The opening of Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will almost certainly go down in the history books as one of the strangest starts to an attraction ever at Walt Disney World. First there was the initial opening day leak. And then the subsequent delay. And then even more reports about an imminent opening surfaced. And now, flash forward to earlier this week, and there has been another interesting development in the long, strange journey this attraction has taken on its way to opening at Disney's Animal Kingdom...

Early in the morning this past Thursday, Walt Disney World’s website was updated with a page that included information about a variety of special dining packages available for Rivers of Light, that were available beginning on May 1st, 2017. These dining packages offered reserved viewing space for the show, and featured quick service restaurant Flame Tree Barbecue as well as the Tusker House buffet as participating restaurants, and even included price and menu information for these two locations. 

Image: Disney

Though fans were quick to spot this new page, it was only online for a few hours, before being quickly taken down later that morning. Many speculated that the removal of this page was an effort to plug a leak regarding an unannounced May 2017 opening date for Rivers of Light. But is Disney really planning on waiting until next year to debut this new show? Here’s what we know right now..

1. Rivers of Light is currently in testing and rehearsal

Rivers of Light

Image: Disney

Just last month we reported that Disney's Animal Kingdom park operations had taken over putting the finishing touches on Rivers of Light, and extensive float, lighting and sound tests have been going on both after hours and during regular park operation in preparation for this attraction's opening. These developments seem to imply that this show is almost ready to go, so when fans saw this "leaked" opening date, they wondered why Disney would wait until spring of 2017 to open Rivers of Light.

Fortunately, the short answer to this query is that Disney probably won't actually wait this long to debut this new show. Insiders are continuing to suggest that Disney will be conducting technical rehearsals in front of a live audience in just a few weeks, with phased showings for VIPs and potentially annual passholders as well coming along later this fall. Though an "official" opening might not be announced until closer to the end of the year, the fact is that Disney is almost ready to open this new attraction now, and there's just no way that they will wait another six months to debut a show that is just about to cross the finish line. Which begs the question, why would there be a discrepancy with this rumored release date and what we saw on the leaked website earlier this week? There are actually two possible reasons for this...


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