded to offer meals for two. Previously, meals for three were the smallest meals you could get.

The Disney Dining Plan is accepted for this but it will take one adult quick service entitlement for each meal ordered. In other words a meal for two would take two counter service credits while a meal for three would take three, etc.

I have to admit that this is an item that I most likely would not have purchased for myself but I am very glad that I had to for this report. I know I will be doing this option when my family returns to WDW later this year.

Be sure to visit out Rate and Review Area to share your experience and see what others have to say as well!

May 17, 2007

A Quick Weekend Trip Report

AllEars Team Member Anita Answer files this report:
Just back from a quick Mothers' Day weekend trip to the World, and wanted to share a couple of things:

flower and garden festival

New Fastpasses: Saw them at the Safari and Everest. They're about 1/3 bigger, on heavier stock. The issue date is BIG now, so no cheating! The new FPs also reference the pass you used to get them, and have a ref number printed at the bottom as well as bar code on the sides. I think this foreshadows some other changes coming to the FP system in the near future, but I'm not really sure yet what they may be.

New Show at the Safari: First ride on the Safari on Sunday morning was the old show (Miss Jobson, Wilson, Big Red, Little Red, Shifty- eyed Crocodiles, etc.) I asked an area coordinator when the new show was starting as I thought it already had. He said there are 3 shows right now as they phase the new one in: The old one, the new one with a recorded spiel, and one where the driver does the whole thing. He asked if we wanted to check out the new show (Uh, let me think...YEAH!) and he back-doored us back onto the ride and made sure we got a truck with the new show. By the way, the trucks now have 2 extra rows on the back and a canvas roof. Anyway, back to the new show. Miss Jobson has been made redundant, Wilson has had a voice transplant and now sounds like Mr. Bean imitating Wilson. I was on the floor of the truck I was laughing so hard. It's unintentionally hilarious. What can I say? I'm easily amused.

In the new show, the driver handles most of the spiel now, and the poacher/dead elephant story has been relegated to the back page, with more emphasis on the animals now. Bottom line, the old show was silly and probabably needed some work. The new show is just...blah. The animals are spectacular as usual. Several times during the ride, we were eye to eye with rhinos, giraffes, and ostriches.

Saw the new Monsters, Inc. show. It was not an E Ticket, but not as bad as I had been led to believe. I thought it was cute. The audience interaction was very funny and entertaining.

Saw the new Three Caballeros ride at Mexico. Also cute and well done, but the boat goes too fast for you to catch on to what's going on in the story. You may have to ride it a few times to figure it out.

New queueing in Rock 'n' Roller. The queue is completely different from the entrance to the load zone now. There are three lines: Stand- by, Fastpass and Single Rider. The pre-show area has been rebuilt. The upper tier is now much smaller and for Fastpass guests. The lower tier is larger, and for Stand-By guests.

I rode Everest 12 times on Sunday. This is not my personal best, however, which is 29 times in one day during the first day of previews.

Saw the Nemo show again, and they've changed Crush's human's costume. I liked the old one better (dreds, board shorts, sandals). Now he wears one of those body suits the other puppeteers wear, and it's kind of a washed-out mottled khaki. Now it looks like there's another turtle riding on Crush's back. I thought it looked odd. Bring back the original costume, please?

Went to have lunch with friends yesterday (May 15) at the Yacht Club Galley and found it closed and under rehab! The hostess told me they had only found out at 2:30 on Friday they were closing. They'll re-open on May 23. Meanwhile, lunch is being served at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. The menu is the same. Lots of changes happening to the World's restaurants these days!

Stayed at Shades of Green for the first time and it was pretty much a bust. Although the resort is absolutely gorgeous and the rooms are huge, pretty and spotless, the restaurants were awful, and the guest service was worse. I started my stay on Saturday at lunch in Evergreens where I had an entire glass of iced coffee dumped on me by the server. Did she apologize? No. Did she offer to get me a towel to clean up? No. She didn't offer a free drink to replace the one I was now wearing, and in fact I had to ask for a replacement drink four times from two servers before I got it. Some of my clothing was ruined and my capris were soaked through to my skivvies.We didn't have a room yet, so it made for an uncomfortably damp coffee-scented afternoon. It did not set a good tone for our stay.

