One of our favorite Walt Disney World parks is Animal Kingdom and we were so excited to find out that plans were in place to open up this park past 6 PM. Starting this summer, Animal Kingdom at night will be a reality. Check out exactly what Animal Kingdom at night will entail.
We have always loved Animal Kingdom. We love the animals. We love the nature. We love the conservation message. And we love Expedition Everest. But what I missed most is a nighttime atmosphere.
Coming this summer, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will now be open at night. Last week at the Awaken Summer press event we were allowed to see a sneak peek of what Animal Kingdom at night will have in store for guests.
Animal Kingdom at Night
Animal Kingdom at Night: What’s New?
A completely different atmosphere come over Animal Kingdom when the sun goes down. In fact, there’s all new nighttime entertainment to enjoy:
Rivers of Light
One of the most anticipated new events of the entire summer for Walt Disney World is the new nighttime water and light show, Rivers of Light. Debuting sometime this summer, this is an incredibly brilliant show that features “glowing lanterns, magical fireflies, dancing fountains, and animal spirits.”
The show begins with two storytellers teaching us through forms of authentic Asian dance that make the Rivers of Light come alive. The show has amazing water features, with projected animal images and a wonderfully moving score. We only saw a brief glimpse of the show and I am left wanting more. I am going to somehow figure out a way to head back this summer to see the show in it’s entirety! Here’s the sneak peek of some of what we saw:
At the center of Animal Kingdom stands the impressive Tree of Life. It’s mesmerizing during the day, being over 145 feet tall and 50 feet wide at its base & having over 300 detailed animal carvings on it’s trunk. But starting May 27, 2016, it becomes even more impressive.
During the evening hours, the Tree of Life comes alive. Watch animals dance around & communicate with one another and see several favorite Disney Nature movies come to life, projected up on the tree. If you like Celebrate the Magic, the Cinderella Castle projection show, you will not want to miss this one. Here’s a sneak peek of what we saw last week:
A street festival begins in Harambe – the Harambe Wildlife Parti is a lively street festival that kicks off in the afternoon. Some of the entertainment you can expect:
- Muziki – Located in Harambe’s drum circle, this delightfully unusual goodwill shaman perched high atop regal stilts invites children to join him as he plays his own instruments, dances and makes them official drummers of the day.
- Karibu Sisters – Resembling regal African cranes, these 3 women add to the rhythm of Harambe Marketplace through elegant dance, acapella songs and acoustic renditions of African party music.
- Harambe Soccer Meerkats – Cheer on the village’s finest soccer players as they ramble through the streets rallying anyone within sight for a quick pick-up game—entertaining with comic soccer moves inspired by African animals and delighting with skillful acrobatic teamwork and dancing.
- Harambe Village Acrobats – Wearing costumes of grass, beads, bells and feathers set against a mosaic of African prints, this troupe of skilled performers move with the synchronicity of circus performers as they drum, dance, tumble and climb into man-made pyramids and break away into spinning, tumbling towers.
Animal Kingdom at Night: The Rides
So what does Animal Kingdom at night mean for the rides at Animal Kingdom? A few of them have a special way of incorporating night time, making it a completely different experience.
Kilimanjaro Safari’s Nocturnal Encounters
Kilimanjaro Safari comes to life at night. The nighttime safari tour showcases all the animals in a completely different way. Because it was evening, we found the animals to be very active. The hippopotamuses were walking around outside of the water. The Lions were patrolling on their pride rock and the rhinoceroses were walking across the path in front of the jeep. As much as I enjoy Kilimanjaro Safari’s, I have to say seeing it at night was a completely different experience – one that I cannot wait to try again. Nighttime safaris begin on May 27, 2016.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s premiere roller coaster still runs at night. To experience this roller coaster at night was such a completely different adrenaline rush – we felt cold air where I hadn’t felt it before and the ride was mostly pitch black, so you didn’t know when the turns were happening. It felt like a completely different ride!
Kali River Rapids
If you like to get wet during the daytime, you can continue to in the evening on Kali River Rapids. The rafting expedition in the heart of Asia is still running in the evenings starting May 27, 2016.
Animal Kingdom at Night: The Food
Two new dining experiences will open the summer as well.
Tiffins Waterfront Restaurant will open on Discovery Island and will feature African cuisine. Serving up some unique dishes such as lobster-popcorn Thai curry soup, grilled octopus, frog legs tempura, Berber-spiced lamb chop, pork tenderloin or miso-glazed black cod, it’s bound to be delicious.
Head over to the Nomad Lounge after dinner for a cocktail or a smaller dinner, featuring mouth-watering small plates and a large selection of beer, wine and mixed drinks.
So you can see, when Animal Kingdom at night debuts on Memorial Day weekend, it will be a whole new way to experience this park. It’s been a long time coming to be able to experience animal kingdom past 6 PM and we are excited for it. It’s also going to bring much a much-needed relief to the crowds that are at the other parks in the evenings.
As if you needed another reason to visit Walt Disney World…….
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