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First Look: ‘Rivers of Light’ To Debut This Summer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Today we’re happy to share that Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s first-ever night-time show, “Rivers of Light,” will officially debut at the park this summer.

The show, set on Discovery River in the Asia section of the park, will depict an ancient lantern festival guided by two storytellers who call forth four animal Spirit Guides: an Asian Tiger, Tropical Turtle, African Elephant and Great Horned Owl. These Spirit Guides return at different points during the show to lead the audience through their journey through the Rivers of Light.

Check out the video below to get the first look at some of the illuminated lanterns, water screens, moving fountains, light projections and other amazing elements that will be featured in “Rivers of Light.”

We’ll have much more to share with you as work continues toward the show’s debut. Be sure to keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more.

Comments

  • As others have asked what is going on with park hours? Trying to sort out dining and fast passes when we don’t even know the time of the show is very difficult and frustrating. It starts in less than 3 weeks and yet the parks are still closing at 6pm!

  • It’s now April and Rivers of Light is opening on April 22, but there are still no updates to the published operating calendar for Animal Kingdom. We are planning a trip and it’s very hard to do so when operating hours are not yet published that would support this nighttime show unless Disney has some way to make it dark at 6 PM. When will the correct park hours for April and May and beyond be published for Animal Kingdom?

  • When will updated park times be available then? I am planning for a large group in May and the times have yet to be updated.

  • I see on your dining site that Tiffins will open in Spring 2016. Do you know when reservations can be made for early June?

  • Just heard a cast member rumor that the Rivers of Light will have soft openings starting 3/31/16. Can you confirm. I hope so.
    Thank you

  • Any update yet on FP, dining packages and park hours please?.This lack of timely info is making it really hard for folks to plan their trips, ADRs and FP+

  • Rivers of Light is such a wonderful addition to Animal Kingdom, One of our Favorite Disney Parks.
    Thank You for continuing to amaze us Disney Fans and for putting your thought and soul into the works.

  • Will there be a fast pass for this we will be there end of April beginning or May for my 40th Birthday? Do we know what time the show would be at ?
    Thank you

  • Looks amazing!! Can’t wait to watch it in May when I take my two daughters, do you know when the frozen ride opens? Will that be ready for May?

  • Can’t wait to make it on our next trip. Even cooler it’s going to happen the day before of my birthday.

  • How often will the show run? Nightly? We are arriving on the 23rd!

  • Brother Bear would tie in nicely to this show. It was such a good movie. 🙂 we will be there on the 22nd and we’re so excited to it! Do you know if it will be nightly or just certain days? 🙂

  • Can’t wait 3 months and counting.

  • Will this affect park hours? will the park stay open later?

  • I’ve been looking forward to Rivers of Light with eager anticipation and will be staying at AKL after it begins, but — and I know I’m in the minority — no animal spirit guides for me thanks.

  • Cant wait to see this when i go in May/ June. Any news on the Night-time Safari if its starting the same day as the rivers of light and also an off topic question. Will you be doing the 24 hour event this year cause I primarily based my holiday in May and June for it due to always wanting to go to it? 🙂

  • Yay Earth Day!

  • We will be in Animal Kingdom on April 20 and are SO bummed that after 3 years of planning we are going to miss the show by 2 days!!! Any chance there will a soft opening or dress rehearsals in the week leading up to opening night?
    Any update on the Night Safari?

    • No word on any early openings at this time.

  • Is there any information about when Tiffins will be opening in conjunction with Rivers of Light?

    • We hope to have an update on Tiffin’s soon. Please keep checking back.

  • I really can not wait! We are planning to go for my 30th Birthday in May and I am beyond excited to see a new show, it looks so beautiful. I already have dinner planned at Tusker House, hoping we can attach a dining package. Yay!

    • I hope you have a great birthday AND enjoy the show!

  • Will this be an arena type show like Fantasmic, or Illuminations type show?

    • Jonathan – Check out the video included in this post. “Rivers of Light” will take place on Discovery River, right behind where Michael Jung stands in the video.

