New information was revealed at Disney’s #AwakenSummer media event promising new entertainment and park hours will be coming within the next month.
As we all know, Rivers of Light has been delayed to some unspecified point in the future at this point; but that won’t stop Disney from keeping Animal Kingdom open later (like basically every other park).
Starting Memorial Day weekend, Animal Kingdom’s park hours will finally be extended to match those of the other parks in the chain.This means, for the first time ever, you will consistently be able to visit the park after the sun sets and not run away to one of the other three parks (or your hotel) once it starts getting even a little bit dark out.
As The Disney Blog reports, Disney is going to show a ‘lite’ version of Rivers of Light that they’re calling “Jungle Book: Alive with Magic”. This show will take place in the newly constructed amphitheater for a (supposedly) very limited run and “will be filled with music and special effects that celebrate the movie, it’s classic songs, and infuse a bit of Indian music for good measure”. What’s funny is that I heard a rumor that some sort of Jungle Book themed show would be used as an interim fix for Rivers of Light, but I never thought it would actually become a reality. This should be an interesting show for sure.
Disney also highlighted the new projection-mapping show and effects coming to The Tree Of Life. These “Awakenings”, as they’re being called, will happen throughout the night with four larger shows during which guests can see the Tree “come to life” and tell the story of nature. This should serve as a pretty grand centerpiece to all the nighttime activities, and, after a media preview last night, it sounds like a technologically impressive and very fun show. I’m sure Disney is putting everything they can into The Tree of Life Awakens to actually have something ready for guests in lieu of the infinite delay for Rivers of Light. The video below gives an interesting look at what we might expect from the show when it opens next month.
Finally, as we covered in our other Rivers of Light post and its subsequent updates; guests can expect a wide variety of nighttime entertainment and ride experiences. The headliners of these being Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark, where guests can experience the savanna and its residents throughout the night thanks to special lighting throughout the ride, and the multiple party zones located throughout the park.
Two options, Harambe Wildlife Parti, and Discovery Island Carnivale promise to envelop guests in music, dancing, exotic food and drinks, and more as the night wears on. Honestly, while I’m sure these areas will add a bit of life to the park (which may or may not be somewhat empty after the sun sets), I’m not sure if they’ll have a lot of staying power or generate much interest from guests. With Disneyland removing the Mad T Party dance/rave/club/thing (and ElecTRONica before it) after repeated nights of little to no interest, we will have to see how these new offerings fare.
Overall, I think Disney is really trying to make Animal Kingdom more of an ‘all-day’ park, but without Rivers of Light, and until Pandora opens later this year or early next year, I still can’t say there’s enough to keep me here for more than six hours or so. I’ll definitely be checking out these new events next month and we will have full coverage in a future post. For now, check out the media preview of the parts of Rivers of Light that actually work.
To get all the information on these after dark events, check out The Disney Blog