Image of the original incarnation of the Hungry Hippo:
A few interesting things here:
- The "food market" decorations are not outside of the building. I'm not sure if they added these props later during the restaurants run as the Hungry Hippo, or if they were added as part of Paramount's effort to tie it in with Tomb Raider.
- The menacing-looking faux-stone statues guarding the door aren't there. Clearly they were added in the restaurant's conversion to Tomb Raider Grill.
- There are a few tribal-like wood carving faces around the restaurant, which fit nicely with the safari theme.
- The original sign was carved onto a wood slab at the top, with two hippo heads carved into the wood. The new sign is more cartoony-looking and features hippo jaws around the letters.
- Everything else looks the same as it did last year.
When it was the Congo, the area seemed to have taken on a much darker and more sinister (almost cannibalistic) theme. The dark, gloomy music and menacing decorations made the area pretty dreary and almost scary. I remember as a kid being terrified of the statues around what was then Tomb Raider Grill. My hope for 2014 is that even subtle changes such as brighter music (bongos, anyone?) will make the area less gloomy. One thing I wonder is if the statues in front of the Trail's End Grill will be removed when it becomes the Hungry Hippo, or if they will stay. I do hope the "market" theme outside it stays, because that looks quite nice.
One more thing: even though it's my favorite restaurant food-wise, I would hope the decor at least gets a touch-up on the inside. Dark colors, gloomy music, fake ivy on the walls, and Chinese symbols written on the wall do not exactly equate to a cheery eating environment.
Edit: For reference, here is an image of the restaurant during its Paramount branding as Tomb Raider Grill:
Here it is as Trail's End Grill (through the 2013 season) :
...and here is a shot of the interior. Note my beloved toppings bar.
One of the few places to get sweet tea in the park. Me and the wife are big fans of Arnold Palmer’s and this is the only place we have found to have both sweet tea and lemonade to mix. Thumbs up from us.
So the park advertised new burger patties here alongside the debut of the Fire Burger.
I don't know if the patties are new, but I do know that they are still completely inedible. They were cold, flavorless, they looked foul, and the texture was weird. Hungry Hippo is back on my pretend-this-place-doesn't-exist list.
I ended up trying a Bacon Cheese Veggie burger last year, they let me do it -- obviously not vegetarian but I figured the burger couldn't be worse. Did the same eat the bacon and throw away the last 2 bites of patty, but the patty was smaller.
I usually don't eat there, but I was waiting for FoF to come back up after not riding it all Haunt.