Though we’ve known about the advent of nighttime operations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for quite some time, we now know exactly when this park will begin welcoming guests during the evening hours: April 22nd (which is also Earth D

Though there will be some areas that will become off-limits to guests when the park moves from day to night (the various walk-through animal exhibits, for example, will not be operational after the sun goes down), this park is introducing a whole host of new attractions to delight guests long into the night and truly make Disney's Animal Kingdom come to life after the sun sets. Here's everything you can expect to experience at this park every evening beginning next month:

1. Rivers of Light

Image: Disney

It’s been more then three years since we first heard whispers that Disney’s Animal Kingdom was going to have its own nighttime spectacular, and in that time we have learned a lot about the show that would eventually become Rivers of Light. Though we still have some questions about this new show (including how Disney plans to run it a reported three times per night), we do know that this show will use projection, dramatic lighting, incredible water effects, massive barges and live actors to tell a story that will use technology in interesting ways to connect guests to a more natural world. 

The show itself will be structured to recall a ritualistic lantern festival and will begin each night with two storytellers who call forth four animal Spirit Guides (Asian Tiger, Tropical Turtle, African Elephant and Great Horned Owl). These Spirit Guides will then reappear at different points during the show to lead the audience through their journey to discover the magic and majesty of the Rivers of Light.


The sneak peek above gives us our best look yet at the various barges that will be used in the show as well as some of the amazing projection that will be used in this show when it debuts on April 22. In addition, guests can get a taste of some the music that will be used in the show, which includes an original song by Mark Mancina and score by Don L. Harper. 

2. Tree of Life: Awakenings

Image: Disney

Although Rivers of Light is the most exciting nighttime show coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom next month, there is another, smaller show debuting next month as well. Tree of Life Awakenings will be performed nightly as the sun sets and will use elaborate projections as well as music and dance to bring the Tree of Life literally to life each night.

During the show this park icon will undergo extraordinary “awakenings” as the animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies that open a "window" into the body of the tree, allowing guests to see the colorful stories of wonder and enchantment contained within. This show seems like it could be comparable to the Celebrate the Magic "castle show" at the Magic Kingdom, which also uses high-definition projection to transform the Cinderella Castle park icon as well.  

3. Discovery Island Carnivale

Image: Disney

Following the Tree of Life: Awakenings show every night will be the Discovery Island Carnivale, which will be a street party inspired by the various Carnival celebrations that take place around the world. As you might guess, this won't be like the dance parties you've encountered at other Disney parks. The Discovery Island Carnivale will not only include live music, but also dance performances, and exciting food options as well.

Musical performances during this nightly celebration will take place on the Discovery Island stage, where the multi-cultural Viva Gaia Band will play songs that recall different cultures of the world. Another musical group, Danza del Arpa, will also take the stage each evening to play selections on the Paraguayan harp.


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