Archive for the Animal Kingdom Category

Explore Pandora – The World of Avatar with Nightly Extra Magic Hours!

March 23, 2017

Pandora Extra Magic Hours


For a limited time, May 27-July 4, 2017, Guests staying at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels can explore Pandora – The World of Avatar beyond regular Park hours.

Nightly Extra Magic Hours will take place from 11:00pm – 1:00am only in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. This offering will provide Guests with an additional opportunity to enjoy everything Pandora – The World of Avatar has to offer – including navigating a mystical river, flying on a back of a banshee and walking under floating mountains. Please note valid Theme Park admission and a Resort ID are required.

In addition, Guests staying at select Walt Disney Resort hotels can reserve Disney FastPass+ selections for attractions, including those in Pandora – The World of Avatar, up to 60 days prior to check-in beginning March 24, 2017. Disney FastPass+ service will be available at the two attractions within Pandora – The World of Avatar during regular Theme Park hours. Guests may select only one of these two attractions in their first set of Disney FastPass+ selections, subject to availability.

There’s so much excitement surrounding the debut of this world beyond belief that we here at MousePlanning suggest you take advantage of Nightly Extra Magic Hours to visit Pandora – The World of Avatar. Then, you can reserve Disney FastPass+ experiences to enjoy the rest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park during regular hours.

Do you want to experience Pandora – The World of Avatar for yourself?  Call us at 855-434-9397 to start planning your vacation!  You can also request a quote online!

*Valid Theme Park admission required. FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences, the number of selections you can make and available arrival windows are limited. Certain features and benefits require online registration. 

Menu Items at Satu’li Canteen at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

March 20, 2017


With an entire new land taking shape to open on May 27, 2017, Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park will transport you to the visually stunning land of floating mountains and bioluminescent plants. And of course there’s a culinary chapter to the story of the Na’vi.

You can enjoy creative, flavorful dishes based on the healthful bounty of Pandora, with wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and hearty proteins at Satu’li Canteen, where an on-stage grill is a prominent feature in the colorful dining room.

The Satu’li Canteen was once the main mess hall of the Resources Development Administration (RDA) base located in the Valley of Mo’ara. Now the canteen is owned and operated by Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) tour company and has been redesigned into a beautiful museum-like dining room.

The interior has been transformed with colorful Na’vi items filling the walls and hanging from the ceiling — hand-woven tapestries, natural Pandoran elements and even cooking tools decorate the restaurant.

In this fast-casual restaurant, you can find familiar dishes with a twist, including bowls that allow diners to customize their lunch or dinner. Diners start with a base of quinoa and vegetable salad; red and sweet potato hash; mixed whole-grain and rice or romaine and kale salad. Next is either with wood-grilled chicken, slow-roasted beef, sustainable fish or chili-spiced fried tofu. And the bowl is finished with charred onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette or creamy herb dressing.

The menu also offers steamed “pods” – bao buns with either cheeseburger or vegetable curry and served with root vegetable chips and crunchy vegetable slaw.

For little ones, there’s an option of grilled chicken or beef, fish or tofu with greens or rice; a hot dog wrapped in Parker House dough; cheese quesadilla, or a steamed “pod” (cheeseburger bao bun).

The fast-casual restaurant will also be the first to offer Mobile Order, a new convenient option to order and pay for meals on-the-go within the My Disney Experience app, allowing you to bypass the queue to order when you arrive at the restaurant. Using the app, you can select menu items, customize your order and pre-pay for your meal. When you arrive at the restaurant you will tap an “I’m here” button in the app, which will notify the kitchen to prepare the meal. When ready, you will be alerted through the app to pick up your meal at a designated window. Additional fast-casual and quick-service restaurants will begin to offer Mobile Order later this year.

Disney Dining Plan will be accepted at Satu’li Canteen but, at this time, Mobile Order will only accept credit cards.


Book your next Walt Disney World Vacation today!

Call us at 855-434-9397

or request a quote online!

Pandora – The World of Avatar will open on May 27, 2017!

February 15, 2017

Pandora - The World of Avatar Floating Islands


Pandora – The World of Avatar will open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park at Walt Disney World® Resort on May 27, 2017.

This new land will transport you to the visually stunning world of Pandora. Here, you will wonder at floating mountains and bioluminescent plants, and can join the Na’vi on two excursions that take adventure to the next level.

First, the family friendly Na’vi River Journey will send you through a bioluminescent rainforest. Your journey will end in an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman, a figure who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora. And second, Avatar Flight of Passage will offer you the jaw-dropping experience of exploring the world of Pandora atop a Banshee.

You will also be able to dine at Satu’li Canteen, grab a drink at Pongu Pongu, or shop for Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits, and more at Windtraders.

To book your Walt Disney World Vacation and experience Pandora – The World of Avatar, call 855-434-9397.

Check out this behind-the-scenes look at Pandora:

Night Experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Begin May 27th

May 20, 2016



Beginning May 27, 2016, you will be able to experience the magic of nature on display at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park at night – for the first time ever.  The park will awaken at night with new rich experiences under the stars and, on May 28, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic live show will debut at the park.


