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Epcot is the place to be this summer if you enjoy watching and listening to live bands perform. In addition to great house bands that perform along the World Showcase, Epcot guests can enjoy free concerts during the Sounds Like Summer Concert series at the America Gardens Theatre.
|Stayin' Alive at Sounds Like Summer at Epcot|
Sounds Like Summer Rocks Epcot!Disney World Guests may have many different images come to mind when they think of Epcot. One thought that should quickly come to mind is great live music performances.
In addition to the great year-round musical performances that occur throughout the World Showcase, Epcot also plays host to a number of concerts that are free to all guests during different parts of the year. Summer time at Epcot means the awesome Sounds Like Summer Concert Series.
Sounds Like Summer means cover bands, but these aren't your average ordinary cover bands. Disney World brings in the best of the best to perform as part of their Sounds Like Summer Concert Series. Having had the opportunity to personally see the majority of the scheduled bands perform, I know firsthand that these bands are worthy of your attention. They not only sound great they provide an entertaining performance that pays proper tribute to the bands they emulate.
Whether you are an Eagles fan and catch the captivating Hotel California or perhaps a Bon Jovi fan that sees Slippery When Wet you will not be disappointed.
During 2014 Only WDWorld was able to catch two different Sounds Like Summer bands this season, one that we had loved before, Stayin' Alive - A Tribute to the Bee Gees, and one we saw for the first time, Don't Look Back, a Boston tribute band. We were not disappointed!
Don't Look Back - A Boston Tribute BandSounds Like Summer brings the best cover bands around to Epcot to perform and Don't Look Back did not disappoint. They sounded amazing and put on a great stage show to entertain the crowd.
Spot on vocals combined with impressed guitar playing made this performance one that you definitely wanted to return to one of their later sets to catch more.
The way the Sounds Like Summer works is that there are 3 different 25-30 minute sets performed each night. Often there are completely different crowds for each set, with a few holdovers that catch all of the sets.
There is nothing more fun than watching the band move into the crowd to continue to perform.
The guys from Don't Look Back really know how to put on a show. Not only did they sound great, but the show was thoroughly entertaining. They certainly paid proper tribute to the guitar heavy, synthesizer sound of Boston!
Stayin' Alive - A Trip Back To The Disco EraIf you were alive during the disco era, then you were familiar with the Bee Gees! Sayin' Alive not only looks remarkably like the legendary band from Australia, but they sounded like them as well.
The Sounds Like Summer concerts transport fans to another time to put them in touch with music they may not have heard recently from favorite bands from their past. Stayin' Alive certainly does their job of reviving the feeling and sound of the Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees!
Sounds Like Summer Is Epcot Must Do!The Sounds Like Summer concert series is something that any Disney World guest and music fan should try to attend during their Summer Vacation to Epcot. The music and the performances are great and best of all they are included FREE for all Epcot Guests.
Tell us about your favorite Sounds Like Summer Concert!
Disney World is having a special event this summer to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lion King, the movie in a way that only they could. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, home to the Festival of the Lion King show since opening in 1998, Disney put together a celebration fitting this great movie and provides a stellar night for guest who care to indulge.
Harambe NightsBilled as a once per week event running for 10 Saturdays during the summer from June 7th through August 9th Harambe Nights gives Disney's Animal Kingdom a chance to show off like it never has before.
For an event that starts at 7:00pm as the regular day for the theme park is winding down, you know you are in for something special as you are greeted by special signage and Disney Cast members that have their faces painted in festive fashion and sporting animal ears.
Once you are checked in at the main gate and receive your wristband it is time to make your way to the Harambe Village in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom.
The event consists of 3 phases. The initial phase is a get acquainted with the surrounds and enjoy drinks and appetizers, the 2nd phase is a special performance in the new Harambe Theater as a tribute to the Lion King movie complete with orchestra and celebrity narrator, and finally there is a dinner and street party to enjoy for the rest of the evening.
The Opening Phase - Welcome ReceptionIn attending the July 5th event, we encountered rain as the event started at 7:00pm. Although it did not dampen anyone's spirits, it did move some of the initial part of the event indoors. The Welcome Reception was split between the Pizzafari building and the Tusker House. Our one regret is realizing that many of the people showed up well before 7:00pm and by showing up close to the starting time we missed out somewhat and felt slightly rushed.
There was free face painting available to all who wished to partake (and who wouldn't!), as well as, numerous bartender stations and several stations with the three appetizers available to try.
The "Quick Bites" Menu included:
- Spicy Durban Chicken
- Pickled Fennel Paneer Cheese
- Safari Cheeseburger Roll
The Cheeseburger Roll was definitely the biggest hit and most stations ran out quickly. We also really liked the Pickled Fennel Paneer Cheese. The Spicy Durban Chicken was really dry at some of the stations and was not as good as we have had this before and enjoyed it.
Seats were at a premium, especially because this initial phase was moved indoors. We were still able to obtain table to enjoy our food and drinks. The specialty drink of the night was called Jungle Juice, that you could have with or without generous amounts of rum added.
The staff was very friendly and right from the start you could tell this was going to be a fun evening.
When you initially checked in you were given a wristband that had an animal type noted. As the staff made their way through the buildings letting you know it was time to proceed to the theater for the show, you were informed to go to the area marked by your animal.
We had the Zebra group and quickly found our area outside of the beautiful new Harambe Theater.
As we proceeded through the line to get to our section to our seats, each member of our party received a special container of Lion Chow which contains: Sea Salted Pretzel Chips, Benne Crumbels, Cardamon Candied Pecans, Golden Raisins, and Dried Cherries. They also had a bar station at the entrance so that everyone could get a drink of their choosing to take into the theater with them to enjoy during the show.
