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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Awakens At Night With New ‘Jungle Book’ Show, Parties & Attractions Starting Memorial Day Weekend

Starting this Memorial Day Weekend, guests will be able to enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park in a whole new way – after the sun goes down! Whether it’s riding Kilimanjaro Safaris at sunset, venturing down Kali River Rapids at twilight, dancing alongside African performers in Harambe, or reveling in a live musical celebration of Disney’s hit film “The Jungle Book,” guests have a lot to look forward to.

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Here’s a taste of what to expect:

  • “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” Show – For the summer, Discovery River will become the stage for a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film “The Jungle Book.” “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” is filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.
  • The Tree of Life Awakens – The park’s iconic Tree of Life undergoes an extraordinary “awakening.” You can expect to see animal spirits come to life throughout the evening by magical fireflies. Each scene appears to emanate from within the tree itself and reveals stories of wonder.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark – Guests can enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris in the evening hours, thanks to special lighting that will allow them to explore the savanna – and its inhabitants – well into the night.
  • Harambe Wildlife Parti – Guests can turn into “party animals” at the Harambe Wildlife Parti and enjoy lively African music, exotic foods and drinks, and explore the local marketplace.
  • Discovery Island Carnivale – On Discovery Island, you can join the local community in their celebration of their love for nature in this party that features music, dancers, stilt walkers, food and more.
  • Tiffins – Guests can enjoy the park’s newest eatery, Tiffins, for both lunch and dinner. Check out this previous post for a peek at what to expect from the menu.
  • Nighttime Attractions – The park’s attractions, which will be operating in the nighttime hours, will take on a whole new life. For the first time, guests will be able to experience the thrill of attractions like Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids – surrounded by darkness. They’ll also be able to enjoy colorful midway games and attractions in DinoLand, U.S.A.

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New Tiffins Restaurant At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Opens Memorial Day Weekend

Tiffins, the newest Walt Disney World Resort table-service restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will open Memorial Day weekend for lunch and dinner.

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Located in the park’s Discovery Island area, the menu is inspired by the world travels of the park’s creators (Tiffin is the Indian word for a lunchbox used by travelers, and also the word for a mid-day meal). Walt Disney Imagineering describes the interior as “a gallery you can dine in with artwork that is a direct result of travels to Africa, Asia and South America,” with tastes such as Berbere-Spiced Lamb Chop with Mustard Greens, Lentil Stew and Mint Chutney (Africa); Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Huitlacoche Tamale, Hominy Succotash and Red Mole Sauce (South America), and Miso-glazed Black Cod with Forbidden Rice in Steamed Bok Choy with Turmeric Sauce (Asia).

Tiffins will also feature sustainable, organic wines and bio-dynamic viticulture, as well as handcrafted cocktails and beers.

No reservations are necessary in the adjacent Nomad Lounge with beautiful waterfront views. Menu items will include small bites like a vegetarian summer roll, seared Wagyu beef skewer and honey-glazed coriander-spiced pork ribs.


More Details About Tiffins, the Newest Dining Experience At Walt Disney World Resort

The newest Walt Disney World table-service restaurant is part of the biggest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Tiffins, in the park’s Discovery Island area, opens this summer with dishes inspired by the world travels of the park’s creators.

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“Tiffin” is the Indian word for a lunchbox used by travelers (also a mid-day meal), and the 252-seat restaurant in the park’s Discovery Island area will open daily for lunch and dinner with menus that takes diners to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

A detailed map within the restaurant’s entryway sets the stage for an immersive dining experience celebrating world travel, with bold artwork derived from sketches, journals and research from those who created the theme park.

“Tiffins is the signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, celebrating the culture of design and research that went into creating this unique park,” said Emily O’Brien, Walt Disney Imagineering executive show producer for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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O’Brien describes the interior design as “a gallery you can dine in with artwork that is a direct result of travels to Africa, Asia and South America which influenced the design of the park.” The ideas of the park’s design team, including sketches, photography, architecture and textures, are all presented in a way that is uniquely Disney.

“All the senses are explored and turned into amazing works of art,” said O’Brien. “The galleries, or dining rooms, focus on Asia [Trek Gallery with 74 seats] and Africa [Safari Gallery with 64 seats], and the third [Grand Gallery with 114 seats] pays homage to animal species that the Disney Conservation Fund works to protect.”

The travel-inspired artwork includes a static, three-dimensional piece that features prayer flags blowing in the wind. “As our research team traveled up the high mountains of Nepal, the winds were strong,” explained O’Brien. “The prayer flags are rarely seen hanging, they are always blowing.” This portrayal of the motion is realistically captured in the display which will hang above a corner booth in the Trek Gallery.

