Skip to main content
Disney Things

5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – April 8, 2016

Each Friday, I provide 5 Disney things all Disney fans should know from this past week, just in case you missed them. Here are the super important Disney news items for this week:

Rivers of Light delayed

rivers of light

Something happened this week at Disney that NEVER happens, an attraction that was given a grand opening date will not open on time. Rivers of Light, the new night time water show in Disney’s Animal Kingdom was scheduled to open on April 22, 2016 along with a bunch of other new night time entertainment in the park. This week, Disney postponed opening, and did not give a new date. In fact, they said:

While we’d hoped to debut these offerings on April 22, unfortunately, they will not open as planned on that date as we give the team more time to bring these innovative experiences to life in a way we know will exceed our guests’ expectations.

We’ll share more information about timing on the Disney Parks Blog by mid- to late May.

So, it does not look like we will see Rivers of Light until Summer. No indication of why the show is delayed was given.

Disney Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland

early morning magic

This week, Walt Disney World announced a brand new Breakfast event in Fantasyland, Disney Early Morning Magic. In addition to a continental breakfast, guest will be given access to three rides in Fantasyland before the park opens, so you would assume you will be able to ride these three rides basically non-stop until day guests start arriving:

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Peter Pan’s Flight

The cost for Disney Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland is $69 for adult and $59 for children, and do not include access to the Magic Kingdom, you must also have a park pass to get you into the park. Disney Early Morning Magic is a separately ticketed event taking place on select Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7:45 AM to 10:00 AM. Reservations are available today.

2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates announced

very merry christmas party

The annual Holiday event in the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will take place again this year, and today, dates were announced. While tickets are not yet on sale, at least we know the dates and can start planning our Disney vacations!

Here are the dates for the 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

  • November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
  • December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

Tickets are not available for purchase at this time. The last few years, tickets for both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party have gone on sale May 1, so expect to be able to purchase tickets for 2016 sometime around May 1, 2016.

Sense of Africa Tour

sense of africa

Do you or your kids love animals. You may want to consider a new tour offered by Walt Disney World, the Sense of Africa Tour. Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the tour features breakfast at Boma, and then you get a backstage tour of the animal care areas, including interactions with many of the Animal Kingdom animals. The cost of the Sense of Africa tour is $249 per person.

Ample Hills Creamery Opening


I love the Boardwalk area at Walt Disney World, no better place to relax after the parks have closed. The good news is that a new ice cream parlor is opening soon on the Boardwalk, Ample Hills Creamery. Ample Hills Creamery, a Brooklyn-based company known for their creative approach to all things ice cream, will open its first location outside of New York City.

The new creamery will be located on Disney’s BoardWalk, overlooking Crescent Lake—a short walk from Epcot and a relaxing boat ride from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests will be able to peek into the promenade-facing kitchen windows, where ice cream and mix-ins will be handcrafted the old-fashioned way.

Inside, guests can sample as many flavors as they’d like, including signature creations like Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Coffee Toffee Coffee, Malty Salty Pretzel Punch, Cotton Candy, and more. They’re even working on a special one-of-a-kind flavor developed exclusively for Walt Disney World Resort.

Did I miss any Disney news this week that should have been included?

best restaurant animal kingdom

Best Quick-Service Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I would assume that just about every guests in a Walt Disney World theme park eats at one of the park’s quick-service restaurants during the day. In Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, there are 5 quick-service restaurants where you can eat lunch or dinner, all with quite different food options:

Animal Kingdom Quick-Service Restaurants

  • Flame Tree Barbecue – Located in Discovery Island near the entrance to It’s Tough to be a Bug, Flame Tree features BBQ options including ribs, chicken, pulled pork sandwiches and even a Watermelon Salad. The seating is fantastic, it is all in shaded pavilions overlooking the nearby lake with a great view of Expedition Everest. If you are ever stuck in a downpour at Animal Kingdom, the pavilions also make a great refuge from the rain.
  • Harambe Market – Located in Africa near the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris, Harambe Market features four separate walk up windows that each feature their own variety of African foods. While that may sound a bit scary to some, the food at Harambe Market is fantastic, and includes grilled chicken skewers, spice rubbed ribs and tikka masala chicken. Just make sure you check out the menu before you approach the window.
  • Pizzafari – Located in Discovery Island on the opposite side of the Tree of Life from Flame Tree Barbecue, Pizzafari features pizza! Not only can you get the standard pepperoni or meat lovers pizza here, you can also get items like meatball subs or salads.
  • Restaurantosaurus – Located in DinoLand USA, right before the entrance to DINOSAUR, the very difficult to spell Restaurantosaurus was once a McDonalds, but has now switched to more standard Disney hamburger fare, including bacon cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and chicken nuggets. Seating is mostly inside, and air conditioned.
  • Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe – Located in Asia, Yak & Yeti features some of the food options available at the table service restaurant Yak & Yeti, including honey chicken, Korean stir-fry chicken and ginger chicken salad. Seating here is outside, and very, very limited. Even on quiet days in the parks, it is hard to find a seat at lunch time.

All 5 of these restaurants are available on the Disney Dining Plans and require just one quick-service or counter service credit per person.

I would fully expect to see another quick-service restaurant or two added in the near future, there is a definite need, and with the parks staying open later once the Rivers of Light show and other events start, there will be even more of a demand.

The Dis/dom choice for best Quick-Service Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Yak Yeti local foods

This is a tough choice. I can immediately exclude both Restaurantosaurus and Pizzafari, as their food can be found elsewhere in the parks, and isn’t that great to start with. Many people love Flame Tree Barbeque, and while the seating is the best in the park, the food here has just been OK. I really, really like Harambe Market, it has fantastic food, but I think that Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe is the best Quick-Service restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

  1. The food at Yak & Yeti is awesome, really, really flavorful and the portions are huge.
  2. There are options for everyone, including vegetarians and picky eaters. If your kids are picky eaters, they can even get Uncrustables.
  3. Do not miss out on the Egg Rolls, they are to die for.
  4. While seating here isn’t great, and much of it is not in the shade, you are a short walk away from Flame Tree’s pavilions in the shade, so take a one minute walk with your food and find a spot with a view.

While I have selected Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe, I couldn’t blame anyone for picking either Flame Tree Barbeque or Harambe Market for their family either.

What is your favorite Quick-Service restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom?