Kicking off June 7th Disney’s Animal Kingdom Harambe Nights Street Party bursts into life; a spectacular nighttime addition in the park’s Harambe Village. With a never-before-seen performance in the new Harambe Theatre of “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” .
Every Saturday, from June 7 to August 9, 2014, Disney pay tribute to the 20th anniversary of Disney’s The Lion King at an all-inclusive extravaganza inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. (This is a separate ticket is required to enter and participate in Harambe Nights: For more information on Harambe Nights—including booking a reservation—please call 407 – 939-1319. $119.00 for adults; $79.00 for children )
The excitement kicks off with a warm welcome reception before moving into Harambe Theater for a private performance of the all-new show The Lion King: Concert in the Wild—complete with a special celebrity narrator and a live orchestra!
Then, once the show comes to a close, the street comes to life with an exotic party where all sorts of sizzling seasonal fare are on offer, magical one off merchandise offerings e.g.
- A limited-release case for iPhone 4 and 5 featuring imagery from Disney’s The Lion King, designed by Disney Design Group artist Randy Noble
- Disney’s The Lion King 20th anniversary puzzle
- Exclusive event items like apparel, art, collectibles and so much more!
and a series of Character appearances as well as artist signings are to be enjoyed by all.
Shortly after arrival, you’ll nosh on appetizers like Moroccan beef kefta with tamarind glaze, pickled fennel paneer cheese with tomato, Durban-spiced chicken bites and a safari cheeseburger slider with tomato curry aioli. Pair with African-inspired wine and beer and get the party started. Be adventurous – the chefs have had great fun crafting a menu that introduces new flavor sensations. If you’re a fan of Jiko—The Cooking Place, Boma—Flavors of Africa or Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, chances are you’ve tried some of the fantastic global flavors on the menu. We have, and we can’t wait for the butter chicken with warm naan bread (a Sanaa favorite), or the spicy veggie samosa with mango chutney.
After the Welcome Reception, the food never ends – you even get a “Lion Chow” snack for the show – a salty-sweet combo of sea-salted pretzel chips, benne (sesame) crumbles, cardamom candied pecans, golden raisins, dried cherries and candied ginger.
The curtain closes and the street party opens, with live music, characters, live performers and dozens of savory dishes. We caught up with Chef Robert Gilbert for a little insider info:
Chef Robert, tell us about the menu.
When we began working on this menu it was all about harmonizing the Harambe Nights’ experience with the exquisitely refined influences of Africa’s diverse cuisines. We tried for balance, for seasonality, for local ingredients – and most of all an authentic experience.
What was your inspiration?
Disney isn’t just a theme park or resort, it evokes a feeling, and we tried to capture that feeling through an immersive food experience – it was a strong collaboration with Chef David Njoroge at Sanaa, a native of Kenya who embraces true African-style cooking.
How long did it take to develop the menu?
We did four tastings before the menu got the green light. And we had some of our chefs and cast members work with the Sanaa team to truly appreciate and understand what goes into African-style cooking. It took us more than a month to get it right.
What are some of the unique African ingredients in the dishes?
We use paneer, an Indian cheese similar to queso blanco, in the appetizer with pickled fennel. The kachumbari salad – kachumbari is a Swahili name for fresh tomato and onion salad – is a popular food in East Africa. We use masala spice blend. And, of course, the traditional naan bread with chutneys and pickles is a favorite of guests.
Do you have a favorite dish?
That’s easy – the butter chicken with basmati rice – you can’t eat just one piece, it’s that good.
- Watercress, melon, feta and berry balsamic onion salad
- Kachumbari salad with tomato, paneer, carrot and cilantro
- Roasted beetroot salad with sunflower seeds
- Creamy mac ‘n cheese
- Spicy vegetable samosa with mango chutney
- Traditional naan, onion kulcha and pappadum breads
- Roasted pepper hummus, raita and garlic-ginger pickle
- Mango, radish, lime and mustard seed salad
- Watermelon, cucumber and fennel salad
- Coriander chutney roasted potatoes
- Line-caught corvina filet with goan curry sauce
- On-stage-seared lamb chops with tamarind pomegranate sauce
- Fork-tender peri barbecued pork
- Vegetarian eggplant tikka masala curry served over creamy goat cheese pap
- Butter chicken thighs
- Vegetarian legume wat served over basmati rice
- Golden pineapple with toasted voconut
- Apple slices with Amarula caramel sauce
- Ripe melon with minted lime yogurt dip
- Rice pudding, dried fruit compote and pistachio gremolata
- Caramel salted Tanzania chocolate Kenya coffee bite
- Chai cream with zebra stripes
- Ice cream bars