By Peter Covino
You have never seen Animal Kingdom like this.
The fourth Disney theme park has always seemed kind of like “the fourth” Disney theme park. There is a lot to see and do, especially if you like animals, but in summer, like so many places in Central Florida, the heat can be just brutal.
Well here comes the night and Animal Kingdom just got a whole lot better. During the recent media preview days at Disney World, writers got a sneak preview of what just might be the best new show at the resort in several years — Rivers of Light.
This is still a work in progress, the official opening date has not been set, but it looks to be a shining jewel.
Set on the stage and stadium of the park’s Discovery River, this is one of those magical experiences that will make you “oooh and ahhh” like the best fireworks show ever, but it is all done with light and water. Animals are created in a dance of water and light as is dazzling version of the “Northern Lights.”
Even without Rivers of Light in place, there will be a lot to see and do when the sun goes down at Animal Kingdom.
The other stellar new nighttime attraction is at the Tree of Life. The theme park’s icon will come alive each evening as animal spirits are brought to life on the giant tree. High-tech projections of nature scenes take on a magical quality as they appear to dramatically emanate from within the Tree of Life.
While work continues on the Rivers of Light show, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, will be the other centerpiece new attraction. The temporary show will feature music and special effects that celebrate the new movie and the classic songs from the original.
Other park highlights include the Harambe Wildlife Parti. The village area will feature, street musicians, dancing and exotic foods and libations.
That Animal Kingdom classic Kilimanjaro Safaris, also features new opportunities of viewing the animals at night. New featured species include African wild dogs and hyenas. Note: It seems like most of the best animal viewing is on the left side of the safari vehicle.
Many of the most popular attractions at Animal Kingdom will also be open at night including Expedition Everest, the Khali River Rapids, the midway games at Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama in DinoLand U.S.A., and the Triceratop Spin and Primeval Whirl.
Still to come is Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s new signature eatery, Tiffins. Open for both lunch and dinner, this new signature dining experience will celebrate the art of traveling and include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. “Tiffin” is an Indian English word meaning midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling.
Ticket prices have not been announced on line yet for Animal Kingdom at night.
But for more information on all there is to see and do at the theme park when the sun goes down go to Disneyworld.disney.go.com.