The Lion King - Concert In The Wild
At 7:30pm the Harambe Theater filled up with all of the people that came to partake in this event. It wasn't until this moment in the packed theater that you really understood how big this event actually was. The night we attended was sold out and the theater certainly looked filled. We were in the Zebra section. Although the Orchestra was between our seats and the singers and dancers, the theater is still small enough that we had a great view of the action.
|Michael Beach during Harambe Nights|
Michael Beach was the celebrity narrator during the July 5th show. It was amazing how big a role the narrator played considering that each narrator only appeared for a single show.
The show consisted of 10 musical numbers performed by the troop of singers and dancers that were aided by the large live orchestra, the narrators, and video clips from the Lion King movie. The show was a 55 minute retelling and interpretation of the landmark animated Disney classic.
The great part of the show was the fact that it was not a re-doing of the show that has been done at Disney's Animal Kingdom since it opened. This was completely original and different and was great for Disney World veterans like ourselves.
There have been mixed reviews concerning the show, but we enjoyed it. The live orchestra was great, and we enjoyed the live performances. It was truly different than any Lion King performance we had seen anywhere else and that is what made it special. Although there were a number of film clips included, the live interpretations that occurred while the clips were playing made them appear in another light.
Harambe Nights Street Party
After the show was completed it was time for dinner and the Street Party. Fortunately for us the rains subsided and the remainder of our evening could be spent outdoors as intended for this event.
Tables were set up from the area outside the Harambe Theater and along the streets of Harambe stretching to the entrance of the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
As night fell, it truly was a Street party atmosphere with a live Dj in one area and a band performing in another. Food stations were plentiful and despite the large number of people attending teh event, lines were short for food and drink and the areas were not crowded.
There were five different food stations to be found and they were duplicate in numerous areas to make them easily accessible to all.
Bread, Salads, and More Station
This station included:
- Watercress melon, feta and berry baslamic onion salad
- Kachumbari Salad
- Creamy Macaroni & Cheese
- Spicy Vegetable Samosa
- Slow Roasted Chicken Legs
- Traditional Naan, Onion Kulcha and Papadum Breads
- Dips: Roaster Humus, Raita, and Ginger garlic Pickle
Surf & Turf
This station included:
- Mango, Radish, Lime, and Mustard Seed Salad
- Watermelon, Cucumber, and Fennel Salad
- Roasted Beetroot Salad
- Coriander Chutney Roasted Potatoes
- Seared Corvina Fillet with Curry
- Moroccan Beef and Lamb Kefta with Tamarind Glaze
This station included:
This station included:
This station included:
- Golden Pineapple with Toasted Coconut
- Apple Slice with Amarula Caramel Sauce
- Ripe Melon with minted lime yogurt dip
- Rice pudding with dried fruit compote and pistashio gremolata
- Caramel Salted Tanzania Chocolate Kenyan Coffee Bites
- Chai Cream with Zebra Stripes
- Assorted Ice Cream Novelty Bars (including Mickey Bars!)
Disney Characters Join The Party!
There were a number of Disney Characters that were part of the Street party and were available for pictures and being part of the fun. Minnie Mouse, Timon, Rafiki, & Pluto were roaming the party and having fun.
Live Music and Dancing!
The live band kept the party spirit alive and people on the dance floor. The atmosphere stayed fun until the very end of the party which ran until 11:00PM. Stilt-walking costumed cast members also added to the fun.
The Harambe Nights special event at Disney's Animal Kingdom was perhaps one of the best Disney World Special Events that we have ever attended. The food was great, the atmosphere was fun. It was adult focused, but families felt welcome and fit in.
The major complain was that the price was steep. $119 for adults. The chief issue is that teenagers and really any 10-20 year old that was forced to pay full adult price even though they are not allowed to drink the alcoholic beverages. I think in this case an intermediate Junior price should be in place between Child and Adult for those less than 21 years old.
Otherwise this was a great event that showed off why we think that Disney's Animal Kingdom is so special and under appreciated. Hopefully more special events will be held at Disney's Animal Kingdom in the future.
You can never get enough of Olaf, the lovable snowman from the Disney hit Frozen. During Frozen Summer Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios there are a great number of ways to see and enjoy Olaf! Every day for the rest of the summer you can enjoy special Frozen related parades, shows, food, and merchandise with Olaf being a key part of all of the festivities.
Do You Want To Build A Snowman?The first sighting of Olaf at Disney's Hollywood Studios happens before you even enter the park. Olaf has been recreate, larger than life, with a fantastic sand sculpture. Make sure you check it out before you rush into the park.
Take Olaf With You During Your Adventures!Olaf is never far from you, thanks to the special Olaf cutout mounted on sticks that are handed out to every Hollywood Studios guest as they enter the park. There is no reason not to enjoy a selfie or two with the summer-loving snowman during your Disney World Vacation.
Olaf Makes Banner Better!Frozen Summer Fun banners are seen throughout Disney's Hollywood Studios and Olaf has a prominent place on a number of them. How can you look at that and not smile?
|Olaf Cupcake at Disney's Hollywood Studios|
|Plenty Of Olaf Treats During Frozen Summer Fun!|
So Cute You Could Eat Him!For those with a sweet tooth, you will adore the Olaf Cupcake! A carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting was certainly a ""hot" item during Frozen Summer Fun and available at most food serving locations throughout the park. This is one treat that certainly tastes as good as it looks. The only downside is that Olaf's chocolate arms do not hold up well in the heat and melt quickly (just like a real snowman would.)
If you are not a cupcake fan, there are still many other Olaf themed treats for you to try!