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Wait...People dislike Rivers of Light?!

Corey P

Well-Known Member
We're going in June, but I did not get a fast pass or do the dining package for it. Is it possible we can see it without a super long wait?
The FP people lined up maybe 45 minutes a head of time. I walked up 5 minutes before the show and walked in sitting down, no wait. Problem with that is I was off to the side and the visuals aren't great from the side seating sections.
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Well-Known Member
I haven't seen it yet, because I'm not a huge fan of stadium seating. AK doesn't have a central hub, so they should really use a parade instead. And keep some drink and dog stands open!


Well-Known Member
For everyone who says that Rivers of Light doesn’t have a story I urge you to read the summary on Wikipedia or simply read this part of the opening narration. The show conveys it story in a very avant garde manner and isn’t something that is instantly understood by the audience.

“We most graciously welcome you to a timeless celebration of water and light with roots as far reaching as time itself. Here, where the forces of nature meet in harmony, the spirits of the animals are free to dance together in the night sky creating Rivers of Light.”
I wrote that summary and most of the Disney Wiki page as well, relying mostly on a presentation by the show director that's on YouTube. Been very supportive of the show online.

That said, I do think that keeping the Shaman characters exclusively pantomime was a mistake. Like Tapestry of Nations did the same thing when it opened in that it kept narration to a minimum and they revised the script within a couple of months to have things make more sense and give the Sage of Time a warmer character. Let the Shamans actually tell the story/have a little more involvement in taking us on the journey with the Animal Spirits.

Also, turn that Lotus Tower into an Asian Dragon. Would be a bigger wow moment for the ending, tie into the celestial/constellation theme of that ending, and the dragon on the park's logo would finally no longer be a lie.


Well-Known Member
...a story that isn't overtly in your face.
This is where I disagree. I generally think that Animal Kingdom does a fantastic job integrating conservation principles into their attractions and shows without being overly preachy. But Rivers of Light (and Kali River Rapids) are a full 10.0 on the obnoxious scale.
We thought it was cool when we saw it. Must not have made a huge impression on us because I can't recall the storyline. It's one of those things where we saw it once, but wouldn't sit down to watch it again.


Well-Known Member
I liked it okay, though I couldn't clearly see all the mist screen images, which would've made it more impressive. What I liked best was in the pre-show, off to the side, where you could see moving silhouettes of various animals and hear the noises they make. I was down near the front, near the docking site of one of the boats the shamans ride in. I guess the best bet would be to go not expecting a storyline, just beautiful imagery. Also going closer to show time, so you don't wait a long time for a show that may be disappointing. I went without a Fast Pass, and like I said, I still got a seat near the front.
How close to show time did you go? We are going in early June (like @DfromATX ) and don’t want to do FP or book a dining package. I’m not real keen on waiting 60+ minutes in a line to get into the amphitheater either so was just curious when you snagged your seats (oh, and where you were able to get seats/how many in your party)?
Last night I decided to see Rivers of Light for the first time despite me going to the parks pretty much every week. I always heard from friends and people online saying the show is boring and isn't worth seeing.


I went in expecting some boring nighttime show with some water and cool lights but got a jaw dropping show about being one with nature. The show had the most beautiful floats and the projections they managed to show through the mist was something I didn't think was possible. The biggest thing I hear is that the show has no story, which I just find to be incorrect. Yes, it doesn't have a narrator talking the whole time but as someone who did marching band, I found the show reminiscent of a marching band show with the floats making drill formations and a story that isn't overtly in your face.

Even before the show begins they have these people in tribal outfits and carrying beautiful lights walking through the audience setting the stage for the show you're about to see. It felt like an experience rather than just a simple projection or fireworks show. I also enjoyed how the show was completely free from Disney's IPs. It would of been easy to make the show about animals and shove The Lion King, Jungle Book and Nemo in there, yet it managed to be completely free from any movies. I think Disney Parks are at it's best when they tell original stories and don't rely on the movies for rides or shows.

Rivers of Light is my new favorite nighttime show by FAR and I ask anyone who hasn't seen it yet to do so because the hate it gets is completely unwarranted.
Couldn't have said it better myself. We did it to cap off a tour and found it to be stunning. I bought the soundtrack off of amazon music when we got back and play it in the mornings on the weekends while everyone is getting ready. The whole family loves it, as it reminds us of that trip. I'm not sure I would put it above Illuminations in terms of emotional punch, but I guess I would have to see Illuminations again to really decide.
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