Disney announced today that Rivers of Light, Animal Kingdom’s upcoming nighttime water and light show, will not be making its announced debut date of April 22, 2016. There have been reports of technical difficulties during rehearsals, and apparently those reports wound up being true. Disney will need some more time to get the show to a state where it is ready for the public. No new debut date has been announced, other than an update promised mid-to-late May. That makes me think Animal Kingdom guests will be seeing the show in June at the earliest.

With the delay of Rivers of Light, Animal Kingdom’s other nighttime experiences such as the dance parties or the nighttime safari will also be delayed.

Here’s the statement on the Rivers of Light delay from Disney Parks’ official blog:

“With the expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re excited to give Guests even more opportunities to celebrate the magic of animals and nature as day turns into night. While we’d hoped to debut these offerings on April 22, unfortunately, they will not open as planned on that date as we give the team more time to bring these innovative experiences to life in a way we know will exceed our guests’ expectations.

We’ll share more information about timing on the Disney Parks Blog by mid- to late May.

We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to debuting these new offerings. We hope you agree that they look worth the wait!”

For any guest who had planned a trip around April 22 to see the new show, this must be extremely frustrating. This is definitely disappointing news, as it delays Animal Kingdom’s transformation into a full day park However, it is best that Disney makes sure it gets Rivers of Light right rather than mount a substandard show and leave a bad first impression in the minds of guests.

Stay tuned to Guide2WDW for more updates on Rivers of Light and Animal Kingdom’s other upcoming attractions.


James is a lifelong Disney Parks fan. While at the parks, he loves finding new details, learning more about Disney World history, and taking pictures. His favorite WDW attractions include Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.
James is a filmmaker and writer based in Los Angeles.

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