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Rivers of Light premieres for cast members at Disney's Animal Kingdom

November 28, 2016, 9:47 AM · Walt Disney World presented its first cast member preview performance for its long-delayed Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom last night. Disney prohibited filming and photography for the show, which was limited to Animal Kingdom cast members and their invited guests. Still, viewers reacted to the show on social media and those reactions ranged from exuberant to dismissive.

Technical problems and creative challenges have delayed the show from its planned debut last spring, and problems continue. Last night's show stopped in the middle of the performance due to two of the floats either hitting each other or coming close enough to trigger a show stop. Still, there were enough glimpses of strong elements to win over some fans who watched the show, while others seemed less than impressed.

"I had high hopes for the show- really wanted to like it... but it was pretty "meh" for me. There were some good aspects- I loved the boats with the lanterns for instance, but I don't need to see it again any time soon. Just kinda boring I guess?," one viewer wrote on Reddit.

"We loved Rivers of Light! Beautiful show, amazing technology, and a million times better than Jungle Book.," another posted to Twitter.

Disney still hasn't announced a public opening for Rivers of Light, so this clearly remains a work in progress. Typically, cast previews provide the operations team the opportunity to run through its work of getting people into and through a new attraction, but in this case it appears that the creative team is still working through perfecting the show as well. Some viewers noted a significant number of elements missing from the concept art and preview videos released by Disney to promote the show.

The TL;DR, then? It's still too early to pass any judgment on Rivers of Light, because Disney still hasn't finished Rivers of Light, even if some cast members got to see it last night.

Replies (8)

November 28, 2016 at 11:01 AM · It will be interesting to hear over the following weeks what should and should not have been present from last night. I wonder what had to get cut for the show to go on.
November 28, 2016 at 12:18 PM · Can we call this a try out?
I'm wondering if they interviewed the viewers for feedback.
November 28, 2016 at 1:21 PM · I think it will be a great show, looking forward to seeing it when we visit next Fall!
November 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM · Not quite the complete show yet. Stay tuned.
November 28, 2016 at 4:53 PM · I'm already concerned since it was publicized that they only have 5,000 seats, which is a low capacity theater. They should have increased seating to meet demand. Now, the show seems like a work in progress when it is already late. I guess this is the break-in period. Millions of dollars later, it will be much better as it always get improved over time. Perhaps in a few years, the show will be terrific, but not now.
November 28, 2016 at 6:31 PM · I've read other reviews, people say it's beautiful but dull, maybe they should stay away from shamans, animal sprits and the like. Wildlife footage is ok, but probably can't maintain interest for 20 minutes.

What comes to my mind is the animated Jungle Book, I think animation works better on the screens than live action. Maybe throw in Lilo and Stitch and Moana, I know it's Animal Kingdom, but you need to have something that's interesting, you might have to stretch the theme a bit. Maybe have an animated sequence of the Enchanted Tiki Room theme, or some clips of Bambi with 'man is in the forest'. Just thinking...

November 28, 2016 at 10:00 PM · About time! Would have been nice if they'd presented it when they said they were after great fanfare AND when I had a season pass. Now it's expired and this senior citizen can no longer afford Disney!
November 30, 2016 at 12:53 PM · I am sure that Disney will get this right! While on subject of AK, does anyone know when Avatarland is scheduled to open--other than just generally in 2017?

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