All Live Actors Are Being Cut from Animal Kingdom’s Rivers of Light Nighttime Show

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The 4 “shaman” characters that have been a part of the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular since it debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are being cut from the show.

The shaman of light in Rivers of Light, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The live actors will be removed from the show after September 29th, this year’s last day for many pieces of entertainment around Walt Disney World that are being hit with budgetary cuts before the start of the new fiscal year. The two boats the actors were on should still travel out onto the water during the performance, but it will be strange to see them without anybody visibly on them.


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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]


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  • Given their interactions with the crowd beforehand and how much the story of the show is about them, that’s going to be a very weird show without any actors.

    • Totally agree! The show will not make sense! I love the Shaman and why would the boats be there without them? Not a fan of this decision! 😢

    • As is typical of Disney, they produce some product/content for consumption and then diminish that product/content over time. Usually, that happens with an inverse cost relationship, i. e. they reduce the benefit and increase the price. Feel lucky that there is no price increase in this instance.

      As much as I have loved Disney through the years, I’m tired of this behavior and will vote against it the only way I can. I will stop consuming all Disney products. As more people do the same, Disney will discover that they have murdered their Golden Goose. Their actions prove that they believe this eventuality cannot take place.

      I leave you to consider why a company enjoying billions in profits needs to reduce costs by cutting jobs?

      • Well put. And I agree wholeheartedly. It’s sad; I feel like Disney is cutting more and more of the “extras” that make their parks so unique, while simultaneously adding more amd more “special ticketed” events which of course cost above and beyond gate admission. :(

      • To be fair, they’re making billions, yes, but they’re spending more billions than they’re making at the moment. Between the costs of finishing multiple new parks, renovating every one of their parks at the moment, adding multiple billion-plus-dollar expansions, adding new hotels, overhauling the transportation system, purchasing FOX, and developing a new streaming service with movie-level new content… they’re investing massively right now, more than they have in a very long time. So I can understand why the budgets are tight. But feel free to try to boycott “all Disney products”.

  • I’m finding it odd that since Disney lost the fight over pay, and Cast Members were given the pay raises… Many cast members and Shows are being removed, let go or all together ended.. All of these losses are coming on the heels of that union win.. things that make one go hmmmm🤔

  • Disney seems determined to squeeze every nickel it can out of the parks, especially WDW, in order to support other projects–71 billion for FOX alone. The disappearance of any night time parade at Magic Kingdom with no plans for a replacement was the first hint Disney felt cutting back on people was the fastest way to save on expenses and pump up the bottom line. But profits and attendance is up overall: Attendance up only 1%, but Parks and Resorts revenues for the quarter increased 6% to $5.2 billion. There doesn’t seem to be any hint that guests have noticed they are getting less meat and more bun for their vacation dollar at Disney Parks.

  • Disney is s business. A family is a business. The USA is a business. Everything needs to pencil and cuts are necessary for a business to stay healthy and survive. That stated, the actors in the show were really cool I thought. Great costumes.

  • Disney hasn’t been the same since Eisner became head honcho. They cry poverty at the parks so why are they focusing on buying FOX and Marvel and Star Wars? Obviously the company needs to make huge investments but if they just focused on the parks like in the early 80s, I think things would be better. Again, just my opinion. They are getting too greedy and destroying Walt’s original vision. They can’t OWN everything.

  • Such a stupid and selfish decesion. The show will have no human touch now and wasnt that great to begin with and so it will not be worth it at all now. The actors made the show and now it will just be souless… idiots!

  • LOL, A big spotlight is going to go on the empty boats. Causing spectators just to stare at each other.

    This should have been “World of Color” animal edition all along. I don’t know why they just don’t transition over to it. I guess they are just being cheap again.

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