River’s of Light finally opened at Animal Kingdom last month making it Walt Disney World’s newest nighttime spectacular. Because its new to the Disney planning mix, a lot of questions have been surfacing about the show. Here at Disney Addicts we’d like to take some time to answer those queries below in the hopes that it will help your Disney plans go as smoothly as possible in the weeks and months.
What is Rivers of Light? Where Magic Kingdom has Wishes, Epcot IllumiNations and Hollywood Studios both Fantasmic! and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, Animal Kingdom has sadly been missing from the nighttime entertainment game. Until now. However, with lots of animals on the premises, fireworks weren’t really an option so instead the geniuses over at Disney Imagineering devised this state-of-the-art evening water pageant. The event employs lasers, floating illuminated scenes, water projections, fire effects and more in this mystical celebration of the beauty of all living things.
How often does it run? At the moment the production is running on select evenings: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with either a 7:15 or 8:45 showtime. However, as we get into April, the show will start running nightly. Guests should consult My Disney Experience or the Times Guide for up-to-date information about show times.
How long is the performance? Rivers of Light comes in at a little under 20 minutes. So its a great way to wind down your evening but won’t take up too much time if you want to do that evening ride on Expedition Everest.
Can you get FastPasses for Rivers of Light? Yes. FastPasses are available for Rivers of Light. You can make reservations using the My Disney Experience App or at the FastPass+ kiosks that are found in the park. Due to popularity, booking early is strongly encouraged.
What is the seating like? The seating is done amphitheater style, similar to Fantasmic! The theater holds nearly 5,000 people. The theater is divided into two sections that are accessed from slightly different areas in the parks. The Asia entrance is reserved for those with FastPasses and the DinoLand U.S.A entrance is for standby guests as well as those who have purchased the Rivers of Light Dining Package (more about that in a minute).
How does the Rivers of Light Dining Package work? To make getting a seat for this evening show as stress-free as possible, two Animal Kingdom eateries: Tiffins and Tusker House offer guests who book under the dining package vouchers that can be used for premium seating during a Rivers of Light performance. Tusker House (a character dining experience with Safari Donald and friends) is available to book for breakfast, lunch and dinner and costs $39 – $59 per adult and $24 -$32 for children. Tiffins, the premier Signature/Fine Dining restaurant at Animal Kingdom offers the package for lunch and dinner. The cost is $57 per adult and $26 per child. For those on the Disney Dining Plan, the Tusker House dining package costs one table service credit and Tiffins two table service credits. Reservations should be made well in advance via My Disney Experience or by calling 407.WDW.DINE
I already have a reservation booked for Tusker House, does that mean I’ll get Rivers of Light premium seating? No. You must book specifically under the Rivers of Light Dining Package. Both restaurants also take normal bookings so its important to distinguish between the two. If you’ve already booked a reservation but not under the Dining Packge you will need to cancel the reservation and rebook.
I’ll be renting a stroller while I’m there. What do I do with my stroller during the performance? Stroller parking is available for Rivers of Light. Speak to a Cast Member before entering the amphitheater and they will either take the stroller and park it for you or point you in the right direction. Upon exciting you can look for your stroller in the designated area located near the exits.
I’ll be travelling with small children. Is Rivers of Light suitable for them or will they get scared? In the grand scheme of Disney’s evening entertainment, Rivers of Light is relatively tame. There aren’t really elements that go bump in the night as scaring the animals is an ongoing concern. If anything, your little ones will probably love the dazzling show effects especially all of the gorgeous illuminated animal floats that are one of the shows focal points.
Will Rivers of Light still be held if the weather is bad? Similar to any of the evening performances at Walt Disney World, Rivers of Light performances will typically be held if there is simply rainfall. However, if there is lightning in the area Disney will either delay the performance until it has passed or cancel the performance for the evening.
What happens if I have a FastPass or booked the Rivers of Light Dining Package and the show is cancelled? In the case of FastPasses, it is being reported that Disney will issue you with a replacement FastPass that can be used on any attraction at any park on the following day. In the case of dining packages, Disney will allow you to return to the Animal Kingdom up to five days after the cancellation to see the performance.
Is there Rivers of Light Merchandise available to purchase? There sure is! From t-shirts and mugs to pins and lanyards, you name it and there’s probably a Rivers of Light version now available at Animal Kingdom. Rivers of Light will also be employing the same Glow-With-the-Show synchronized technology that has been winning crowds over at Disney’s other nighttime offerings. For a sneak peek of some of the Rivers of Light merchandise you may want to be on the lookout for while at the park check out this video:
Guests to Animal Kingdom in the months ahead should also remember that with later evening hours added to accommodate the Rivers of Light performances, there is also an abundance of other fantastic nighttime Animal Kingdom activities including the Discover Island Carnivale street party, the Tree of Life Awakenings, a sunset Kilimanjaro Safari and rides on Expedition Everest under the cover of darkness.
Watch this space for the latest Animal Kingdom news and updates including the opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar later this Spring.
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Images copyright Disney.
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