Primeval Whirl, Stitch's Great Escape and Rivers of Light are now permanently closed

Jul 16, 2020 in "Primeval Whirl"

In a memo to Cast Members, Disney has today announced that Primeval Whirl, Stitch's Great Escape! and Rivers of Light are now permanently closed and will not reopen.

Stitch's Great Escape! at the Magic Kingdom has been mostly closed since late 2016, and was at one time strongly tipped to be replaced by a Wreck It Ralph attraction that did not ultimately get approval. The show's lobby area had been host to a Stitch meet and greet prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. Since the Magic Kingdom's reopening, Stitch has been appearing at the Rockettower Plaza Stage in a physically distanced setting.

Similarly, Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom has been closed for more than a year due to a series of technical and operational difficulties, alongside poor guest ratings.

Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom opened with great excitement after a series of delays due to ground-breaking autonomous technology, but ultimately did not meet guest expectations. Budget cuts were made to the show last year, which saw the live performers removed, but this was not enough to save the show from cancellation.

No announcements of any plans for replacements have been made at this time, but with great uncertainty and budget constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be some-time before we hear more.

Discuss on the Forums
Article Posted: Jul 16, 2020 / 3:45pm ET
View all comments →

DVCakaCarlFSep 28, 2020

I agree...another waste of would think a restaurant would be built overlooking the show.

doctornickSep 28, 2020

I'm not thinking about anything now, but more for the post-COVID timeframe when nighttime spectaculars return. That said, I've thought that a daytime water show or boat parade would be a good idea for DAK and way to use that theater. Something like Mythica with animals.

DVCakaCarlFSep 27, 2020

With evening hours being limited, it will likely be a daylight show with multiple showtimes...helps with the Covid thing, too. That being said, the projection lighting would be a waste.

TrainChasersSep 27, 2020

Doing the same type of installed fountains may not work, but they could easily do a world of color type show if they tripled the number of fountain barges they have. Triple the fountain pods, double the animal floats, and don’t rely on the mist screens to be clear but rather just use them for more abstract images and color backgrounds. In stage design terms, use them as a cyclorama and not as a video wall.

doctornickSep 27, 2020

Not sure the best place to ask, but does anyone know of any plans for a future nighttime show at DAK? I understand that nothing would be impending, but with the theater sitting there available, I would hope that someday there would be a new nighttime show at DAK to replace RoL. And these things take time to design and develop and build - so do plans exist or is the park just being ignored for now? I feel like a WoC type show but with animated animals is probably inevitable. I know there was theoretical issues with having those types of fountains in a "natural" pond but I've got to think those are solvable if there is a will.

mnelson3Sep 15, 2020

Maybe they could reuse the lotus barges for Harmonius? The thought crossed my mind if that’s part of the reason why they closed RoL is due to Harmonius. Maybe they wanted to save a buck and reuse the fountains.

JohnDJul 28, 2020

RSoxNo1Jul 28, 2020

I think there's a lot less focus on the military and hippies as you say. I see your point on highlighting the animals more though and that's more in line with what I think we all wanted in Na'vi River Journey. I like the attraction plenty but it would certainly be better if it was longer and had more AAs. That being said, that's not "thematic fit". If you want to argue that Diagon Alley is a better land or that there are better IP driven lands out there, I'm not going to disagree. The argument is that the thematic fit for Pandora is better than any of the others.

aladdin2007Jul 28, 2020

an actual story instead of just some new age creature chanting who knows what...

MickeyMouse10Jul 28, 2020

I get what you're saying, but I think Pandora doesn't showcase it's animals enough. It is probably the most important theme for the whole park. Yet they don't showcase them at all throughout the land. The theming seems to be focused more on the military, hippies and weird plants. If the Nav'i River Journey had some animal animatronics and if there were a meet and greet (ala the Dino in IOA), or a petting area that would help.

RSoxNo1Jul 28, 2020

It's an easier theme to satisfy. By that definition Pandora and nearly any other movie based attraction would also be home in Universal Studios. With Pandora they looked at the areas of the movie that made sense for the Animal Kingdom. When it was announced, the outraged masses jumped to "what does a movie about war have to do with the Animal Kingdom?" It was a fair question but that wasn't the angle they took. They found the common underlying threads in the movie and in the park and fused them together seamlessly. For clarification, the underlying themes of Disney's Animal Kingdom are as follows: The intrinsic and superior value of nature – this means that nature, above all else is at the forefront of the design. This leads to parts of the park being out of their true control (live animals, overgrown pathways, etc.). Transformation through adventure – this idea is that adventure changes people when they experience something they’ve never experienced before. Personal call to action – a sense of responsibility for the animals and the conservation message. By setting the land after the conflict in the first movie they've allowed time to pass and for nature to take over the environment. To me, the intrinsic and superior value of nature is the most important theme to Disney's Animal Kingdom and in Pandora.

MickeyMouse10Jul 28, 2020

Diagon Alley seems to fit Universal Studios' "Ride the Movies" tagline better than Pandora. Much like Jaws and Kongfrontation before it you are placed within the movie's world. It may even do a better job than it's predecessors by theming the section around it so perfectly. With Pandora, it feels like it's animals take a backseat to the Nav'i and the hippies who now call this planet home. There are no animals roaming around like in other parts of Animal Kingdom. Heck even Dinoland has more animal related things.

RSoxNo1Jul 27, 2020

I challenge you to name another themed environment in the world that was added to an existing park that fits that park better than Pandora.

disneygeek90Jul 27, 2020

I don’t think many are upset about Primeval Whirl closing, or want to go to Funspot.