A nighttime show that celebrates the relationship between animals and nature will debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom February 17.
Rivers of Light is set on the Discovery River and features special water effects, decorative floats, laser projections and a live storytelling performance.
Animal Kingdom’s first nighttime show starts with an ancient lantern festival that draws out four animal spirit guides – an elephant, owl, tiger and turtle. The animals are lit with LED technology and take shape on lantern floats, some measuring 15-feet-tall and 30-feet-long.
Video projections and choreographed laser animation combine to create the appearance of glowing fireflies that light up the sky.
A pair of live storytellers never say a word but communicate through Asian dance, music, song and shadow puppetry. The show tells the story behind the creation of the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights.
“People believed when animals passed from one world to another they danced in the sky and created rivers of light, which we know as the Aurora Borealis.” said Michael Jung, creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering. “We hope that guests take away the essence of life, that every moment is a gift,” Jung said.
The show, which took three years to create, was originally scheduled to launch last year on April 22, Animal Kingdom’s birthday and Earth Day. Disney officials did not give a reason for the delay but said in a blog post they wanted to “give the team more time to bring these innovative experiences to life in a way we know will exceed our guests’ expectations.”