Although SoG is located right next to the Poly, it's impossible to get anywhere easily without a car. It's also impossible to park at the TTC and try to get back to SoG without going about 20 miles (slight exaggeration...) out of your way unless you know the Super Secret exit that will not put you on World Drive going south. I knew it was there, but could not find it at 1:00 am Sunday morning in the dark. After three loops around the parking lot, I gave up and went all the way down World Drive and turned around and came back. Frustrating, since you can see the
resort, but you can't get to it! By the way, it costs $5 a day to park at SoG, and your park parking is not covered. Parking is also in a garage, and the rows are so narrow you can't back out without doing a five-point turn.

Yesterday, they left our bill on our door. We opened it and noted that they had charged the wrong rate. We also noted that there was a room service charge we did not make. Then we noted we had been given the next room's bill! So...downstairs my friend goes, which was ok since she had to pick up a package we had delivered from Epcot. The front desk was less than helpful and had to be begged for a new printed copy of the bill. The desk clerk seemed unconcerned about privacy and identity security issues (at a military hotel!? ) and told her not to worry about who might have her bill. The the clerk then rolled her eyes at my friend as if it was all her fault!

Now it was time to get the package...which they had lost. Nowhere to be found. They said if they found it they would call and she could come get it! Uh, no! Shouldn't they mail it at their expense since they lost it? They finally found it and called, shortly before we were due to leave for the airport. "It was sent over to Saratoga Springs. You can pick it up there." Why did they send it to SSR? Needless to say, we both agreed that no matter how inexpensive it was to stay there or how lovely the resort was, we would never ever- did I mention NEVER?- ever stay there again. DND (Definitely Not Disney). It remains to be seen if the package ever makes it home.


The Flower and Garden Festival has certainly been pared down this year! The grounds are stunning this year, but the "Festival" part is lacking. The Odyssey Festival Center contained a demo area, a display of arrangements and about 3 vendors. We kept asking if we were missing the rest somehow, but were assured this was pretty much all there was. Outside, there were some kiosks along World Showcase Plaza, and that was about it. They extended the show, and then got rid of 1/3 of it? That didn't make sense to me, but I'm not in charge of Epcot Special Events either.

Yak & Yeti - Second floor is taking shape, but still no roof. I don't think they're going to make that July 2007 deadline for opening. Had a "Farewell To Tusker House" breakfast on Sunday. Goodbye, old friend...

The Magic Kingdom Noodle Station is open 5pm to 9 pm daily. El Pirata in the Magic Kingdom has been open for lunch.

Apparently, the exhorbitant shipping costs did not go over well with guests and shipping costs are back to normal again. I didn't experience this personally, and I'm just repeating what my friend told me she learned when she bought something at Downtown Disney and had it shipped home. YMMV.

Saw the Animal Kingdom Lodge models and chatted with the sales people. I loved the layout, and especially the master bathroom in the new bigger 1 br. (there are two full bathrooms and the unit sleeps 5!) I did not like the general decor, however. Animal prints and dark woods are not to my taste. By the way, the dining table only seats 4, but the unit sleeps 5. Guess someone didn't think that one through?

Davy Jones

Saw Davy Jones on Sunday! We were so close to the stage we could almost touch him. Woohoo! For a 61 year old man, he sure looks good! He can also sing and dance just as well as he could when he was 21. Amazing. Can you believe the Monkees TV show is 40 years old? Special guest was his sister Hazel, sitting two rows behind me. He sang a Swing song for her, and a young couple began swing dancing near the back. He called them up on stage, but they didn't hear him as they were concentrating on their dancing. He walked all the way out into the audience and brought them onstage, then brought his sister out of the audience to dance with him. It was a really nice moment, and nice way to end my Epcot visit.

Now it's back to reality until my next trip.

Read Anita's Weekly Column!

Return to Blog Central

About Animal Kingdom

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to AllEars® Team Blog in the Animal Kingdom category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Disney's Hollywood Studios is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.