There is an exciting lineup of new experiences coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park after the sun sets, including nightly awakenings of the park’s iconic Tree of Life.  Beginning May 27th, animal spirits will be brought to life each night by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment along with other amazing sights at the tree.




After the sun sets, you also will be able to explore Kilimanjaro Safaris and see the nighttime behavior of the wildlife and better tune in to the unique vocalization of the animals like never before.  Among the new experiences, the village of Harambe in Africa will become the place to enjoy “Wildlife Parti” and the spirited community of Discovery Island will come together to celebrate their love of the natural world with the Discover Island Carnivale.


Expedition Everest thrills adventurers as it lurches forward and backward through the icy peaks of the Himalayas. But at night, the majestic mountain challenges trekkers to an evening ride revealing breathtaking views of Disney's Animal Kingdom canopied by starlight. (Courtney Di Stasio, photographer)


And the park’s Discovery River will awaken at night and become a stunning stage for performances of the limited-engagement show The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, inspired by the hit live-action film Disney’s The Jungle Book.  Shows will feature memorable moments from the film, including the iconic Shere Khan, and will be filled with music and special effects that celebrate the movie and classic songs, infused with an Indian influence.


FastPass+ and dining packages for Disney’s Animal Kingdom night experiences will become available beginning May 21st.


Also, development work continues on the future night show, “Rivers of Light.” This show will depict an ancient lantern festival guided by two storytellers who call forth four animal Spirit Guides. The Spirit Guides return at different points during the show to lead the audience on a journey through the Rivers of Light.

Rivers of Light to Debut at Animal Kingdom

March 2, 2016

Here’s the official news on Rivers of Light, followed by my opinion.

Rivers of Light


We’re excited to share that “Rivers of Light,” the first-ever night-time show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, will officially debut at the Walt Disney World® Resort on April 22, 2016.

The show, set on Discovery River in the Asia section of the park, will depict an ancient lantern festival guided by two storytellers who call forth four animal Spirit Guides: an Asian Tiger, Tropical Turtle, African Elephant and Great Horned Owl. These Spirit Guides return at different points during the show to lead the audience through their journey through the Rivers of Light.

Get a first look at some of the illuminated lanterns, water screens, moving fountains and other amazing elements that will be featured in “Rivers of Light” in this video!

My thoughts on Rivers of Light

Let me clarify a couple of things.

First, this is not part of the Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion as I (and others) incorrectly assumed when Disney started construction on the Rivers of Light over a year and a half ago.

In addition to the show, you will notice the park’s iconic Tree of Life undergo an amazing awakening as the animal spirits of the tree are brought to “light” by magical fireflies, revealing moments of wonder and enchantment.

Overall, I believe Rivers of Light is going to do great things for Animal Kingdom.  Already in the past year or so, Imagineering has made little improvements to the visuals in the park which have subtly enhanced the theming to a level that is beyond amazing.  (Walking through Harambe in particular is such a realistic experience; you really get the idea that you are actually in Africa.)  And now Rivers of Light will  provide Animal Kingdom with one of the big things it was sorely lacking — nighttime entertainment.

Ultimately, Rivers of Light and the upcoming Pandora/Avatar expansion are going to be the ol’ one-two punch sequence that will knock you out.


Lion Guard Adventure to Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

January 13, 2016

Lion Guard

Beginning Feb. 7, 2016, a new interactive experience, based on the hit Disney Channel movie “The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar,” will debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park at Walt Disney World® Resort.

The Lion Guard Adventure allows young Guests to become honorary members of the Lion Guard as they explore the park in search of five main characters from the popular TV movie – Kion, Bunga, Fuli, Beshte, and Ono. These characters are represented as colorful statues that are perfect for a kid-sized photo-ops.

Like the movie, the experience encourages interest in protecting animals and caring for nature. Once they complete the adventure, each child can take a special pledge to become an honorary member of “The Lion Guard” and receive a special button.

The experience will be offered in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park through late March, as one of many activities celebrating the debut of “The Lion Guard” series on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

New Details Unveiled for “Rivers of Light” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

December 9, 2015

When I was at the D23 Expo in August, I was excited to learn some details about the new “Rivers of Light” show coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I’m really excited that Animal Kingdom is finally getting the night-time love it deserves.  Here is a recently released video with details about it:

And the official description from Disney:

When the new nighttime experience “Rivers of Light” debuts in spring 2016 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, you will enjoy one of the most memorable and emotionally stirring shows in the park’s history.

The show will take place on Discovery River between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. During the show, a pair of mystical hosts come to the river bearing gifts of light and set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels for a dramatic dance of water and light to summon animal spirits. With the storytellers as guides, the wonders of “Rivers of Light” builds to a stunning crescendo.

In addition to the show, you will notice the park’s iconic Tree of Life undergo an amazing awakening as the animal spirits of the tree are brought to “light” by magical fireflies, revealing moments of wonder and enchantment.

