Could an interim show open ahead of Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom?

Apr 18, 2016 in "Rivers of Light"

Posted: Monday April 18, 2016 2:03pm EDT by WDWMAGIC Staff

According to at least one source that has contacted us in recent days, Disney may be planning an interim nighttime show to open at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


The big new nighttime spectacular, Rivers of Light, was expected to open on April 22 2016 as part of a relaunching of the park as a nighttime venue. A whole host of entertainment has been readied alongside the show, including live entertainment in Harambe Market and Discovery Island, the Tree of Life projection show, and a new nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris complete with artificial sunset.

Just a few weeks before Rivers of Light's intended debut, Disney announced that the show was not going to open on-time, and that an update would be issued later in May.

Since then, rumors have been swirling as to the cause of the delay. The current leading theory is that there are a number of issues with the show's one-of-a-kind barges that make up much of the show. These floats maneuver their way around the water autonomously, using a highly accurate localized GPS system, that delivers accuracy of around 4 inches. Electric motors on the barges respond to the GPS positioning system keeping all the barges in perfect position. At least that is the theory. If reports are accurate, the reliability of the system has not been good enough for the show to be performed on a daily basis in-front of 5000 guests at a time.

In a new twist to the story, a new source has indicated to us that Disney may be planning on introducing an interim show ahead of Rivers of Light, in a hope of giving the team more time to overcome the challenges that they are currently facing.

If this is in fact what is being planned, the interim show would use the elements of Rivers of Light that are reliable and ready for guests, which includes the projection systems and live actors. The recently released live-action version of the Jungle Book is being talked about as forming the basis of the interim show.

Should this go ahead, Disney would be able to bring the success of the Jungle Book movie into the parks, make use of the recently completed seating areas, and move ahead with the Animal Kingdom nighttime experiences as originally planned. Rivers of Light would then open later in the year once the team believe it is ready for primetime.

Disney hasn't yet commented on what is to come for Rivers of Light, other than a promised update in mid to late May. As always, until confirmed, treat this information as speculation.

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I am TimmyJul 17, 2020

Rough. I had high hopes for this, my oldest son actually loves it. We knew it wasn't popular, maybe if it had been given the chance it deserved, instead of constant cutbacks it could've been great. The area is beautiful, hope they do something with it.

HauntedMansionFLAJul 17, 2020

One of the best shows on property

brb1006Jul 17, 2020

At least we have the Tree Of Life projection show (that happens at random).

HauntedMansionFLAJul 17, 2020

Well, I guess if they aren’t going to be open pat 6:00 pm 😭

brb1006Jul 17, 2020

R.I.P Rivers Of Light 2017-2020

bubbles1812Mar 17, 2019

I don’t think they probably do that much cleaning (if at all) to the water in Paradise Bay. Having experienced WoC up close and personal, I can tell you it’s definitely not chlorinated by any means. I don’t think I’d feel too much difference with it versus the water in AK, haha. And I’ll echo what the other poster said. Definitely fireworks ash combined with water. Has happened to me at several of the Florida parks if there’s been a rainstorm right before the night shows. Still gross ;)

RSoxNo1Mar 16, 2019

Delicious tropical bacteria*

MansionButler84Mar 14, 2019

The water in Paradise Bay is nasty, too. At least in Florida, it’s only tropical bacteria.

mnelson3Mar 14, 2019

Maybe im wrong but I feel like there is a big difference between the water in WoC and RoL lol. Getting wet from WoC doesn’t sound as bad or dangerous as getting wet by the nasty water of RoL lol. I feel like I’m going to catch some nasty bacteria or something lol. I remember watching Ignite at Sea World during the Summer, getting soaked from their fountains and having black specks on my skin. Gross!

Timothy_QMar 13, 2019

There's wind only in Florida? You usually get soaked in WoC if you're close to water. That's a non issue

mnelson3Mar 13, 2019

It happened to me twice recently from the Dinoland side.

SquishyMar 13, 2019

I watched the show front row atleast 8 times already and never felt a drop of water.

mnelson3Mar 13, 2019

Hopefully I’m wrong but I doubt the Shamans will come back. If RoL was more like World of Color, sadly with IP, it would be extremely popular. Although I’m not sure that would ever work due to wind and beeeze factors. As it is you can get pretty wet from just the 4 lotus fountains and the giant water screen.

cjkeatingMar 13, 2019

Let's hope so. No sign of Rafiki's reopening so I'm not holding out hope. :(