UPDATE: Check out our full review of Harambe Nights on AllEarsNet TV:
On Saturday June 7, Deb Koma, Linda Eckwerth and I attended the first Harambe Nights special event in Animal Kingdom.
This is just a quick snapshot of our experience -- for a more in-depth review of the evening, don't miss our AllEarsNet TV show on our YouTube channel this coming Thursday!
WELCOME TO ANIMAL KINGDOM
From the moment we arrived at the parking toll plaza for Animal Kingdom, we began to feel "special". A welcome banner was on display and there were lots of Harambe Nights signs leading us to a special parking area. Cast Members were decked out in face paint and animal ears headbands, clearly in the festive spirit.
After a quick scan of our event tickets, we were given a wristband for show seating and were on our way!
We arrived at 6:30 and the Welcome Reception was already in full swing! Live music, great appetizers, beer, wine, soft drinks and FACE PAINTING! Cultural representatives were sharing fun facts about their countries and there was a feeling of excitement in the air. The party had begun.
LION KING CONCERT IN THE WILD
Let me begin by saying ALL the live performers were outstanding -- from the orchestra, choir and dancers to the narrators and even the very animated sign language interpreters. Special kudos to celebrity narrator Viola Davis, who definitely got into her role.
Our chief complaint was that we wanted to see MORE of them. We were disappointed that the show relied so heavily on clips from the Lion King film, when there were so many talented live performers right there on stage. The narrators and performers could have told more of the story. Also, the stage platform the dancers were on was a bit too low. Even though we were sitting higher in the bleachers we still couldn't see their feet.
We wondered, too, about the view of those in the audience who were sitting in the more expensive "premium seating" area. Obviously, the view from the first few rows must have been fantastic, but we thought that audience members further back were probably having a hard time seeing the stage, since the seats were all on one level, with no risers.
HARAMBE STREET PARTY
Our concerns about the Concert in the Wild aside, we felt the remainder of the evening was a huge sucess. The Harambe Street Party was tons of fun. It took place all over the Village of Harambe (down to the Safari) and part way to Asia from Tamu Tamu! Plenty of tables and chairs, lots of excellent food and beverage stations. Characters roamed around the area throughout the night, dancing with guests and hamming it up for the cameras. There was a live band, and a DJ when the band took a break. We didn't see anyone who looked like they weren't enjoying themselves -- smiles and laughter all around!
Our Overall Rating on a Scale of 1 - 5 (5 being the best)
Deb Koma: 4.5
Deb Wills: 4.5
Linda Eckwerth: 4.5
We all agreed this evening was well worth the price!
General admission tickets for Harambe Nights cost $119 for ages 10 and up or $79 fpr ages 9 and younger. Premium floor-seat tickets were initially available and are now sold out for all nights. The event runs from 7 to 10:30 p.m., and parking is complimentary.
To reserve tickets for Harambe Nights, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.
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