We're not halfway through Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration, and the resort is already making changes.
Disney has announced that it has shortened the Disney KiteTails at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The show is now playing six times a day, at fifteen minutes past the hour starting at 11:15am and ending with the day's final show at 5:15pm. (No show at 2:15.) Disney is framing this as "shifting the focus of the show so guests will be able to experience “Disney KiteTails” from anywhere around the Discovery River Lagoon."
Of all the shows that debuted for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary last October, Disney KiteTails got the most negative immediate reaction. Over time, it has grown a fanbase among those who accept the show as it is - a visual extra for park visitors in the middle of the day. A shorter, more frequent show better fits that model than a schedule which suggests this kite display is supposed to be anything like a daytime substitute for the Rivers of Light spectacular that formerly played in the Discovery River Amphitheater.
Across the park, the Tumble Monkeys will be returning to the Festival of the Lion King show soon, Disney also announced. It's also interesting that Disney's press release called this production by its pre-pandemic name, Festival of the Lion King, rather than using the prepend "A Celebration of" for the show, which it has had included since the musical production reopened.
The "A Celebration of" designation was to disclaim that the production was not the same one as fans enjoyed before the parks closed, as Disney cut or swapped several elements due to pandemic restrictions and staffing reductions. But with the Tumble Monkeys acrobats and other elements returning to the production, perhaps it soon will be time to start calling the show just "Festival of the Lion King" again.
Disney recently announced that up-close character meet and greets would start returning to its theme parks this month, and Walt Disney World also has announced the launch of a new version of Animal Kingdom's Finding Nemo musical, "Finding Nemo: The Big Blue... and Beyond" later this year. No word yet on a date for that, though.
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