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2 Signs That Rivers of Light is About to Debut (And 2 That it Isn't)

1. New signage has been installed around Disney's Animal Kingdom

While Disney opened up the new Discovery River ampitheater earlier this year for the temporary Jungle Book: Alive With Magic Show, after that show's closure in September, this ampitheater has sat completely dormant in the center of the park. However, in recent weeks, activity has been going on once again around the Discovery River, with signage related to Rivers of Light's FastPass+ option popping up near the entryway. 

While this happened last spring before the show was originally was set to debut, the reappearance of signage related to this show is definitely an encouraging sign that Disney might be finally ready to announce an opening date for Rivers of Light. 

2. Merchandise for the new show is now available online and inside Disney's Animal Kingdom

Image: Disney

It's not uncommon to find merchandise for upcoming TV shows and films around Walt Disney World prior to release. For example, merchandise related to the Disney Channel show Elena of Avalor showed up at the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios several months before this show's cable debut, and plenty of guests lined up to buy Elena dresses and dolls long before they even knew this show would be a smash hit. 

However, even though this type of film and TV merchandise strategy isn't uncommon, we can't think of an example where merchandise related to an upcoming attraction was released far in advance in the same way. For instance, pins related to Soarin' Around the World were released last year only a few weeks before this reimagined attraction welcomed its first guests. Which is where this latest development comes in. 

If you take a walk around Disney's Animal Kingdom right now, you can find keychains, cups, and even glowing wands bearing the Rivers of Light name, which seems curious considering Disney's lack of updates on this project. And beyond merchandise in the park, guests can also view a selection of merchandise on the Shop Disney Parks app as well! If Disney truly isn't planning on debuting the show any time soon, why wouldn't they just hold the merchandise back for opening or dump it at one of the two outlet stores that contain liquidation merchandise? The fact that guests can buy something for a show that doesn't technically exist yet may be a sign that Disney is getting ready to make a big announcement, and is getting its merchandise strategy together in advance to ensure that there is enough supply to meet demand. 

Image: Disney

The situation with Rivers of Light is one that is undoubtedly frustrating for guests (especially for those who were hoping to see this show during a 2017 trip to the resort) and unfortunately there's no way to really know what Disney's plans are for this show. And while some of the news regarding this show has been encouraging, there are some signs that Disney still doesn't think this show is ready. So we'll ask you. What do you think the above signs mean? Let us know your best theories below! 

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There are 2 comments.

Our last family trip ended on April 22, 2016, the second debut date set for Rivers of Light last spring. We subsequently moved out of state, but we'll be heading back this April to use the last couple of days of our annual passes. As it turns out, we still might not see Rivers of Light!

I can't remember there being any other attraction where there were so many announced openings with the attraction never actually opening. It's such a bizarre misstep for Disney.

$28 for a glowing stick?! That's outrageous by even Disney standards. Aren't their glowing toys usually around the $15-20 range? Unless this utilizes the synchronized novelty light technology?


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