Many Disney fans had grown frustrated by a lack of information from the resort about park operating hours, showtimes, and dining packages for the new show, which will blend "World of Color"-like projections with illuminated floats in an original story that evokes tribal legends and classic myth. Turns out, that lack of information should have been a clue that Rivers of Light wasn't coming in on schedule.
April 22 is Earth Day and the anniversary of the Animal Kingdom's opening in 1998. Disney said in a statement that it will announce more information about Rivers of Light's debut in mid- to late May. That means fans are looking at a delay until Memorial Day, perhaps at the earliest, before they can see Disney's new Animal Kingdom show.
To tide over fans, Disney did release a new preview video of the projection mapping effects that it will feature on the Tree of Life as part of Animal Kingdom's new nighttime entertainment.
In other attraction-opening news for Central Florida theme park fans, SeaWorld Orlando announced yesterday that its new Mako hypercoaster will open on June 10. And Universal Orlando sent a "save the date" message to news organizations, revealing that the media preview event for Skull Island: Reign of Kong will be held on June 22-24. As for the return of The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Universal hasn't offered a specific date for that, but it did just lay the final piece of its new track.
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Stealing our save the dates now!
Disney could learn something from how they debut new rides for their new extravagant shows. They shouldn't announce a start date until after a month or two of soft showings. These unannounced shows, until the day of, would still draw a large crowd and Disney could still sell viewing packages if they wanted to.
This sort of opening would be viewed as a bonus and a positive, instead of a negative.
1. Never expect an attraction to open on time. This is particularly true when an opening date is announced a month or more in advance. Theme park attractions are amazingly complex and sometimes a really small issue can cause a notable delay. Until there is solid evidence that an attraction will be ready on time, don't assume it will.
2. Do not invest a significant amount in an opening day/weekend trip. If you're making a trip specifically for a new attraction and you're traveling a significant distance (definition varies by person, but I'd say more than 200 miles away), do not plan your trip for right after the attraction is supposed to open. Give yourself a 2-3 month buffer so that not only are you likely to be protected from delays, but you will also likely avoid the hiccups new attractions tend to have in their first weeks (especially prototype or unique attractions).
3. If the new attraction isn't ready, enjoy other attractions instead. Even with the best planning, it is possible that a new attraction won't be available on the day of your visit. In that case, pretend it doesn't exist and enjoy your day with the other offerings of the park. While missing an attraction is disappointing, it also is a very good reason to make a return visit at some point in the future.
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