Harambe Nights debuts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

| June 8, 2014 | 4 Replies

Last night I had a great time at the first Harambe Nights in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. This was an after-hours party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the great Disney movie, The Lion King.  The party is held from 7:00 to 10:30 PM on Saturdays June 7th- August 9, 2014.  It was a beautiful evening for a party!

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The tickets for the party are $119 for adults, and $79 for children for general seating.  There is premium seating available for an additional fee, but as of now, all the premium tickets have been sold for the event. You are given a wristband when you enter and that tells you what entrance you will use to enter the theater later in the evening. There is no charge for parking.

The Welcome Reception started at 7:00 PM. Drinks and appetizers are included in the price of your ticket. There are cast members strolling around and you can get your face painted.

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You then enter the Harambe Theatre for the 7:30 performance of “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.”  There is a live orchestra playing for this event which was a pleasant surprise. There is also a choir and great dancers. There are 2 projection screens to watch the film clips.

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Our celebrity guest narrator was Viola Davis, from the movie The Help.  She gave a great performance and played several parts.

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We were up in the top row and our seats had some issues. There was a pipe running overhead that sounded like they were making ice cubes in the pipes and the speakers didn’t seem to be working correctly all the time. We addressed our concerns with a cast member and he promised to mention the issues to the management. It made it hard to hear. It was the first night so I have to cut them some slack.

The shows told the story of Simba trying to realize he was supposed to be the Lion King. I thought the use of the film clips, the singing and the dancing brought the story to life in a new way. I found it very moving. It helps if you have seen the movie, but even if you haven’t you come away feeling the message from the movie.

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After the show, everyone moves outside for the Harambe Nights Street Party.  There was a great DJ that kept the crowd moving along with a great band and dancers. There were several locations with a wonderful buffet of African cuisine and desserts.

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There were collectibles and merchandise for sale during this event.

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All too soon the party was over. They told us to be sure to check out the Tree of Life when we left. There was a special surprise. I couldn’t imagine what it would be. My pictures don’t truly show the beauty of the Tree of Life aglow with tiny sparkling lights.  Everyone that saw it was surprised and lingered for a bit to enjoy the beauty of it.  Something so simple, but it was beautiful.

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Was Harambe Nights worth the money?  Yes!!  I thought it was awesome to be in a Disney park after hours.  I was able to enjoy a great show.  I was entertained in the theater and outside at the street party.  They had plenty of food and drinks.  Would I bring children?  I don’t think so.  For the money I didn’t feel like there was enough for children to be entertained.

So, if you are going to Walt Disney World this summer you might want to consider attending Harambe Nights!  I think Walt Disney World has another successful after-hours hit on their hands.  See you in the parks!

Photo Credit

Thank you to Shaun Thompson for sharing some photos so I could include them with mine.



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Category: Disney World

  • Ethan

    Thanks for the post! After reading other reviews of the event, they all say that you shouldn’t bring kids either, as they were bored, falling asleep, and there was no kids foods. Glad you had fun!

  • Jim Neumyer

    Do you think this event could have been a test for other night time shows at Animal Kingdom?

  • Mike M

    They really seem to be going “all in” with these hard ticket events after park closing. The Wind Down at Epcot, Harambe Nights, the Villains even at DHS, which, if successful, (and who thinks it won’t be?) will probably be offered frequently – possibly rotating with other themes at DHS. I have no doubt these events arecash cows, and the demand from guests certainly seems to be there.

  • Cindi

    This sounds like fun. I would enjoy the show alone not to mention all the wonderful new foods to sample.