Recently, we noted that Disney was curiously withholding some key information about its new Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular, which was scheduled to debut later this month on April 22, 2016.
While we initially speculated that the lack of details regarding this show could indicate that this show might be delayed, Disney has now confirmed what most fans had already guessed: Rivers of Light will indeed be missing its original April 22 opening date. And unfortunately, if you are hoping to see this attraction (or anything else at this park after dark) any time soon, we have some bad news for you...
1. Rivers of Light has been pushed back at least six weeks...or more
While a small technical hiccup might delay the premiere of an upcoming show like Rivers or Light for a few days or weeks, it looks like there are larger forces at work here, as Disney has declined to provide an more accurate opening window for this show, instead promising an “update” in mid-May. While that could mean that Rivers of Light will actually be ready to go in six weeks, it seems more likely that Disney will just announce a new, firm opening date in that time frame, which pushes the likely debut of this show back to sometime in summer 2016.
Though we're sad that we won't be able to experience this specific show this month, the delay of Rivers of Light unfortunately means that a number of other new experiences won't be debuting any time soon either...
2. Evening operating hours and new attractions delayed as well
Though fans might be initially disappointed about having to wait even longer for Rivers of Light, the bigger (and potentially even more depressing news) is that this delay means that all of the additional nighttime entertainment and attractions previously announced for Disney's Animal Kingdom's evening operations are now on hold as well. This not only includes the Tree of Life: Awakenings projection show, but also the Discovery Island Carnivale, the Harambe Wildlife Parti and of course Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark. Though these components might be ready to debut right now, it looks like Disney is unwilling to debut these new experiences without Rivers of Light ready to anchor this park's new nighttime identity.
3. Summer just got even more crowded
Back in 2015 we looked excitedly to the year ahead, noting that Rivers of Light, Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark, Frozen Ever After and the Royal Sommerhus were all set to debut in the spring, before the new, updated Soarin’ Around the World ride hit Epcot in the Summer.
However, fast forward to today and all the new Frozen attractions as well as the aforementioned nighttime entertainment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom have all been pushed back to summer, Disney's busiest tourist season. And while we've known about all of these attractions since last year (even longer in some cases) it was also revealed recently that Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular would be debuting at the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios (respectively) this summer as well.
Though its not uncommon for Disney to launch several projects at the same time, opening more than half a dozen new attractions across Walt Disney World in just one season seems a little crazy. Even if Disney lines all their logistical ducks up in a row for all these back-to-back high-profile openings, the crowds that will surely show up for all these new attractions will be nothing short of nightmarish as locals as well as out-of-town visitors cram into the parks to be among the first to experience everything new this summer at Walt Disney World.