To create “Rivers of Light,” Imagineers and Creative Entertainment partnered with the talents of master puppet designer Michael Curry, composer Mark Mancina and the filmmakers at Disneynature.


Harambe Market Now Open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

June 4, 2015

Harambe Market


Harambe Market, a bustling marketplace alive with the aromas and flavors of African street foods, adds an exciting new dimension to the expanded Harambe Village experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park in Walt Disney World® Resort.

Built around a Colonial-era train depot design complete with a 1960s water tower, Harambe Market invites you to sample true flavors of Africa before or after you embark on Kilimanjaro Safaris®. The following four themed shops offer fresh meals, snacks and beverages like those found in an African street market:


Harambe Market 2


  • Kitamu Grill featuring skewered chicken and kebabflatbread sandwich.
  • Famous Sausages showcasing a corndog made with a South African boerewors sausage dipped in curry-infused corn batter.
  • Chef Mwanga’s spice-rubbed Karubi Rib paired with green papaya-carrot slaw.
  • Wanjohi Refreshments quenches thirsts with craft draft beers, South African wines by the glass, sangria, frozen drinks, non-alcoholic tangerine lemonade and fountain beverages. 

Harambe Market 3


Harmabe Market offers shaded tables for dining, and area shops sell wares from Africa. And from the marketplace, you can enjoy direct access to Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Wildlife Express train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and a path to Asia attractions, including Expedition Everest®.

Animal Kingdom doesn’t compare for Holiday offerings!

November 19, 2014

The entrance to Disney's Animal Kingdom

Of all four Walt Disney World theme parks, Animal Kingdom is certainly the weakest when it comes to special holiday offerings.  The Magic Kingdom is all decked out with holiday decorations, has Elsa giving Cinderella Castle the Frozen ice treatment ever night, and has Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Epcot has holiday story-telling at different countries around the World Showcase (in addition to brand new holiday entertainment and food for this year).  And Disney’s Hollywood Studios has the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  Animal Kingdom usually just doesn’t compare.

Here’s what is being offered at Animal Kingdom during the holiday season for 2014:

Entertainment – Beginning Nov. 19, the DinoLand Dance-A-Palooza adds special holiday music and décor for the season. Throughout the park, Guests will be able to visit and take photos with favorite Disney friends, each donning their holiday best.

Food & Beverage – Thanksgiving and Christmas meal offerings will be available at Flame Tree Barbecue and Tusker House Restaurant. Thanksgiving dinner will be available at Flame Tree Barbecue from Nov. 23 – 29. Guests also can make reservations at Tusker House Restaurant during all three meal periods on Dec. 25. Additionally, beginning Nov. 23, holiday-themed desserts will be available throughout the park and give our Guests a sweet treat option while exploring during their visit.

Merchandise – Traditional holiday merchandise is now available throughout the park. New this year, Guests can get ornaments and stockings with animal print at Mombasa Marketplace and Island Merchantile, which is perfectly fitting to the park. Additional carts featuring holiday headwear will be set Thanksgiving week.

Clearly, Animal Kingdom isn’t the biggest draw for the holiday season.  There’s not even hope of that changing once Avatarland is finally up and running.  I could be wrong, but I don’t imagine that Earth holidays will fit in with the look of Pandora.   


Construction begins on “Rivers of Life”

September 6, 2014

Rivers of Light Concept Painting


You’ve no doubt heard about “Rivers of Light” at Animal Kingdom. Or maybe you missed that announcement in your excitement to hear more news about Avatarland. Or maybe Rivers of Light is part of Avatarland. Who knows anymore? The official announcement says that Rivers of Light is part of the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I interpret this as being part of the Avatar expansion.

So what is Rivers of Light? I don’t know that either. All I know is the official announcement said that it “promises to be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. The show will magically come to life on the broad, natural stage of the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest, delighting our guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.” Whatever it is, if it keeps Animal Kingdom open later than 5:00pm and is even half of what “World of Color” is at Disneyland, I will be a happy camper.

At this point, the only people really being affected by the construction are smokers. (It amazes me that there are still people who smoke.) Construction walls will be installed in Asia and additional walls will be installed around Discovery River throughout Asia and into DinoLand U.S.A.. As a result, the smoking location across from Expedition Everest will be removed as the wall is installed. The smoking location at Rafiki’s Planet Watch also will be removed. For those of you reading this who smoke, remaining Guest smoking locations can be found near Pizzafari in Discovery Island, behind Dino Sue in DinoLand U.S.A., and next to Rainforest Cafe outside the main entrance. Given the inconvenience, it’s probably just easier for smokers to quit smoking.

The construction wall in Asia also will impact the Wilderness Explorers Telescope Badge activity. Instead of taking part in the assigned activity (using a telescope to determine the height of the Forbidden Mountain Peak),Wilderness Explorers can identify the correct answer on a Himalayan Vista image that will appear on the construction wall and earn their badge.