Rivers of Light, the highly anticipated new nighttime show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is premiering tomorrow, February 17th, 2017, after some delays. As an attendee of Disney’s Social Media Mom Celebration, I was able to see a preview of the full show, and loved it. I’ve always enjoyed spending the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as the few evenings I’ve been able to experience the park. Rivers of Light is definitely a great addition to the park.
Disclosure: Affiliate links within. Purchasing and/or clicking on some of the links in this post may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you. We saw Rivers of Light as an attendee of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. While we paid for admission to the celebration, we received freebies and discounts. In the past, I was a member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel.
Rivers of Light takes place in the Discovery River lagoon, near Expedition Everest. The theater isn’t too large, and since this show is highly anticipated, it’s almost certain to fill up quickly at every show. I sat in the very center, right in the front row, and the view was absolutely perfect.
The show starts when large lotus flower barges start floating to the center of the lagoon (similar in style to the barges in Illuminations). Boats carrying storytellers follow. The Asian-inspired music is a great complement to the show.
Rivers of Light also includes large animal barges that almost look like they are made of stained glass. There are also mist screens, projections, water fountains, lasers, and more.
The show is really beautiful, and unlike anything else at Walt Disney World. It’s definitely captivating, and kids will certainly love to see it.
Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom runs for about 15 minutes, and you’ll be able to make FastPass+ reservations for seating. That’s definitely going to be a great option, since the show is likely to be popular.
Here’s a video that I posted on our Facebook page.
In addition, there are also some new Rivers of Light dining packages available at two Animal Kingdom restaurants – Tusker House, and Tiffins. Each dining package includes a meal at the restaurant, a non-alcoholic beverage, and premium seating for Rivers of Light but excludes tax, park admission, gratuity, and alcohol. When you dine at the restaurant, you’ll get a ticket to the premium seating – you don’t actually watch the show while dining.
The Tusker House package is valid for the breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets. You must arrive to eat no later than 2 hours and 3o minutes before the Rivers of Light show. Current rates start at $24 for children (age 3-9) and $39 for adults (breakfast) and $32 for children and $52 for adults (lunch and dinner).
The Tiffins package is offered for lunch and dinner and you’ll need to arrive at least three hours before the Rivers of Light show. Rates start at $26 for children age 3-9 and $67 for adults. While the packages are expensive, they will be a great way to see the show if you can’t get a FastPass+ reservation. After dining as part of the package, you’ll receive a “ticket” to use to enter the special seating area of the outdoor theater.
Rivers of Light is part of the new nighttime programming at Animal Kingdom, which was traditional a daytime only park. Other fun evening experiences at Animal Kingdom include new nighttime safaris, Expedition Everest in the dark (my very favorite ride in the dark), and the Tree of Life Awakening (where the tree is “awakened” with lights and images). While you are visiting Animal Kingdom after dark, definitely walk through Pandora, which looks completely different at night.
For your Walt Disney World vacation, I love the following resorts. Note that I have stayed in some of these resorts as part of press trips, but all opinions are my own.
- Disney’s Beach Club
- Disney Swan and Dolphin
- Disney’s Art of Animation
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Gaylord Palms
- JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
- World Center Marriott
I experienced this show as part of my participation at the Disney Social Media Mom Celebration. I paid a nominal fee as an attendee, and was not required to post about any part of the celebration.