More Details Revealed on Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom

As recent guests have experienced while playing at Disney's Animal Kingdom there's a lot of construction going on. One of the most obvious projects is the groundwork that have been being laid on the wide Discovery River Lake, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. This will be the new home of a spectacular evening extravaganza called "Rivers of Light."

Imagineer Joe Rhode spoke at the D23 Expo regarding the wonders plan for Disney's Animal Kingdom Park that will open the area for full evenings of entertainment. "We're not just talking about keeping the Park open for a couple of more hours," the impassioned Imagineer told the crowd "we want to capture experiences that change the rhythm and spirit of nature" as the sun goes down. The goal is to turn Animal Kingdom into a full day Park with hours rival the other three, but Joe makes it clear that the additions are designed to help guests understand that transition from day to night and how the world around us moves. Rhode went on to say that fireflies offer a little bit of extra pixie dust and will be a key to the magical transformation that takes place at sunset, "hosting guests into the pace changes, attitude changes, different focuses on the environment around you."


Rivers of Light Concept ArtRivers of Light Concept Art


Rivers of light promises to be "a ceremonial event" out on the lake. "It starts simply and humbly with a candle, and 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."

The new entertainment experience will combine a cast of live performers with special props and technology including fire effects, floating lanterns, giant water screens and swirling animal imagery celebrating the natural world.

I know that I can't wait to see what they've come up with. Are you looking forward to discovering the magic of the night at Disney's Animal Kingdom? Leave a Comment and let us know!

PrincessM wrote on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 14:15:

PrincessM's picture

I am VERY VERY excited to see all of the changes at AK, however there is one concern I have. How are these nighttime changes going to be affecting the animals? I always assumed that they closed early for the safety and comfort of the animals and there was not a firework show because of that. Now that there will be longer hours, and the show will undoubtedly bring lots of additional noise, I'm just curious as to what Disney will be doing protect them.

BarbaraB wrote on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 14:19:

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It sounds absolutely beautiful, but I'm wondering about the "ultimately it takes off into the sky" part. Does that mean fireworks, and will that adversely effect the animals that call Animal Kingdom home? I know my dog didn't like fireworks. I can't imagine how an elephant or lion would react.

B wrote on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 15:10:

B's picture

I thought the whole point of the shorter hours was to give the animals a break from the noise, camera-flashes, etc, and to not disturb their natural habits? Or am I misinformed?

KellyB wrote on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 18:48:

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No fireworks. They would disrupt the sleeping animals. They will use the Tree of Life and light it up. Almost like the show on the ball during EPCOT's show. There will be lasers and such as we'll. I can not wait to see this!!!

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 20:21:

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BarbaraB - In addition to what KellyB shared, recently Disney patented some very interesting new drone technology that is designed to be used in conjunction with a night time show. There was a patent for a free moving puppet sort of drone, as well as tiny mini drones that when flown together would give a sort of firework effect. I have a feeling that we're going to get some fantastic new tech in this show.

I have not seen in any reference that there would be any actual fireworks in this show.

Lynn D wrote on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 23:17:

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This sounds fantastic, but like others, I am concerned about the animals. Hopefully Disney will explain how this will work without upsetting any of them.

Mandy S wrote on Wed, 08/19/2015 - 00:03:

Mandy S's picture

Sounds like Fantasmic to me just with animals. They need to think of something unique to Animal Kingdom. Think about it, Epcot is different from the other two. Guest will do either Fantasmic or Animal Kingdom's closing show.

Karli wrote on Wed, 08/19/2015 - 11:57:

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Also the floating lanterns are silent and I'm sure that's part of what they mean when they say taking off into the sky. I trust that Disney would never do anything to make it's animals uncomfortable. I spoke to a CM there once that told me it wasn't them who ran the parks, it was the animals.

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