Rivers of Light, a nighttime
show at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando, will debut on
The show is one of several
after-dark activities that will come to the park this summer, including a sunset safari and several parties featuring
live music and dance.
Walt Disney Imagineering’s
Joe Rohde, senior vice president and portfolio creative executive, said the
park will be “remarkably transformed” after dark, offering guests a totally
different experience in the park than they would have during the day.
Rivers of Light will take
place on Discovery River in the Asia section of the park. Djuan Rivers, vice
president of Animal Kingdom, said it will begin about 15 to 20 minutes after
The show, which will
include storyteller guides, projections, lights and music, revolves around the
belief that animals passing from one world to another became rivers of light in
the sky, according to Michael Jung, vice president and creative portfolio
director with Walt Disney Imagineering.
The musical score for the
show was composed by Don L. Harper, and includes an original song by composer
Mark Mancina. Designer Michael Curry, who has worked on Disney Parks’ “Finding
Nemo: The Musical” and “Disney Festival of Fantasy parade,” also worked on the
In addition to Rivers of
Light, the park’s Tree of Life in the Discover Island area will be transformed
at night. The scores of animals carved into the tree will “physically awaken,”
Jung said, utilizing colorful lighting and what Disney has coined “magical
Kilamanjaro Safaris, an
attraction in which guests are driven around live animal habitats, will also
receive its own nighttime incarnation. Rohde said Disney is “extending the
sunset” into the night, enabling ride vehicles to continue their tours. Two new
species are being added to the ride, as well: African wild dogs, which
typically hunt and travel at night, and hyenas, which are primarily nocturnal.
Also new are the Harambe
Wildlife Parti and the Discovery Island Carnivale, nightly events featuring
live music and dance in the Africa and Discovery Island areas of the park,
Tiffins, a lunch and
dinner restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, will open this summer.
Rivers said Animal Kingdom
will be open as late as 11:30 p.m. in the future.
According to Disney, the
nighttime activities at Animal Kingdom are the first phase of the park’s
largest expansion to date. A new land, Pandora — The World of Avatar, is
expected to open next year.