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Harambe Nights Archives

June 9, 2014

Harambe Nights - Snapshot

Deb's Digest Blog

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!

Harambe Nights


WELCOME RECEPTION

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.

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights


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 Nights

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights


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!

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights


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.


RELATED LINKS:

Rate and Review Your Harambe Nights Experience

Harambe Nights Preview

June 1, 2014

A preview of Harambe Nights at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Deb's Digest Blog

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I recently had the opportunity to attend a preview of the newly announced Harambe Nights event coming to Animal Kingdom on Saturdays from June 7 through August 9. This is the first ever special event and the first regularly scheduled evening entertainment at Disney's Animal Kingdom. A special ticket is required for this after-hours experience. (See below for details.)

JUST WHAT IS HARAMBE NIGHTS?

Harambe Nights is a brand-new experience designed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of "The Lion King." Harambe Village and its people are the hosts for this limited-engagement experience, which allows the popular story to be told in a new and creative way.

The evening begins when you enter the village of Harambe at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The park has already closed for the day, so it's just you and the other attendees enjoying the welcome reception.

Harambe Nights

Refreshing beers, wines and savory appetizers are served. I tasted the yummy Moroccan beef kefta with tamarind glaze, and it had a small kick. The wines are South African, and my favorites are the Fairview Pinotage for that smokey flavor and the Spice Route Chenin Blanc with a fresh taste with fruity notes. The beer selections range from Tusker Beer to Bud Light.

Harambe Nights

Soon, guests will make their way to the brand-new Harambe Theater -- which also is home to "Festival of the Lion King" during the day -- for the nearly hour-long show titled "The Lion King Concert in the Wild."

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On the way into the show, each guest will be given "Lion Chow," served in a cylinder made to look like balsa wood. This definitely is my new favorite snack! The combination of sea-salted pretzel chips, cardamom candied pecans, golden raisins, dried cherries and candied ginger is perfection. It's impossible to stop eating after just one bite.

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Following the show, the real party begins as guests are escorted back into Harambe Village, which is filled with the sounds of Afro-pop music, dancers, stilt walkers, a DJ and characters!

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(Our preview of the event was held indoors due to the weather.)

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights

THE SHOW

The heart and soul of Harmabe Nights is a new theatrical experience called "The Lion King Concert in the Wild." The show celebrates the 20th anniversary of "The Lion King" and tells the story of Simba coming of age.

Marsha Jackson-Randolph

Marsha Jackson-Randolph, who created "The Lion King Concert in the Wild" and is the show director, spoke passionately about the new experience.

"We are so excited to present this story in a way that has not been told before," she said.

This show pulls from some of the iconic scenes from the film in an immersive approach combining a 25-piece orchestra, the Harambe 16-member choir, eight dancers and two narrators, one of which is a celebrity. Much of the music will be familiar, but some new music was created for the show, as well. In addition, there are screens in the theater to enhance the visual contact and bring to life the characters you know and love.

Creating the new show has been an involved, collaborative effort among the various branches of The Walt Disney Co., she said. Disney brought in award-winning choreographer and director Warren Adams to help develop the show. (Adams is known for choreographing "Toy Story: The Musical," and he helped choreograph "The Lion King" for Hong Kong Disney.)

"We think this will be a journey of the heart for you," Marsha said. "We want you to allow your heart to be introduced to this story as told by the village of Harambe with the authentic dance and culture."

After Marsha spoke, we were invited into a rehearsal room for a glimpse of three scenes from the show. Understandably, no recording devices were allowed.

I can't wait to see this show in person!

FOOD.. ISN'T ALWAYS ABOUT THE FOOD?

In a word -- flavorful! I don't think guests, even those who consider themselves foodies, will be disappointed by the food served at Harambe Nights. Items are served at various cooking stations and are paired with the available beer and wines.

Some of our favorites include:

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Harambe Nights

... On-stage-seared lamb chops with tamarind pomegranate sauce

Harambe Nights

... the Fork-tender peri barbecued pork.

Harambe Nights

... Mango, radish, lime and mustard seed salad

Harambe Nights

Here are two of the vegetarian dishes:

Heirloom Legume Wat served over Basmati Rice

Harambe Nights

Eggplant Tikka Masala Curry served over Creamy Goat Cheese Pap

Harambe Nights

The desserts were delicious as well. My favorites were the Caramel-salted Tanzania chocolate Kenya coffee bite and the Chai cream with zebra stripes from Sanaa.

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Chef Robert Gilbert, Executive Chef of Catering Operations, discusses how to bring a most authentic experience to this event:

The culinary team made sure to include a few vegan offerings in the foods. Guests who are vegan, eat gluten-free, or have specific dietary should talk to the Disney Chefs in person about their dining needs when they arrive at Harambe Nights.

MY THOUGHTS

This is going to be a great experience, and I'm really glad I have tickets for the first show. I am impressed with the food and the small part of the show that we saw. It's easy to imagine a festive street party in Harambe Village, and I can see myself having a fun time, maybe even dancing!

My only concern is about the weather. On the evening of our preview, the skies were threatening and so we were inside Tusker House. I was assured there are contingency plans for the rain, but I wonder how much an indoor setting will "dampen" the experience of the party and impact the overall experience.

EVENT PARTICULARS

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.

Narrators for Harambe Nights are:

June 7: Viola Davis

June 14: Avery Brooks

June 21: Montego Glover

June 28: David Alan Grier

July 5: Michael Beach

July 12: Harry Lennix

July 19: Joe Morton

July 26: Alfre Woodard

Aug. 2: Brian Stokes Mitchell

Aug. 9: Patina Miller

To reserve tickets for Harambe Nights, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.

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About Harambe Nights

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Deb's Digest in the Harambe Nights category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Epcot's Food and Wine Festival is the previous category.

Holidays Around the World is the next category.

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