Rivers of Light–Disney’s Animal Kingdom ParkKim Inman
written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist
The long awaited ‘Rivers of Light’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park has finally made it’s debut!
Rivers of Light is located in the park’s Discovery River lagoon between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. It features water fountains, mist screens, floating lanterns, fire effects, lasers, lights, fog, projection mapping as well as live performers and incorporates the park’s Tree of Life into the show too .
This new nighttime experience celebrates the beauty of all living things. With a brilliant fusion of water, sound and light, it’s a unique experience that will entertain the whole family!
Rivers of Light is staged in the middle of the Discovery River, with seating split in two sections: on the shores of Asia in front of Expedition Everest, and along the banks of DinoLand U.S.A. in front of Finding Nemo—The Musical. All of the seats in Asia – half of the show’s 5,000 seats – are reserved for Guests with FastPass+. The other half of the seats, on the DinoLand side, are for those booking the Rivers of Light dining packages (available at Tusker House or Tiffins) and for standby Guests. There are also very limited, partially obstructed viewing areas around the river. I have viewed from all 3 areas and I highly recommend the dining package viewing area if you plan to see this new experience!
As sunlight fades, the ‘stars’ begin to twinkle in the trees surrounding Discovery River. A vibrant awakening of flitting fireflies leading to a ceremonious procession across the water of floating lotus blossoms that morph into colorful dancing fountains and over-sized animal sculptures – tiger, turtle, elephant, and owl – that light up in various colors.
The show begins with four flickering, lotus flower lanterns floating on the lagoon. They’re soon joined by shamans. The shamans conjure the forces of fire and water to reveal the majesty of the natural world, mostly as video projections on a huge water screen projected at the back of the lagoon.
In the final moments, the largest lotus sprouts a blazing tower. This magnetic display culminates in a triumphant blend of song, light, color and earthly elements. We are all bound together by earth and spirit — past, present and future.
Rivers of Light joins other nighttime experiences recently added to Animal Kingdom, including the sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris, Discovery Island Carnivale, Harambe Wildlife Parti and the Tree of Life awakening. Be sure to watch the video posted above, my photos do not do this show proper justice!