Animal Kingdom After Dark

I’ve always loved Animal Kingdom and contrary to what most people say, I feel it deserves a full day not just a half day. While it may not seem like there’s enough to see, there really is. Not only are there a ton of rides, the park is so meticulously themed that I could walk around absorbing it all in and not riding any rides or seeing any shows all day long. Not of course that I’d ever miss Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, Kilimanjaro Safari, Festival of the Lion King, Affection Station, It’s tough to be a bug or the Wildlife Express Train. If you count all these plus the walking trails it’s very clear how Animal Kingdom is totally a full day park. Frankly, I often found myself wanting more time there. I understand that they were trying to protect the animals but it always felt a great shame to close down so early. So, I was super excited to hear that Disney has found a way to keep the animals happy while keeping the park open later. Here are the new night time experiences coming to the park later this spring which I’m super excited about.

Rivers of Light
Might as well start with the big one! This is a brand new evening show which Disney has called a “water and light show”. Storytellers weave their stories with light and water culminating in a virtual explosion of light, music and color. The things I’m most excited about where this is concerned are first, the use of floating lanterns and secondly that they are not having any fireworks. The reason for the lack of explosives is obvious, animals aren’t gonna do well with that sort of thing and so fireworks are a no go. I’m excited about it because I feel it will draw the focus more onto the story telling vs the showy bang bang ooh ahh of fireworks. With Disney’s knack for story telling I am incredibly excited to see how this plays out.

Tree of Life at Night
As night falls, the tree of life will spring to life with all manner of flora and fauna projected across it’s surface. I’ve always loved the animals carved into the tree and this will only serve to enhance that for me.

Night Time Rides
Kilimanjaro Safari at night. Do I need to go on? Fine, there’s also Expedition everest at night and a few other rides which is going to be awesome. Back to the Safari… I have read that Disney is adding nocturnal animals to Kilimanjaro Safari and will of course be taking measures to ensure that the animals are able to maintain their routine and not be unduly stressed by the new operating hours of the ride, or the park for that matter.

Named after the Indian word for lunch (or if you’re from Mumbai, the containers lunch is delivered in) and sporting what seems to be an incredibly adventurous menu (frog legs anyone?), this water front restaurant promises to be a delicious addition to an already excellent, if not small selection of restaurants at Animal Kingdom. Frankly, the restaurants at Animal Kingdom theme park seems to suffer from the same “awesome and overlooked” issue that the restaurants at the Animal Kingdom Lodge do. For example Tusker House character meals are probably some of the best on property and for whatever reason super easy to get reservations at where as Chef Mickey’s, with some of the worst food on property books up at 180 days. It also looks like this will be included in the dining plan, and while it’s not clear how many credits it will cost, the $ cost makes it likely it will be a 1 credit restaurant.

So there you have it, all the awesome things that await you and I at Animal Kingdom after dark. Let me know what you’re most looking forward to in the comments.


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