Africa

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Rare Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Published November 4, 2013 by Disneyways.com

There’s a new baby at Animal Kindgdom Lodge. A rare Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra…the proper term for her is a “filly”…and she was born in October 2013. I am hearing through the grapevine that her name is Prima, although this has not been confirmed by Disney. Her photo is below, isn’t she a cutie?!

Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog

Prima the baby zebra

Prima’s mom was pregnant for a whole year, so you know she is probably as overjoyed as the rest of us for this new arrival. The filly and her mother are bonding well and doing fine.

Typically found in mountainous regions of southwestern Africa, the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra is characterized by a striking pattern of narrow vertical stripes covering its head and body. They can weigh up to 800 pounds and grow up to eight and a half feet. This species is considered endangered, with only 50 of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra in the United States and an estimated 7,000 throughout the world. Disney’s Animal Programs team is actively involved in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan for this critical species. The team is proud to have a successful birth of a rare species.

It might be fun to head over to the mara and celebrate the new baby with a zebra dome – or by doing some of the free activities that Animal Kingdom Lodge offers! I know I can’t wait to head out there to see if I can get a photo of Prima.

Photo property Disney

Photo property Disney

Some fun zebra facts:

There are three species of zebra, two of which live on the savannas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can see plains zebras as well as Hartmann’s mountain zebras during your stay. The Hartmann’s Mountain zebras (Prima and her mom) have thinner stripes that don’t extend around the belly.

Just like snowflakes, no two individual zebras look exactly alike.

Most scientists believe that the zebra’s stripes may serve to break up the outline of the zebra’s body in the herd and provide some camouflage when the zebra is standing in tall grass.

Mountain zebras eat mostly grass, bark, leaves and tree and shrub shoots. Though they prefer mountainous regions for their habitat, they are known to move to lower elevations to graze in cold weather and seek shelter in caves or wooded areas.

Just in Time for the 15th Anniversary! Your GO-TO Source for Animal Kingdom Information!

Published April 9, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Have you heard? Monday, April 22nd is Animal Kingdom’s 15th anniversary! I wanted to quickly re-post for you what Disney has sent out so far about the occasion.

But first I need to let you in on a secret. If you are looking for more information on the entire Animal Kingdom Park in general – you really need to join Safari Mike at the MOST comprehensive site I have found so far on the web!

Read all the way to the bottom of this post to get the stuff from Disney and then head to:

JamboEveryone.com

DAK anniversary

The information from Disney about the anniversary begins below.

  • Special opening ceremony – Meet at the Tree of Life at 8:40 a.m., to hear from Josh D’Amaro, Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment; and Joe Rohde, Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering Creative. Make sure you arrive early for this!

 

  • Earth Day “Party for the Planet” festivities – Special interactive activities that focus on animals and nature will take place throughout the park from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Artists and other vendors will present their work on in Africa and on Discovery Island, with their work available for purchase.
  • Opportunity to purchase special 15th anniversary merchandise, available in limited quantities.
  • Special food & beverage.

 

We’ll have more details on Party for the Planet fun, food & beverage and merchandise closer to the event date – stay tuned!

To join the conversation about the park’s anniversary online, use the hash tag #DAK15 on Twitter.

Wild and Free nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge

2 AK Restaurants that Give You the Most Bang for your Buck

5 Things you May Not Know About DiVine

Awesome Animal Photos and More

World Secrets – Wild and FREE – Nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Published April 4, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Are you ready for a wild time? Zebra, Kudu, and Uzimas – oh my!  Altogether, more than 200 mammals and birds of nearly three dozen species can be found roaming the savannas of Animal Kingdom Lodge, 24 hours a day.

So we’ve covered the WILD part of this edition of World Secrets. But what about the FREE part? Well, as gorgeous and unique as the Lodge is during the day – it truly comes to life in the evening with some unusual (and FREE!) nocturnal activities that you just can’t find any where else. Activities that create a perfect way to cap off a (not free!) romantic dinner at Boma, Sanaa, or to unwind with the family after a long day at the parks.

The secrets begin with sunset.

sunset

As the sun goes down, you can make your way to the Sunset Savanna Overlook viewing area. It’s secret? THIS savanna is designed specifically for viewing at sunset. Giraffes, zebra, impalas and more will be active at this time of day, increasing your chances of seeing them up close. It’s free to take all the photos you want, and even tripods are welcome.

Next on the list of free night time viewing fun – check out the Arusha and Uzima savannas. Each has its own unique look and feel, and not all savannas have all the animals. For instance, ostrich are unique to the Sunset savanna, zebras to the Arusha savanna, and kudu will only be found spending their wild nights on t the Uzima savanna. Giraffes are the only animal found on all three savannas.

The next World Secret is pretty well-kept! Once you’ve gotten your fill of picture-taking at the Sunset Savanna – nightfall brings the opportunity to view animals with night vision goggles! A cast member will be on hand to teach you how to use the goggles to identify the animals, or you can also pick up a  FREE guide at the front desk. This activity is currently offered at the Uzima Savanna Overlook…the price of this activity? Believe it or not, absolutely FREE.

Giraffe through night vision goggles at AKL

Usually night vision viewing is available  from 9-11 p.m., but be sure to check with a cast member, as times may change through the seasons. At night, all the savannas are illuminated by artificial moonlight as if a full moon were ever present.

