|Tip Dates||06/06/2014 - 06/20/2014|
|Locations||Magic Kingdom,EPCOT,Hollywood Studios,Animal Kingdom,Downtown Disney,Disney Dream|
My birthday and Harambe Nights
|My birthday and Harambe Nights|
Today is my 40th birthday, and I could think of no better way then to spend it then to be with my family at Disney World. The plan is to start the day at Magic Kingdom and come back for break as we have Harambe Nights tickets for tonight. (So excited that the first ever Harambe Nights is on my birthday!)
Magic Kingdom -
We head in and get to the park about 30 minutes after opening, I've been nervous about the lines as I've read varying stories on the impact that FastPass + has had on some lines. We have our 3 choices already made for Haunted Mansion, 7DMT, and Peter Pan. We head , and I want some Dole Whip so we head straight to Aloha Isle, only to de disappointed it isn't open yet, Ill have to make note of that and figure out the actual opening time, onward to Pirates of the Caribbean, but its not running because of technical difficulties, we are 0 for 2, but we keep moving. We get to Haunted Mansion and theres a 5 minute wait, I guess a FP + isn't needed for HM this early. We do a few more rides and look around some shops ,before we go to our BOG lunch. The BOG FP worked extremely well, scanned our Magic Bands and headed right inside, quickly used the kiosk provided. The kiosk was easy to use and easy to make minor changes (like hold the sour cream). We finished the order with Grey Stuff cupcakes for desert, and headed to the table. Is was really quick and the food showed up at the table. Everything was really good, and the Grey stuff is delicious. After lunch we headed back to the resort to relax and prepare for the late evening. When we got back I found the room had been decorated in balloons, and my wife had surprised me with a custom Haunted Mansion Cake!
The detail was amazing, it was a carrot cake with cream cheese icing!
After resting a bit we we are off to Harambe Nights!
We get to Animal Kingdom around 6:15, and I could tell this would be a special event, everything is branded Harambe nights from the minute you get to the gate.
We start making our way back to Africa taking a few pictures along the way.
My mom, son, and wife.
We make it to Africa, and they directed us to the check-in area of Tusker House for a short wait, before we are are moved closer to the new Harambe Theater for a welcome party. There were many food and drink stations setup, and we never felt crowded or like we were waiting in line. There were coke products, guava juice (with or without rum) and many African beers and wines. They were all included and plentiful. A live band is played while we had snacks and got ready for the show.
They're was many cast members everywhere making sure everyone was having a good time.
My wife getting her face painted.
After 30 minutes are so the show was getting close and we lined up to go inside. When you first get in you get a bracelet, with a different section on it, we got Zebra which was straight back from the stage. I would recommend getting their early to get Zebra if you prefer to be straight on and not to the side. Premium seating was on the floor in chairs, and normal seating were on the bleachers. I could see people having problems with the premium seating as they are all on the same level, and not stadium style like the bleachers. I was glad we didn't pay for the premium seating, although maybe its that I'm now 40, but for a 55 minute show I sure could have used a back to the bleacher seat!
The show was amazing, its a live orchestra, with a guest narrator doing a retelling of the Lion King. Our guest narrator was Viola Davis, you could tell she was excited to be there, she did a great job. There was live singing, and dancing mixed in with video from the Lion King. It was hard to get good pictures , but was able to snag a few.
After the show, we are welcomed to a Harambe street party! There are food stations setup everywhere, Tusker House was used as buffet line and seating was plentiful. They had special event only merchandise, and was never crowded to look. There was more food and drinks, if anyone went away hungry , they did something wrong. If you like the food at Boma you should do good here, they even had baked chicken and Mac and Cheese, which my son appreciated. The live DJ, kept the crowd excited, and lots of people where dancing and having fun, we even got to dance with Goofy and Pluto. There was lots of entertainment and lots of character visits, my only complaint was the way the characters where done, they would walk through the crowd and really never stop, it was hard to get a picture with them, though lots of people did.
As the party wound down we started heading out, cast members where everywhere lighting the way back to the entrance. I really loved being in Animal Kingdom at dark, and with such a little crowd. Theres just something different and special about the parks at night! As we got near the exit theres a few more things to see,
I wasn't able to get a good picture, but they had the tree of life sparkling with blue lights, it was beautiful, and a great way to end the evening, and my birthday! They had plenty of buses ready to take people back to the resort, and we had very little wait. While I was a little apprehensive on the pricing of Harambe Nights ($119 regular /$149 premium) I felt that we more then our moneys worth. The atmosphere was amazing, and everything was top notch. I would definitely like to do it again on a future trip!