Sundowner Celebration: A First Look
June 7, 2012
Yes, Dear Dedicated Readers, the Sundowner Celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is on! I gave you a bit of a preview the other day (you can check out the post “Taste of Africa Two???” if you so desire), and I had the opportunity to go by AK for a bit on Sunday to see what was really going on…
As it was the first evening of the event, and I was only able to stay a fairly short time after it was set up, I’ll refrain from too much commentary/criticisms/praise/comparison to other events/etc as things are quite likely going to change as the event evolves over the month. So let’s look at some pictures and see if you can get a bit of the flavor of the start of the Sundowner Celebration…
After entering the turnstiles you’re greeted with a jeep adorned with a big sign:
which gives you some hints as to what to expect:
The Burudika band took the stage in the African village of Harambe.
And if you need a drink you can check out the Wine Walk next to the Dawa Bar.
Or just fruit juice if you must…
If you desire something stronger, you can step into the Dawa Bar for a couple of featured libations.
The (very good) African Margarita is a regular item here, but the Sugar Cane Mojito is making a reappearance from the Taste of Africa Street Party.
Elsewhere around the African section of the park there are special food items offered…
along with some food demos.
I was fortunate to run into culinary castmember Lydia as she was checking out this demo. We had met her as she was doing a samosa-making demo during the Taste of Africa Street Party (you can see a pic of her doing the demo on the “Taste of Africa Two???” post).
This smiling, enthusiastic lady is a joy – a great example of the ideal castmember.
Let’s now move over to the Asia and see what was happening in Anandapur.
As in Harambe, there is plenty of music…
with a DJ situated near the Yak & Yeti quick service location spinning popular Bollywood dance music.
Two dancers led the crowd in moves popularized by the Indian Bollywood films.
The crowd quickly jumped into the mix and emulated the dance moves…
with the infectious rhythms finding favor among many probably unfamiliar with the pop music of the Indian subcontinent.
Just across from the dance party was a specialty drink stand.
Among the offerings is a wine from China…
as well as one from India.
There was also a few special food items in Asia.
snacks at the Margarita Bar along the path between Asia and Africa…
some different drinks…
and “Asian-Style” hot dogs at a cart along the same path.
These were the only food items I had the chance to sample. The slaw dog (on the left above) was simply covered with a normal mayo-dressed slaw with some strips of dried seaweed sprinkled atop – not bad at all for what it was, but not very “Asian” – you did taste the seaweed as you bit in, but it certainly could use another layer or two of “Asianess”. Maybe if the slaw had a bit of wasabi or sesame oil mixed in it may have been more successful in following the theme. The castmembers working the cart were actively soliciting feedback so we’ll see if this item gets an overhaul as the event goes on.
The kimchee dog however I thought was a winner – a bit of sweet seaweed salad (as you’d find at your local sushi restaurant) sits under the dog and an acidic and slightly spicy cabbage kimchee is laid atop.
Both were very large, good-quality weenies (is large weenie an oxymoron?), and at $5.75 each were a pretty good deal (a couple ahead of me asked for plain dogs for their kids and were charged only $5.00). There were packets of mustard, catchup, etc available to adorn the dogs if so desired.
Elsewhere in Asia was more music…
with a sitar player stationed outside off the Flights of Wonder.
There was also a henna artist available for those who wished to avail themselves of the Indian version of temporary tattoos.
Elsewhere around Asia there were several food demos scattered about.
So there you have it kids, a first look at the Sundowner Celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – I’m sure we’ll have more for you to chew on as the event progresses… but in the interim if you’re in the World for the month of June, the Sundowner Celebration is certainly worth checking out, and if you make it by there I’d love to hear your comments on the event!
As always, we’re back to the kitchen… see you soon!