Disney announced several great bits of news last week about Animal Kingdom. I am super excited about most of this news. To me, Animal Kingdom has always been sort of a half day park due to closing earlier than the other parks. I would visit Animal Kingdom early in the morning and leave before dinner time to head over to Epcot or the Magic Kingdom. With all the new announcements of plans that are in works, Animal Kingdom will now become a full day park for me! Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be undergoing the largest expansion in the park’s history.
“Festival of the Lion King,” will return in a new location in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom this June. The new theater will be located in the Africa section of the park on the left side – here is some concept art of what it will look like:
In honor of the 20th Anniversary of The Lion King, this summer, for a limited time, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will host a special celebration – Harambe Nights. According to the information released, your adventure will begin with a Welcome Reception in the park’s Harambe Village, and will include appetizers and African-inspired wine and beer. This will be followed by a performance of “the Lion King – Concert in the Wild” in the newly built Harambe Theatre. This all-new experience will feature a live orchestra and choir, dancers, digitally projected movie moments, lighting and scenic elements – hosted by a celebrity guest narrator.
The lineup of celebrity narrators for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” features stars from movies, TV, and Broadway. Those scheduled to appear each night of the event include*:
- June 7 – Viola Davis: “The Help,” “Ender’s Game”
- June 14 – TBD
- June 21 – Montego Glover: “The Following,” “Memphis”
- June 28 – David Alan Grier: “Porgy & Bess,” “In Living Color”
- July 5 – Michael Beach: “ER,” “Third Watch,” “Sons of Anarchy”
- July 12 – Harry Lennix: “The Blacklist,” “The Five Heartbeats”
- July 19 – Joe Morton: “Scandal,” “American Gangster,” “The Good Wife”
- July 26 – Alfre Woodard: “Desperate Housewives,” “Miss Evers Boys”
- August 2 – Brian Stokes Mitchell: “Ragtime,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Glee”
- August 9 – Patina Miller: “Pippin,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”
After the show, you will be treated to the Harambe Nights Street Party, filled with music, characters, and live performers, encouraging everyone to join in and “Go wild!” You can also enjoy an all-inclusive buffet of African cuisine and desserts. Exclusive Lion King merchandise and collectibles will be available for purchase during the event. The evening will be topped off with a special finale to bid “kwaherini” to a magical evening!
Harambe Nights will take place every Saturday from June 7 to August 9, 2014, with the Welcome Reception starting at 7 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. show time. Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Tickets with premium floor seating are $134 for adults, $94 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Capacity is limited, so you’ll want to reserve your spot early by visiting Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or calling 407-939-1319.
“Rivers of Light”, a grand nighttime spectacular, will be an innovative show combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. The show will take place on the natural stage of the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest, and will the perfect end to a full day at the park. I am assuming it may be similar to World of Color in Disneyland since fireworks are most likely not going to work due to the animals.
Avatar Land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will not be ready to open until 2017. The site of the former Festival of the Lion King show area may soon be part of Pandora: The World of Avatar. Construction is underway and Disney will release information in small bits.
Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade will come to an end at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
sometime in June May 31.