Back in April of 2016, I got a taste of a new show, Rivers of Light, that was in development at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. At that time, I saw the lotus boats and learned about the inspiration behind the show, whetting my appetite to see the whole thing that summer. Alas, Rivers of Light took longer to complete than planned, but it debuted on February 17, and I have to say it was worth the wait.
Nighttime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Animal Kingdom was long thought of as a half day park, but over the past year it’s transformed into a much fuller experience that draws guests in after dark. You can go on safari, where there’s a permanent sunset and many nocturnal animals that you don’t see stirring much during the day. You can grab a spectacular night view from the top of Expedition Everest or marvel as the Tree of Life awakens with a projection show (see the video below).
Beauty flows in Rivers of Light
Now you can add Rivers of Light to the Disney’s Animal Kingdom entertainment roster. The show takes place in a 5000 seat amphitheater on Discovery River, where I guarantee that you’ll feel chills as you watch the elegant animal-themed floats, the boats bearing story-tellers, and the waterworks that create a stage for Disneynature footage celebrating a variety of wildlife. I barely knew where to look, as there was so much going on out on the water, from fountains to lasers to shadow puppets. Disney even managed to work some impressive fire into a water show. It’s something you have to see in person, but the video below offers a little sampling:
I thought that Rivers of Light would be a good show, but I was unprepared for just how much I loved it. It’s unlike anything else at Walt Disney World, and as I watched it, I imagined how much I would love to see something like it at Epcot in a revamped version of Illuminations. Floats for each country in the style of the animal floats and water projections with the type of footage that’s now shown on the globe would be breathtaking. I do love the current version of Illuminations (especially the music), but the state of the art technology used at Disney’s Animal Kingdom definitely set me to dreaming about how it might be incorporated elsewhere.
Getting seats for Rivers of Light
I’m sure Rivers of Light will be very popular this summer as word gets out that it’s a must-see at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so I’m glad there are a couple of ways to ensure that you get a seat. First, you can use the free FastPass+ system. Just be sure to do that as early as you can to ensure that you get your desired date. If you don’t mind spending some money and plan to eat a big meal in the park anyway, opt for a dining package that gives you a hearty repast as well as good seats.
I personally already have FastPasses to see this show again. It’s the sort of show that you want to see more than once to catch all the little details, and preferably from multiple angles to catch it from every perspective. Yes, it was a long time in the waiting, but the best things are worth waiting for, and Rivers of Light definitely falls into that category.