Rivers of Light Premieres at Disney’s Animal Kingdom



It’s been a very long time coming, but Rivers of Light is finally here. The show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom was supposed to make it’s debut over a year ago, but was shut down due to last minute concerns. After a week of testing, it will finally make it’s full debut on Friday, February 17th. We happened to catch the very first showing during a Passholder Preview, and have a few thoughts on it.

Check out some of the highlights from the show.

Watch-Highlights from Disney’s Rivers of Light

The show is very pretty. Disney has put some amazing efforts into making this show be a very detailed goodnight kiss for Animal Kingdom. It uses some of the most amazing technology to make things happen seamlessly. There are floating flowers that spurt water, glowing animals that change color, water screens that make animals appear, and even boats carrying people. The problem is that none of it really makes much sense.




Rivers of Light runs at just over 15 minutes, but it feels like it’s too long. It also feels that maybe there should have been more, and it probably should have been longer. There was talks of lanterns and fireflies in the show, as well as storytellers, none of which is present in this final version of Rivers of Light. I’m not really trying to nitpick it apart, but I had very high expectations going in, and it felt like a bit of a let down. It didn’t seem to pack that Disney magic that many other shows at the resort has. It didn’t have the wow factor of Wishes, it didn’t reach down and touch your soul like Reflections, and it didn’t take you anywhere like Star Wars.



However, for all the flaws of the show, there was a lot of good and possible potential. The scenery that it creates is absolutely gorgeous. While the water screens didn’t feel up to the task, the floating barges are breath taking. The animals are made to look like stained-glass and they change a brilliant array of colors. The boats use every inch to get into the show, and the effects done on the sails are amazing. There’s a scene where one of the flowers opens up to create a massive tower…of FIRE!

Visually the show is amazing. The park also has done a great job with trying to fit as many people along the once empty waterfront as possible. Rivers of Light does it’s best to be the Disney show that Animal Kingdom needs to keep guests into the night, but it falls a little flat. Again, it’s not a horrible show, but after seeing it once it’s not something we would go out of our way for, or make a special trip to see. In the end, Rivers of Light feels like it could have been much more, but was cut for whatever reason.

Slideshow-Check out hundreds of pictures from Disney’s Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom



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Rivers of Light opens for nightly shows this weekend. It joins the Tree of Life, and Kilimanjaro Nighttime Safaris as the park blossoms after dark. The park is getting ready for Pandora: World of Avatar, which opens May 27th.

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