Will Rivers of Light Fail?

April 12, 2016, 7:16 AM

Does anyone think that Rivers of Light will not live up to Disney's hype due to poor audience reactions?

One factor that may contribute to this is that this is the first WDW attraction since Everest (?) to not feature characters from a previously established property. Considering we have so gotten used to the idea of experiencing character-based attractions, I feel that the idea of seeing a nighttime show with real animals instead of cartoons may bore people than blow them away.

In addition, I was listening to one of the press junkets and they described one of the major themes of the show is that we are all one with nature. I feel that this show may actually offend people with religious sensibilities because the show includes shamans, mysticism, animal spirits, etc.

NOTE: If you do wish to discuss the spiritual/religious elements of the show, please do not start any comment wars about beliefs.

Replies (17)

April 12, 2016, 8:40 AM

I think the show will do well when it opens as people will be able to stay late at the park, and also it is a new thing. There's a video of them projecting onto the tree of life images of animals which looks amazing but I feel after a while people would get a bit bored of it the fact that it is not related to any intellectual properties. They could have done the show based on the jungle book, good dinosaur, avatar, lion king, Pocahontas to name a few and I feel that it would do better with the use of ips because it is what people are used to. Also I don't expect that it will be as good as world of colour in a water show sense. Some of the images of all the barges and water fountains being tested look beautiful, but I'm not sure how well it will do with normal people or young kids. I hope it is good and does well though as I'm really glad they are keeping animal kingdom open later.

April 12, 2016, 9:04 AM

I don't think people will see it multiple times like World of Color only because WoC has many variations, while I feel like they can't do that with RoL

April 12, 2016, 9:57 AM

It's going to depend upon the spectacle of the show. Illuniations is generally free of IPs and characters, and is still hugely popular. Not only is the music amazing, but the visuals are mesmerizing, and continue to be after repeated viewings because of the different angles the show can be seen.

Rivers of Light will have a similar advantage with various places to view the show. It will all come down to the score and the "wow" factor of the visuals. I would expect that Disney will deliver, as they have so many times before.

April 12, 2016, 10:02 AM

This is just another way that you can't compare DLR with WDW. Much of Disneyland/DCA is geared towards repeat views by locals, while WDW is geared toward occasional visitors, once a year, once a decade or once in a lifetime. Shows at DLR such as World of Color must be repeatable-quality to bring guests back again and again, while those at WDW do not require that same repeatable factor. I'm not saying they shouldn't be of the same quality as the shows at DLR, but a majority of visitors to WDW come there for probably a week, try to do everything they can while they are there, and there is so much to do that they probably will only repeat an attraction if they absolutely MUST do so, and that will be at the expense of missing something else. I don't think it will fail because they will always have a rotating audience coming into the parks. There have been many comments that Fantasmic at WDW is inferior to the show at DL, but it is still running after all these years because there are always new audiences coming to the park. DLR must update and/or replace current shows and parades not because they are not repeatable to their viewers, but because the viewers have seen them so often that they want something fresh and new. WDW and DLR have totally different audience demographics.

April 12, 2016, 10:35 AM

This show shouldn't have a problem so long as there is a wow factor. I don't think people have stopped liking animals yet.

April 12, 2016, 12:33 PM

Didn't look at any of the comments but


April 12, 2016, 12:41 PM

I agree with Russell and Court - if the show is done well, with great music and visuals like Illuminations, it should be able to stand on its own without an IP. Animal Kingdom has never been strictly about IPs and its show shouldn't be either.

April 12, 2016, 4:08 PM

We should be glad Animal Kingdom will stay open later. A bit disappointed the show can only hold 5,000 guests when having more seats should be easily done if planned from the beginning.

Edited: April 12, 2016, 11:43 PM

First since Everest to not feature an IP.... That's a DECADE without an exclusive original park ride idea. If the Disney of the past had that attitude, we wouldn't have Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, to name just a few. That's pretty depressing.

April 13, 2016, 1:19 AM

With Disney's original vs cinematic IP it seems they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. People complain if a new attraction is IP based, but it seems now we are complaining that it won't be.

Disney has a great track record with these shows, something that is rather unique to Disney. They've out a lot of work and time into this, with I believe some cool me technology on a beautiful backdrop. I think it will be a hit.

April 16, 2016, 3:08 PM

UPDATE: I was listening to the recent Disney Dish with Jim Hill podcast and he said one reason the show got delayed was due to the recent success of the live-action Jungle Book remake. He says that because the film just came out and was a smash hit, the Imagineers are rewriting the show to include a section featuring the movie. I don't think this is the root cause because the show already has a "story" with the two shamans and adding elements from The Jungle Book seems forced and might go against the original concept.


April 18, 2016, 10:33 AM

Why is it that people start threads like these without explaining what they mean by "fail?"

Anyway, it will be a huge hit with capacity crowds night after night -- carrying park attendance into 2017 when 'Pandora: The World of Avatar' opens.

April 18, 2016, 11:17 AM

Anyone here seen Cinespec over at Universal? That's better than what I think Rivers of Light will be.

April 18, 2016, 11:25 AM

What are you talking about Jaiden? There's nothing original or special about Unviersal's nighttime show (that incidentally only runs as a capacity attraction on busy days). On the times I've seen it, there are very few people actually stopping to watch, with most other guests choosing to run to get a final ride in before the park closes. It's just a best of montage like you'd see at The Oscars with music and some fireworks and water effects. Based on rumors and construction reports, Rivers of Light will blow Cinema Spectacutar out of the water.

April 18, 2016, 11:57 AM

Disney's night time shows are starting to look the same. The mist screens do the same thing by showing the same animated movie clips over and over again. I thought World of Color will be a fountain like show, but it turned into a movie montage. I expect Rivers of Light to be a mashup of Fantasmic with the animal floats and the water screens and many water fountains and a stage in the middle. About what you expect. It won't be a failure, but it will likely relieve pressure from seeing the DHS' inferior version of Fantasmic.

April 18, 2016, 2:48 PM

Russelll Meyer asks: "What are you talking about Jaiden?"

I respond: He's not talking. He's trolling.

April 18, 2016, 7:15 PM

Will Rivers of Light fail? No, as long as no more boats sink into the river.

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