Theme Park Insider

News update: Disney cuts Animal Kingdom hours, Toothsome previews begin

August 16, 2016, 8:45 PM · If you were wondering if Walt Disney World would keep its extended evening hours for Disney's Animal Kingdom after this summer, the answer is "no." Sandra Pedicini at the Orlando Sentinel detailed the impending cutbacks, with park's closing time falling back from the current 11pm to 9pm next month, then to 7pm in October and as early as 6pm in November. Despite the reduced hours, Disney insisted to the Sentinel that its long-delayed Rivers of Light show — meant to be the centerpiece of the park's expanded nighttime operation — will debut sometime before the end of the year. Its temporary replacement, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, closes on Sept. 5.

Over at Universal Orlando, the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen opened to Team Member previews this evening.

And as predicted, the milkshake pictures are hitting social media.

No word yet on a public opening. Keep checking!

Finally, Disney will be giving away some free PhotoPass photos as its celebrates "Disney PhotoPass Day" on Friday. Disney will set up a free PhotoPass spot in each of its six U.S. theme parks, where you can get your picture taken then download it for free from the Disneyland or My Disney Experience app. The locations are:

Remember that you always can get your picture taken for free by any PhotoPass photographer (or any Disney cast member), using your own camera. But if you don't want to bring your own, on Friday you can get your free photo on the good equipment by visiting one of these locations and using the app.

Got a question about theme parks? Robert's starting a mailbag column. Send your question/comment/conspiracy theories to themeparkinsider@gmail.com and we'll answer the best ones in an upcoming post.

Replies (8)

August 16, 2016 at 9:19 PM · I suspect Animal Kingdom will go back to later hours when/if Rivers of Light is ready before the holiday season.
August 16, 2016 at 11:31 PM · Disney cost cutting is embarassing.
August 17, 2016 at 7:02 AM · I'll believe Rivers of Light when I see it.
August 17, 2016 at 7:16 AM · Iger and Chapek can't do anything right. Put the creative people back in charge of creative decisions.
August 17, 2016 at 3:36 PM · That's such a shame. AK at night (especially with the new Tree of Life Awakens) is one the best experiences at Disney World! Hopefully once Rivers of Light and Avatar are up and running, it will be 11 pm again.

Also, to give the DW team credit, it was VERY lightly attended by 9 pm in July.

August 17, 2016 at 5:46 PM · I don't think Animal Kingdom has enough to do to warrant staying there long. Something to keep in mind: Animal Kingdom to many people feels like going to the zoo for the day. Sorry that Disney wants to always say "it's not a zoo!" but to me I get tired like I do at the zoo in a way that I don't get tired at other Disney parks. Animal Kingdom wears me out. I am dragging by 5pm. When Pandora opens, I will have to rethink how we do Animal Kingdom because I will want to see Pandora at night for sure. But I can't do a long full day in Animal Kingdom like I can do at MK or EPCOT.
August 17, 2016 at 6:10 PM · Folks, it doesn't make any sense to keep Animal Kingdom open that late during the soft season. Its bad business. lol Theme parks are a business and have to be run as such.
August 18, 2016 at 9:57 AM · I don't know why Disney is keeping AK open until 9 pm in September. Ostensibly it's so we can see at least some of the nighttime offerings, but what is unsaid is that, in October in Orlando, it doesn't get dark until 8:15. So we have time to ride Kilimanjaro one time, then have to leave the park!

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