Rivers of Light, the first-ever night-time show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, will officially debut at the theme park on April 22nd 2016.
The show, set on Discovery River in the Asia section of the theme park, will depict an ancient lantern festival guided by two storytellers who call forth four animal Spirit Guides: an Asian Tiger, Tropical Turtle, African Elephant and Great Horned Owl. During the show, the hosts set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels for a dramatic dance of water and light. The Spirit Guides appear at different points during the show to lead the audience through their journey through the Rivers of Light.
“This is going to be a ceremonial event that will happen on our lake,” said Imagineer Joe Rohde. “It takes the idea of the special nature of the animals that are in this park and turns it into a celebration of the beauty of these animals. It starts simply and humbly, continues to unfold and grow as bigger and more elaborate lanterns appear, and then huge curtains of water and light emerge from the water with animals within them. And ultimately it takes off into the sky.”
In addition to the show, you’ll also notice the theme park’s iconic Tree of Life will undergo an amazing awakening as the animal spirits of the tree are brought to “light” by magical fireflies, revealing moments of wonder and enchantment.
To create Rivers of Light, Imagineers and Creative Entertainment partnered with the talents of master puppet designer Michael Curry, composer Mark Mancina and the filmmakers at Disneynature. According to Imagineer Joe Rohde, in an interview excerpt from the latest Disney Vacation Planning DVD, the addition of Rivers of Light to the theme park’s offerings will serve as that huge “wow” moment that ends a guest’s visit to the park.
Check out the videos below to get the first look at some of the illuminated lanterns, water screens, moving fountains, light projections and other amazing elements that will be featured during the Rivers of Light show at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort: