Things come to life at night, and now, that includes Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
Once the early-closing and under-appreciated of the four parks, Animal Kingdom has upped its game and multiplied its attractions.
Starting Memorial Day weekend, Disney’s Africa- and Asia-themed park will have new nighttime shows and a new restaurant. There’s even more to come in 2017, including an elaborate, Avatar-themed area.
Cool new things You Can Do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – at Night
Animal Kingdom will expand its hours and offerings starting Memorial Day weekend, making it a new nighttime destination at Walt Disney World.
1. The “River of Light” show
The other parks have their fireworks shows, and now Animal Kingdom has its own epic show. At “River of Light,” you’ll sit in bleacher-type seats in an outdoor pavilion in front of the Discovery River (near Everest) or line up in areas around the river. Then watch the spectacular musical light and water show, designed around the ancient belief that when animals die, their spirits dance in the sky and become beautiful rivers of light.
I got to see a sneak preview of part of the show in April, and I saw light and water beaming out of floating lily pads, hologram-like animal images, and tons of floating lanterns. It was really pretty, really well done, and best of all, unique. I’m told the other parts of the show will involve storytelling by “a pair of mystical hosts.”
2. The Tree of Life
The famous carving-covered tree that anchors the park is covered in brightly colored lights at night. You’ll see fireflies and light images of animal spirits coming to life. Super cool to stop and stare. It’s kinda hypnotizing!
3. Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids – in the dark
4. A new restaurant – Tiffin’s
5. Sunset and nighttime safaris
6. Discovery Island Carnivale
7. “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” show
The expansion at Animal Kingdom is still ongoing. Still to come is “Pandora,” an Avatar-themed forested area with bio-luminescent trees, is set to open in 2017. If you look carefully, you might notice the new “floating mountains” behind a closed off construction area.
The only challenge with nighttime at Animal Kingdom is learning how to take good photos at night. Traveling Grandmom Diana Rowe has great tips in this blog.