Rivers Of Light At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

rivers-of-light-1

Finally after months and months of waiting the highly anticipated nighttime spectacular, Rivers of Light, will be opening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here’s everything you need to know courtesy of Disney:


Rivers of Light, an all-new nighttime show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will begin delighting Walt Disney World Resort guests February 17. Rich in symbolism and storytelling, the elaborate theatrical production takes guests on a breathtaking emotional journey – a visual mix of water, fire, nature and light all choreographed to an original musical score.

rivers-of-light-5The new 15-minute show is the latest addition to the lineup of nighttime experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Celebrating the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world, the performance combines live performers, beautiful floating lanterns, glistening fountains, special effects and authentic animal imagery projected on giant water screens.

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is built around the lives of animals, built around the rules of nature, and those rules dictate that as you move between day and night everything changes…and you’re going to want to see that,” said Joe Rohde, Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “It all really is summed up by Rivers of Light. In the show, we take this combination of light and water which create life, and out of that comes this fantastically rich explosion of animal life that ultimately rises up and joins the stars.”

rivers-of-light-4As the sun sets, guests gather along the picturesque edge of the Discovery River at the site of a fabled age-old ritual. A new 5,000-seat amphitheater welcomes guests to two distinct “villages” separated by a bridge and the river. Sounds of animals are heard from a nearby forest, and magical fireflies descend from the Tree of Life toward the lagoon, creating a sense of wonder as four beautifully illuminated Lotus flowers float across the water.

The ceremony begins with a stirring musical overture signaling the arrival of a pair of mystical Storytellers, two complementary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. They set out from the shore aboard elaborate lantern vessels. Adorned in intricately designed costumes, the hosts engage in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits – an Asian Tiger, Tropical Turtle, African Elephant and Great Horned Owl – and take guests on a wondrous journey across Asian jungles and African savannahs.

rivers-of-light-2Disney challenged renowned Broadway production designer Michael Curry to create vessels that were artistic and stimulating, yet innovative. The commanding lanterns stand 15 feet tall and are 30 feet long, illuminated from within by innovative LED technology.

As the mesmerizing show progresses, Rivers of Light continues to unfold with a powerful musical score created by songwriter and composer Don L. Harper and recorded at the renowned Abbey Road Studio in London. The signature song “We Are One” was written by Mark Mancina, who created the score and was a key collaborator on the music for Disney’s hit animated feature film “Moana.”

rivers-of-light-3A collaboration with Disneynature to incorporate rare nature cinematography showcasing tender animal moments adds rich authenticity to the storyline. Many are never-before-seen moments from Disneynature films.

The crescendo of the evening finale blends triumphant music and a waterfall of colors celebrating the circle of life.

“At the show’s finale, we hope guests will feel like they have been on a tremendous ceremonial and visual journey,” said Michael Jung, Walt Disney Imagineering creative director. “Rivers of Light really provides an affirmation of life and reminds us of the beauty and fragility of the natural world we all share – with animals and one another.”

rivers-of-light-7Technology and attention to detail play starring roles in the new show. The 11 show floats are independent of each other and programmed to follow a choreographed “dance” across the lagoon. More than 50,000 programmable, color-changing LED lights are found in the four Animal Spirit Guide floats alone. Each Lotus float produces its own water screen. Costumes for the storytellers and their acolytes include fabrics using 5,000-year-old dye and weaving techniques.

Following its February 17 premiere, Rivers of Light will be performed on select nights.

Special dining packages are available to park guests that include reserved seating at the new show. Packages are offered at the buffet-style Tusker House or the new signature restaurant Tiffins (lunch and dinner). Reservations can be made by clicking here or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

Rivers of Light joins a rich variety of new nighttime experiences and family adventures designed to offer up Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new light. These include:

  • Post-sunset adventures on Kilimanjaro Safaris, allowing guests to travel through the African savannah amid the artfully created orange glow of the setting sun during evening hours of operation.
  • After-dark hours allowing guests to experience nighttime on popular park attractions including Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and more.
  • Fine dining at Tiffins, newest signature restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort, with innovative dishes that take diners to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas amid travel-inspired artwork.
  • Exuberant song-and-dance gathering nightly in the center of the park, Discovery Island Carnivale. Includes lively music and dance, vibrant costumes, delectable food and beverage, face painting and more.
  • Tree of Life awakening after dark. Through projections and special effects, the animal spirits of the Tree are brought to life like never before, revealing moments of wonder and enchantment.
  • Harambe Wildlife Parti. This safari after-party crisscrosses Harambe, from its theatre district to its bustling marketplace with the sights and sounds of local street musicians and entertainers, inviting guests to join them in dance and song, partake in exotic foods and libations and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants.

All are part of the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom which will culminate this summer with the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Are you looking forward to seeing Rivers of Light?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Dark Begins Memorial Day Weekend

DAK at Night 2

If you’re like me and have a trip to Walt Disney World coming up in the next few weeks, you’ve probably been anxiously waiting for Disney to release more details about the much anticipated Disney’s Animal Kingdom nighttime experiences. Recently Disney announced that the opening of these new evening activities was being pushed back from its originally scheduled date of April 22, 2016 to an unknown date this summer. Well, great news, most of the after dark experiences will begin Memorial Day Weekend! Here’s everything you need to know courtesy of Disney:


Nightfall brings more mystery and majesty to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park as guests discover rich new experiences under the stars. Whether riding Kilimanjaro Safaris at sunset, rollicking aboard rafts on Kali River Rapids at twilight, dancing alongside African performers in Harambe, or reveling in a live musical celebration of Disney’s new hit film “The Jungle Book”, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom can enjoy the park’s captivating new vibe and tone when it expands its offerings with extended hours and enhanced entertainment, scheduled to begin Memorial Day Weekend.

DAK at Night 2“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is such a majestic and beautiful park,” said George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort, “With new experiences and new ways to experience favorite attractions, nighttime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be a can’t-miss experience for Walt Disney World guests.”

Like the animal world itself, Disney’s Animal Kingdom continues to evolve since opening on Earth Day in 1998. As the park shifts to nighttime, a magical ambiance emerges, inviting guests to share in its wonder with heightened senses. At nightfall the sounds of rustling foliage, animal calls, and colorful prayer flags flapping in the wind become even more distinct. Softly lit, once-familiar paths now cast in shadows make every twist and turn a new discovery. Most of the park’s popular attractions will remain open for guests to enjoy after dark.

The animal encounters shift at twilight, too, as darkness camouflages the boundaries between wildlife and guests. The kingdom comes alive with intriguing nighttime animal behaviors — never disappointing humanity’s enduring fascination with creatures of our planet.

Highlights of new experiences:

DAK at Night 1The Tree of Life Awakens

The theme park’s iconic Tree of Life will undergo extraordinary “awakenings” throughout the evening as the animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment. High-tech projections of nature scenes take on a magical quality as they appear to dramatically emanate from within the Tree of Life.

DAK at Night 5Kilimanjaro Safaris after Dark

Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris daytime experience is artfully bathed in the glow of sunset with special lighting allowing guests to explore this attraction well into the night. During the expedition, guests can now encounter the nighttime behavior of the wildlife and better tune in to the unique vocalization of the animals. Plus, there are two new species to discover: African wild dogs and hyenas.

Jungle BookThe Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

For the summer, Discovery River becomes the stage for music and pageantry in a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film “The Jungle Book”. The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic is a live show filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.

DAK at Night 6Harambe Wildlife Parti

When the sun sets, the popular Village of Harambe will become a hot spot with the new Harambe Wildlife Parti. Here, “party animals” can dance alongside a variety of entertainers and local street musicians, and enjoy the lively rhythms of African music. Guests can also partake in exotic foods and libations, and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants in the vibrant marketplace.

DAK at Night 4Discovery Island Carnivale

The spirited community of Discovery Island has come together to celebrate their love of the natural world with the Discovery Island Carnivale. This nightly experience will captivate guests with lively music, jubilant dance, vibrant costumes, stilt walkers and tasty culinary creations — winding from one end of the island to the other.

Tiffins 3Tiffins Signature Restaurant

In addition to the diverse new entertainment offerings, guests will enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s new signature eatery, Tiffins. Open for both lunch and dinner, this new signature dining experience will celebrate the art of traveling and include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. “Tiffin” is an Indian English word meaning midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling.

DAK at Night 7New Adventures with Favorite Attractions

Most attractions remain open at nightfall, and will shine like never before. At sundown, Kali River Rapids will reveal mysterious twists and turns throughout the rainforest with dramatic and drenching fun. Expedition Everest thrills adventurers as it lurches forward and backward through the icy peaks of the Himalayas. At night, the majestic mountain challenges trekkers to an evening ride revealing breathtaking views of the Animal Kingdom canopied by starlight. Amidst the colorful midway games at Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama in DinoLand U.S.A., the thrills turn up aboard the zany Triceratop Spin or Primeval Whirl under the lights.

DAK at Night 3More Magic to Come with “Rivers of Light”

The nighttime will grow even more magical with the premiere of the majestic nighttime jewel, “Rivers of Light.” This illuminating musical experience – currently in development with a premiere date to be announced soon – will celebrate the magic of animals, humans and the natural world with a blend of performers, floating lanterns and theatrical animal imagery.  The Disney creative team collaborated with the award-winning filmmakers at Disneynature to bring never-before-seen footage, telling dramatic and compelling stories from the animal world to the show.

