'Harambe Nights' brings African and Indian food and drink to Disney's Animal Kingdom

May 16, 2014 in "Harambe Nights"

Posted: Friday May 16, 2014 4:53pm EDT by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney has today provided some more information about the culinary delights that will await you at this summer's Harambe Nights events at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

If you have not been following the Harambe Nights news, you can read more about it here, but briefly, it is a hard ticket event at Disney's Animal Kingdom, that includes a viewing of a brand new theatrical show in the new Haramabe Theater, followed by a street party featuring an array of African and Indian inspired food and drink.

Disney Parks Blog author Pam Brandon reveals that chefs from the widely acclaimed Sanaa at Disney's Animal Kingdom have been working on the menu - and flavors will be similar to those found at Boma, Jiko, and of course Sanaa. This is great news - as all of those restaurants are among our favorites, and in our opinion, some of the best to be found at Walt Disney World.

On arrival, and before the show, guests will be treated to 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 aiol - paired with African-inspired wine and beer.

Inside the show, the food continues with “Lion Chow” – a salty-sweet combo of sea-salted pretzel chips, benne (sesame) crumbles, cardamom candied pecans, golden raisins, dried cherries and candied ginger.

Once the show concludes, it is on to the main dining event during the Street Party. Here is a rundown of what you can expect to find.

Fresh Cooked Breads, Salads and More

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

Surf and Turf

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

Slow-cook Action Stations

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 coconut
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

Back on the Disney Parks Blog, Pam Brandon spoke with Chef Robert Gilbert for a bit more information about the food.

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.

Tickets start at $119, and the first show is on June 7 , continuing throughout the summer on each Saturday night. Get the full details.

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startravelerJul 28, 2014

I was trying to get a reservation in Oct for Tusker House because the AK hours just changed until 8pm on the day we planned. Seemed like fun to stay late and eat there. "Unable to locate" or something like that was the response. Not "nothing available. " I did a search (internet) to see if it even stays open for dinner anymore and saw a post from today on a forum that said that no reservations until they make final decisions on the NEW harambe nights. Anybody heard anything about this for the fall?

EpcoTimJul 24, 2014

I would pay for this, but only for the drinks and atmosphere. Nightfall there truly is the best in all the parks. They need to have the rides open for this though. Of course......they should be doing that anyway.

RickP330Jul 24, 2014

Hi Gang, I am just wondering, where can I find out what dates the shows are, and what is the possibility of us picking up a ticket from someone who wants to cancel? RP

tsaintcJul 24, 2014

I believe the price is comparable... Cirque is fantastic show that has been heavily produced and rehearsed. Harambe is definitely not in that class, but WDW can get away with charging a premium for it because of its exclusivity. I know my kids loved the idea of being in the park when it was 'closed'. Add in the endless food, drinks, park admission, etc. and you can begin to understand their pricing model.

WildcatDenJul 22, 2014

Apples and Oranges, I know, but is this price comparable to Cirque?

tsaintcJul 22, 2014

Not to be critical, but have you actually seen the show? You stated that the show portion 'seems' disappointing... I am very curious to hear more about your experience if you did attend. With that being said, we (myself, wife, daughter (15) and son (11)) attended the event on June 21st. I will save you the long, detailed report, but I can honestly say the show was the highlight of the event to us. It included excellent narration, interpretive dance and top-notch live singing in a very intimate setting. It definitely did not feel like an 'extended music video'. Now, add in the food and street party atmosphere, and this was truly one of the best Disney experiences that we have had. Was it a little pricey??? Probably, but you definitely do not go to WDW to save money.

wdwmagicJul 22, 2014

Harambe Nights now fully sold out for all remaining dates

twebber55Jul 21, 2014

obviously this has been a huge hit.... I think people like the exclusivity as well as being in the park at night...looking forward to seeing DAK when all of the expansion is finished

wdwmagicJul 21, 2014

Only three Harambe Nights to go, and two of them are now sold out

omuriceJul 18, 2014

I have to agree with others - it has to be the food and street party atmosphere that is the draw, as well as being in the park after closing. The show portion alone (to me at least) seems very disappointing, has not generated any tremendous buzz among Disney fans. 20 minutes of Lion King clips is not going to wow me, I can watch that at home endless times for the price of a $20 blu-ray. So my question is why center this around an animated feature at all? Young families are (for the most part) not going to be springing for this, it's aiming for the wrong target. Trying to be all things to all people - this is the trap Disney so often falls into. This is something the F&W crowd are going to flock to. Food, bevs, being in the park after dark. So why not re-center this event around - Live Music. Some Aloha style event you might get African themed entertainment? There's an orchestra playing, but this is over 20 minutes of LK clips. It's trite and it's rushed. These performers could do something more fun without the screens and clips. Live entertainment should be the focus. Evening at the Pops style, or an African themed dinner show. Not Lion King the extended music video! Make it two nights a week, Friday and Sat. Have one night be NO KIDS allowed ;) They seem to have nailed it on the Food & Bev, but the Show should be the main event if this is going to last. Let's hope they plus up the show portion, and don't just keep plussing the price of this event!

Kman101Jul 17, 2014

In most of the reviews I've read, which aren't that many, it seems the food and atmosphere are the main draw. I haven't seen a ton of praise for the actual show portion. Narrator and performer praise but I don't think the movie playing is what is drawing people. It seems like a nice event but out of my budget unfortunately.

twebber55Jul 17, 2014

probably a little of both maybe a little more about food.... I think also because you re in the park when nobody else is brings some exclusivity to the event

note2001Jul 17, 2014

Is it the promise of included food and drink that is bringing folk in, or the entertainment? Watching the video clips of the event & there's just too much movie for my liking, We can pop in the Lion King movie at home anytime. I'd much rather the performers be the focus for 80-90% of the time. Betting the draw is really the food and drink.

wdwmagicJul 17, 2014

This weekend's 'Harambe Nights' now sold out