Animal Kingdom Appreciation: Sounds of Harambe

If you are sensing a theme with my Animal Kingdom Appreciation posts this month, you’re right. Anyone can tell you about the thrills of Expedition Everest, the spectacular sights on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, or watch your back (and your butt!) in the It’s Tough to Be a Bug 3D show.

One thing I believe that Animal Kingdom does best (out of all the parks) is attention to detail, embracing guests into an utterly well-thought out environment. (May I be so bold to say that it is in direct competition with Magic Kingdom in this category?)

There’s also the “relaxation” factor. Go find a spot in the park and just sit. Enjoy the sights, people watch, take in the atmosphere. I can say with confidence that I can picture these kind of areas in all four of the WDW parks (hint hint, upcoming post) but I do believe I have a new appreciation for Harambe in this light.

When I was a kid, we always sped through Harambe to get to the Safari and didn’t spend much time lollygagging. That’s fine. I had a younger sister; my parents’ idea of relaxation was having a drink with lunch, possibly grabbing a bench in Camp Minnie Mickey or downtime waiting for Festival of the Lion King to begin. I also have to remember we visited the park as a family in the early days, and since then, they have done a commendable job of enhancing so many of the areas we would have walked past at another time.

Now I rev up for every trip saying I can’t WAIT to hang out in Harambe and I mean every single word.

This isn’t just about the Dawa Bar either. My love for that corner of Harambe knows no bounds and while I do love sitting on a drum, drinking a Safari Amber Ale, I found a whole new appreciation for that spot when Burudika Band is playing. It actually felt like a true blue vacation, the kind James and I used to take before we were utterly obsessed with Disney theme parks. Our favorite ritual in Aruba was going down to the outdoor lounge, grabbing rum & cokes, and listening to a man play a saxophone for hours. Ocean breezes, good conversation, and atmosphere.

No ocean breezes in Harambe but I think you catch my drift.

I love live music. I think it pluses just about any event, in any space. So to have Burudika Band playing, interacting with guests who are dancing dancing dancing, while I sat and hung out with my husband and a friend on VACATION? It was a feeling I wanted to take back with me to New York and relive over and over again.

Here’s an Instagram video I took that day:

//instagram.com/p/jCz-LKjPld/embed/Animal Kingdom isn’t a perfect park (heck, none of them are) but as it embarks on its 16th anniversary with so many exciting developments on the horizon, I’m happy with where it is at this moment. Even though there haven’t been any super major changes recently, I like the additions that have kept it fresh and more inviting. It’s more than the park with the best rollercoaster or the animals, and it should be appreciated as such.

Thanks again for following Animal Kingdom Appreciation month! I look forward to these posts every year and hope you do too!

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A book publicist who loves writing about Disney and books, and sometimes Disney books.

3 thoughts on “Animal Kingdom Appreciation: Sounds of Harambe

  1. It’s been a few years since I have been to the Animal Kingdom park, but I really like the way you described your experience. When I was younger, my family would always speed through these areas on our way to the big attraction rides (my dad was a serious speed walker). Recently, I got to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa with my fiancΓ©, and we did a lot more hanging out in certain areas of the park. This change in approach is nice, and it’s almost like having a whole new experience.

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