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Update on Nighttime Experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Experiences

With the expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re excited to give Guests even more opportunities to celebrate the magic of animals and nature as day turns into night. While we’d hoped to debut these offerings on April 22, unfortunately, they will not open as planned on that date as we give the team more time to bring these innovative experiences to life in a way we know will exceed our guests’ expectations.

We’ll share more information about timing on the Disney Parks Blog by mid- to late May. We checked in recently during rehearsals of two key elements of the nighttime experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: the dramatic water and light show Rivers of Light, and the new nighttime magic at the Tree of Life.

This image from a recent rehearsal of Rivers of Light illustrates a bit of the beauty and complexity of this innovative blend of water, light and original music that brings with it so many firsts.

This video of the iconic Tree of Life shows how the centerpiece of Disney’s Animal Kingdom will truly come alive with swirling animated imagery that tells enchanting stories from nature.

We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to debuting these new offerings. We hope you agree that they look worth the wait!


  • Yes, the extended hours are in effect even after Labor Day Weekend. Their site is not updated yet, but I have asked 2 different cast members in customer service that says Animal Kingdom will keep the extended hours through fall and winter. As for Rivers of Light, they cannot give out the date… probably because so many people were upset earlier in the year when they visited and it wasn’t open yet. I’m guessing fall sometime it should open.

  • Hoping Rivers of Light will have begun for our upcoming trip in November. If so, Will the park hours be extended? The day we our scheduled to visit AK the park closes at 5.

  • Hello: Is the River of Lights gonna be in effect this week from 7-10- 7/17 2016? Please say YES

  • Will the animal kingdom have the rivers of light and extended hours for rides in October 2016 ?

  • Any news on the opening on rivers of light? We r in WDW in mid to late June and have our fingers crossed!

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