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Disney's Animal Kingdom - Rivers of Light and so much more!


In January I told you about Disney's Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light and Pandora - The World of Avatar, but today I'm here to share with you so much more.


Attending Disney's Social Media Moms Celebration was an experience in itself, however the highlight of my trip was visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom and learning first hand what was in store. Animal Kingdom has always been one of my favorite parks. From the Kilimanjaro Safari to riding the Expedition Everest or even taking a ride on the Kali River Rapids in Asia there is so much to do. Remember, Disney's Animal Kingdom isn't a zoo, it's a jungle! That's something that was told to me and my family a few years ago from one of Disney's cast member. However today I want to share with you what you can expect in this - as I like to call it - revamped Disney's Animal Kingdom.


First let's get into Disney's Animal Kingdom new nighttime experience Rivers of Light which debuts tonight! I have seen my share of amazing shows at Disney Parks but this new Rivers of Light takes the cake. It's a 15-minute storytelling adventure that takes you on an emotional magical journey through nature, choreographed to an original score. Rivers of Light combines live performers, beautiful floating lanterns, glistening fountains, special effects and authentic imagery projected on giant water screens.


Set in Asia, guests are seated in a new 5,000 seat amphitheater along the picturesque edge of the Discovery River. Sounds of animals can be heard from a nearby forest, and magical fireflies descend from the Tree of Life toward the lagoon, creating a sense of wonder as four beautifully illuminated Lotus flowers float across the water.


The ceremony begins with a stirring musical overture signaling the arrival of a pair of mystical Storytellers, two complementary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. They set out from the shore aboard elaborate lantern vessels. Adorned in intricately designed costumes, the hosts engage in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits – an Asian Tiger, Tropical Turtle, African Elephant and Great Horned Owl – and take guests on a wondrous journey across Asian jungles and African savannahs.

Just take a quick look!


There are also a few never before seen moments from Disneynature incorporated into the cinematography adding even more authenticity to the storyline. I was fortunate to sit in the middle of this magnificent showing with Madison seated right next to me. Usually Madison gets "antsy" and chatter throughout a show. However, she was mesmerized like everyone else who was there and sat enthralled throughout the entire show. It's definitely one show that you will not want to miss with your family and one you should most certainly see.


Following tonight's premiere, Rivers of Light will be performed on select nights.

Special dining packages are available to park guests that include reserved seating at the new show. Packages are offered at the buffet-style Tusker House or the new signature restaurant Tiffins with innovative dishes that take diners to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas amid travel-inspired artwork. Tiffins celebrates the art of traveling and includes the adjoining Nomad Lounge with waterfront views with outdoor seating. Open for both lunch and dinner, Tiffins' menu features a diverse menu drawing from places that inspired the creation of Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Indian English word "tiffin" means a midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling. Reservations can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dining or by calling 407 WDW-DINE.


Rivers of Light joins a rich variety of new nighttime experiences and family adventures designed to offer up Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new light. These include:

The Tree of Life Awakening After Dark 
Through projections and special effects, the animal spirits of the Tree are brought to life like never before, by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment. Projections of nature scenes and even a few movie scenes will magically appear and seem to emanate from within the Tree of Life. I can tell you that this was a delight and you'll have fun trying to remember the Disney movies that you saw throughout the years. 


Kilimanjaro Safari At Sunset Tour
The Kilimanjaro Safari Tour has always been my favorite and I've always done it during the day. Now you'll have the chance to experience the Kilimanjaro Safari like never before. Each evening, the daytime experience is artfully bathed in the glow of sunset with special lighting which allows guests to explore this part of the attraction well into the night. During the expedition you will now be able to experience the nighttime behavior of the wildlife that you were only able to see during the day, and you'll also be better able to tune in to the unique vocalization of the animals that you love.


Discovery Island Carnivale
The spirited community of Discovery Island comes together to celebrate their love of the natural world with the Discovery Island Carnivale. This nightly experience captivates Disney's Animal Kingdom guests with lively music, jubilant dance, vibrant costumes, stilt walkers, delectable food and beverage, face painting and more, winding from one end of the island to the other. This will be held nightly in the center of the park and also one you don't want to miss.