  • BEST birthday present ever! Looking forward to seeing it on opening night on my birthday!

    • What a way to celebrate!

  • Oh I am so excited!! We are going to Animal Kingdom on the 23rd for my son’s 5th birthday! What a great treat! Thank you!!

    • Have a blast, liz!

  • I am so excited to see this! We arrive on the 24th and are anxiously looking forward to this new show!!

  • Were so excited to see this in May, when will they update the new time schedule for Animal Kingdom?

    • We’re continuing to finalize the park’s operating hours. Be sure to check DisneyWorld.com and My Disney Experience for updates.

  • So excited!! I can’t wait to see this show!! Will they be extending April’s Animal Kingdom park hours because closing is currently posted as 6:30pm and night time in April is around 8pm?

  • It looks wonderful! I hope there will be dinner packages available.

    • Dining packages are planned to be available. More information will be coming soon about participating locations and how to make reservations.

  • Soooooooo can’t wait for this! AK is my favorite park and it just keeps getting better!

    • 🙂

  • What time is the show? It is not listed…?

  • What a bummer! Our last day at WDW is the 14th of April. I’ve heard about this before we even booked our trip, but of course the opening date was always a secret. This is going to be incredible. More reasons to spend more time at this park.

  • Oh, I see. They have FP seating now. Hopefully they have it available. It looks amazing ✌?️

  • Anytime I have been to a Disney World show there has never been a ‘fast pass’ available. It isn’t a ride. It is a show.

  • So thrilled!!! We are coming just a few days after the debut! Can’t wait to see it… I’m sure it will be amazing!

  • I can’t hardly wait to see Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in November 2016!

    • I hope you love it, Jeany!

  • I currently have a dinner reservation at Yak and Yeti for May…is there going to be a dinner package with VIP seats? Or maybe FP available for this nightime show? My FP window opens in two days so I’d love to be able to secure this for my trip! 🙂

  • What about a dinner package? Would love to book one for our trip in June.

    • Dining packages are planned to be available. More information will be coming soon about participating locations and how to make reservations.

  • Is there a chance that the “Made With Magic” Light Hats, wand etc will be utilized with this show?

  • Oh man, we are already planning to be at magic kingdom for the first time that night, and that is the last night of our trip. I hope there is a way to secure a seat

  • Of course the day we leave it debuts that night. 🙁

  • of course it debuts a week and a half after we leave 🙁 I really wanted to see this! Well there’s always next time lol

    • And don’t forget that we’ll have full coverage of the show’s opening right here!

  • I wonder if this will be like the Fantastic show or MK Castle nighttime show? Where you can FAST pass or do a Dining plan for “reserved seating?”

    • FastPass+ is planned to be available for Rivers of Light. Guests may be able to make their plans through My Disney Experience soon and dining packages are planned to be available. More information will be coming soon about participating locations and how to make reservations.

  • I would also like to know if it will have a fast pass.

  • Anyone know time the show is scheduled or how many shows there will be per night?

    • The performance schedule is being finalized and we look forward to sharing more information soon.

  • When will the park hours be updated to reflect this?

    • We’re continuing to finalize the park’s operating hours. Be sure to check DisneyWorld.com and My Disney Experience for updates.

  • Will there be a live stream of the event?

  • Any idea when dinning package reservations will be available? I see it listed on the WDW website but no way to book reservations…

    • Dining packages are planned to be available. More information will be coming soon about participating locations and how to make reservations.

  • the 22nd is our last night there for the trip when we are running the dark side half marathon. Will they be a chance of any soft openings earlier in the week?

  • Jennifer, any word on if this will be a Fast Pass attraction?

    • FastPass+ is planned to be available for Rivers of Light. Guests may be able to make their plans through My Disney Experience soon.

  • Ugghhh…so bummed any chance you could move it up a week my trip is April 15-17th

  • Any word on whether fast passes will be offered? I can imagine it will be jammed opening week.

    • FastPass+ is planned to be available for Rivers of Light. Guests may be able to make their plans through My Disney Experience soon.

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