Comments for REVIEW: “Rivers of Light” successfully adds artistry as new nighttime draw for Disney’s Animal Kingdom – but it’s not for everyone


  1. Jeff Williams

    This review is so well written. Well done!

  2. Cassie

    I was lucky and got a last minute Fastpass to the second showing that night and I thoroughly agree with everything you said. I loved the show and thought that DWI did an incredible job incorporating the different elements of the performance and tying them into the message of the show. I really enjoyed it and definitely plan on seeing it many more times. However, just based on the people around me in the stadium I could tell that the show didn’t live up to some people’s expectations. To each his own, I suppose.
    I also laughed at the part of the review about the seating, because that is the most relatable thing ever and why I also love Fantasmic.

  3. Don

    Great write up JeniLynn although I don’t share your sentiment about this production. Here are my 2 cents:
    It’s not that it didn’t look nice, it did. But the visuals where very uneven. The dreamlike quality of some of the projections on the waterscreens sometimes clashed with the water lilies. The lillies at times where majestic and at times a 80’s disco missing the disco Yeti.
    The mini parade with the 4 animals where also a clash of styles. Then the boats where the actors where very hard to see, again beautiful looking but clashing with the rest that was on offering.

    The song, very Disney/Broadway, was again out of place with the rest of the soundtrack (and I hated it).
    Then there is the amazing artwork from when the show was announced and the fact this production was so delayed and hyped up by Disney that my hype was trough the roof. The finally of the show didn’t resemble the artwork (it wasn’t even close) and it didn’t live up to the hype. It over promised and under delivered. On top of that, what is presented is redundant. Most of what you can see on the projections can be experienced in person if you want to take the time and enjoy the animal exhibits in this amazing park.

    Yes it’s still worth to watch (unlike the slapped together Jungle Book show) but it won’t keep me in the park at night often and I hope it gets a ton of work to make it as good as this park deserves.
    And although the seating is great a backrest would at least make the seating a bit more relaxing. Again, just my 2 cents.

    1. MykeTV

      Had to stop reading this comment, too many typos/grammar errors.

  4. Kristin

    Is the seating only for fastpasses, or is their enough seating for everyone and what time did you have to go to get a seat? Thanks.

    1. JeniLynn Knopp

      There is seating for people with FastPass+, the dining package, and people in the stand-by lines. We recommend trying to secure a FastPass for the show.

  5. Stewart

    This review absolutely nailed it…perfect. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  6. Arthur

    I completely agree with this review. Saw it last night and I loved it. Beautiful show.

  7. Mary Neal

    Beautifully written review! It sounds like a wonderful, very appropriate addition to Animal Kingdom.

  8. Felicidade

    Is there a area for wheelchairs?

  9. William

    I’m sorry, this show was boring. No story line or plot point. No grand finally. The transitions between songs were so disjointed. You could tell where cuts were made but they still wanted to play 30 seconds of the cut music. Listen for it next time. On my way out of the theater a boy turns to his dad and says “Dad that was boring” and dad said “it’s ok, we’re seeing the Star Wars show tomorrow.”

    The worst part of your review is this line:

    ““Rivers of Light” tells the story of our symbiotic relationship with animals and the planet we share with them. The entire show takes on a metaphysical tone as it speaks of animal spirits and forces of nature. In this, it also invites us to put aside our personal devices for a moment and consider esoteric concepts such as a collective soul that unites all life on the planet.”

    No it doesn’t. Not at all! There is no story. And that part about esoteric concepts is just made up bull.

    1. DAK Lover

      I wish they had incorporated Disney songs/themes from Tarzan, Jungle Book, Pocahontas… just to name a few.

      This show is not for the “Disney Fan”. It belongs at Sea World or Busch Gardens.

      Technically, it’s beautiful… for the first couple of minutes, but I was ready to leave.

      It lacks the heart and story telling that Disney is so well known for.

      This was a “One time is enough” extravaganza.

      The show moved me… right out of my seat and back to Wishes, Fantasmic, and Illiminations.

  10. tony

    This does not live up to Disney Standers when it comes to Story. Projections are Good of course. Its missing that Umph , Its Average at best. Pandora Land of Avatar is going to have to Save it for Animal Kingdom.

  11. tony

    The Tree Of Life Projection Show is Better then River of Lights easly

    1. DAK Lover


  12. Camille Kirk

    Thanks for an excellent and informative review! Your description made me think that this show sounds much more like poetry than narrative. While a narrative needs a plot and a climax, poetry does not. The beauty of poetry is the emotion that it evokes, and in some cases, plot can actually get in the way of emotional expression.

    It is true that Walt Disney loved storytelling and his storytelling ability was a large part of his success. But I think that in a theme park world full of stories, there is certainly room for a little poetry.

    Also so glad about the seating. One of the reasons Fantasmic is my favorite show is because I can sit back and relax and enjoy it without worrying about people coming to fisticuffs around me about blocked views and space encroachment.

    We will be at Animal Kingdom in July and I can’t wait to see Rivers of Light. Sounds like it will be a great work of poetry.

  13. Joe

    This show does not have Disney IP, it does not have fireworks, nor does it have a concrete storyline. Those are the reasons that I love it, for it strives to be truly original, and the same can be said for the park that they put it in. This show, to me, is an abstract amalgam of water, light, fire and shadow, all cradling some of the most amazing animal images, both intimate and grand. It is a show that is as unique as the WDI that designed DAK: Joe Rohde.

    The stadium setting is beautiful, the visuals are stunning and the musical score is luxurious, again brashly avoiding the need for any standard Disney music at any point. It is a true WDI original, in the same vein that Illuminations is for Epcot, except that Rivers of Light is made to speak to the natural world. And this is something that I have always believed about DAK: it is as true to its original concept as Epcot was in its heyday. And that is why I find this show as wonderful and daring as it is. Sometimes the message does not have to be complicated or drawn out. It can be a simple statement that lives within true artistry. That is what this show is.

    Great review JeniLynn.

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  15. tony

    Cant Use Epcot as a excuse . they had no choice but to be orginal , they have no major characters to base the show on , In 2000.
    Animal Kingdom on the other hand has Storys they can add to exisiting show. to bring out the Umph. Also show doesnt need fireworks to be good.

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