A couple of days before Thanksgiving, Dan and I hit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the Park was already decked out for the holidays! And these weren’t just any old holiday decorations … the Imagineers put together an amazing and impressive array of celebratory decor for Harambe and New Harambe.
It started as we walked over the bridge, where we were greeted by some hand-crafted bike wheel decorations. The detail on these is absolutely amazing, and they’re made of exactly the materials the residents of Harambe would have on hand: Old bike tires, bottle caps, fabric scraps, bit of wire and dried local plants. The wheel-wreaths carried through toward the back of Harambe, and according to a CM I spoke to, they were designed by Imagineers specifically for the Park. (As always, you can see tons and tons more photos on Dan’s site, At Disney Again.)
In New Harambe (from Dawa Bar and on back through the Festival building), the decorations were more of a hat-tip to the local population, featuring friendly faces, animal-inspired baubles and festive lights. According to the CM I spoke to, these items were purchased from an outside retailer and given a personal touch by DAK Imagineers.
As we walked toward Tusker House and the Pangani Forest, slightly different themes began popping up, including holiday baubles “caught” in fishing nets and more re-purposed tin cans.
But the real wow-factor pieces can be found as you enter the Harambe Market-area near Zuri’s Sweets. This is where the Imagineers put a lot of time, thought and effort, where bottle caps and scraps of wire and fabric are elevated into beautiful works of art.
How amazing are these?! They celebrate the animals of South Africa, as well as the creative, can-do nature of its people. My favorite detail: The tiny paintbrush used to depict the baby giraffe’s tail. The woven-bottle cap design is carried over into planters, as well. And the bartenders at Dawa also have two bottle-cap cups where they collect tips. They’re so beautiful, and I would so love it if Disney (or a creative Etsy dealer) made these available for purchase.
What do you think of these uniquely South African holiday designs? Let us know in the comments!