More exciting news out of D23 Expo! Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek announced the plans Disney has to transform Disney’s Animal Kingdom after dark with new nighttime entertainment and experiences offering guests longer days than ever before at this one-of-a-kind theme park.
New details were just unveiled, telling guests more about the show that will take place on Discovery River at the park, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live performers, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
“This is going to be a ceremonial event that will happen on our lake,” said Imagineer Joe Rohde. “It takes the idea of the special nature of the animals that are in this park and turns it into a celebration of the beauty of these animals. It starts simply and humbly, continues to unfold and grow as bigger and more elaborate lanterns appear, and then huge curtains of water and light emerge from the water with animals within them. And ultimately it takes off into the sky.”
New details were also shared on a new nighttime adventure: Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris. This popular attraction will be extended into the evenings next spring for an experience where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magical orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.
I am thrilled to see Animal Kingdom getting extended hours and evening entertainment. I love this park and I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy it at night!
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For today’s Friday Favorites, I would like to share with you my picks for the best Animal Kingdom attractions. The park itself is almost an attraction with all of the details and lush landscaping. The atmosphere is incredible and really makes you feel like you are in a different part of the world. So while you are soaking up all of the amazing ambience Animal Kingdom has to offer, why not try out the best Animal Kingdom attractions as well. So here they are in no particular order.
DINOSAURIf you’re into dinosaurs, you’ll love this ride! This is a 3 and a half-minute rough and wild journey on a motion simulator – track ride combination that will take you on a dark adventure that is sure to get your heart pumping. Your mission is to travel back in time and rescue a soon-to-be extinct dinosaur. While this sounds innocent enough, beware of taking very young or sensitive children on this attraction. It is dark throughout with very large audio-animatronic ferocious looking dinosaurs everywhere. I have seen several little ones come off this ride terrified. You must be at least 40″ tall to ride.
Expedition Everest This is a truly unique thrill ride for the roller coaster lovers in your group! What makes this coaster different from others is that it goes both forwards and backwards! This 4 minute ride takes you on a thrilling expedition to the top of Mount Everest while trying to stay clear of the Abominable Snowman. This ride reaches speeds of up to 50 mph and includes several dips and quick turns (sometimes going backwards!) but doesn’t go upside down. Be sure to check out the incredible details that went into the queue area while you wait. You must be at least 44″ tall to ride.
Finding Nemo – The MusicalBeing a huge fan of musical theatre in general, this is one of my favorite shows in all of Disney World. This attraction is an impressive combination of music, puppets, lighting, colors and special effects that together tell the story of Nemo. When taking young children, keep in mind that the show is long with a running time of 35 minutes and it does include the death of Nemo’s mother.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug! For true bug lovers, or at least people who can stand the sight of them, this is a lively 3D experience that shows you what life is like as a bug. This attraction is very intense and includes several special effects to simulate bugs on and near you. Be careful taking young children or anyone of any age that is squeamish around insects. I have seen lots of screaming children and adults fleeing the theatre. Although I am not a huge bug lover myself, I do enjoy the creativity of this show!
Kilimanjaro SafarisThis is the attraction Animal Kingdom is best known for and it will not disappoint! An acquaintance of a friend of mine recently returned from an actual African safari and was amazed at how well Kilimanjaro Safaris captures the experience. This is an 18 minute journey in an open-air safari vehicle through the savanna. Every tour is a little different with how many of the 34 different animal species you will see. This ride is a must-do for my family on every trip!
So there you have it…my picks for best Animal Kingdom attractions!
Do you have a favorite Animal Kingdom attraction? Please leave a comment!