Disney Cancels April 22 Debut for Rivers of Light

April 5, 2016, 10:17 AM · The Walt Disney World Resort announced this morning that its new nighttime spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Rivers of Light, will not debut on April 22, as previously announced.

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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Replies (20)

April 5, 2016 at 11:21 AM · Apparently they were all set to go, when the shows lead performer Tom Staggs was no longer available.
April 5, 2016 at 11:29 AM · It's interesting to read all the "disappointing" comments on the blog post. It seems an outcome of the need to pre-plan vacations with MyMagic+. In the past, there would have been more, "great, maybe I'll get to see that when I'm there." Now because of pre-planned rides, shows and restaurants, guests need to know where they are going on each day, which adds anxiety and stress on the run up to vacation.
April 5, 2016 at 11:44 AM · #ThanksShanghai

Stealing our save the dates now!

April 5, 2016 at 11:59 AM · #BlameDisneyFans?
April 5, 2016 at 12:00 PM · The #ThanksShanghai hash tag is a pathetic display of ignorance from Disney fans. I'm sick of seeing it in use.

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.

April 5, 2016 at 12:13 PM · More like Rivers of Late, amirite?
April 5, 2016 at 12:35 PM · Maybe inviting Murphy the Dragon from Disneyland at the last minute for a cameo appearance wasn't the best idea after all....
April 5, 2016 at 12:39 PM · Ha ha!
April 5, 2016 at 12:45 PM · I heard the star of the show was a 25 foot gorilla. Maybe he got a better offer elsewhere.
April 5, 2016 at 1:36 PM · Alright, I know this will sound rude but I don't care anymore. I've been giving Disney the benefit of the doubt for a long time now. This is crap. They just don't want to spend the bucks to have it open during a month of it being slower in Orlando. This is old, and you know what I really just don't know about Disney World anymore. Between the upcharges, the changes in artwork within the Toy Story Land (based of the movie that put Pixar on the map and would in turn make Disney a lot of money, but they don't care about that now), and now this. Disney you are seriously getting your butt kicked by the 800lbs gorilla up the road. It's old, stale, and just down right petty now. It's not about Shanghai.... it's about #DisneyWorldIgnoredfor15years. These parks have been ignored long before the building of Shanghai started.
April 5, 2016 at 1:58 PM · Be interesting to see if they end up changing the show & add characters.
April 5, 2016 at 2:36 PM · Wow - brutal responses. I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather they take their time and present a show that works, than open something that isn't show ready. I agree that with things as massive and grand as this, announcing an opening date is dodgy business at best. Soft openings are the safest way to go. Still, I can't wait to see this show. While I hope the show features a lot of animals, I hope none of them are Disney cartoon versions.
April 5, 2016 at 4:48 PM · Blame it on Bush!
April 5, 2016 at 6:32 PM · I was supposed to go to the preview on April 19th, it should be interesting to see what happens with that. I will be seriously aggravated if they switch it to the middle of May when I am on vacation.
April 5, 2016 at 9:32 PM · With a number of relatively high profile delays recently and numerous attraction openings approaching in the next couple months, I think people could use a reminder on the common sense "rules" of attraction openings:

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.

April 6, 2016 at 7:15 AM · Clearly there wasn't enough FROZEN in the show so they had to rethink it!
April 6, 2016 at 7:46 AM · Okay I know things like this happen and there are delays and such, but a company should NEVER announce an opening date and turn around and say never mind. They should have just kept it at Spring 2016, and not announce a single thing until they were for sure they were ready. This would have given them until June 20 (or around that mark) to complete the show. I honestly think this is crap. It's budget cuts. It's that simple. They didn't want to take the chance of this performing during some of the slow season. It's that simple. Think about all the man/woman hours they just saved by pushing this back roughly one month.
April 6, 2016 at 7:49 AM · I actually heard that there was a fire on one of the set pieces. I was told that somehow the cooling fans for the lights were turned off after a test which then caused a fire.
April 6, 2016 at 6:16 PM · Peeps are just snarky cause we've been underwhelmed for years with Disney's US projects. Frankly I find the Shanghai hashtag amusing. This particular cancelation just adds wood to the fire.
April 7, 2016 at 8:15 AM · The Disco Yeti couldn't make it in time.....

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