What To Expect From Animal Kingdom’s Rivers of Light

What To Expect From Animal Kingdom's Rivers of Light - Concept Art

© Disney

UPDATE: Rivers of Light will officially open on February 17, 2017.

Just after dinner on a hot July evening, we headed toward the exit for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The sun hadn’t set yet, but the park would soon be closing. There would be no fireworks show at the park, as the loud booms were certain to terrify the animals we had seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris earlier in the day. As fun as it was visiting Animal Kingdom, there just wasn’t much to do there after sunset, and so the park often closed earlier than the other three Walt Disney World theme parks.

All that will change very soon. Disney’s imagineers have been hard at work designing entertainment transform this once daytime park into a nighttime park. The first of these new nighttime offerings will be a spectacular show called Rivers of Light. The show, which will take place on Discovery River, is inspired by the idea when animals pass from one world on to the next, their spirits create a “river of light” in the sky, what we call the Aurora Borealis.

What To Expect From Animal Kingdom's Rivers of Light - Animals

© Disney

Fireflies and glowing lanterns will set the stage for your guides, two storytellers dressed in elaborate costumes. These storytellers will then summon the four Spirit Guides: The Great Horned Owl, The Asian Tiger, The African Elephant, and The Tropical Turtle. The animal guides will then proceed to take guests on a journey through the Rivers of Light.

The show will feature 100 Asian lanterns and larger-than-life animal spirits in a variety of colors. In addition, guests will see beautiful floating vessels on the river. Bursting forth from fire, powerful jets of water will erupt, providing screens for stunning videos. The show will also feature a remarkable 28-foot tall Temple Lotus. Take a look behind the scenes of this brand new show in the video below.


Personally, I can’t wait to experience Animal Kingdom after dark! With the new Rivers of Light show and several more nighttime additions to come, there is sure to be plenty to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom after sunset!

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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, she can also be found writing for Park World Travel and selecting music for Park World Radio.




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