Harambe Wildlife Parti 
This safari after-party crisscrosses Harambe, from its theatre district to its bustling marketplace with the sights and sounds of local street musicians and entertainers, inviting guests to join them in dance and song, partake in exotic foods and libations and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants. When the sun sets, the popular Village of Harambe at Disney's Animal Kingdom will become a hot spot with the new Harambe Wildlife Parti. Here, "party animals" can dance alongside a variety of entertainers and local street musicians, and enjoy the lively rhythms of African music. Guests can also partake in exotic foods and libations, and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants in the vibrant marketplace


After-dark hours allowing guests to experience nighttime on popular park attractions including Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and more. Expedition Everest thrills adventurers as it lurches forward and backward through the icy peaks of the Himalayas. At night, the majestic mountain challenges trekkers to an evening ride revealing breathtaking views of Disney's Animal Kingdom canopied by starlight. At sundown, Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom will reveal more mysterious twists and turns throughout the rainforest with dramatic and drenching fun. This river rapid ride takes guests on a wild ride and tells a story about the important role conservation plays in preserving natural habitats. Amidst the colorful midway games at Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama in DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the thrills turn up aboard the zany Triceratop Spin or Primeval Whirl under the lights. Guests will be able to ride these favorite attractions during the day or night.


All are part of the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom which will culminate with the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar May 27th.


What are you most excited for at Disney's Animal Kingdom? 

Annmarie John
52 Comments
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52 comments:

  1. Wonderful smooth video! We only did Animal Kingdom once, and didn't stay for a full day. Now I wish we had. We have seen the night shows at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and the thought they put into the stories, lights, fireworks, etc. It's SO GOOD. Gosh, I want to go back so badly.

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    1. Thank you Tamara. That was how it was when we went for the very first time. At the time Kyle and Kristal was older and didn't want to stay because to them it was just a big zoo, although Mikael was about 3 at the time and loved it. It's Madison's favorite park so we always go and spend the entire day there now. You've got to go back and do it all over again.

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  2. The last time we were at Animal Kingdom, they closed before sunset. I would love to go back and see all of the new happenings there at night. Especially seeing the Tree of Life lit up at night!

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    1. When we went in December they closed a bit later so I'm not sure when they started but you've got to go and see this show the next time you go. It's not going to be daily so be sure to plan it.

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  3. This is one of our favorite places to go, we love seeing the animals and we LOVE the safari ride.!!

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    1. Oh Kilimanjaro Safari is by far my favorite ride at Animal Kingdom. I can't go there and not go on a ride, and if you love it by day, just wait until you see it at sunset.

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  4. I love everything Disney and I think I would love this too! What a great experience this looks like.

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    1. Oh it was an experience like no other. I'm a huge Disney fan myself and have another 2 trips lined up for this year and when I go back, this is once again on my list of things to see.

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  5. I love Animal Kingdom and at night it is even more beautiful. The last time I was there though it was during extra magic nights so I didn't get to ride the safari and Rivers of Light was still getting ready to open. I can't wait to go back though and see it! Kali River Rapids is so so fun at night! It makes it even creepier since you can't see anything.

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    1. Oh I can imagine the Kali River Rapids at night. I've only done it during the day and Madison wasn't a fan of getting wet but she loved the ride. I'm thinking a sunset ride would be great.

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  6. We are planning a trip this fall and I am so excited to get to spend some time at Animal Kingdom. We were thinking of spending a whole week this time and I really think it will be a blast, and I can't wait to see the Rivers of Light.

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    1. Oh you've got to spend a week. The Rivers of Light won't be done daily so be sure to plan your trip around that on the night that it will be done.

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  7. This River of Lights is calling me to return to Disney! I missed seeing this the last time I was there. I will also let my niece know about this. Their family have a trip there in March.

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  8. This is so fun! I would love my kids to see these! :D

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  9. When I went to Disney World last year, I only visited animal kingdom once for a few hours. I wish I could've seen this, it looks lovely!

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    1. Well you wouldn't have seen it last year since it's just opened up this year, February 17th, but maybe the next time you visit you'll be able to experience it then.

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  10. My family and I are planning a trip to Disney in a couple months and even though I've been no one else in my family has - and I've never been to Animal Kingdom. It is the top of everyone's list. I watched the video with my four year old and now he is asking if we can go see it when we visit!

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    1. Oh you've got to take your family to Animal Kingdom for sure. Most people tend to skip it and head to Magic Kingdom and even Epcot, but Animal Kingdom will surprise you.

