I hope you didn’t plan any big Disney trips this spring with the hopes to see Rivers of Light or Animal Kingdom after Dark; Disney Parks just announced a major delay.
Posted today, the Disney Parks Blog said that they still need some time to fine tune parts of the show and bring the experiences “to life in a way we know will exceed our guests’ expectations.”
At this point, Disney is hoping to provide us with more information sometime in Mid-Late May so I wouldn’t anticipate an opening anytime before June. There are a few possibilities of previews happening for Cast Members or Annual Passholders, but I’d still be shocked if those happened before June rolls around.
Rumors I’ve heard swirling around run the gamut of believability, but the mot credible and reliable of the rumors seem to be a combination of two thoughts. Cost is one major rumor that has popped up again and again, saying Disney is delaying the show in an effort to save money. Honestly, with all the entertainment cutbacks happening now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney was trying to save a few bucks by not staffing Animal Kingdom for extra hours before the busy summer season. Secondly, and more reliably reported by friends of Imagineers, are rumors of problems with running the show; specifically having the boats not collide/sink as they navigate. Basically the barges may be creating bumper boats of themselves because of problems with their highly localized GPS navigation system.
Another rumor has recently emerged that some kind of interim show will be used in the place of the full Rivers of Light experience until they can get things up and running. The colloquially called “Rivers of Lite” would use parts of the Rivers of Light show that actually work (like water screens/projections/lights/audio) but would forgo most or all of the iconic barges until they can get they to work properly.
For a bit of good news, some new pictures have been released of the Tree of Life illuminated with interesting projection mapping. I think it looks decent enough and I would be interested to see how things shape up when all the parts of Animal Kingdom’s nighttime adventures are ready to go.
— DiscoveryArcade (@DiscoveryArcade) April 5, 2016
UPDATE: Disney has announced that more information regarding Rivers of Light will be released within the next 24 hours (sometime April 19 or 20). I’ll update this post again when we know more.
UPDATE 2: Inside The Magic has more information on nighttime attractions at Animal Kingdom. Rivers of light has been delayed indefinitely at this point, but Disney is still planning on keeping AK open later for nighttime experiences. Guests will be able to see the “Tree of Life Awakens” projection show on the park’s icon, eat at Tiffins Signature Restaurant, ride certain attractions in a ‘whole new light’, and attend various parties and after-dark entertainment such as the Harambe Wildlife Parti and Discovery Island Carnivale.