‘Rivers of Light’ Officially Opens February 17 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

For more than a year, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has continued its evolution to a day-to-night park by introducing a rich variety of new nighttime experiences – from Kilimanjaro Safaris after sunset and fine dining at Tiffins, to the vibrant entertainment at the Harambe Wildlife Parti and Discovery Island Carnivale. And when the Tree of Life awakens after dark, it is truly a sight to behold!

Today, we’re happy to announce one of the park’s newest nighttime experiences, “Rivers of Light,” will make its official debut on February 17.

Continuing the grand Disney tradition of innovative, after-dark entertainment, “Rivers of Light” combines live performance, floating set pieces, a soaring musical score, fountains and more in a celebration of animals and nature. The story magically unfolds on the broad natural stage of the Discovery River, conveying the uplifting spirit of an ancient and timeless lantern ceremony and filled with symbolism, storytelling and plenty of heart.

To make dining or FastPass+ reservations for this new show, visit MyDisneyExperience.com or the My Disney Experience app.

And don’t forget that the next step in the expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom – the grand debut of Pandora – The World of Avatar – will take place on May 27, 2017.

Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog, as we share more details on what’s new and what’s next for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

For the latest on other nighttime options at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, see our list of related stories below:


  • Hello,

    I am unable to reserve anything for the end of July can you let me know when availability will open up for anything past July 1st? Will a notification go out to people with booked Disney Vacations?

  • We will be visiting AK on a Monday in March, and it seems the show is only scheduled for Saturday, Sunday, Tues and Thurs. Will you be opening more days? Such a disappointment to miss this show, but our family does not have park hoppers and we have long scheduled reservations for dining and fast passes for other parks on other days.

  • It seems FP+ is only available on weekends. When I try to book for weekday it’s says “Service Unavailable” ?

  • I tried to make a fast pass res. for next Monday 2/20(presidents day), and it said it wasn’t scheduled. So I take it it’s just on certain nights?(disappointing that it’s not available on a holiday that will be down there just for that day).

  • What time is the actual show? I wnat to book the dining package but am not sure what time the show is (it says you can only book 2.5 hours in advance of the show). Thanks

  • While I am super excited it is opening…we were there for the originally planned date last summer and it was pushed back. We are going to be there, but have already scheduled our park days and it is not scheduled to play on our Animal Kingdom day….But it is a Magic Hour day so you would think it would be on that day. A lot of people go on Magic Hour Days…..I will hate to miss it. 🙁

  • Hi! By any chance do you have the press contact?

    Thank you very much in advance

  • Since the park closes at 7:30, is there special ticketing for these events or will Disney update their closing hours? A bit confused on how this works!

  • Thank you Disney!!! I got a dining package for may 27th and will be there for grand opening of pandora. All my dreams came true!

  • We are coming to America for 3 weeks with a 21 days Disney pass. As much as we would love stay in a Disney hotel unfortunately we couldn’t afford it! When is the earliest we can book this???

    • Hi Nicola – You can attend the show one of three ways. 1) Standby line, which is open to any park guest. 2) Via Fastpass+ reservation, although these are likely to book quickly as the show is new. And 3) Via Dining Package, which includes a meal and reserved seating. Hope that helps!

  • I can’t wait…heard it is going to be spectacular!

  • I am so excited that we will get to see Rivers of Light in March, YAY!!!!

    I was able to make a lunch reservation on our arrival day.

    I did not have park tickets for that day, but quickly added a seventh day to our trip to accommodate the show.

    Initially my time was too early. We arrive in Orlando at 1:45 and my ADR was for 3:25.

    I changed to 4pm.

    I am so confused between FP & dining package. Would prefer a simple fastpass. Checked and none available.

    Also it took me a while to figure out that the show was not every night.

    Adding a day to our package & booking the dinner is pretty costly.

    I am very excited though!

    • Ann – you can experience the show one of three ways. 1) Standby line, which is open to any park guest. 2) Via Fastpass+ reservation, although these will be very popular and are likely to book quickly as the show is new. And 3) Via dining package, which includes a meal and reserved seating. Hope that helps!

  • We booked our dinner resrvation with ROL first show for April 6th!!! We are surprising out little guy with his first trip to Disney celebrating his 7th birthday!! He is an enormous animal lover and I can’t wait to see his face light up like the river!!! I may have to bring some extra tissues. I’m already choking up thinking about it!

    • I hope it will be the BEST. DAY. EVER. 🙂

  • Should we bring our Made With Magic Ears?

  • I just got off the phone with Disney Dining. I tried to make dining package reservations for our trip beginning August 3, but I was told that reservations were only open through June. Any idea when July and August dates will be released? We are very excited to see the show.

    • Reservations are currently available through June 30. Reservations for dates beginning July 1 will open as “Rivers of Light” showtimes become available, keep checking DisneyWorld.com/dining.

  • Oh my gosh! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this! My husband and I were at Animal Kingdom this past December on a night when there was a Cast Member preview, and it killed me to be leaving the park knowing a performance of Rivers of Light was about to happen and I was missing it. We’re going to another part of Florida this month to see family and decided to tack on a short WDW stay, and now it turns out we will be there when ROL is open!! I just booked the dining package, and we can’t wait! The day we’re going to AK happens to be the 15th anniversary of the day my husband & I met — dining at Tiffin’s and seeing Rivers of Light are going to make it a great celebration! Yay! 🙂

    • I hope you have an excellent anniversary celebration!

  • Booked my dinner package today tusker house. For the first showing of the night they have 2 and we are there on,spring break couldn’t believe we got it

    • LUCKY! I hope you enjoy it!

  • UGH! We’ll be there on Monday the 27th but no fastpass available?!?!?!?! I WOULD GIVE UP ALL OF MY OTHER FASTPASSES!!! haha

    • Don’t forget that standby is always an option. The amphitheater is HUGE.

  • Missed out last year Really excited about seeing this year. Got my dining package booked as soon as I saw this. This show will be amazing

    • I hope you have a terrific evening, Philip.

  • As for the ‘select nights’, I agree it’s disappointing. I’ve checked almost a month worth of WDW calendar and it seems that the show will NOT be avaiable on mondays, wednesdays and fridays (except for debut day, feb 17th). I hope they at least follow this schedule onwards, or it will make it very difficult to make advance planning.

    • Ana – The schedule for “Rivers of Light” will vary. For its introduction, it will be performed four nights a week.

  • I’m excited, but also puzzled. How do they intend to do an after dark show when the AK calendar for May, for example, indicates the park will close before sunset?

  • I am so excited for this show!!

  • I realize my original comment was incorrect. It’s been 10 months since Rivers of Light was originally supposed to open. Surely after this long of a wait the demand is there for more than 4 shows a week. Why is it only on certain days and only showing once.?

  • Why is the show only on certain nights and with only one showing? After waiting 8 months since the original opening date passed surely the demand is there for more showings?

  • I just tried to book our FastPass for Rivers of Light on March 8 and it says they are not available. 🙁 Is it too soon? *excited no matter what happens!!

  • I would like to find that out too I just check and nothing. Hopefully they haven’t been released yet.

  • I am so pumped about this!! I have a Fastpass or this on Sunday the 29th, but will still be there on the 27th hoping to get in!

    • I hope you have a great time, George. Let us know what you think!

  • Will this show be a (mostly) Fastpass only show, like World of Color?

    • Both FastPass+ and standby sections will be available.

  • Wow! Just signed into mydisneyexperience and there were no more fastpasses for this? Have they been released yet?

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