Home » Disney to “Fix” Rivers of Light With Character Additions Coming Next Month

Disney to “Fix” Rivers of Light With Character Additions Coming Next Month

Walt Disney World’s nighttime entertainment has been going through some massive changes over the past few years, with Wishes at the Magic Kingdom replaced by Happily Ever After in 2017 and IllumiNations at Epcot coming to an end later this year to make way for a permanent show that features Disney characters and songs (after a temporry show celebrating Epcot’s history). And now it has been confirmed that one of Disney’s newest shows is being changed in a very substantial way.

Rivers of Light to feature new music and Disney Characters beginning next month

Image: Disney

Since its introduction back in 2017, Rivers of Light has been that rare Disney show that captures the magic and theme of the park it represents, without relying on familiar characters and IPs. By using lantern floats, theatrical imagery, actors (before budget cuts), and a beautiful musical score, this show was certainly unique among its peers. However, it looks like Disney will be making some major changes to this show beginning next month to make it more like what you can experience at other parks. 
Beginning on Memorial Day Weekend this year, Disney will be debuting Rivers of Light: We Are One, which introduces additional, stunning imagery and familiar animal characters from Disneynature films, along with a colorful tapestry of classic moments from Disney animation like the Lion King to help guests feel their connection with animals and the emotions and milestones that everyone shares in the journey through the great circle of life.

Image: Disney

Though some familiar themes from the original Rivers of Light show will remain, the music of the reimagined Rivers of Light: We Are One will also weave familiar Disney themes into the original score of this attraction. 

This decision won’t exactly come as a surprise for longtime Disney parks fans

Though it’s true that Rivers of Light had its problem, we couldn’t help but notice that Disney never really had much faith in this show from the start, pulling showtimes and switching to a seasonal schedule right after Rivers of Light first opened, and then cutting actors and other essential components of the show several months ago. Disney even introduced a program that gave guests a little extra money to stay in the park after dark and experience this show.
Couple this with the fact that Walt Disney World as a whole is making a big shift towards attractions that include film-based IPs in its theme parks and away from original concepts, and it seems like Rivers of Light (in its current form) really was existing on borrowed time, and the addition of Disney characters from films seems like much less of a surprise. 

Guests have only a few more weeks left to see the current version

Image: Disney

Though the current version of Rivers of Light is a scaled-down version of what was presented on opening day, guests who would still like to experience this show without all the new character and music additions can do so from now through May 24th, 2019, when this “upgraded” show is expected to debut
While it’s true that the current version of Rivers of Light is not a perfect show, adding in character projections and switching up the music seems like a fix for the wrong problem. The loss of live actors, inconsistent effects, and lack of a finale have always seemed like more pressing issues with this show, and unfortunately, putting Simba and other animal characters in this show simply won’t bring Rivers of Light up to what it definitely could be, which is a bit of a shame, since the potential for a great nighttime show is definitely there.