On the natural stage of Discovery River, guests will marvel as a timeless custom comes to life before their eyes in a stirring performance. The ceremony begins with the arrival of a pair of mystical hosts, two complementary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. They set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels, engaging in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits. With these storytellers as guides, the wonders of “Rivers of Light” unfold, building to a magnificent finale with bursts of light as animal images soar to the heavens– signifying the ancient belief that when animals passed from one world to another they danced in the sky and became beautiful rivers of light.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Are you looking forward to visiting Animal Kingdom at night?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Nighttime Experiences At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Have Been Delayed

Rivers of Light

If you’re like me and have a trip to Walt Disney World coming up in the next few weeks, you’ve probably been anxiously waiting for Disney to post the updated hours for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Every day I’ve been checking; ready to book Fastpass+ for the new nighttime experiences, just hoping to see extended park hours. Unfortunately, Disney has announced that the opening of these new evening activities is being pushed back from its originally scheduled date of April 22, 2016 to an unknown date this summer. According to Disney Parks Blog, more information regarding the timing of the opening will be shared by mid to late May. I’m still hoping for a miracle so that maybe there will be at least a soft opening going on during my vacation! In the meantime, here’s a look at everything we have to look forward to this summer courtesy of Disney:


The magic of nature after dark takes center stage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when the all-new Rivers Of Light waterside show premieres marking the Walt Disney World theme park’s thrilling transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience.

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is such a majestic and beautiful park,” said George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort, “and to now show our guests original stories that reveal the magic of nature and bring this special park to life like never before — makes nighttime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom a can’t miss experience for Walt Disney World guests this summer.”

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will transition from a day-into-night theme park, aglow with wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature, epic storytelling, innovative effects, and a festive street party. Across the park, guests can experience long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids with more time to enjoy them into the night.

Rivers of Light 3“Rivers of Light”

After the sun sets, guests will gather waterside for the majestic nighttime jewel, “Rivers of Light.” This illuminating musical experience celebrates the magic of animals and humans and the natural world with a blend of performers, floating lanterns and theatrical animal imagery.

On the natural stage of Discovery River, guests will marvel as a timeless custom comes to life before their eyes in a stirring performance. The ceremony begins with the arrival of a pair of mystical hosts, two complimentary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. They set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels, engaging in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits. With these storytellers as guides, the wonders of “Rivers of Light” unfold, building to a magnificent finale with bursts of light as animal images soar to the heavens– signifying the ancient belief that when animals passed from one world to another they danced in the sky and became beautiful rivers of light, according to Michael Jung, Creative Portfolio Director, Walt Disney Imagineering.

To create “Rivers of Light,” Imagineers and Disney Creative Entertainment partnered with experts including award-winning master designer Michael Curry, whose Disney Parks contributions include “Finding Nemo: The Musical” and “Disney Festival of Fantasy parade.” Film composer Don L. Harper created the soaring musical score for the nighttime show which also includes an original song by noted composer Mark Mancina. Disney also collaborated with the award-winning filmmakers at Disneynature to bring never-before-seen footage, telling dramatic and compelling stories from the animal world to the show.

Here’s a sneak peek for you:

Rivers of Light 2The Tree of Life Awakens

Nearby on Discovery Island the area will come alive each night with a celebration filled with music and dance. The theme park’s iconic Tree of Life will undergo extraordinary “awakenings” throughout the evening as the animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies that open a window into the body of the tree, revealing colorful stories of wonder and enchantment.

Here’s a sneak peek for you:

Safari at NightKilimanjaro Safaris after Dark

Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris daytime experience is artfully bathed in the look of sunset with special lighting allowing guests to explore and enjoy this attraction well into the night. During the expedition guests can now enjoy the wildlife at night, and may discover two new species: African wild dogs and hyenas.

Harambe Market at NightHarambe Wildlife Parti/Discovery Island Carnivale

When the sun sets, the popular Village of Harambe will become a hot spot with the new Harambe Wildlife Parti. Here, “party animals” can dance alongside local street musicians and entertainers, partake in exotic foods and libations and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants.   And the new Discovery Island Carnivale will captivate guests with lively music, spirited dance, vibrant costumes, and tasty culinary creations, spreading from one end of the island to the other.

Tiffins 1Tiffins Signature Restaurant

In addition to the masterful new entertainment offerings beginning this summer, guests will enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s newest eatery, Tiffins. Open for both lunch and dinner, this new signature dining experience will celebrate the art of traveling and include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. “Tiffin” is an Indian English word meaning midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Are you looking forward to visiting Animal Kingdom at night?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!