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  11. I have been enjoying your posts about Animal Kingdom.
    My sister is taking her daughter there soon, and I sent this info to her, thanks!

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    1. Thank you so very much. It's good to hear when someone enjoys a post. I'm sure your sister will enjoy knowing what to see when she visits.

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  12. We were at animal kingdom in January, just before this premiered. Kinda bummed to miss it but hey that means we have to go again right?

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    1. You've got that right. You can never have too much Disney. We were there in December and then again in February with another trip planned and booked for July. Yes you can never have too much Disney. :)

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  13. His is such an awesome recap! I love your photos and as many times as I've been, I see there are still things I have yet to experience at AK.

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    1. Oh Christine you can say that again. I can't believe how amazing it was. We're heading back in July and I HAVE to see it again.

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  14. What a cool new feature to the world of Disney. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Animal Kingdom is a favorite park! It offers so many wonderful, natural scenes! The River of Lights was excellent. I was great meeting you!

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    1. I'm still in awe as to how spectacular this show was and I'm with you on Animal Kingdom. It's by far my favorite park as well at Walt Disney World, and it was a pleasure meeting you too.

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  16. Animal Kingdom is such a great park in Disney. I can't wait to experience this new show one day!

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    1. I hope you're able to. You're going to love it. I had great expectations when it first began because of course this is Disney, but it totally blew my mind.

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  17. We are going there in April. I cant wait to see that!

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    1. That's good news! Be sure to check to see when it's showing so that you don't go on a day when it's not. It's not going to be every night, so you want to be in the park on the day it is.

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  18. How awesome is that! I would just love to go see this in person. It looks like so much fun.

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    1. Oh it was totally awesome. Even my 5yr old who can't sit still for more than 2 minutes was in awe. I was even surprised.

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  19. My kids would love this to pieces. You wrote a really great review of this place. I love the video you posted.

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    1. Thank you. I filmed that using my cell phone and wished I had done it on my camera because it would have looked amazing and my cell phone only allowed me to do 10 minutes at a time. Maybe next time.

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  20. This looks wonderful - I love night shows & night theatres! When I was a kid there used to be a night theatre at a castle where we used to live not far from. All the costumes were made out of paper and they walked on water and it was just breathtaking. I bet I'd love this! x

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    1. Oh my goodness, you got me at Castle. We stayed in a "castle" when we went to France last spring and loved it. I could just imagine how amazing that must have been for you as a child.

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  21. This is really an interesting in disney's animal kingdom. The rivers of light is the "a must" see in the place! great review!

    - Our Family World

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  22. honestly this place just looks magical! lol. have been there with my kids once and I look forward to going back.

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    1. Oh you've got to go back and when you do, you have to go to Animal Kingdom and check out Rivers of Light and of course Pandora - World of Avatar.

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  23. The Disney's Social Media Moms Celebration looks like it was so much fun. I would love to see Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light in person. It looks so dazzling.

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  24. I was at Disney last October but we didn't make it to any of the nighttime activities since my niece and nephew are too little to stay up past 8. Hopefully the next time we go they will be up for going to the parades and events at night.

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  25. I'd be excited for all of it! I've never been before so it would be a lot of fun to experience with the family I think! Looks like great fun! - Jeanine

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  26. I heard about this on the radio the other day and it sounded so cool! These are some great photos you got of it and it looks like a lot of fun.

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  27. this looks so fun and so amazing! I have never been to this but my bf and I would LOVE it because we love animals. Great photos and post on it!!

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  28. Wow what a great trip to Disney! Nighttime water parades with lights and great things like that. Oh and I love your hair OMG!

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  29. The Rivers of Life was amazing. I am so glad we got to preview it. People are going to love it. Disney is always on the cutting edge of creativity! That's what keep us coming back!! Great recap!

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  30. Wow this looks so cool! It reminds me of the zoo in my city where they have millions of lights during Christmas season in all different animal shapes. Awesome!

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  31. What a super interactive trip! The lights look so beautiful and illuminated I would love to see this up close!

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  32. My sister and family were just at DisneySMMC too! They absolutely loved the Rivers of Life display. It is another way that Disney keeps everything so magical!

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  33. This reminds me of World of Color at Disneyland. I can't wait to experience Rivers of Light too, as we will be going to Disney world later this year!

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  34. I love the River of Lights show. Great recap AnMarie.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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