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BREAKING: Rivers of Light Likely To Not Make Summer 2016 Debut

As Walt Disney World rolls out the red carpet for its annual summer media preview this week, something BIG is noticeably missing from any and all press releases… Rivers of Light.


While many new attractions we do not have opening dates for as of yet are mentioned (i.e. Soarin’ Around the world, Frozen Ever After), Rivers of Light is not mentioned at all, even though Animal Kingdom does have some announced nighttime offerings:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For the first time in its 18-year history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut new day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature.

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  • The park’s iconic Tree of Life will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure in the extended orange glow of a setting sun. For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.
  • Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant on Discovery Island this summer. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors
  • Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.

While the park will be open into the late-evening all Summer long, it is now uncertain that Rivers of Light will make its debut anytime soon. Rumors persist that the wireless control system for the nighttime show’s floats is just not working, or even that one of the larger flower barges may have sunk into the Discovery River. Either way, I wouldn’t count on seeing this show anytime soon as Disney is obviously being very cautious in its publicity.

Whatever the case may be, this latest development makes the situation look possibly worse than we originally imagined. If the show does debut this Summer, we expect it to be mid-way or late into the season.

Stay tuned for any and all details on Rivers of Light as they become available.

  1. Not good. It’s amazing how SLOW Disney is in getting things right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they want to wait till it’s perfect, but geez, they are so slow.

  2. I disagree Max: Slow is the way of getting things right. o be clear of glitches, malfunctions and looking bad, I would rather be deliberate, thorough and specific before letting such a large venture kick off. Things like this, in this scale especially are going to be a slow undertaking… Hence my family planning it’s next trip fall of 2021 when Star Wars Land will be easily completed, and a trip to Universal and another to Sea World (I know, I am bad for doing that, but I want to see an orca show before they end! There goes my PETA honorary membership…) in between to hold us over…

    1. But all new rides have glitches when they first open. no matter how long it takes to build. This is getting ridiculous disney really needs to get their act together!

  3. Maybe it’s not in summer line up because it was supposed to be for the Spring… meaning nobody updated things correctly.

  4. Obviously Disney is having some difficulties with the show, but to date we know not what, nor how extensive they are. Those rumors are all over the place so don’t be putting any stock into them. Disney is being smart by keeping quiet until they have a more definitive timetable set and seem to be letting the tech folk take the lead on it this time verses the PR group. I call that smart.

  5. When do the extended summer hours start? Would love to see tree of life lit at night!!

  6. Kind of sad that you are reporting rumors on nothing of fact. Fact is Rivers of Light will not be in the press releases because of the delay. They are not going to promote something opening soon when it’s already been delayed. They have taken heat for that already. More information on Rivers of Light will be released from Disney soon.

  7. In talking to some friends who are cast members at DAK, yeah, there seems to be an issue with the main lotus for the show (there’s a leak in it and they’re unable to work with it at all). Sad, but I’d rather they figure this all out and make it perfect, even if that means pushing it further and further back.

  8. Interesting note, was at AK a few hours ago and there were cast membets training by the entrances to the theater. The team leads were holding a packet that said “pre opening check list” and had rivers of light at the top of the page. The cast members were all in new costumes as well. That was around 1230 today. So as I am sure there is a delay it seems that are planning to open soon. Sorry I should have snapped a picture of the document as I walked by.

  9. -Andrew – that is because tonight is a media night for it. CM told me they were giving media a preview tonight.

  10. Oh yeah I know that, but if they are previewing the show for media they must be close. Clearly that is just an assumption but seems like if it can be shown to the blogger elite (the harshest critics) then it should be near ready.

  11. There reason there’s no press release about River of Light is because Disney announced that they won’t be announcing anything until mid to late May. It can still be June/July when it opens.

  12. I was there today after closing I saw the lotus flowers floating and moving on the water. Hopefully this post is just that. A rumor

  13. Wow, can’t wait to see DINOSAUR in a whole new light. Wonder what it looks like at night…

  14. How can the imagineers of Disney be Three months off when people plan their vacations to see the event? Do they care?

    1. Of course the imagineers care. They care about the show being flawless when it opens. They care about guests seeing this brand new entertainment and seeing something truly magical, not seeing a rushed shoddy show because people wanted it now and rushed testing of show pieces. It’s not like you are planning your entire vacation to see Rivers of Light, and if you are…that’s silly. There are PLENTY of new and exciting offerings at Walt Disney World and other things to do if RoL is delayed a bit this summer. The reason Rivers of Light is delayed is because the Imagineers DO care about your viewing experience.

    2. If they didn’t care they would open the show no matter how it looked or they wouldn’t have publicized the delay.

      I’m sure you have missed deadlines in your work life and personal life, we all have. My guess is most people have not been involved with complex project management. This project is both immense and sensitive. One technical glitch can delay or seriously jeopardize a project. I continue to be worried how all the nighttime activity will affect the animals. I still wonder if this is the reason for the delay. Just my speculation.

      Also, based on my experience with construction in my professional past, I make sure to give a big window of time to accommodate delays.

      I’m sure you will still have a wonderful vacation and to be honest you may still get to see the show.

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