How about  some FREE African story-telling while you cozy up to the warmth and crackle of a camp fire? African cast members will regale you with a story each night around the fire pit in the beautiful lobby area, or at the outdoor fire pit under the stars – usually right around 7:30PM each night. Location and times may be subject to change so be sure to double check with a cast member.

Random fact for you – Victoria Falls (or Mosi-oa-Tunya (Tokaleya Tonga:the Smoke that Thunders) is the world’s largest waterfall. You can find it in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambiaand Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls LOUNGE  is a relaxing, oasis perched above Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma restaurant. Here you will enjoy the sounds of a gorgeous indoor trickling waterfall that is 2 stories high. Every now and then you will also hear a duo of African drummers walking down the steps. Relaxing in the beautiful atmosphere in this  quiet lounge will make you feel like you have discovered a wonderful, FREE World Secret. You may just forget you’re at Disney World.

My son found the lounge to be the perfect place to practice his latest card tricks for my nephew!

Maybe your wallet is feeling heavy from saving all that money on these free activities – and you are ready to spend some dough? Here at Victoria Falls Lounge, you can buy yourself a glass of South African wine, or indulge in your favorite martini, beer or mixed drink. (I highly recommend the Victoria Falls Mist!)

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We hope you’ve enjoyed this Wild and FREE version of World Secrets. What do you love most about Animal Kingdom Lodge in the evenings?

 

 

World Secrets – 5 things you may not know about DiVine

Published February 19, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Experiencing a “DiVine” intervention during your visit to Animal Kingdom!

While walking through Animal Kingdom near Bradley Falls – on the pathway between Africa and Asia – you may see a curious site. A small crowd of park guests looking up, pointing and others walking by who will do a double take once they realize what is going on. Have they all lost their minds? Perhaps. It is more likely however that they  are admiring one of the most fantastic characters inside Animal Kingdom. Her name is DiVine, and she has been entertaining at Animal Kingdom since 1998.  She’s a character who is hired by Disney to help convey the park’s theme of teaching us that nature is invaluable.  She’s painted green, walks on stilts, and is wrapped in leaves and ivy to camouflage herself into the rest of the park’s foliage. In fact, if you get near her before the crowd gathers – you may find that DiVine blends so completely with Animal Kingdom’s dense flora that you may never notice her until she moves. These are photographs I took of her from a beautiful February day in 2013.

Look closely, I promise there is a person in every single one of these photos.

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Do you want to know more DiVine secrets?

1.Truth be told there is more than one person who portrays DiVine, and she actually does not work directly for Disney. She is contracted by Disney through a company called Living World Entertainment.  Not only does DiVine appear at Disney’s Animal Kingdom she can also be booked for parties or other special occasions and events outside the theme park. Imagine the laughs you could get watching your friends and family react to this amazing creature appearing in your own back yard!

2. Everyone who portrays DiVine must have a background in dance and fine arts, and is expected to meet certain height and weight requirements. How does she stay so fresh in the hot summer months? Well, she uses a special body spray so the leaves and ivy don’t fall off of her. It is amazing to think of the time and attention to detail DiVine must go through in order to entertain guests.

3. DiVine can typically be found near the pathway between Africa and Asia inside the Animal Kingdom.  But did you know she also has appeared on occasion near the front entrance to the park?  Normally you will want to look for her between 10:00AM and 2:00PM.  She is not always listed on the Times Guide, but on this particular day I really lucked out and she was there.

4. DiVine does not make eye contact. In fact she often keeps her eyes closed and the expression on her face looks much like she is enjoying pure nirvana. You will never hear her speak. Like most plants – she is a great listener I suppose. She obviously cannot sign autographs, but I found her to be very accommodating to my camera and almost it was almost as if she were posing just for the entire crowd. She continues her contortions and movements while entertaining the crowd.

5. DiVine is on stilts so her height can vary between 7 and 16 feet depending on what she is doing with her hands and legs. She was so gorgeous and graceful, I could not resist filming her as well, and you can see the results of that below.

DiVine is fabulous and really something special. Next time you are in Animal Kingdom, I hope you’ll take the time to see her if you can.

Kilimanjaro Safaris – Hippopotamuses for Christmas

Published December 25, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Every year at Christmas the radio stations here in Orlando play that old song, I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas!

Here are some actual pictures we took on Animal Kingdom’s  Kilimanjaro Safaris recently! I hope you enjoy them and have a magical day!

hippo side IMG_0007 IMG_0006 IMG_0010 DSC02885 DSC02884 DSC02883

Christmas at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Published December 24, 2012 by Disneyways.com

The most widely spoken language in Africa is Swahili. “Jambo!” meant the cast members over at Animal Kingdom were saying hello to me, NOT calling me fat, as I originally thought.

Visiting Animal Kingdom Lodge at Christmas time means you may find the cast members saying “Kuwa na Krismasi njema!” – or – “Merry Christmas!” in Swahili. The decorations at Animal Kingdom Lodge are lovely, understated, and of course African themed, as you will see here.

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To check out Disneyways Animal Safari Sundays series click here.

Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safaris – Zebras!

Published November 25, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Once upon a time there were Zebras at Animal Kingdom!

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