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“Tiffins is not about a make-believe place, it’s about real people and places,” said O’Brien.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is about the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action, and the adjacent Nomad Lounge brings into focus these core values. With beautiful waterfront views, the lounge focuses on storytelling, and also on guests’ travels, with large banners as “artistic representations” of answers to travel questions written on the perimeter wall. For instance, “what do you always do when traveling” or “what was your most adventurous moment?”

“We’re trying to tell the story of how guests can make a change,” said O’Brien. While the answers of Disney experts are displayed, guests also have the opportunity to purchase a tag that supports the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and to write their own answers to the questions to display above the bar– a way to share their own travel stories “so they can be a part of the story,” said O’Brien.


What’s New in Walt Disney World Resort Dining: 16 for 2016

2015 was full of culinary news for Walt Disney World Resort, and 2016 promises to be equally exciting, especially at Disney Springs. From new restaurants to more fun with Disney characters, here’s a look ahead at 2016.

1. Sunday brunches are the hot weekend ticket. Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a new one, and Brunch at the Top debuts February 7 at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

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2. Get over to the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom Park and try a rice noodle bowl, sustainable local farm-raised shrimp in chili-garlic sauce, or the Kungaloosh!, an African-inspired chocolate cake with caramelized bananas with cashew-caramel ice cream. This is an all-new menu for the Disney chefs.

3. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival expands to 90 days, March 2 to May 30 (from 75 days last year). Fresh garden produce, savory bites and sweet treats will be abundant at the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens, returning for a fourth year with guest favorites and new food and beverage offerings.

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4. Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate the art of traveling, featuring foods from places that inspired the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Open for both lunch and dinner. (“Tiffin” is an Indian English word for a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling).

5. Adjacent to Tiffins, Nomad Lounge will feature hand-crafted cocktails using the art of mixology with African, Asian and South American flavors, beers and wines from those regions, and a selection of specialty non-alcoholic beverages in addition to small bites.

6. Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk will temporarily close the end of January, then reopen in the fall with a whole new look – and while the kitchen is working on new menu items, Chef Tim Keating promises that potato-wrapped snapper and the popular New York strip steak will be back. Stay tuned for details.

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7. Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’’s Hollywood Studios debuted in 2015, but guests can look forward to new themes coming in 2016, including Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine, Minnie’s Springtime Dine, Minnie’s Summertime Dine and Minnie’s Halloween Dine.

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8. Let’s start 2016 with a taste of the chocolate at The Ganachery at Disney Springs – the proprietary blend of chocolate and cream made right in the shop is not to be missed. The lovely little space elevates sweets to an experience akin to a wine tasting.

9. Coming to Disney Springs in early 2016 is STK, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge and emphasizing a social and fun environment. It will be one of the largest STK locations in the world, occupying 14,000 square feet in a two-story building, including a main level and a rooftop-dining area with incredible views of Disney Springs.

10. Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, will serve up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies at Disney Springs in 2016. Their innovative Cupcake ATM will satisfy sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.

11. Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza also comes to Disney Springs in 2016, a modern day “pizza joint” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies. The fast-casual restaurant will feature an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh toppings.

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12. Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine will showcase the cuisine of Chef Art Smith at Disney Springs when it opens in Summer 2016. Smith, who was born and reared in the town of Jasper, Fla., on the Florida-Georgia border, will feature farm-to-fork cuisine that showcases the bounty of Florida, and design inspired by turn-of-the century Florida architecture of the late 1800s.

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13. Also opening in Summer 2016 at Disney Springs, Frontera Fresco by Chef Rick Bayless will showcase the gourmet Mexican cuisine that has made Chef Bayless a culinary legend. The restaurant will feature authentic Mexican specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees, all prepared from time-honored recipes with natural, locally sourced ingredients. Frontera Fresco also will serve an extensive selection of margaritas, cocktails and craft beers and wine.

14. Look for a re-imagined Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs as the flagship venue is transformed into a star-themed Planet Hollywood Observatory to match the look and feel of Disney Springs. As part of the makeover, the venue will add a new outdoor terrace and bar space called Stargazers and feature live entertainment.

15. Also at Disney Springs, new Disney quick-service locations and kiosks will be blooming this spring. Perfect for a quick bite.

16. Two new Disney cookbooks for 2016: a new Delicious Disney: Sweet Treats book due out in the fall, and one celebrating both the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (dates still TBD for the food & wine fest when the book will debut).


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